We had anticipated being home by 2300, but didn’t arrive until 0130 this morning. Numb and totally exhausted, we crashed and found it difficult to move about while recuperating the next day. Age does matter. We got into a pocket of severe thunderstorms and tornados that spawned between Wichita, KS, and Blackwell to Anthony, OK. We had 60-70 mile per hour winds, driving rain, and hail. We personally encountered hail of ping pong ball size, but another car in the same area and a police car had their windshields taken out by baseball-size chunks of flying ice. The man we saw later at the rest area had two baseball-size chunks hit his hood leaving large dents. He looked up in the direction they had come from to actually see another headed right for his face. He cringed, having no time to do anything else, as the ice left a grapefruit-sized hole in his windshield literally before his eyes, even if they were clinched shut. The tornado advisories would run until 2130, then be extended to 2230, then 2330. They were all blowing up in the same area before moving east. It was obvious we would spend the entire night there if we didn’t move south of the area of disturbance. Every time it eased, we would start south and then head for the next gas station canopy when the ice started again. When we got just a couple miles south of Blackwell, the moon was visible and the road was dry and remained dry the rest of the way home. We were lucky. Except for a tiny dimple in the hood, both Ibi and the pickup came through fine.
On Sunday, we started preparing for departure for the Paddle-to-the-Sea. I repacked everything, making a list and checking it twice. Every item was weighed and totaled 155 pounds including three weeks provisions. That weight will drop some as I determine my actual consumption rates. I’m carrying some extra spares now that I may not need then. However, I am insisting on some comfort items, like a comfortable sleeping mattress, electric camp light, and folding camp chair, and the five-pound autobiography of Mark Twain. My next reading selections will be much lighter. I’m hoping as I go along the largest weight savings will be in me. If I can lose what I need to, I should be able to get the canoe on a plane.
Please support Save The Children. Thanks, Jim