Friday, June 28, 2019

The Stormy Great Lakes, American Heartland Exploration

Enjoying the summer weather of down-to-earth-30’s&40’s, hail, snow, heavy rains, etc. Here’s a photo of us on a warmer day:-)
I call our 5-week personal discovery of the Great Lakes, the American Lower Middle Heartland, etc.
the Stormy Exploration.

We loved our long vacation of exploring lighthouses, historic sites, and quilting stores, but sunny it was NOT.

Never before have we not seen the sun for weeks in our travels.
Heck, we've gone to Northwest (Portland, Seattle, Idaho for the Total Eclipse) several times in the last few years and, surprisingly, always encountered warm cloudless days!
And gone on trips including the Outer Banks, Georgia, Florida, etc. in September but only encountered a short tropical storm in the Outer Banks. The rest was warm sun all the way.

BUT the Great Lakes excursion was something else! STORMY TRIP NUMERO UNO

Driving across Colorado, I ran into a snow storm in the 3rd week of May before I even got to the high Rockies. Ironically, when I reached Loveland Pass, the sun actually peaked out of the clouds for an hour or so, the only sun I would see in for weeks.

In eastern Colorado and western Kansas, I had to knuckle down on my Ram's steering wheel battling against 30-40 knot cross winds. On the scary side, but I rolled on figuring I would stay on the highway as long as the semi's did. (However, later, when cross winds got worse, semi's kept being pushed out of their lanes. One semi in front of me was pushed out of its lane onto the shoulder by the harsh winds 4 times in a block and a half. Much of the time I, therefore avoided, passing the huge trucks, realizing to a scary degree the danger.

Then in central Kansas, I encountered a huge lightning storm--glaring lightning above me, and to both sides. And rain, of course.

In a humorous mood, I texted my sweetheart (who was going to fly into K.C. to be picked up) that it was just me and Toto crossing Kansas. BUT THEN I got a critical text on my phone from the U.S. Weather Service warning us to seek shelter because of severe weather including that 2 tornadoes had touched down in our area!

The Severe Weather Warning said the worst area was between road posts 195 and 204. You can believe your eyes that I quickly started reading the posts in the rain as I passed.
When I saw that the next post was 205, I breathed a sigh of relief.

Tragically, however, while I was having an adventure, many others weren't. That week houses were wrecked, a few people died, rivers overflowed including the Missouri along the South Dakota-Iowa-Nebraska borders, flooding homes and farm fields.

By the time I got to K.C., and then Missouri it was raining cats and hippos.

And when it wasn't it was overcast and grim. By the time, I picked my wife up and we drove into Illinois, it finally stopped raining for a couple of days, but the heavy overcast remained with sweltering humidity that melted us like the wicked witch of the east in The Wizard of Oz.

Then when we got to the Great Lakes and the temperatures dropped into the 30's and 40's, mainly caused by a very icy wind blowing out of the great North.

And it rained off and on. When we reached the border between Upper Michigan/Wisconsin and Minnesota, it hailed and rained cats and hippos again!

When we got back to Iowa, the Interstate 29 was closed down the Iowa-Nebraska border for at least 70 miles because of the Missouri flooding. So, like many places all across the center of the U.S., there were road closures and detours.

Everywhere creeks were flooding, fields drenched in shallow ponds covering large parts of them.

Finally, after 4 weeks of climate change, when we got back to K.C., visited the Zoo, the weather turned hot and sunny.

And I encountered plenty of sunny weather when I got to Oklahoma...

To be continued (all about the history sites I visited)