Well we are on our vacation!! I'm so excited to be done with school and off on an adventure with Allen. This is the first day and it definitely has been an adventure so far.
(Allen and his dad Terry planning our drive)
We decided to drive our Ford Ranger (which has a new look by the way) and pull a pop-up trailer. Pictures of these will be posted later. We are driving to Colorado and set to arrive in Estes Park tomorrow night. Today we drove through Oklahoma and we're staying in Kansas. We were all set to camp tonight and have a relaxing evening with grilled steaks or burgers or something like that...but Kansas had other plans.
Our first clue of a possible problem started in Okahoma. As soon as we turned onto I-35, there was a huge shelf cloud to our West. We learned the difference between a shelf cloud and a wall cloud by listening to the radio today...in case you are wondering, the shelf cloud covers almost the entire horizon. Yes, it did. It accompanied our drive from Stillwater, OK to Salina, KS the whole way! Just hung out on our left hand side. Then after some discussion as to whether we should stop in Salina and let it pass over, or just drive straight through it...We turned West into the storm and drove straight in.
It was pretty black and the radio said the wind was whipping at 75 miles per hour. The rain was sideways for a couple minutes. But it actually didn't last that long because it was going 40 miles per hour East and we were going 55-65 miles per hour West. We were only going that fast on the hiway because it was blowing SO hard!! And remember, we are pulling a camper. You can see the edge of it in the picture.
This is the back end of the storm. This cloud was crazy. It was huge and you could see it spinning, but it was blowing from the bottom to the top. Basically it looked like a gigantic tornado laid on its side horizontally.
So, like I said, the storm only lasted a few minutes and we arrived on the other side safe and sound, no problems. The radio was reporting tornado warnings and watches all over Kansas, but we could see light in the sky and when we figured out what county we were driving through, we new it was ok.
After driving since 9 AM, we finally made it to our campsite at about 6 PM and hesitated as the lady who checked us in told us that:
1. There were more storms coming in.
2. The only shelter in the campground was in the bathroom area of the main building.
I didn't get a picture of the building at the campsite, but it was not substantial. Jut a wood sided 80's style building, no way going to stand up to much...but, at this point we decided to try and tough it out. and went through the process of opening of the camper, pulling all the cables and setting all the springs. Meanwhile it was almost being lifted off the ground by the wind. Now, keep in mind, it was NOT stormy at this point, in fact it was nice and light, no clouds. But the wind was awful!! Allen and I ate our sandwich quietly and tried to tell ourselves we would be ok for the night....Then I checked the radar...Duh duh duh..
A HUGE storm was coming in!!
You know how fast a camper can be put back together and pulled down??? When we finally decided we did not want to die in the storm, our camper was packed that fast.
This is a video of the wind and the sky right before the storm, which hit about 15 minutes after we got everything in our hotel room. I'm really really glad we did it. Its still storming hard with lightening, thunder, and tornado watches outside and we've been here 2 hours.
Tomorrow we will camp in Estes Park. It will be beautiful and sunny...we hope ;) We are having a lot of fun...anyone who knows us, knows we love adventure...and a guy who was watching us come into our hotel said we must be on our honeymoon. Haha! That's the way to wear 9 years of marriage!
We'll keep you updated on our vacation adventures in the next couple weeks!!