Ride of the Valkyrie

For those of you who are new to the site, after our trip last year we bought a “new-to-us” motor home in April, and spent the rest of the summer getting it road-worthy. This is the start of a two-month pilgrimage to the American Southwest.

We pulled out August 24 under a milky sky. As we headed towards Indiana, the weather became threatening. Really, really threatening. On our approach to Indianapolis, the radio station we were listening to changed over to emergency broadcast mode. I opened the weather app on my phone, and flashes of yellow red and purple painted the center of the state, and our route. A quick map consultation and we dipped south on I-70 rather than north on the outerbelt. Every radio station was broadcasting weather warnings; poor Kokomo city to the north got slammed by a tornado. The wind picked up and the sky darkened ominously. Lightning crackled across the black horizon. It occurred to me that while I was preparing play lists for the trip that I should have downloaded some Wagner, Beethoven and Stravinsky to accompany the moment.

Stormy Indy
That is not blue sky behind that black cloud! I-70.

The area radio stations were broadcasting alerts and both phones simultaneously texted us a warning: Ahead There Be Monsters. We decided that when we saw truckers pull off we would do likewise, so onward we went. Hindsight is 20/20, and as I write this today I think of all the news programs I watched where helicopters showed video of traffic stopped for miles behind overturned semis with their contents splattered all over some highway after a fierce storm. Fortunately, the truckers we followed were the clever ones, and we plowed ahead. We squeaked through a brief and scary moment of blinding rain and fierce wind. I found myself peering anxiously through the gloom for a funnel cloud, though I figured by the time I saw it that would be a little late. The radio was tracking the storm on the freeways by the mile marker—something you don’t hear in Ohio. We headed northwest on I-74, got past mile marker 68, and suddenly the storm was over—for us. Minutes later we heard the radio announce a touchdown near I-70, not far behind us. We are living proof that occasionally, God loves fools.

We rolled into Peoria, at our favorite B&B—Wal-Mart, where we parked next to a huge grassy field by a cornfield. A perfect place for some dog fun. Ryder burst out of the door and rolled in the grass with abandon. No doubt he was thinking he was grateful to be alive. After dinner, we all collapsed. This morning Ben told me that storms pounded us all night. I slept through it all. I’ll have to send a testimonial to Hearos brand earplugs.


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