Weather:We had perfect weather in Dallas. 80s and sun with high clouds. (It might
have drizzled at night, but I don't remember, so who cares...)
April's Uncle Jeff and Aunt Mary are wonderful. They opened their house to our rowdy
bunch with no qualms and even had a towel rack with six sets of towels waiting. Unfortunately
we didn't get any pictures of Mary that night and she had to leave for work early the next
morning so we weren't able to get any then. They have a fish pond complete with fish in
their backyard and a great cable connection with which we were able to watch the movie Blade.
We did laundry, showered, and basically rested. The next morning some of us finished the laundry
while others went shopping with Uncle Jeff for supplies to prepare for our first night
of camping. We then had lunch at this great buffet place near by. Jeff then gave us a motorcycle
escort out of town to make sure we got on the right road. Thanks Uncle Jeff and Aunt Mary!
So, we left Richardson, TX around 4pm on our longest leg of the journey, an 18 hour trip
to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. It started wonderful (besides some big black
beetles we saw at a gas station that scared us) and around
9:15pm we noticed some lightening in the sky. Actually, not some, tons! About a bolt
every second. So we says to ourselves, Cool. Then some hail starts to hit the car. Say
from peanut up to large grape size. We think to ourselves, we should turn on the radio
since by this time we were in Northern Texas near Oklahoma and listen to any storm warnings.
So we turn off our CD and listen to the radio and guess what, every station is playing storm
warnings. Severe storm warnings including tornado warnings for two counties. Now a little
worried we try to find out where we are. We figure we're somewhere between Kirkland and
Childress on 287 North. We then hear on the radio that the warnings are for Childress County
so we start to worry more. The giant cloud we'd seen turned out to be a tornado-producing
wall cloud. Then we pass a "Welcome to Childress" sign, oh joy. The radio
announcer pipes up with a "Our prayers go out to the people on 287 between Childress and Kirkland"
and we begin to really worry. We stopped at a hotel on the outskirts of town and checked
with the front desk, they said not to worry. Go figure. Anyway, the storm moved on southeast
and we hightailed it northwest into clear skies. While none of pictures worked, we did get
some video that should be humorous in hindsight of us freaking out.
The one regret was that we didn't get to the Big Texan in time for Tim, Chris, and Pat to
eat their 72oz steaks. See, if you finish the steak, you don't have to pay for it... Well, now
we'll never know if they could have done it...
In the morning we drove through some great canyon land on the way to Mesa Verde!
© 1997-2001 Shawn Patton