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Summer Stories
Stormy Nights in Kansas


I consider my wife and I to be savvy long distant motor vehicle travelers. To prepare for our long trips we do such things as time when we are going to pass through towns to avoid traffic, check the weather to avoid storms, look for construction delays, etc. We are constantly monitoring our time and distance and would alter our route in order to miss delays.

To help us with our travel plans we use iPhones and iPads while in the car and MacBooks when we find a wifi signal. We are truly connected and in tune with our drive.

Of course from time to time we still find that despite our best planning we still find traffic, weather, or just the unexpected. We expect it.

Last summer ('14) we left Nashville driving to Colorado. We chose a familiar route and planned to stay the night at the last rest stop in Kansas about 5 miles from the Colorado line.

We left Nashville around 6 in the morning. It was an uneventful drive. We had good weather and hardly any traffic. We sped thru Saint Louis on the (relatively) new I-70 bridge and soon found ourselves crossing Missouri and passing Kansas City. All was well and we continued to check the weather and road conditions as we traveled. The forecast called for stormy weather to move into west Kansas, but the model showed the storm missing our route.

As we passed Hays, Kansas, the skies were growing darker. The forecast still showed the storm passing to the south of us, so we were not really concerned.

Continuing westward the winds began to blow. The wind velocity seemed to match the threatening skies. By then, we were getting a bit road weary and were ready to call it a day, but we had to slow down - extending our fun. The wind was shaking our vehicle which sits tall and we also had a Yakima car top box. It was not worth speeding into the wind and testing the integrity of the plastic gear carrier.

Finally we arrived at the rest area. We bailed out of the vehicle and walked around the rest area a couple of times being oh so thankful to be off the road. As we walked we watched the skies. We decided to hurry back to the car and made it just in the nick of time.

Back in the vehicle, we took shelter as the storm pelted us. We were fortunate to be stopped in a safe place. Then,the winds increased and the vehicle began rocking (yes, we were still parked.) We had moved our gear around and made room to sit and sleep in the back of our versatile Honda Element, but not much sleep was happening as the storm crashed around us.

We should have gotten a motel room!

Sometimes when we are traveling we stay in motels and other times we camp. Kansas has the great rest area camping (overnight parking) loops. If we are trying to make good time on our drive, we have found that sleeping in the vehicle is more efficient than staying in a motel. When are not really comfortable (sleeping in the car), therefore we tend to get moving quicker in the morning. However, we still needed some sleep.

It stormed all night. We were constantly checking the weather for updates.

The early morning brought clearing skies. We got up and walked around a bit to check things out. We were sure we were going to see shingles blown from the roof of the restrooms, trees toppled, and semi-trucks overturned, but to our surprise everything looked normal.

A few notes ...

We checked the weather all day long while we were traveling and the forecasts were just wrong.

Plan for the worse and then you are happy when it is better. For example - plan to stay in a motel, but if the weather is good then you might not need it.

We have a friend who improved the stability of his cargo box by adding a strap.

Kansas looked as if it was used to the wind, we were not.

A rocking cradle might put a baby to sleep, but a swaying parked car is just scary to us. Ha!

Happy Better Weather trails


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