Sunday, September 19, 2010

Three days after

So three days ago Carolyn, Ian and I woke up at about 7:30 in the morning to a torrential downpour. It becomes apparent that the tent that we are camping in is not as water resistant as it is suppose to be. Lightning is blasting, rain is dropping and the thunder is ROARING.

I for one am digging it, other than the dripping that is coming down on us that is, but Ian is not going for it. He says that he REALLY thinks that we should leave so reluctantly I oblige with the encouragement from my wife. Probably something about the rain inside our tent that is driving her.

So we pack most of our stuff and are blessed with a break in the heavy rain so that we can get stuff in the Suburban. The problem is that Carolyn didn't wait for the break and is now completely soaked.

We head into town to our new favorite coffee and ice cream joint Perk's/Whit's in Athens, OH. Carolyn is able to change into dry clothes and we hang out at Whit's for most of the day. Our friends Smiles and Space (and their boys) are somewhere to the northwest of us at a craft fair selling soap and stuff.

We are watching the weather reports, of course, and see that there is a major storm brewing northeast of us. Right around the area where Smiles and Space are. Weather alerts start popping up indicating more lightning and thunder and.........Tornado's. I call Space and let them know because they are in some field somewhere and I am not sure as to their ability to know about the storm. They tell me they are in a downpour as we are speaking. Well the tornado decided not to visit them and they are fine.

The next thing we know is that the storm is coming our way and we realize that our bed and some of our other things are in the tent back at the property and a much bigger storm is coming than this morning. We decide to head back and get all essentials and repack our Suburban to travel/camp ready. On our way out the emergency alarms and notices are blaring that everyone needs to take cover and get inside. So we high tail it back to the camp.

All this time I am watching the storm come in, trying to predict the direction to see if it will hit us or miss and time it. We time it right and get loaded and prepared just in time to get in the Sub to leave and watch the sky go dark. In the time that it took me to drive from our camp site to the end of the driveway (about 200 yards) it went from slightly overcast to dark, no sun out better start prayin'! ... gloomy overcast. In all my years ( I realize 41 is not real old) I have never seen the sky close that fast.

I see the wall, yes wall, of rain coming at us as I am about to get on the road and I remember that I forgot to make sure that the roof box is closed. As quickly as my short little legs can scurry I run around to check the box so that it doesn't get blown open and soak all of our stuff that is up there and get back into the sub just a little too late. I am soaked, and I mean like I jumped into a pond soaked. I couldn't have been out there more than 10 seconds and I wasn't dry anywhere except on the inside. We drive back into town because if there is a problem I want to be near help.

We hang out at the coffee shop with the wonderful people (and a basement) there and some nervous college students and enjoy the evening unscathed. Though as we are sitting we can see that the local internet is indicating that where we are sitting there is a tornado that has landed. It missed us but did come down about 3 miles away. It flipped a few mobile homes and destroyed the local highschool bleachers along with some other buildings and many houses. Unfortunately there were also injuries and at least one death. We understand that it is a rarity to have tornadoes in this part of the country, or at least in this part of Ohio. Sorry no pics this time. We were a bit busy to pull the camera out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thunder Mountain Nevada

When I was a kid I drove across the country with my mom sister and grandfather. I remember stopping at a strange artistic place that had burned itself into my memory. When I realize that we are going to go by there I go on a frantic search to find this mysterious place that I don't remember what it is called or where it is other than it is on I-80 somewhere in Nevada.
In my search I hear about Thunder mountain. I drive past the place and have to turn around and come back. I found it.
A lot has changed since I was there last (30 years earlier), but the ghosts and spirit is still there.
There is more info on the place than I will put in this blog but please go to to see more and t read the history of the place. It was built buy Frank Van Zant. The monument was built almost entirely of junk that was found within 50 miles of the monument. I felt that it was very fitting that a lot of the pictures has "Bailey" the hat in it. Bailey is a old warn out hat that was about to go to the garbage but decided to go on this trip about the country with us.

For now just some pics.

Out of Nevada?

So we get to West Wendover Nv. and stop to get gas. As I walk into the station it suddenly gets dark and the doors are locked. I start looking around expecting some crazily dressed people to emerge and start chanting, thinking that I am about to be kidnapped and sacrificed is some bizarre ritual when I realize that the power just went out.
So we wait for a while and then decide that we will just park in the back with the trucks and crash for the night because we don't have the gas to get across the Salt Flats.
All is well in the morning other than a dead battery so we get jumped fill up and head out across the flats.
Eighty seven hours later (ok,ok, just a couple hours) we pull into Salt Lake City. Capitol #2.After a short stop there we head east and stop in Park City Utah for lunch. A nice visit with some people there who probably think we are out of our gourds and we are on our way again.

This is the part of the trip that I am not particularly fond of. We are trying to make time so that we can get to AJ's in Texas by a specific date so we blast by some really cool things. Such is life. We do try as well as we can though to enjoy and still do.

We make it into Wyoming.

And stay in Rawlins Wy. at a nice campground that has a mini golf (sort of) course. Nice place, I believe it is Western hills.

In the morning we head out again. Next stop Cheyenne Wy for capitol #3.

Across Nevada

Ok, so if you follow the Bailey Hat blog you know that I am a slacker with a capitol SLACK on the blog end. We are far from heading out and are now in Ohio a little more than a month later.

Where were we last? Lets see...Oh yeh we left.

Well we headed South from Humboldt co. and decided that we needed to stop in the Sacramento area to get a new (to us) ride. That really cool Van just was not going to make it. It's tranny was only shifting in two of the four gears and the AC was out. Traveling across the plains and desert in the middle of summer without AC is not my wife's idea of a good time.

Carolyn had done some searching and found three prospects for a cross country transport. The first one payed off.
It doesn't have as much room but it gets a good 50% better fuel efficiency and the AC and windows all work. On top of that Carolyn has been bugging me about getting a Subbyurban for years.

We enjoyed a visit in Sac. area and went to Carolyns **yr. aniversary. (if you don't know then we aint telling.) Had a great time visiting Jeff and Meridith, and Toni Baloney and family.
When we originally planned we decided that we were going to try to stop at as many Capitols as possible. So we Started in California.

From there we went up to G-ma and G-pa's place to prep the new vehicle and head east.
Made a stop in Reno to visit some old friends and realized when we got there it was Hot August nights. How in the world did I not remember that?
At one point we heard a squeek noise from under the Subbyurban and realizing that there wasn't a mouse under us as we were driving I thought that we better check it out.

A new set of U-joints and rear tranny seal later we are ready to go.
I have never seen dust in one of these before.

We say goodbye to our friends Ken, Debbie, Amber, Alisha and family, Steve (who squeezed us in for the U-joints),Billy and Kim, Sandy, Alex and Ashley. For any I forgot you can yell at me later. For those who we missed, maybe we will see you on the flip side homeslice.