Cheap Thrills: Driving Through Tornado Alley

As made so clear this weekend by the devastating storms in Kansas, May is not the wisest time of year to visit vast swaths of the Central Midwest, especially if you are deathly afraid of big, angry thunderstorms.

But a few years ago, the husband-to-be and I were trekking by car all the way from Kansas to New York City — in May. As we slogged north through Illinois, the weather was warm and sunny. Then, rather quickly, clouds began to form and it started raining.

Out of nowhere, the sky seemed to drop down to eye level. Like this. Black tendrils of clouds swirled around my poor little Honda. I began gripping the steering wheel with all my might, as if that would save us if a tornado swooped down and sucked us up.

And then a “storm chaser” van passed us.

Brendan, ever the stoic Midwesterner, insisted we keep driving. I, far more skittish, exited off the highway, and we drove to a gas station/convenience store.

In there, we “took shelter” with dozens of other people, since a tornado warning had been issued. All I could envision was the gas pumps exploding from the intense barometric pressure.

But, as time went on, and the rain continued, we eventually got bored with the convienence store and headed to the local VFW for something weird to do. We hobnobbed with the locals (i.e, farmers), watching the Weather Channel, and learning about that year’s crop yields.

And the day ended peacefully, although the rain never seemed to stop.

3 thoughts on “Cheap Thrills: Driving Through Tornado Alley

  1. joynmsu says:

    Right now I don’t have any plans to be in Texas this year. We scratched our idea of having a party in Port A, based on the immense cost involved, and our inclination for laziness.

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