Friday, August 10, 2007

ROAD NOTES


Photo by S. Auberle - The Badlands
While I did not pass here today, this is the neck of the woods, as they say where I'm from, that I was near--the Badlands of South Dakota. Very cool place.
Yesterday was interesting, to say the least. Maybe I should have had a clue as to what was to come, as I passed through Last Chance, Colorado in the morning. The name did give me pause, but then I dismissed it and enjoyed the scenery and the names: Custer and Buffalo County and Broken Bow, Nebraska; endless acres of cows and corn and those round hay bales that remind me of Monet's paintings; the sign in Sargent, Nebraska announcing the Sargent Fair and Chokecherry Jamboree (world's only;) the chorus of cicadas loudly serenading the August morning at the rest stop in Julesburg, Colorado.
All this was quite cool. Or, more accurately, hot--95 degrees all across Nebraska. But then came the dark and stormy night--as in It Was A Dark and Stormy Night...
A quick check-in into the hotel in O'Neill, Nebraska as the sky got darker and darker in the West, but still okay--no rain falling. I had, however, only been in my room a few minutes when there came a knock on the door--the hotel manager, informing all guests to come downstairs and take cover, this is a tornado WARNING, meaning a tornado has been spotted approaching. At exactly this moment, the town sirens go off, and I waste no time joining all the other hotel guests for a social evening spent in the hallways. As the TV is announcing that "this is a dangerous cell with rotation," the screen suddenly goes blank. Not a good sign. Hail is clattering against windows, the doors are straining to open to the wind, trees are bending in 60 mph winds and rain is dropping in circular sheets. Very, very scary. But the TV comes back on, with new sirens and buzzers sounding and announcements of where tornadoes have been spotted, how long to stay under cover, what to do, etc. At last, after an hour and a half of this, by which time we all know far more about each other than one would wish, the all-clear siren sounds. And a grateful group of weary, more-scared-than-we-want-to-admit- travelers return to our rooms for the night.
And then, as if that wasn't enough, in the middle of the night, my smoke alarm begins chirping loudly, announcing failure of the battery. The front desk phone line is busy, so I sleepily make my way downstairs for help, or a screwdriver, or something--before I rip the thing out of the wall. The desk clerk returns with me, pushes the buttons several times, setting it to shrieking once, then announces that it is fixed. Of course I knew it wasn't, but I was too sleepy to argue with her. An hour later, off it goes again. By the time I've packed up all my gear and moved to a new room at 2:00 a.m., I'm beginning to have second thoughts about dismissing those words this morning so lightly...
LAST CHANCE...

2 Comments:

Blogger _Soulless_ said...

What. a. breathtaking. view!

Sorry to hear bout the tornado scare and the smoke alarm fiasco. Tsk, tsk. I echo your sentiment in the end.

I'm catching up on your posts. The photos are as marvelous as ever. And I'm hunting for poems, too. *grin*

Best of luck with the travelling. Be safe.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous mimi said...

Thanks, soulless..
the road is good, but it's nice to be back in place again.

Your Beethoven poem is wonderful--much to think on...

11:09 AM  

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