Timestamp: July 14, 2013 at 10.07pm
Five years ago we stepped off a plane in Los Angeles after a 13 hour flight from the other side of the world at the beginning of an adventure planned for years by a lot of Australians……at that moment we were realising the beginning of that dream…to chase the storms of Tornado Alley….
From then, each year, working around our employers and our rosters, we would plan to spend a week longer than the last trip doing what we loved doing…travelling long distances, eating gas station food, taking far too many photos and videoing storms and tornadoes.
Five years on, we have retired and can now chase storms at will, we can come to Tornado Alley in February in time for ChaserCon in Denver rather than late March or early April….return to Australia in late July rather than May or June. We have set up our ChaseBase in Hillsboro, Kansas…we have renovated the house to comfortably accommodate us from the midst of blizzards to the century heat in July……we’ve played dominoes with Leora and Patrice across the road and shared smoked pork chops with Aleen, Don and Gayla down the street. We’ve been invited in for coffee with Michelle and her family and chatted to Dell in her lounge…….we love it here!
In the first five years we’ve learnt all sorts of things we didn’t know that we didn’t know……how the house numbering system works (each block out from the main street has houses starting with the same number…100 block, the next is the 200 block…and so on), how to make gas station sandwiches more appetizing (grab mustard, sweet relish and mayonnaise sachets from the gas station and always carry a cheap pepper grinder), and what to do if you don’t like grape jelly in hotels (carry a jar of your favourite jam or marmalade)…which side of the freeway the road exits from, and what charbroiling is….we’ve started to learn what dialects come from which state, to identify trees and birds, to photograph trains at 70 mph……
We are now dancing with fireflies in July!!
2013 has been a transition – a time of new experiences…..not having to be gone from home for 13 hours a day 5 days a week is a real treat for me!! Alarms (except to catch a plane, a conference or a supercell) now gather dust….we discovered that we can be plasterers, painters, electricians and plumbers…our wages to ourselves a dinner at Perkins or a steakburger and custard at Freddy’s…..
If we arent chasing blizzards (in February and March) or supercells (in April, May and June), there are birds to stalk and photograph, railway sidings and yards to wander to, conferences to attend, reading, reading and more reading…so much to learn…so little time!!