Posts Tagged ‘storms’

Ever since we got married (36 years ago next month), we’ve been driving the same route to Wyoming, whether from Cleveland’s east side or Chicago’s southwest side. This year, except for the last 30 miles or so, it was new territory. I’d planned to get up at 4 am, but woke earlier, heading out in the dark to cover just under 700 miles, a trip that would take over 10 hours. I don’t stop much with a goal of gas/bathroom stops coinciding. I had food packed, tea in my Contigo thermal cups, plenty of snacks, and the wonderful BBC radio “Lord of the Rings” production for the CD player. Incidentally, that recording has made the trip with us for almost all those years, first on tape, now on CD.

I didn’t see much scenery the first several hours, the sky only lightening around 5:30 am. I saw where a wildfire had devastated acres and acres and then it was through the White Mountains, onto I-40 (paralleling or overlapping with historic Rt. 66 in many place, and to Albuquerque, where my route turned north towards Raton, New Mexico just south of the Colorado border where I’d stay overnight.

Rain in this part of the country and at this time of year is scarce. We’ve been in Arizona since the end of March and have experienced only a couple “showers”, in quotes because there often not enough to measure. But past Santa Fe near Wagon Mound, there was more than the promise of rain, although most of it was to the west of me. It looked wonderful!

I could see the rain coming down in the distance. All these shots were taken with my iPhone while driving BUT with one hand firmly on the wheel and eyes on the road. It gives point-and-shoot a whole new meaning and also means lots of deleted shots when I finally stop, but I often get some good ones, too.

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A plague of frogs

Posted: September 2, 2014 in Animals, Nature, Travel
Tags: , , , , ,

(For those of you who followed our trip to Wyoming on my blog, this post is from the last morning on the way back, in Canistota, South Dakota where we stay every year at a nice little Best Western.)

My eyes open, search for the clock’s illuminated numbers.  5:02 am.  Too early to get up in a motel room where two other people are still sound asleep…and too early period.  My alarm is set for 5:45, to give me time to shower before packing and having breakfast, not far enough away for me to relax back into sleep.

Lying in bed, I hear what sounds like motorcycles rumbling, then realize it’s going on much too long for that. It’s almost continuous thunder , although I can’t hear the rain over the noise of the air conditioner that we use both for sleeping coolness and white noise.

When I finally go out into the grey chill morning light, the rain’s almost stopped.  Walking toward the room with the ice machine, keeping well under the overhanging roof edge,I see what t turn out to be, on closer inspection, lots of little frogs (or toads) hopping along the walkway in the puddles. They’re everywhere, apparently frolicking in the water. Where did they come from in this small, not particularly wet town in eastern South Dakota and where are they going?

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Most of the farms we see here are dry land farms, meaning they have no irrigation and are dependent on the weather, so I imagine the rain is welcome, except for anyone who’s just mown hay and is waiting for it to dry enough to bale.  As with most places, though, corn and soybeans appear to be the main crops and they can still use the rain.

Last night when we arrived, all the parking spots by the doors were full, so when the downpour starts again when we’re starting load, we, like the Queen, are not amused.  Additionally, our two now soaked bikes need to be unlocked and removed from the rack, then the rack put down before the back of the van can be opened.  I get one load in before the heavens open, then crouch inside, shielded by the raised trunk until rain begins to blow in.  A mad dash for our room leaves my previously just-dried hair soaked, the same for my sweatshirt.  Are we having fun yet?

Eventually the rain abates long enough to load and put the bikes back on, although after about five minutes we’re once again engulfed in a storm that holds our speed to 50 maximum on the interstate.  Trucks fly by much faster even though safety dictates caution.  Where we can usually see long distances, curtains of grey rain and fog limit our vision to well under a mile.  It promises to be a longer day of driving than the ten hours we anticipated, but hopefully we’ll soon out-drive the storm.  As we drive, I wonder where the frogs went.

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Welcome rain descended on us Friday for a good part of the afternoon.  We sat on the porch, listening to the earth sing, watching the flowers dance with joy.  Later, the clouds floated into the low places.

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“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” was the title of a children’s book that we read to our daughters when they were little and yesterday was serendipitously a cloud day. I did a Friday Fictioneers story called “Cloudy” (https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/friday-fictioneers-cloudy/) as well as observed some amazing clouds over Cleveland on my trip back from Chicago. The clouds were enormous and fluffy, stacks of cotton balls piled sky-high, their beauty frustrating me because of the impossibility of getting good pictures while driving along the interstate. There are no safe places to stop, so perfect shots whip by tantalizingly at 75 mph, causing much frustration. I even made an unnecessary stop at a rest area to see if I could get some better shots, but rest areas are evidently chosen for maximum photo boredom and then filled chock-full of “stuff” to block any stray photos that might emerge. So I have to share with you these photos taken, I hate to admit, while driving although, I hasten to add, very, very, very carefully.

Whereas a small camera can be held in one hand and picture snapped at a rapid rate, an iPad doesn’t lend itself to this method. I have to put it on top of the steering wheel where I can hold both it and the wheel, then carefully push the button to take a picture. I got lots of non-pictures by accident and I only do this when there are absolutely no other vehicles around me. But despite their lack of professionalism, I hope you can see a bit of the beauty of the clouds. (more…)

Before I get to the photos of Thursday’s flooding, the answer to the question of “What in the heck is that bubbly stuff?” in yesterday’s post is…..(drum roll, please)….partially mixed batter, with almond milk coming around the edges.  Anne’s daughter and Scott were the closest.  Congratulations!!
If I’d posted this picture, it would have been easier to guess, but not as much fun.

copyright janet m. webb

Now on to the flooding. On Thursday, torrential rain drenched the Chicago area, including Naperville which, with a river running through it, has suffered from the 6″ of rain.

Here are some pictures of downtown Naperville. (more…)

It’s Monday evening and the outlying effects of Hurricane Sandy have reached into Ohio while the center of the storm  approaches Philadelphia where our younger daughter goes to school.  The rains have been ravaging northeast Ohio since Friday and now with the winds rising, there’s not only danger of flooding but that the roots of trees will be unable to maintain their hold in the soft, saturated earth,  allowing the trees to topple onto anything in their vicinity…fences, plants, houses, garages, electrical wires, people. (more…)

We can never have enough of nature.  We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, and thunder-cloud, and the rain.

–Henry David Thoreau

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