We Are Alive! (Mom, Please Do Not Read The Following)

There's some irony in that title. Turns out we drove through one of the worst thunderstorms in Minnesota history. Don't you just love being a part of history? We left Duluth on Friday (after a wet but fabulous visit there) and drove down to the southwestern part of Minnesota to see David's mom. Thanks to David's iphone, I could keep up with the weather and I noticed there were quite a few thunderstorms. A huge line of storms was pushing its way across the state, and we would be traveling through them at about, oh... say... dinnertime. Whenever I had a chance to check the weather, more and more tornado warnings were popping up. It still looked like we'd have to punch through a bunch of heavy rain, but no tornadoes to speak of. It began to rain--hard--at 5:00 so we stopped to eat. At about 5:50 the tornado sirens began to wail. The restaurant we were in was not exactly safe, since it had a wall of glass windows overlooking the road. From what we could tell, the tornado was northeast of us and heading northeast. We were going to be driving southwest, so we decided to get in the car and head out. We drove another 10 minutes, and the storm was definitely getting worse--not better. It began to rain so hard that we could barely see the road in front of us. We were literally in the middle of nowhere. Cornfields all around us. No structures. No buildings. Just our car. You know... the worst place you can be in a flash flood or tornado. We crawled into the next farm town, where the tornado sirens were wailing. And then the hail started. And David and I looked at each other. He wanted to keep driving, as if we could escape the storm. I feared baseball sized hail smashing through our windshield. There was a corrugated steel gas station at the center of this town, which we eyed warily. The hail was getting worse, so we pulled over to a side street and parked under a tree. This was when I began to feel scared. I kept trying to listen for that tell-tale sound of a train coming, which was supposed to mean a tornado was bearing down on us. I'm not sure what I thought we would do. Run for it???? The kids kept asking, "Are we in danger?" And we answered in wavery voices, "Oh no, we're just going to wait until the rain subsides. Hee hee."


After another 5 minutes, the rain did begin to subside and David started to drive again. To the west we could see patches of blue sky, so we made a break for it. As we pulled out of town there were horribly ominous clouds trying to touch the ground, and certainly signs of rotation. When we got to David's mom's place, she told us the news had reported a funnel cloud touching down in the town we were in... at about the time we were there. You know, no big deal.

My blood pressure is just now starting to come down. It was awful.

But other than THAT, we're having a lovely time visiting family and more or less driving one another crazy sleeping too close to each other on the floor. Mountain Lake is having their Pow Wow festival, so there are lots of small town events happening. I attended my very first (and hopefully last) truck pull yesterday. Today the kids get to participate in the half-mile fun run and classic car parade. Tomorrow the carnival rides open up, as well as caramel apples, mini-donuts, and cheese curds. The kids love it here, and I can't blame them. Beautiful farms, freedom to ride their bikes wherever they want, and old fashioned elevator in their grandma's building, and sweet neighbors who are genuinely interested in them.

I definitely miss Minnesota. It's actually hard for David and I to come back to visit. So we soak it up while we can. Sorry no pictures. I forgot the cord that attches to the computer to upload photos. Just picture us with dirty clothes, bags under my eyes, and smiles on our faces.


rebekah said...

YIkes. I had one of those near misses crossing central Illinois. I didn't have a phone back then with internet capabilities but my dad kept calling me from California where he was watching the weather. As if I couldn't tell by the pitch black afternoon and blinding rain. The worst part was I had my bro's precious bmw motorcycle on a trailer behind me and couldn't see it and kept wondering if I would know if it just slid off the trailer...

Glad your trip was fabulous.

Shannon said...

Oh... I loved Pow Wow tooo! Grandma never could understand why we'd always want to come and go to that dinky little fair, but we looked forward to it every single year. And it's been 16 years since we moved away from MN, but I still think about it, and visiting Grandma, and eating mini donuts (why don't they sell those EVERYWHERE??? THEY'RE AWESOME!!) and sitting on the corner kitty-corner from the Dairy Queen and watching the parades... Mountain Lake, MN, will forever be one of my very favoritest places, but only because of the wonderful memories I have of the people who lived there and the things we did with them.

and it just wouldn't be Minnesota without a few storms to scare the pants off ya. :)

Vivi said...

Oh yikes...how scary for you guys. Considering that there were fatalities in that storm, I'm sure you were equally freaked out after the fact....obviously, very glad you're all safe! Now have some good ol' MN street fair fun!