Sunday, May 6, 2007

Day 14 Great Bend, KS to Abilene, KS 129 miles

It has been a long 24 hours.

Last night there were two tornado warnings where we had to go to the hotel shelter … along with the guests at a wedding reception. Others in the group who were elsewhere also had to take shelter. Some were at Walmart, where they were sent to the pillow aisle. Others were at Applebee’s, were they were sent to the kitchen by the pots and knives. Different approaches. While tornados did touch down a few miles south of the hotel, the only damage was to our nerves; the only loss was our sleep.

Jerry did manage to get a dentist last night; he went through the phone book and dialed the home numbers of the dentists. He explained the situation to the first one he got through to, who said to meet him at his office in 15 minutes. He will need more work at the end of the ride, but he should be good for the next 3-4 weeks.

In the morning a thunderstorm is going on as we get up, so we leave the hotel an hour or so late. We ride through a bit of storm debris and get rerouted due to flooding. During the day we are told to take shelter, as a large storm is coming. Jerry, Dave, Ian, and I were riding together and go up to a farmhouse, where they invite us in. We only stay a few minutes before Shane knocks on the door and tells us there is a window of opportunity and we can make a run for the next town … about 20 miles away. We thank our hosts and dash off. It starts to rain as we are a few miles away and Jerry stops to put on his coat, but sends us on, as he’ll be able to catch up. We make it to the town and find the lunch sag just as it starts to pour … very, very hard. Jerry hasn’t caught up … he had a flat … but pulls in 10 minutes later. After lunch and waiting a while, the storm lets up and we head off again. After 15 miles or so we get waved over to a convenience store and are told to take shelter again. Eventually the whole group is there and we wait for an hour or so before being sent off. We don’t get rained on much the rest of the way, but continue to fight strong winds and flats. We get to the hotel after 6:00 PM and are beat. We learn that a tornado touched down somewhere along our path today.

After a quick change we head over to Pizza Hut and have dinner – all you can eat salad bar and some pasta. As we are about to leave Brian comes over and chats. We learn that Dave ran into a dog and was sent to the hospital immobilized … hope he is okay. On the way back it is storming again and Jerry, Dave, and Bill get a ride back with a pizza delivery guy. I walk/run back, stopping at a store to get a pint of ice cream and a Gatorade.

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