It's been a wild ride and we have yet to snare a tornado. Let me start at the beginning. We woke up yesterday in Dodge City Kansas. With plenty of restroom and food breaks along the way we traveled through Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Our target...a super cell slowing forming to the west.
We zeroed in on the super cell in northeast New Mexico and followed it as it matured. The cell was severe thunderstorm warned, and it was a beauty. It's structure had a corkscrew formation lazily winding around above our heads. A glowing hail shaft lit up the center with an eery yellowish light. As we watched, the temperature suddenly plummeted 20 degrees.
Those are my boots...got all country and western for the trip!
We followed the cell for most of the afternoon until it finally stopped recycling and began to wilt. But we got some fabulous photos.
Then it was on to Colorado Springs, Colorado for the night. I booked rooms while we were driving but MAN it was challenge. The mountains were spectacular, but they also gave me headaches in trying to get and stay online. Well unbeknownst to me...I booked our gang of weather busters into the Nightmare Hotel.
It looked pretty decent as we pulled up. It looked okay as we paid for our rooms. It still seemed reasonable as we headed to the elevator. But after that...it was a disaster. Seriously this hotel is the perfect background for a movie about drugs, gangs, and all other possible illicit activities you can imagine. People were smoking pot outside their doors (it is legal in Colorado now). There were stains on the carpet, the outside concrete walkways were filthy. But the BIG surprise came when we opened our hotel room door.
We're talking a true Goldilocks and the Three Bears Moment. The beds had been slept in with the sheets tangled and personal pillows strewn all over. The sink was filled with dirty towels and wash rags. I am not even going to tell you about the toilet. This is a G rated site.
Terry wouldn't even set one foot in the door. Can't blame him. The rooms for our storm chasers weren't much better.
Terry went into action. He flew down to the lobby and explained the situation. The manager was nonplussed. The manager explained he had been having trouble with getting help to clean rooms. So he was totally cool with refunding our money and allowing us to proceed on our merry way. Which we did asap. Could. Not. Get. Out. Quickly. Enough.
I am probably no longer in charge of booking rooms.
A half hour later, we are tucked into a much nicer hotel and everything is clean (whew!). A handful of the chasers headed over to Old Chicago for a bite to eat. When we returned we discovered one of our key members of the group...Ethan Schiller...was in extreme pain in his room. Ethan is the youngest of our group. At 21-years-old he has been chasing storms for nearly a decade. He is incredibly passionate and exceptionally good in the art of pursuit. Extreme weather has no chance around Ethan...he will find it.
Ethan was laying on his bed unable to move because of the pain. His color was awful. We didn't mess around, but immediately called the paramedics. It was around 1:00 in the morning when Ethan was transported to a local hospital. At 5:00 a.m., we learned Ethan had suffered a pulmonary embolism. Simply explained that is multiply blood clots in his lungs. It is extremely dangerous and could be potentially fatal. The doctors said getting Ethan right away to the hospital was the best thing for him.
The good news is that Ethan is now doing great. He has been stabilized and his pain is under control. He will be hospitalized in Colorado Springs for two to three days. His family is flying out and will hopefully be able to bring him home by this weekend.
Our prayers are for Ethan for a quick recovery so he can get back to doing what he does best...chasing storms. He will be greatly missed on this adventure.
As for the rest of the crew, we are heading on down the road. I keep you posted.
PS included a bunch of other photos from our trip! Enjoy!