Unexpected new hobby in the dramatic Midwest USA
I thought I was headed home, little did I know I was just beginning a seven hour journey!
Last night my husband and I were coming home from a well-fought basketball battle against a couple of men who were way too young, energetic, and tall to being playing against the likes of us! We were looking forward to a relaxing shower and then sleep, that is until the huge Midwestern skies lit up before us in a magnificent fiery display of lightning unlike we had ever seen before.
“Lets go watch down by the lake!” I exclaimed. My husband wanted to change out of his sweaty clothes first so we made a pact to only take a few minutes at home and then head out to REALLY see the show. We had to grab our dog as well. He adores going for a car ride. We didn’t know it, but this little car ride was going to last all night!
Craig decided to Live Stream the show on our YouTube Channel Corn Fed Life. We had never done that before, but thought hey maybe someone will want to ride along with us on our adventure. We doubted that anyone would catch our live stream, but we were very wrong! Almost immediately Eric from Kansas popped online. By the time we hit the lake, the storm had already moved West of us. Eric was able to track the storm for us and sent us out chasing in real time!
While headed towards the center of the storm, we knew we were on the right track. There were piles of hailstones littering the highway! Sometimes my SUV barely cleared the impressive mounds of hail. There was also heavy fog that when seen through the bolts of lightning looked like the end of all time! We would later encounter that same hail, however, it would be pounding in to our vehicle instead of lying benignly on the ground.
Soon we were joined by other YouTubers also curious to view the storm unfolding before us. “Jonesy Out and About” was watching from Australia. We randomly met someone that was related to a couple of good friends of ours who lives in Illinois. A boyhood friend of Craig’s that he hadn’t spoken to in years even popped up online. These fellow storm watchers were a fun group. They were so entertaining with their stories of tornadoes (Simply Jan Homestead), terrible jokes (Lazy Dayz Ahead), and helping us out with moderating the growing crowd (Redbird Farms) that before we knew it, we were three hours in to the storm chase!
It wasn’t just people online that we met that night either. While traveling through a small town, we happened to see our buddies Raquel and Chris being night owls, as per usual. We had to stop and let them know our crazy plans to catch the storm. They were amused but not surprised. 😀 Even a cashier at a truck stop in Nebraska didn’t think we were doing anything untoward. “Oh, yeah”, she said, “I go storm chasing with my kids all the time.” She then related a story in which she had narrowly missed being incinerated by a football size hunk of ice that had come hurling from the sky towards their windshield. “My boy said he knew that I really loved him when I stopped everything to cover him before the ice impacted the windshield.” Luckily the glass was not smashed and no one was hurt.
Speaking of over sized ice chunks, Eric our navigator directed us to head due South to get in to the eye of the storm. We became right in the thick of things when the ball-bearing sized hail started to pelt our vehicle. I slowed to a mere crawl on the highway to lessen any damage that the hail might do. We were told by the online watchers that the insurance would cover any damage as long as they didn’t see our video! Lightning flashed with the severe hailstorm and our dog Higgins would have none of it! He let the storm know with his barking that he did not appreciate the loud noise! After we cleared the hail, he went back to his usual tail wagging and enjoying the ride.
After a little more than seven hours on the road an exhausted yet exhilarated group of first time storm-chasers, rolled up to their prairie home. I don’t know if we will ever do this again but I am extremely grateful for the experience. It was the most fun I have ever had driving through a lightning storm. I have never seen such an incredible display of God’s awesome power! The farmers will also be happy. They were waiting for a good rain in order to start their spring planting. Life out here in the Midwest is strange to say the least. I would never in a million years call it boring!