Saturday, May 19, 2012

5/18/12 - Stumbling into Kansas

The usual rigamarole of getting to where the Wild Storms Live on Friday morning is never without eventfulness.   We arrive early at the Jiffy-Shuttle off-site parking lot.   John shepherds our 23 bags while I seek out the last spot in the lot.  Jiffy-shuttle guy gets us to the terminal lickedy split and we walk-jog to the baggage check in.  No line.  Sweet.   We check my bag, which still smells like cat pee (bad kitty!) and John's bag, which is only slightly smaller than a beached narwhal.
We are well ahead of schedule and neither of us has pulled any muscles yet.  Then it hits us.   The security line from hell.  Not only does it serpentine around the little ropey-stands a few times but it then surges out past the baggage claim area and nearly out the door.  DOH!  There must be 200 people in line.  Our 15 minute cushion has just been kicked to the curb like the Dallas Mavericks' playoff hopes.  We wait in line as fast as we can.

We finally make it through the security gauntlet, after being scanned, x-rayed, sniff tested and more.   I did think the full endoscopy John endured was a bit much.

Eighteen minutes to launch as we schlep our remaining 14 carry-on baglets down the remaining half kilometer to gate 32.  The last gate of course.   Our "Early-Bird" boarding passes were looking like $20 down the tubes once again.   Worms are laughing somewhere..  I can hear them.  We make it to the gate just as A31-60 passengers are boarding.  We elbow an old lady holding B-3 aside, John mumbling something to her about being important.  We get good seats.

We sat in row 13, unafraid.   The flight made it all the way to Denver without stopping.  We enjoyed the free beverage service.  Things were looking up.

After picking up our sacraficial rental car, John and I sped off in a semi-arbitrary directon, feigning confidence in our decision.  East on 70 to Kansas?  NE on 76 to Nebraska?  Dunno.  So we split the difference and took some rural highway ENE to essentially nowhere.   And we got there. 

After driving for over 2 hours without seeing a fast food dive or even a truck stop we relented and headed north to Sterling, CO.  Civilization.   In Sterling we picked up the essentials at the local Quicky Mark - water, chips, salsa and a case of la agua.   All we needed now was data, wi-fi type data to guide us to the twisters.  John's air card was shooting blanks so we did what all experienced chasers do in such situations.  Park near the closest educational institution and "borrow" of few loose megabytes from the air.   We got our fix and headed to central Kansas.  It was nearly 7 PM - . we had half a tank of gas, little to eat, getting dark and we were wearing sun glasses.

Hunger happened,  and being in the land of truck drivers, we opted to stop at the T and A Truck Stop to enjoy the gastronomical glory of a truckers life.  I am not quite sure what the T and A stands for to be honest, but I have a clue.  Myself, I avoid innuendo and get right to the point.  If I had a truck stop and wanted to get em in the door, I'd call it "Large Breasts" and be done with it.

Most of the menu included some form of beef, along with its best friend, gravy.   In the back, near the bottom of the menu we spotted something resembling healthy - baked chicken.   We both ordered such.  When the waitress asked how we liked our chicken cooked, we both got a bad feeling.  Um..."cooked?" I guessed.  She seemed satisfied with that and left of to our salad bar plates. 

We made it to Hays KS just at the stroke of midnight.   450 miles of nothing.  Time to crash.  Saturday will be better. At least the gas was cheap!

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