Friday, June 14, 2013

2013 Road Trip, Day 1

The first leg of our two week road trip definitely got started off with a BANG!

We set off from Austin to Oklahoma City on May 31st- a 6 hour trip. Iyla did awesome in the car, much better than we had expected. We rolled in 2 hour increments... she would nap for about 40 minutes, then wake and be calm for 10 minutes, then need to be actively entertained for another 30-60 minutes until we took another break to nurse & stretch. She would fuss a bit when re-strapped in the car, then usually take another nap.

I had a huge plethora of new toys to dazzle her with!

It's important to stretch often on these long drives.

The morning we left BC's uncle- who lives in Oklahoma City- called to warn us that severe weather was predicted that evening in the city. Then on one of our pit stops about 2 hours outside of the city a random lady at the gas station delivered a similar warning, giving us a local news station app to download & follow. When we were an hour outside of the city my cousin called, saying "you aren't staying in Oklahoma City tonight, are you?" Indeed we were, now with a heavy feeling of dread mounting.  Apparently the atmosphere was ripe to produce some serious storms- and given the extreme tornado that had ripped through Moore earlier in the week, Oklahoma was on high alert.

An ominous sight- passing the Moore water tower while huge storms develop in the distance.

We drove as fast as we could to get safely situated at our hotel. I made sure they had covered parking & a basement. We opted to get takeout- steaks and a bottle of red wine from a fancy steakhouse, so we could bunker down in our room for the night. The city was a ghost town, and many restaurants had already closed up for the night. Iyla was clearly ready to party on her first night of vacation:

Around 7pm an announcement came on over the hotel intercom: "there has been a tornado sighted about 15-20 miles from the hotel. Although we are not in the direct path, we are opening up our basement for anyone who would like to make their way down."

BC and I looked at each other & quickly turned on the news. I started packing a bag just in case.

About 15 minutes later another announcement: "we are now in the direct path of the tornado. Please make your way to the basement."

I had just gotten Iyla into her pajamas. We grabbed the bag I'd packed and made our way downstairs (almost all items for Iyla... plus my make-up bag. Kind of funny what you choose to pack when presented with a natural disaster!) The basement was crowded with nervous guests everywhere. We settled into a small break room, not knowing what to expect. Iyla fell asleep straight away.

I tried to take it as a sign that Iyla was so calm. I was so proud of that little girl!

About 30 minutes into our evacuation the manager peeked his head in and announced that at the last minute, the tornado had turned south, and we could begin returning to our rooms. There was a huge collective sigh of relief as everyone headed back upstairs.

The night was fraught with severe storms- thunder, hail, high winds- but thankfully no more tornadoes. Apparently the one we'd evacuated for had been heading directly toward the city- and was rated an F5- the strongest rating possible. It also made National news as the longest tornado ever recorded! We were definitely thanking our angels that we remained safe in the face of such an ordeal.

The next morning BC's Uncle Roger met us for breakfast. We were supposed to have dinner together the night before, but obviously that plan had to change!

All smiles and happy to greet the new day!

We then set off toward Kansas to visit BC's family, thankful to be surrounded by delicious stops & sunny skies:

More updates to come! Stay tuned.....

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