Ok. Getting the story started. I left the party in Darien at about 6:30 which would put me at my house in Iowa around 11:45pm, give or take a bathroom break or two. I hopped in the Honda, took a glug of coffee, and was on my merry way. My mother called two hours into the drive to tell me about the big storm. The point she tried to drive home?
"get a hotel you idiot. i've heard there's hail."
Of course I didn't listen, she's my mother. But I was getting close to the World's Largest Truck Stop and decided to pull over to hear what all the truck drivers were talking about. Once again, I'm an idiot...real truck drivers don't go to tourist traps, they go to the Flying J. I had to ask the 17 year old in charge of the cigarettes for her thoughts on the storm. Yeah, bad idea. I received a vacant stare followed by a "I haven't heard a thing."
That was good enough for me. I ran to the smashed penny machine and was delighted to find out that the tourist trap had two new designs. Way to be, Iowa Truck Stop. Then I left...unafraid of the impending storm.
I should have been afraid as I drove west on I-80 and into the lighting. I should have been afraid when I heard the thunder clapping after 1-mississippi, 2- Mississippi. And I should have been especially afraid when I realized there were only a handful of us idiots left driving on the road. The sky opened up. I've never seen anything like it in my life...sheets of rain, nothing but rain. I lost any kind of visual besides wavy red lights in front of me. Then hazard lights. Then lights pulling off to the side of the road...and I'm one of those lights.
I put my car into park and prepared to hunker down. Before I could figure out what was going on I went blind and deaf. Lighting struck the middle of the road half a mile in front of me. Then the thunder clapped above my head and it felt like I was punched in the chest. I tried to recover but was blinded again, this time closer and to my right. Lightning was hitting left and right, thunder booming, booming, booming. I was in shock.
If I wrote about everything that happened this post would be far too long to keep your interest. I'm shocked if you're still reading. I got out safe. The storm only lasted about 30 minutes but caused devastation throughout Iowa. 75 % of a town was damaged and there were a few tornadoes. I was so fuzzy from the storm I drove 25 miles in the wrong direction and tacked an hour onto my trip. I was home by 1:30 am. Moral of the story: When your mother tells you to get a hotel room DO IT! Don't think you're more clever then nature, damnit. You'll lose every time.