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Back to Day 4

Day 5 - Sunday, 22 June 2003
Starting Location:  Wagner, South Dakota Ending Location:  Ogden, Utah
Weather There:  Stormy and gray, 67°F

Weather Here:  

Mostly clear, 63°F
Starting Time:  7:43am Central Time Ending Time:  11:19pm Mountain Time
Starting Mileage:  63,886 miles Ending Mileage:  64,837 miles
Total Miles Today:  951 miles Chance of Tornado:  25% at 7am Central
Drive Time Today:  11 hours, 21 minutes Time to Do Oil Change:  90 minutes, Laramie, WY

I woke up at 5:52am. Not by choice, of course... that would be insane. There was a pounding at the door, and noise coming from outside. Upon investigation, it turns out Tubby left the window open, and we were in the middle of one hell of an impressive storm. The air pressure rising and dropping was causing the door to rattle, or the wind, or something was. By closing the window (and avoiding stepping in the puddle on the window sill), the noise was lessened, and the door rattling stopped.

But, it also occurred to me that someone left the vent windows open in the car. So, I woke up Baldie, and sent him outside to close 'em up good and tight. He returned a few minutes later, quite wet, which wouldn't seem so impressive had I not mentioned we were parked right at the door, so motel hallway door to the car was all of perhaps 8 feet. And we all returned to sleep after unplugging the laptop, just on the off chance that the accompanying lightning strikes a phone line or power wire and surges the dang thing.

At 6:55am, a siren sounded for several minutes. From the window I saw a couple of cars heading west along the main road with blue flashing lights on. About the same time, voices in the hall were mentioning that's a tornado siren, and they were going downstairs. (Our room was on the top floor.) Given a strong dedication to the concept that if something is important, we'll be told, the boy does nothing. When we checked out a half hour later, they were talking about it there, and the siren was just a call-up of the volunteer fire fighters. But yes, the weather report called for a 25% change of tornado in the area, extending into Nebraska.

Needless to say, we hit the road. Weather aside, we have places to be. A decision was made to change the course of the next few days to focus on wandering about Oregon, versus a long run to St. Louis. That decided, we fueled up the car and ourselves, and headed out. We reached northern Nebraska by 8am, and were back on Interstate 80 by 11am, and heading back west.

I'm enduring the Christina Aguilera CD, "Stripped". Not loving it... at all. But it's not my turn to pick the music, and I respect free choice. Especially if the decision is made by someone other than Tubby, since I've had just about all the Eminem, Enya and Manilow I can take for one trip. Good grief, what's next, show tunes? (The answer, of course, is no.)

The magic of driving west has reaped his rewards. At 1:12pm Central, we regained the hour lost on Day 3, and it's now 12:12pm Mountain. And yes, I admit being more than a bit of a dork for finding this such a neat phenomena, but I spend at least a few hours every year traveling, so the little things please me.

3pm meant we were now in Wyoming. Hurrah! About 3:35pm (Mountain Time), we plundered into Laramie for an oil change. While the quote is still an hour to get it done at the fine Tire/Lube Express at Wally-Mart, given we're about 1,400 miles overdue, I suggested we bite the bullet and get it done. So, we sat around Wal-Mart for what turned out to be 90 minutes, but in the long term, we take care of the car, and it doesn't leave us stranded in Nowhere, Connecticut (that trip is in late September to mid-October). And by 5pm, we were back on the road.

Around 6:30pm, we rolled into Rawlins, tracked down a Pizza Hut (it wouldn't be a trip without it, now would it?), and called that snack sufficient for the task at hand -- curbing food pains. By a bit after 7pm, we were back on the road, with perhaps 275 miles to go before Ogden. (The scope of the trip changed first this morning, and again around noon, to bounce up to Portland tomorrow via Boise, Idaho, and then wander back home on Tuesday, ending the events at Day 7.) We crossed into the great state of Utah a little after 10:20pm, and continued generally uninterrupted (well, minus one detour) along I-84 to Ogden.

Around 11:15pm, we found the Red Roof Inn, and despite all assurances, the clerk (a elfish like bottle-blonde) tried to ensure the room would have a view. Since neither options had one, but both had local calling (to post updates) and a refrigerator (to chill Diet Pepsi), they were both dandy. We headed off to the room, parking next to an occupied van with at least one occupant having the odor of an alcoholic beverage on or about his person. But I'm not a cop, so we headed to the room, everyone went to bed, and I set about updating things on the site. Which brings us right up to this minute, so... I'm going to bed as well. Good night!

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