Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Return Day 3 - June 1, 2010

I made it back home to Winona today (Tuesday, June 1, 2010).

I woke up this morning in Wahoo, Neb., and checked the Weather outlook. It wasn't good. There were storms moving into Nebraska and Iowa from the west. They were moving fast, and had the potential to become serious.

I jumped into the van and got going quickly to try to stay ahead of the storms.

Throughout the day, I kept listening to local radio to get updates. At one point, there was a tornado warning in western Iowa, about 12 miles north of where I was -- exactly where I was headed. I could see the really dark clouds, and the wind was really pushing the big rental van I was driving. But I did not see a wall cloud, or any rotation like they were saying on the radio.

I stopped in a small town for a little while, worried that if I kept going I might catch up with the worst part of the storm. Then I heard there was another strong storm cell moving in from Nebraska, only 40-50 miles to my southwest. This one also had been spawning tornadoes.

I kind of felt like a storm chaser in reverse -- I was trying to avoid the storms, or outrun them.

I guess I somehow zipped right between the two storms, because I only had a little rain and wind for a few miles here and there during my 11 hours of driving.

In Blair, Nebraska, I drove past a combination KFC and Taco Bell.

I took a photo to share here for the students from both this year's trip, and last year's.

Seeing this building caused me to start singing in my head the song that the 2009 students introduced me to, when they saw a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in Window Rock, Arizona. This song then got stuck in all of our heads during our two weeks on the Navajo Nation this summer. Since KFC and Pizza Hut have the same number of syllables, it works.

So, now, here it is stuck in our heads again ... with a slight variation.

Now that I'm home, I have piles of equipment and luggage to wade through and I need to prepare for our wrap-up class this Friday morning. After that, it won't be long until we can see the finished documentaries of the 2010 Navajo Oral History project.

-- Tom Grier

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