Monday, 23rd May 2011 in US Tour 2011.
Technically we are on holiday now, but we rise early, not at all sure whether we will be able to get through to Tulsa, the first stop on our way to Santa Fe. The rain beats down on the car, the sky the colour of lead and by then we have heard about the devastation in Joplin. More tornadoes are forecast and as we pass the Joplin turn-offs we see trees snapped in two and all kinds of debris – car doors, roof beams etc in the trees along the motorway. We have to stop for petrol and there is an eerie silence around – none of the services are working because they have no water. People look shocked, as well they might be. On the radio there are warnings of tornadoes in Oklahoma just where we are headed but it is still early and we drive fast to get behind them. The wind and the rain is non-stop and we wonder if we will be caught in the storm. We get to Oklahoma to find we have another 100 miles to do before we clear the tornado area, so we go on driving an hour and half each and stopping every now and then to grab a coffee. By now we have finished the rather nice story of Earnest Hemingway’s first marriage and started ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand. She is generally regarded as a right wing fascist, a bit like Thatcher, supporting capitalism and free enterprise against the sort of left wing socialism which gives the state control over everything, wiping out any sort of motivation. Not sure where I stand on this but in her book it leads to the destruction of society and I was yelling and in agony as short sighted, uncreative, unintelligent people caused chaos. Quite good to listen to this while dodging tornadoes – gave us some aggressive energy. Also noticed the road kill – huge swathes of dried blood across the highway, evidence of something the size of a moose. We only have small bloody areas in Suffolk –rabbits and field mice. One way and another we got to Tulsa to find a yellowing sky there too. Checked in to hotel downtown and then went for a walk expecting to find the sort of funky downtown area we usually land in and finding instead offices, banks, deserted streets. That and the drive were probably responsible for making me miss my footing and hurtle to the ground unable to stop. Was not sure if I had broken anything, so got up slowly and hobbled back to the hotel – bits of me hurting. Took photos of the sky which look a lot less threatening in the photographs than it actually did. Put the weather channel on again to hear that Tulsa was next in line for hurricane winds and possible tornadoes.