Day 20 - The Journey North, Reprise

24 June 2010

We started our day in a somewhat roachy motel in Russell, Kansas. The models last thing last night didn't look great for Colorado, and the SPC soon confirmed with their updated outlook. Colorado was no longer the place to be. In fact, nowhere was looking that great. At least for us - I'm sure many of the residents of the U.S. were pretty pleased to see the back of the consistent big storms that have been growing up, night after night, into multi-state mares of storms.That's not to say there were no areas of risk. Colorado still had some risk, though slightly more favourable conditions were apparent further north in South Dakota. With the 2 day outlook being good for South Dakota too, it looked like time to veer off in that direction.The weather was hot, but the air dry (hence the lack of storms!), so quite comfortable for an 8 hour hack up to South Dakota. We'd need to be fairly lucky to see anything today, but we'd at least be positioned for the Friday. If the models pan out as they look at the moment, from South Dakota we will be onto Nebraska for our last day, potentially even eastern Nebraska. With our flight being on Sunday afternoon, we're keen for the last day to be within a reasonable driving range from Kansas airport!We set off earlier than we normally manage from motels. We're trying to do an intrinsically fairly expensive trip on the cheap, and been lucky that this was the first place to have really any sign indoors of bugs. But this kept Cambo motivated and the more standard process of me encouraging her to be ready was certainly swapped around today!We stocked up on red bull and set route for South Dakota. As we drove, as ever, we kept an eye on the clouds forming. We saw a couple of tiny cumulus on the horizon. Could these be the start of something? Nope.We stopped in a quiet country town overlooking the Missouri River. It was a stunning setting and we found a cheap but very clean and friendly motel with river views. We were there with a couple of hours of light left and took a beautiful walk around the Marina, then into town where we found a little bar out the back of a restaurant.

There were apparently 5 bars in this town. Only 2 were open, the first with a bullet hole in the window (yes, still a quaint country town, but this is America remember) and the other one we went to. This seemed to juxtapose what the motel owner said - "this is America, of course we got bars!". Didn't like to say that in a town this size in England you'd probably have 15 pubs, all of which would actually be open, and past 9pm too, though they make up for a lack of pubs with a vast number of motels even in the smallest towns. It seems you start a town with a gas station, then a few motels, then maybe some residents.We had this bar to ourselves for most of the evening, until some of the staff from the main restaurant came off duty and joined in. The bar lady was very friendly and good fun to chat to. We had our first proper meal out, too. Was good - glad I eat fish however, as there was not a single thing on the menu without meat of some per all the menus here really.After a few hours in there we wandered back to our lovely motel. Odd evening, no storms to chase, sun out by a big river, had some beer...almost like a holiday. Given the primary activity of the trip being off the cards, I'd call the backup option a pretty good result.

SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Thu June 2010

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Thu June 2010

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