“So, if you get into trouble, just point right at it. I mean, cars are meant to withstand the most force from the front, right? 120 mph. 140 mph. It’s best to take it head on instead of broadside or from behind because it’s not built to withstand pressure from that direction.”
At that point, Amy interrupted Dave and said, “What?!?”
Clearly, Dave had gone right back into his tornado chasing days and was excitedly telling us stories interspersed with ‘nuggets of wisdom’ since we were heading down into “Tornado Alley”. Without seeming to hear Amy, Dave then pulled out his phone and told us a few different apps to use to track the storms as they generally move east-northeast and since the roads are gridded out north and south, you need to stay below the storms as you track them so you always have ways to escape.
“Wait, wait. What did you say about the direction of pointing the car?!?”
Dave looked up at Amy and smiled a broad smile and stated, “Well, uh, I mean, that’s not going to happen but, you know, it’s good to know.” Our collective laugh broke the tension as Amy made me and the boys (read: me, again) promise not to chase storms across the Texas-Oklahoma panhandle. I looked directly at her and said we would not chase storms … without detaching the rig first. Another joke but heartfelt; we were not about to hunt for tornados across the southern US plains, but we were heading directly into their breeding grounds.
Finally, and with Dave’s blessings via bursts of texts with attached and updated radar images, we meandered east towards the monster and Lake Meredith, our boondocking spot for the night. For an entire afternoon and evening we had been skirting on the edge of a series of storms and luckily we were on the back edge of this one. The back edge that saw the beauty in the monster as the sunset revealed its gorgeous tropospheric plumes above rainbows brilliant in the growling darkness churning across the earth. Falling asleep we were fortunate to never feel its wrath.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the Yucatan area, I would highly recommend a visit to this beautiful peninsula within Mexico. Not only is it a stunning beach location on what is known as the Mayan Riviera, it is also a region full of so much culture and geological wonder. While a large number of Americans fly to Cancun and never leave their fancy resort and explore, we departed Cancun as quickly as we could and based ourselves out of a small fishing village called Puerto Morelos for the first week of our visit. Puerto Morelos was recommended to us by friends and it was exactly what we had hoped for, muy tranquilo, more local than not, and lots of overall ambience.
While the Mayan Riviera is known for its calm turquoise sea, we were reminded again that this is an El Niño year which resulted in some windy and rainy weather this spring. Having just spent six weeks in sunny Nicaragua we welcomed the clouds and cooler weather and headed inland to explore some different cenotes (definitely read Grant’s Powerpoint on ‘Cenotes and Mayans’ to give you a better overall description of this geological phenomena).
Our amazing exploratory field trips during the day were followed by an evening of browsing the boutique shopping stalls at the town plaza, discovering a delicious restaurant, taking a salsa dance class, or listening to some live music in Puerto Morelos. One evening we found an amazing jazz trio and our wise son Grant suggested we “get a drink and listen to some music.” So, banana milk shakes and sweet jazz it was, and some very fond memories of our amazing week in Puerto Morelos.
I would be hard pressed to try to capture all of our wonderful moments of this trip into one blog so instead will give you an insight into one evening in Vallodolid….. We finished eating our delicious dinner consisting of locally seasoned cerdo (pork) on freshly-made corn tortillas with pickled onions while looking out over the main town square. The lights capturing the beautifully built Cathedral de San Gervasi completed in 1570 and the sounds of a band, reminding me of childhood days listening to Desi Arnez’s band featured on “I love Lucy”, radiated from the town plaza. It was Sunday night in Valladolid, the night they close off the main street to car traffic and open it up to dancers. On our walk home, we couldn’t help but join the slowly growing number of dancers in the streets. While we didn’t have quite the same smooth dance moves as the Mexican couples, Ryan, Grant, Ethan and I practiced our salsa moves under the stars.
It’s moments like these that make me realize time and again how fortunate I am in life. I have an amazing husband and two wonderful boys who all are enjoying this year of travel and the crazy cacophony of diverse experiences we are sharing together as much as I am. We have many fantastic moments combined with some very average ones, a few scary experiences here and there, and lots of good conversation and quality time together that have given us memories that will last a life time.