I've been a terrible blogger for the second half of my trip. Chasing this year was not easy. It was an exercise in futility, frustration and patience. We drove all over The Plains; from Bismarck, North Dakota to San Antonio, Texas. We went to bed late and woke up early. All to try and catch that elusive storm. We watched storms evaporate before our eyes. We were foiled nearly every step of the way. Either the moisture was too low. Or there was no flow. Or it was too cloudy (too cloudy for storms! seems wrong, doesn't it?). Or too hot. Or too cold. Whatever the reason was, this year was HARD.
We also had challenges that had nothing to do with weather. Dog challenges, sleep challenges, food challenges, various aches and pains, forgetting stuff (like my glasses) in hotels, spiders in hotel rooms, lack of air conditioning, etc. You name it, we struggled with it. We snapped at each other, we bitched and moaned, and our attitudes sucked.
But if you asked any of us where they would rather be, I would bet money that the answer was exactly where we were (albeit, with storms). On a particularly frustrating day, Keith overheard me saying, "This sucks! I don't know how much more I can take!" He asked me later on what I planned to do about that and if I was planning to leave early. My answer was "Of course not! What if I leave early and that's when something happens?" Because you never know what can happen.
Sometimes storm chasing isn't about the storms at all; it is about the people that you meet along the way. In Salina, Kansas, we met a Polarity Therapist who works with animals. He came to our hotel room and worked with Porthos' bum leg. I've never seen that stressed out boy so relaxed. After he left, Porthos got up and played with Trego. In Seymour, Texas, we met Sheriff Bob Hensen. Sheriff Bob told us all about the tornadoes he remembers from growing up in Texas, how he drank red tank (pond) water and slept in the dirt and ate food from the chuck wagon on his family's property. He had kind eyes and as soon as he drove away, I wished I had grabbed my camera and taken his picture.
When I created this blog four years ago as a way of keeping my friends and family up to date on my chasing adventures, I thought I was being clever by calling it "There's No Place Like Home." I was scared of tornadoes and other natural disasters. I was scared of what I might see. It was a play on the Wizard of Oz that made sense to me.
It no longer makes sense. I love home. I love being close to my family. I love my husband and my dog. And holy crap, I love my bed. But now I say, there's no place like the plains. There's no place like South Dakota, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma. There's no place on earth that rivals the beauty of the plains during a storm. Last year I fell in love with South Dakota. This year I left of piece of myself there. Coming home, back to the noise and congestion of NYC, makes me long for quiet of the plains. No matter what life brings me, kids, family, money issues, I will do whatever I can to make sure that I can go on my chasing adventures every year. It rejuvenates and revitalizes me. I love it with every fiber of my being.
Samara Fogel Photography - Storm Chasing 2012 Gallery