Wallace State Park, Cameron MO

Many people wrote and called us yesterday to ask if we were OK, so let me get that out of the way first:  We’re fine.  The devastating tornado in Joplin MO and the other thunderstorms were so far east of us that we never even saw a cloud.  It was smooth sailing and clear skies all day as we cruised across Kansas, continuing on Rt 54, and eventually to Kansas City.

But our free pass has ended.  We’re now on the edge of the turbulent weather that is causing the thunderstorms and rain that have plagued the central states for months. There’s no doubt we are going to get the bugs washed off the car soon.

We spent the night in a parking lot in Independence MO last night, so that we could take the Miata in for a check early this morning.  At 7:30 I dropped it off at a local automotive shop for diagnosis of the “Check Engine” light, and it turned out to be a warning that the front catalytic converter wasn’t performing to spec.  Rather than drop $700-900 on a new converter, we reset the code and are waiting to see if it was just a fluke (the washboard road or a tank of funky gas).  Probably the light will come back one, but it won’t hurt the car to fix it later.

We’ve moved about 35 mile north to Wallace State Park in Cameron MO.  It’s a beautiful spot with a little lake and lots of deciduous trees for shade.  We’re nearly alone here, except for one tenter and the landscape staff who are rushing around to get the park ready for Memorial Day weekend.  Peace and quiet, no annoying smoky fires, no mosquitoes (how is that possible?) and Verizon Wireless is pretty solid here.  It’s gotten a bit hotter and more humid, so we sprang for an electric site at $21, and are now set up for work and homeschooling for the day.

We’ll move onward Tuesday, rather cautiously because of the constant threat of severe thunderstorms.  Fortunately, we only need to cover about 540 miles by Thursday, so we can afford to have a slow day or two, and park as needed to avoid heavy weather.  I’ve been using the iPhone and various apps to see the weather as we go, just for geek points.

The constant rain up in the Ohio Valley has been the inspiration for many conferences in the past couple of weeks with the Alumapalooza team.  It’s no surprise that conditions are wet up there, and the weather forecast says we can’t expect much drying before the event date, so we are making alternate plans to ensure that Alumapalooza comes off successfully no matter what.  We’ve secured dozens of parking sites on asphalt both at Airstream and the former Henschen plant, plus we’ve coordinated with Airstream to electrify several dozen alternate sites behind the manufacturing building.  That way we’ll be able to park trailers where conditions are most acceptable, and avoid the really wet spots.  The tent is bigger than last year too — big enough to house all 440 attendees with seating and room for the stage.  So no matter what the weather is doing, we’ll be dry and having fun.

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Editor & Publisher of Airstream Life magazine