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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Shadow Over America: The Wall and the Coming Storm

We had intended to drive to Sioux Falls, but exhaustion and a series of billboards advertising Wall Drugs compel us to pull in to Wall for the night. A text from Mom and Dad informs us that they stopped here in 1966. Over half a century later, we experience the bizarre wonderland of Wall. Breakfast cost Mom and Dad 50 cents; it costs us $30, over half the cost of the very reasonable motel; bed, bathroom and wifi for $77. Wall Drug is a labyrinth of wondrous kitsch.

We move on, driving through southern Minnesota on our way to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But a sudden sudden storm drenches us, reducing visibility and velocity to near-nil. We cautiously bull our way through, and eventually realize we should tune in to local radio...and we catch an emergency bulletin in progress: " immediately. Take shelter. Flying debris and structure collapse can cause death. Take shelter immediately. If you are on the highway, find the closest shelter. This is an emergency broadcast. Tornadoes wrapped in thunderstorms are proceeding through..." There is a list of counties. Are we in one of them? Did we just drive through the outskirts of a tornado?

The weather starts to clear by the time we reach Iowa; we avoid disaster through sheer dumb luck.

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