Toto, Are We Still In Kansas?

My wife and I have been riding on Thursday evenings with a Goldwing group in Leavenworth, Kansas.  Last Thursday the group rode to Atchinson, Kansas about 25 miles north) and stopped for dinner. 

While in the restaurant a rain storm came up complete with hail, wind, and sideways rain.  We hung around until it stopped, then headed south back to Leavenworth and home.  Our home is another 30 miles east of Leavenworth. 

We rode into Leavenworth in the rain and turned east when suddenly, the sirens started sounding.  A radio weather warning came on, telling me that a tornado was on the ground about ten miles south of Leavenworth and headed east.  I wanted to get home!!  Should I stop, take cover?  Where?  Hide out under a bridge?  I decided to run for home as fast as I could. 

I had to go over the Missouri River at Leavenworth.  As I rode out on the bridge I had the thought that this would not a good place to meet a tornado.  I have never experienced wind that strong.  The rain drops stung and I was only moving at 20 miles per hour.  Boy, am I glad the Cade is heavy.  When I sat up so as to see over the windshield, the rain hit me in the face so hard I couldn't see.  I had to crouch down low to the dash to be able to see the road.  Sometimes all I could see was the road markings just to my side. 

The fastest speed I attained was forty (mph).  I got off the bridge safely.  I headed home thinking that I would keep listening for the sound of a freight train.  Everyone says tornadoes sound like freight trains.  Then, I remembered that I was riding next to a train track.  How would I know if it was a freight train or a tornado?  

I stopped once under a bank drive-in to rest.  It was a long trip but we made it, soaked to the bone and very happy to be home.  A tornado did considerable damage to a small town south of Leavenworth,  about ten miles from us.  Another skipped over us and did considerable damage to an area about seven miles east of my home.

Let it be said - We rode our Cade through a tornado. or, at least, between two of them. or, at least, close to two of them.  I suppose we should have stopped at a motel and spent the night in Leavenworth.  On the other hand, a motel was destroyed south of Leavenworth.  I don't know what I should have done.  I have no great lessons to learn or pass one to any one.  I suppose I am glad I went for it and got us home.

Keep the rubber side down.

~Dick Siboleth

Last updated:   Wednesday, February 06, 2013

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