Weather forecast is 30% chance of storms today, increasing to 80% tomorrow. They are talking severe storms!
My plan is to drive through the Ozarks, and I'm bound and determined not to let the weather stop me. Game plan is to head for Branson, then to Memphis.
I decide leaving Tulsa to take Scenic 412. To me, it is fascinating, looking at the way of life off the Interstate.
Driving through Kansas, Oklahoma, a yard is filled with Iron wheels. I pull a U-turn and enter the driveway. As I step from the car and older man is heading down the stairs towards me. I hand him "The Card" and ask if I can take some pictures. Ed is a young 86. His smile and enthusiasm for his "Hobby" is refreshing. Ed travels over 60,000 miles a year, going to auctions and delivering wheels to customers. He refuses to ship anything!
As I round the corner, entering Garfield, Arkansas, the local revenue recovery car is in the apex of the corner, just beyond the 35mph sign. I love my Valentine!
I pull over to ask road conditions and the officer lays the radar gun down and points at the map. His suggestion is to follow Route 62/412. He informs me that it will take approximately 6 hours to get to Memphis.
It's 1 pm as I leave Garfield. I should be in Memphis around 7 pm, just before dark. With the impending storms, this should be perfect.
As I approach Veilville, Arkansas, the cloud ahead doesn't look good. It starts to rain. Diving for cover under a gas station canopy, others are doing the same. Pea size hail pelts the pavement. Within minutes, a river of water flowing through the parking lot. 15 minutes and it's all over. The attendant tells me it's been years since he has see it rain this hard! Dodged another one. Do I feel Lucky!
Hardy, Arkansas has a neat old boardwalk and store fronts. The old stone houses are magnificent. This has been a wonderful drive through the country side; however, the sky is starting to darken. Besides if I want to get to Memphis before dark I need to vamoose!
Jonesboro, AR the 4 lane begins. I am guessing I should be in Memphis around 7:30pm
A flash of lighting, from horizon to horizon, lights the sky. A chill runs down my spine as I look for cover. Its flat country and I need to stay on pavement as it starts to rain. A bridge overpass is ahead. There is not enough room for the car and traffic. I'm praying it doesn't hail as I slowly proceed down the road, the semi's race past. The lightning is all around. I've driven right into this one. I'm 23 miles from Memphis as another close bolt of lightning strikes and the rain pelts the car. Pulling off at the next exit, there is a bridge overpass. I sit and wait. It finally lets up and I make my run for Memphis. It is 8:30 as I pull onto Second Street. The Peabody and Holiday Inn are both full. The Radisson Across the street also has covered parking as I pull in. Third times a charm!
I feel very fortunate to be in Memphis, covered parking and so far no damage.
Oh ya, it's raining again. Now, the lightning doesn’t bother me. Let it rain!
I'm starved as I head for my favorite place, Rendezvous!