Thursday, June 11, 2009

summer spin

Another spin cycle - this one is on summer planning.

Summer should be planned spontaneous. Well isn't that the argument at times? Is it better to plan or not plan.

Your balance on that decision is really personal choice. My wife and I traveled to both Central America and Europe with ONLY reservations for the start and end of the trip. The middle part was filled in as we went. Making plans on the fly allows flexibility but sometimes can eat up your time searching for a clean place to rest your head.

So Summer - warm, hot, wet, long days, thunder storms, sandy beaches,

It's a time to get out into nature and enjoy - right?

Sometimes that means sharing with the insects.

Back during my daughter's teen years (boy that can be an exciting/scary time for parents) I became familiar with a YMCA camp in nearby Wisconsin.

She started as a camper but liked it enough that the next year she signed-up as a camp counselor (starts with in-training then progressively advances to more important roles).

This became her summer plan for a few years. She enjoys kids and now she is a teacher.

One trip up to the camp became very memorable, almost in a very bad way.

As a counselor she would have sessions at the camp lasting many weeks straight. When she had a free weekend she would be eager to come back.

So one summer Friday afternoon, I hurried up to the camp. Driving to the camp was enjoyable after getting off the interstate. The two lane country road was hilly, tree lined, and offered views of numerous small lakes.

She was ready to go when I arrived so it wasn't long and we were off for the ride home.

However, we quickly discovered a nasty part of nature was about to arrive too.

High wind is very noticeable in the woods. Watching large trees sway and snap their branches is a scary sight.

As I pulled out from the dirt (now mud) road onto the two lane country road, this summer thunder storm was about to peak. I pulled over on the shoulder for a short while. We were both amazed and shocked to see the debris whipped across our path.

After what seem the worst, I cautiously started down that scenic-turned-scary road.

Then we both saw something frightening.

A car was racing uncontrollably towards us.

I think my daughter screamed but if so I might not of heard her because my whole focus was on avoiding a head-on collision.

The approaching car swerved, went off the road, through a ditch, through a front yard and was quickly stopped by a large tree.

Our eyes were open wider than ever and our hearts racing.

I pulled over again and decided I needed to go back and check. I didn't carry a cellphone back then. When I approached the car I surprised not to see any passengers. They all had taken off.

I went up to a nearby house and got the attention of homeowner. We pieced the puzzle together - mostly likely underage drinkers who survived the crash but probably didn't want to stick around for the police report. We left.

When we finally reached the interstate and stopped at a restaurant we learned we just had been in the path of a tornado.

Nature can be both beautiful and scary in the woods.

=== update ===
I don't often add updates but this may explain the danger of Wisconsin driving.

News from the Wausau Daily Herald:

Pantsless woman arrested

A 29-year-old Plover woman who was talking on a cell phone and driving without pants was charged with drunken driving following a crash in the town of Port Edwards ....
....who was driving her pickup truck east on Highway 54 just before 8:50 a.m. Sunday, had her pants hanging out the window to dry when the vehicle hit the highway shoulder, and Jackson overcorrected, according to the Wood County Sheriff's Department Accident Report. The pickup crossed the centerline, entered the ditch and rolled.


Sprite's Keeper said...

I don't know if I would have wanted to know that I had been anywhere near a tornado! You got lucky twice. That IS a memorable summer. You're linked!

lisleman said...

@sprite's keeper - thanks - after you are safely out of danger knowing that it was a tornado does make you even more thankful. As I think about it more, it also shows that cars are really more threatening than tornadoes.

Joanna Jenkins said...

You are a lucky man and those are some scary ants!

lisleman said...

@JJ thanks - I failed to explain those pictures. Ants and summer do go together. Both pictures are from exhibits. One at a museum and one at an arboretum. Not so scary when you know they are fake.

Jeanne said...

I've always wanted to see a tornado first-hand (don't we all, raised on Wizard of Oz as we are?), but I hope I have an extra pair of undies if/when it happens.

lisleman said...

@jeanne - actually because of the tall trees and the direction we were traveling we never saw the actual funnel.
However I had another minor tornadic (never get to use that word) experience where I watched the funnel hit power lines. It was about 1/2 mile away. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. So I understand those storm chasers.

Kingsmom said...

I was on a boat dock in MI one summer when all of a sudden a torado hit a mile north of me. Once the siren sounded I hit the deck and held on for dear life.

You and your daughter have quite a story to tell.

There's nothing quite like a midwest storm. I miss them (sorta).

lisleman said...

@kingsmom - thanks for stopping - Good thing you were not on the water. Storms on boats - no fun there.

Allison said...

Yes Dad, I remember this very well. I think it was the weekend of July 4th. Wisconsin has a lot of festivals, so the driver and passengers of the van were most likely coming back drunk from one of those. I don't think their crazy driving was a result of the tornado. If I remember correctly, you were taking a different route back to the highway too...something you often like to do. It got you in trouble this time.

lisleman said...

@allison thanks for the fact checking. You are right about the drinking and festivals. I just didn't want to go into that detail. I thought it was a car. You said van. Well either way it was scary and a close call.

alantru said...

Whoa! That is a very scary experience. You handled it very well. The worst I've experienced while drving is a full out hail storm on the highway. Bad. But nothing like that.

lisleman said...

@alantru - what can I say, it's good that I didn't panic. I guess after a second of disbelief, I think I became angry that this idiot was about to hit us. I'll never know what made the driver lose control. Maybe there was a big funnel cloud behind us and he panicked.

I had that slow motion experience where every second seem much longer. That's happened in other accidents too.

I remember one on a hill, slick with mud and the car just kept going to the edge and was taking me for the ride. Lucky for me there were some strong trees that stop it short of the drop.

Bettie said...

that first pic with the ants kinda freaked me out dude lol ..

I am still posting to my Bettie blog I started the cooking one a few weeks ago as it's a passion of mine .. I'll be working on both weekly!

Appreciate you stopping by the newest blog though :)

lisleman said...

@bettie - yeah big ants - my experience tells me women dislike ants even more than men. As I mentioned they were fake.

Good luck on the new blog and thanks for returning the visit.

Fantastic Forrest said...

Those ginormous ants look like the ones we saw last summer at Morton Arboretum. I grew up in a nearby suburb, and was totally shocked to see how much development there's been.

lisleman said...

@FF - wow had I asked in the post if anyone had seen these ants I would have not expected a reply. You are very right they were at Morton Arboretum. This year they have a new set of over-sized displays. They built huge animal dwellings.

Development? - yeah all the ants moved closer to me.

Lilly said...

Oh my how lucky you are that would have been one nasty accident. As for the women with no pants. Wouldnt you love to see the blog of a policeman, We wouldnt believe most of it I reckon!

lisleman said...

@lilly - thanks for the comment - I guess the "what could of happened" is why it stayed in my memory.
I found a Chicago cop's blog not too long ago. It seem to focus on work issue and such nothing juicy.
BTW my future son-in-law drove a tow truck once and has some great stories.

Nataliew said...

Wow! That sounds so incredible. Very scary. Great blog you have !

lisleman said...

@Nataliew - thanks I'm glad you found it interesting. I also have one (Another Circus) with various video clips. It's similar to yours.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad everyone is OK. This is such a cool experience to share together though =0)

lisleman said...

@gigidiaz Those memories of events that end up OK do seem to be more shareable than the other type.

Of course, it's a harsh reality that having survivors available is key to telling the story.

lisleman said...

@gigidiaz Those memories of events that end up OK do seem to be more shareable than the other type.

Of course, it's a harsh reality that having survivors available is key to telling the story.

Mrs4444 said...

This was very interesting on many levels. Kendall just came home from two weeks as a Counselor in Training at YMCA Camp Unahliya. Each year, it's more and more expensive to volunteer ($500 this year), but she saves up her babysitting money and pays for it, because she loves it! She, too, hopes to be a teacher one day.

Wow! That must have been VERY freaky!

Yesterday, in DePere, Wisconsin, a 23-year-old man was arrested after being found passed out in his car (with his pants full of shit.) OWI They're everywhere!haha

lisleman said...

thanks for coming over and checking this out.
I need to check with my daughter but I think she was paid as a counselor but maybe while she was "in training" we had to pay. I don't remember. It was a great and rewarding job.
Remember that old stinky skunk cartoon? Didn't he have a similar name?

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