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STOP #283

Nothing but gravel road this overcast morning, all the way to the horizon.

Today we got an early start. First thing we had to do is retrace our route down 23 miles of gravel roadway, then travel another 31.5 miles of gravel road before we got to the Kansas border where the roadway miraculously turned to pavement. It was a short lived reprieve though (for only 10.5 miles), before we found ourselves back on a gravel road for the final 4 miles to the next campsite.

There was dust and dirt everywhere, inside and out on both ROVER and THE POD. The only place spared the intrusion was on the inside of the cab on ROVER. We should be just about done with gravel roads from here on out, that is until we get to the backroads in Alaska!

We chose Campsite #3 (of 12) to set up on. Only two other sites were in use when we arrived.

Nothing fancy here, just wide open spaces and a pair of fishing lakes.

FRIDAY - This morning I have an appointment to see a physician at the County Health Clinic in Elkhart, KS. I have to do this every three months in order to get new prescriptions written for the medications I'm taking.

For the last four years that's one chore that hasn't changed, until today. I've finally encountered a physcian who understands my situation of traveling fulltime and never seeing the same physcian twice. Before today everyone was more than willing to give me the 90-day extension I asked for, but nobody really offered to "treat" me. I'm sure that I share some of the blame for that by not asking if lab work could be done.

For the first time in 4-years I had lab work done, at the County Hospital next door to the clinic, and found out exactly what kind of physical shape I was in. The good news is that in addition to the fact that I've been feeling fine, now my lab results confirm I'm doing GREAT. The physcian was able to write prescriptions for one year, instead of 90-days on two of my meds and six months on the other two.

If I find somewhere on the road to get blood drawn and lab work taken, then have the results sent back here to Kansas, they are willing to extend the 6-month prescriptions out to one year also.

That will make things so much easier. This is the difference between 'big city' medicine and 'small town' medicine. Where else can you go where you make an appointment with only 4 days notice, finish your doctor's appointment, drive 2 minutes and have a blood test, and have the doctor call you in 2 to 3 hours with the results and prescriptions send to the pharamcy of your choice. No hurry up and wait - it's crazy awesome!! - T

With the doctor and hospital stuff (this is where they send you for the blood test. -T) all taken care of we headed back to THE POD and found that according to my weather station we had a gust of 43MPH wind while we were gone. We also knew that the forecast was that things could get worst in the next few hours.

Right on time at 6:00PM it started to drizzle rain, something that is desperately needed in this region of the country, but also we started hearing, and then seeing, "pea-sized" hail hitting the roof and windows of THE POD. This sized hail didn't concern us too much but just a few minutes later the winds slacked off to 20MPH, but the hail became "marble-sized". All this is going on while it's still 78°F outside? I didn't know that could happen. Let's be frank, the forecast had high wind advisories for possible 65mph gusts; storm warnings for severe lightning, heavy rain, and possible baseball size hail; and watches for tornadoes, as the conditions were right for them. I knew from earlier experiences that it wasn't likely we would get any of the extremes, but they sure do know how to make you worry enough to make it tough to sleep! I was actually surprised to see the hail as we we never experienced it when warned before. As crazy as everything was, none of the conditions reached the extreme high predictions. However, Airsteams and hail doen't go well together, so I was sure relieved when I walked around the trailer during an intermission and found no dents! I sure am looking forward to a nap!!!! -T

With the high temperatures the hail didn't last long on the ground and was gone in less than an hour, but we still hope to never go through that again. From what we could see from the ground there was no damage done to THE POD or ROVER and tomorrow, when the winds die down, I'll get the ladder out and check the roof and solar panels for possible damage.

As if that wasn't enough, whenever you mix severe drought conditions, high winds and thunderstorms, you have the potential for wildfires. Only the wildfires in the far west seem to make the news because they become huge and out of control, burning hundreds of thousands of acres. Wildfires happen here in Kansas too, only they are usually smaller and brought under control swiftly. It seems only tornados make the national weather news here in Kansas.

I mention all of this because while we were outside assessing the hail storm damage "we smelled smoke". So did the other three campers here in the park. We all did the same thing, hooked up our trailers to our trucks and made ready to make a quick getaway if needed.

After we were all set we checked with local wildfire websites, called the local fire marshall and sheriff station. Turns out there is a small fire being brought under control on the far side of the small town about 10 miles southwest of here. The winds are blowing northeast and that's why we're smelling smoke in the campground. We were told by the sheriff department that if it became necessary to evacutate a patrol car would be sent to give us all the news.

No one left last night, but I'm sure we all slept with one eye (and one nose) open the entire night. I know I did!

Looking out the window at all that hail on the ground.

Tricia showing off some of the two different sizes of hail.

I picked up one of the larger pieces I could find nearby.

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