Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Friday, April 20, 2007 - 2:20AM

Ready for the road

30 Years of Storm Photography
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Late-night drive on I-64Tonight, I got one of my urges to go for a drive. I used to get those all the time a few years ago. Just get in the car and drive anywhere, just to drive. And talk to God. And listen to music. So tonight, I did just that. I left a little after 11PM and ended up in Catlettsburg, Kentucky just after midnight. I hadn't eaten dinner yet, so I stopped at the Waffle House off of I-64 (the one near the KY state line is the closest one to Charleston). I made it home around 2AM. I think I would go insane if I didn't have the ability to do this every once in a while. I need to do it more.

On tonight's drive, I thought about my first storm photography expedition out west in 2001, maybe since I was driving on the same road I go to get there. A part of me wants to leave on Sunday after church and head west - partly to photograph storms one of the upcoming setups, and partly to just go on an impromptu road trip by myself like I used to do. Our upcoming 2007 storm photography expedition, like the previous several years, will be an organized team effort where I'll have little time to myself. Not that I don't enjoy the company, which I do - but it's nice to just be out on the Plains alone sometimes. I haven't really done that since 2002. I guess I was solo in 2003, but that season was 100% mission-driven - I needed a tornado for my stock catalog, and I was determined to get one. The business aspect of that trip was too intense to the point that I couldn't really enjoy it fully.

If I left Sunday, I'd take my time heading west. Drive 5mph under the speed limit and not worry when and where I was going to end up, no timetables. Stop to take photos or grab a cold drink and snack wherever I feel like. Get a good night's sleep somewhere in Missouri and cross the Oklahoma border in the morning, and Texas by mid-afternoon. Wow, that's sounding better by the minute.

The car is nearly 100% prepped for storm season. We got a lot done to the setup on the Raleigh trip, cleaning out the car and building out a nice traveling configuration. In the last month, I've got new brakes, an alignment, a new windshield and new wipers. The tires are fairly new (from February). I got the oil changed yesterday. Barring an unforseen problem, the car should be good to go for a trip on Sunday.

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