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DAY 1: Charleston to St. Louis
I'm sitting in my car in southeast St. Louis typing this, so my journalistic eloquence (if I had any to begin with) is going to suffer. After a few more hours of sleep this morning, I finally was on the road westbound before noon. Perfect travel weather with crystal clear skies. I was surprised to see Kentucky's, Indiana's and Illinois' foliage wasn't any farther along than ours. I passed Lexington around 2:30PM. (My digital camera decided to stop working today, so all of the shots on this post are still frames from the Sony FX1.)
Lexington water tank mural along I-64
I stopped for a ginger ale at a gas station in Shelbyville, KY. The clerk asked me if I was going to 'Thunder'. Slightly puzzled, I said 'No, Oklahoma!'. I soon found out what 'Thunder' was. Outside Louisville, traffic backed up enough for me to be able to see planes flying in formation up ahead in the distance. As I passed downtown, it was apparent a huge event was taking place, as every inch of waterfront was packed with people.
Huge crowds in Louisville
I have never seen a festival of this scale anywhere else. Not only was downtown and the waterfront overtaken with people, but the residential neighborhoods outside of the city were packed as well, with hundreds of people sitting in lawn chairs in their yards, most with big party tents and food grilling. This event, I found out, is called "Thunder over Louisville" and is a day-long airshow, literally right over downtown, featuring military aircraft and a massive fireworks display afterwards. I stopped for an hour in one of the residential areas (getting downtown was out of the question) and shot some video. The sights and sounds were really spectacular, and I wish I had time to stay longer.
Watch video clip - WMV, 2.5MB
I stopped again west of Evansville, Indiana to shoot some of the landscape.
Rural Indiana road
I love seeing this sign
As the sun sank lower, I made one more stop near Belle Rive, Illinois to watch the sun set on the southern Illinois prairie (just as flat as western Kansas).
The car's shadow at sunset
Southern Illinois sunset
I reached St. Louis just after 9PM, central time. The arch is another great sight for an eastern US observer - meaning the Plains aren't that much farther away.
St. Louis - a welcome sight
I'm heading down I-44 for a couple more hours before finding a place to stop for the night. From there, I've got all day to make the remaining 7 hours to Oklahoma City.
Our probability table will go on hiatus while we're traveling, since we won't have time to do much long-range forecasting. Forecasting in the short term while driving all day is enough to keep us busy.
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