>> 5.07.2011

Space Camp, here I come? That was my last post.

Our road trip began after work on Wednesday, April 27. You may recall the end of April was experiencing more than its fair share of tornadoes. The last batch of storms was moving through that night, far south of us. We'd miss driving in it, and the weather forecast was great in Huntsville.

We drove as far as southern Indiana, with plans to make the final push to Space Came in time for my late afternoon check-in. I logged on to the iPad late that night, checking on the progress of my fellow Tweeps as we descended on Huntsville. There, in black and white on Twitter, were words like epic and super. But they were accompanied by words like outbreak, tornado, power outages, death, and disaster.

What had happened? Not wanting to believe the Twitter-verse at a time like this, I asked my husband to turn on the Weather Channel. Jim Cantore would never lie to me. But there it was. Reports coming in about a super outbreak that rivaled any in recent memory. We were safely ensconced in a La Quinta in Columbus, Indiana, very fortunate not to have driven straight through the night to Huntsville as we'd considered doing.

We got some sleep and contemplated our options in the morning.
  1. Turn around and head home (though the Tweetup hadn't been totally canceled at that point).
  2. Hang out in Indiana until we knew more.
  3. Drive south (just in case) and visit all those places I'd researched but didn't think we'd have time to see.

In the end, after talking during breakfast with military personnel who had Alabama connections, and seeing the devastation being shown on television, we opted for #3, cancelling our hotel in Huntsville and extending an existing reservation in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

We visited Louisville Slugger and Lincoln's birthplace, explored Nashville, watched a minor-league baseball game, toured Mammoth Cave and the Tennessee Capitol, and ended up with a great weekend trip.

But the disaster was never far from our minds as we passed convoys of power-company trucks and insurance companies' disaster recovery units on the interstate.

We met people in the hotel in Murfreesboro who had come up from Alabama because they either had no power or their homes had been damaged. One man from London by way of Huntsville checked in mainly to watch the Royal Wedding (he was happy to see hot food as well).

What Twitter gives, Twitter takes away. I had been given a chance via Twitter to do something out of my comfort zone, to road-trip south and meet complete strangers at Space Camp. But via Twitter, I learned of people who would never return to their comfort zones, their homes, and in some cases, their families.

I was able to get valuable information from these complete strangers, as we bonded over our lost opportunity and realized that in the grand scheme, it wasn't that important.

Our family's trip worked out just fine; the skies were blue and the extra AAA travel books I'd grabbed just in case worked like a charm.

I'll get another chance to live the multi-axis trainer dream, date and time TBD.


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