What started as a simple trip, ended with storm chasing.
Phil Blobaum and I set out for Mason City on Tuesday morning for a look inside the historic Park Inn Hotel in Mason City. Its one of 6 hotels in the world designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Its also the only one still standing.
The city has gone back and forth on whether to save the hotel and attached bank building, but finally it looks like a full fledged renovation is going to happen. When I left Mason City for Davenport back in 2000, work started on the roof and a few exterior projects. Over the years, the hotel has seen some steady work on getting ready for the future, but not like what’s planned.
We got a tour inside both buildings and it promises to be a big deal when complete. We’ll follow that on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Journal program. IPTV also is showing a documentary called The Last Wright, in August. The doc was done by Lucille Carra and Garry McGee out of New York.
After getting a view from my old apartment building, City Center, Phil and I set out for lunch at The Other Place. Phil now knows what us Knights, Panthers, Lions, Mohawks and Overland Parkers have known for years, the pizza rocks.
When we got out of the OP, we noticed the skies were turning blue. We looked at the radar and started heading home, directly into the storm. I sent a text to KGLO/KRIB+many other stations, news director Bob Fisher to let him know we were headed into the storm and available for anything he needed. I ended up doing a live phone interview with Bob to tell my tale of the storm.
I started snapping pictures with my iPhone and posted them on twitpic through my Twitter account. I saw great shots of blue clouds, puffy skies and eventually wind, rain but no hail. We pulled off I-35 at the Burchinal exit to let the wind pass. The storm ended and we headed home.
Until we got to the Highway 20 exit and noticed the skies were getting blue, again. So we kept driving into another storm around Ankeny, to Johnston and then back to Ankeny.
Do you know how many times chasing storms I never caught them? Let alone twice in one day?
What are you favorite storm chasing stories?