Beer now! Day 4 – 6
Day 4 started and we headed to the lake at the campground to check that out before heading out on to the road. When we got there the gate was locked. As I went to turn the BeeRV around, a woman signaled me to stop. She said she was with the local news and was doing a story about how the weather was ruining Memorial Day weekend. I said I would be happy to, but my weekend was fine so far… Here’s the result of me talking for 10 minutes. The ice cream girl got more time than me!
Next stop – Boulevard Brewing, where they had a new release Double IPA! We hung out there a bit and then walked over to Alma Mader. We wondered about the name, but it turns out it’s the owner’s last name. No big story there. The location was really crisp, and the beer was good.
We walked to there and back to where we parked the RV. Again, there needs to be more RV parking at breweries…
Then we went to the Bier Station for lunch, another of Craftbeer.com’s Best Beer Places from 2018. The beer selection there was excellent as was the food. While we were hanging out there, a random guy told us we should stop in Emporia at Radius Brewing
As we headed out of town, we were keeping a close eye on the weather after the previous evening’s events, and everything looked great. We were headed for Wichita, but had the Radius in our GPS. As we approached Emporia, the weather turned dark. The sky was greenish, and we had to turn on the headlights just to see. Lightning bolts were double tapping water tanks and trees.
We started to just head on down the turnpike to go through the storm, but our GPS software said it was closed! So we reentered the Radius into the GPS and headed into town.
Coming down the main street the rain began to pick up and become heavy. I could hear what sounded like a siren. We weren’t sure what it was. It had a steady noise but was changing volume slightly. The Weather Underground was still saying heavy thunderstorms.
We turned at the brewery, but it was slant parking and the BeeRV doesn’t fit in those types of spaces, more on that later… So we pulled around the corner did a u-turn and parked ½ a block away in a lot. It was raining extremely hard by then, so we decided to wait it our a bit. I thought I had hit a sign post parking the BeeRv, so I put on my raingear and went out to check.
The sign was fine, but I noticed the sirens were obviously coming from several directions. I’m a bit dense but not stupid. I jumped back in and we started looking online. Liz realized there was a tornado warning on the National Weather Service site. The radio was saying take cover immediately in certain counties. We had to look that up, and sure enough, we were there. Here’s a live video I did.
About then it started to hail, so I decided to drive to the brewery. I slowly ran the red light at the corner. The streets were deserted and we just pulled into four diagonal spaces, on wrong side of the street, by the brewery.
As we exited the BeeRV, a lady was holding the door open at the beauty supply shop next to the brewery so we ran in. After a minute, I asked if the brewery was next door, and she said it was, so we made a break for it. Once inside, the place looked deserted!
The bartender was in the brewhouse above us and said we were welcome to come in for shelter. He allowed that most of the patrons had headed across the alley to a wine bar that had a basement. We asked why he stayed, and he said he had lived there all his life and was watching the Doppler radar and as far as he could tell, it didn’t look like it was going to hit there. He said if it turned he was going to go in the walk-in Cooler. Liz inquired if we would be welcome as well and he said sure!
That sounded good to me, I’d like to see what’s gonna kill me anyway! Liz was not as enthusiastic but with a little bourbon and coaxing, she hung out at the brewery.
It was a bit eerie since all the table had food and beers on them like Great Expectations, but the customers were all gone.
Soon after the all clear was sounded, if it ever is in Tornado Alley, and people started returning to the bar. We finished out beer and bourbon and headed back out on the road to Wichita.
There was an amazing amount of flooding all along the Turnpike and many exits were closed.
The storms had mostly moved on, and by the time we got to The Anchor, it had stopped raining.
The Anchor is another bar on the list, so I went in and had a couple of beers and some good food. Liz was a bit upset because of the tornadoes, so she went to bed in the BeeRv down the street. My bartender, Zoe, took good care of me. The meat market was closed as of 8pm and I was looking for a steak, so she suggested the filet, sliced with sides, and it was excellent.
I returned to the BeeRV and after a few minutes of looking at options, I decided we were good where we were. There were no cars that I saw all night, or people walking, since it was Saturday of the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, the trains coming through downtown Wichita, had to blow their whistles all night long at the crossings. Not just short blows, but long drawn out horns. I looked on the internet and it’s a big problem. Even with earplugs it was a rough night, plus worrying about being parked in downtown Wichita…
Up on Day 5 with no casualties and earlier than usual. We just took off with out coffee or anything headed to Oklahoma City. We stopped at a lake just north of OKC, and it was closed as well due to all the crazy weather. We found a fisherman’s parking lot that was empty and stopped to get cleaned up and organized for the day.
Our first stop in Oklahoma City was another best-of-all-the-states bar, the Oak and Ore. The beer was good and they had the best fried okra. So far the list has been good to us. A bit challenging area for the BeeRV…
Prairie Artisan Ales was the next stop and we happened upon an in-progress bottle share in the parking lot.
Had a nice chat with those folks and we headed in the brewery. Excellent beer there and we had a great conversation with the bartender. Unfortunately, I missed his name. He hooked us up with a couple of beers for the show. The bottle share guys directed us to some other places, so we headed out. One was in walking distance, but unfortunately was too busy for us to get served.
Next stop – Stone Cloud, which came highly recommended by several people. It did not disappoint! The only bad thing is I couldn’t talk the guy out of a bottle of a house-only barley wine… guess my Huck powers aren’t what they used to be.
Elk Valley Brewing has a rooftop patio that looks the city. They also had hopped water for hydration. That’s the first time I’ve seen that! Step up, other brewers!! The beer was very diverse and tasty.
We stopped by the Oklahoma City National Memorial our way out of town.
We left Saturday afternoon, and tornadoes hit there Saturday night!
We headed out for Amarillo and once again, here come the dreaded tornado warnings. As we approached the storm, the weather service was pinpointing it at Elk City. We stopped at Clinton for water as the storm began to hit and the clerk at the store said to try the Kmart. The manager said fine, so we joined several other RVs and trucks at the tree line in the parking lot.
Unfortunately, the storm changed course and came right at us. Fortunately, no tornado, but that was one huge thunderstorm.
Day 6 started out with rain, grey and cloudy.
We stopped at the Route 66 Museum and walked around, even though it was closed. Cool place!
To cheer ourselves up we headed to the Canyon Texas Imperial Taproom, another best state bar. We were concerned because we got a slow start and the kitchen closed at two. They were quite gracious about it, and we had an excellent Steak Benedict! First one for me…
The vibe there was very positive, and I can see why they were selected as a best beer bar.
The beer selection lived up to the hype and they suggested another brewery on our way, Pondaseta. This place had some interesting stuff. Their mead was good, but I couldn’t get a crowler of it. Sorry.
After all the excitement of the previous few days, we decided to head to Tucumcari and get an early night and some rest. When we hit New Mexico, I kept seeing these coachwhip snakes. They were too fast to get a picture but are about 8 feet long and very thin and fast.
Tucumcari is a cool little town mentioned in the Little Feat sing “Willin,” so we had to go there.
What do you think happened?
Yep, Tornado watch… we were at a RV park called Blaze-in-Saddles so what could go wrong?
It passed quickly and we got a great night’s sleep with full hookups!
Huck was here!