Back to Chicago/Ogden Dunes, Indiana
Todd agreed to pick us up at the airport once again as we made our way back to Chicago on Saturday night. Sunday, August 2nd the three of us headed towards Ogden Dunes, Indiana to visit Richard Hallman, a friend of Rachelle’s. Throughout our relationship I had heard a lot about Richard and saw his amazing photos. Richard is a professional photographer out of Hood River, Oregon and be sure to check out his work on Instagram @freelanceimaging. Richard grew up in Ogden Dunes, Indiana on Lake Michigan and was back visiting his family at the time. We spent the entire day on Lake Michigan Jet-Skiing, SUPing, swimming, and Richard went out on his kiteboard. Just as the day seemed perfect an enormous Mammatus cloud began to form towards the west over Chicago. One of the most amazing clouds I had ever seen, Richard was able to catch a superb picture of Rachelle on his iPhone 6 as the Mammatus cloud signaled heavy upcoming weather.
After a full day at Lake Michigan and a thrilling jet ski ride with Richard we made our way back to his parent’s house to start dinner. Dinner was exceptional as we ate on the patio during intermittent power outages making eating somewhat of a challenge. The skies grew heavy and electric as the promised storm began to push its way towards Dunes, Indiana. Even though it was late and we had a long drive back to Todd’s the four of us headed to the beach to watch the storm approach. Lighting lit up the night’s sky as if a sibling had snuck into your pitch-black room and proceed to flip the light switch on and off, on and off. This was no ordinary storm, as lighting hit every 2-3 seconds, continuously for over an hour. All of us just sat there with our invisible bowl of popcorn taking in the power and strength of Mother Nature. With the storm directly above us and lighting all around, I began to spread out from the others anticipating a lighting strike so not all of us would be taken out. It felt as if we were in a firefight as we retreated with heads down to the protection of a solid roof. The sky grew heavy as moisture learned the laws of gravity, rapidly descending towards earth. Just as we gained cover at the Hallman’s house at 1 Beach Ave, sheets of water fell from above instantly flooding the surrounding area. This kind of storm really makes you feel small and powerless against the fury of Nature. As it grew later we decided to brave the calming storm in Todd’s Ford truck dodging down trees on the drive out of Dunes, Indiana in route to Chicago; a truly memorable experience with the beauty and fierceness of Nature.
The date is July 22, 2015 and so far our entire journey has kept an eastern heading on our compass. Nearly two months with the setting sun at our backs, today was the glorious moment when we rotate 180 degrees and turn the Rambler to the West for our long trek back to the mountains. Glacier National Park in northwest Montana is where we are heading…the only problem is Google Maps says it is 33 hours and 2,227 miles from D.C.! 33 hours of straight driving is that even possible?!? Your telling me we could drive for an entire day without stopping and still not be there? This can’t be right…well looks like we are going to be making some stops along the way as we spend the next 19 days slowly making our way back West!
Paragliding Woodstock Tower
The morning of July 22nd we headed off from Meagan’s home in Arlington, VA in route to Ohiopyle, PA in order to meet up with Rachelle’s old friends Brynn, Eric, and their two year old son, Avie. This was the plan until we received a call from Tom, a paraglider in the D.C. area letting us know a group was planning to fly at Woodstock Tower, VA around 1pm. As Rachelle let me know our options we immediately turned the Rambler towards Woodstock Tower in hopes we would get up in the air. So now you might be asking yourself, “Who is this Tom guy and how do you know a paraglider in D.C.?” Tom is a friend of our good friend Laszlo, who retired to Park City after heading up the World Bank in Washington D.C. for many years. Laszlo linked us up with Tom who invited us to go flying while in the area. In any event we were both eager since our paragliders were collecting dust and feeling ignored since we left Utah.