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4 June 2015, 11:59 pm CT, Topeka KS

Tonight I am going to obsess about the weather. As I said last night, I am in Tornado Alley. I think maybe I like hurricanes better. They only happen every now and then. As far as I can tell, severe thunderstorms with the potential for tornados happen every few minutes here, or so it seems. Two nights ago there were tornado warnings to the south of me. Last night there were tornado warnings to the north of me. Now there are tornado warnings just to the west of me. About an hour ago we had a hail storm. The morning started this way, and now the evening is ending this way. Let me show you more radar pictures, from this morning. Two pictures again, the left one from 8:30 AM and the right one from 12:40 PM.


Again I am the big fat dot in the middle. In the left picture note the storm on the left running from northwest to southeast. It is moving directly toward me. My destination for today is Topeka, which is northeast of Wichita, just about where the green begins. The green is a flood warning. It is easy to see that to get from my location, Columbus NE, to Topeka without going through storms will not be easy. I decided to postpone my departure, maybe go later in the day, maybe spend a second night in Columbus NE. I decided to wash clothes while waiting to decide about a departure.

The second radar picture is four hours later. The storm that was headed directly for me has passed over and out of the picture. Yet the stuff between Columbus NE and Topeka is still there. I decided that I would take the western route, down that road that is a little bit west of Columbus NE. That is US82. I would take it toward Salina, then across to Topeka. That's what I did, and it worked.

About half an hour later I had the bike packed and got gas across the street, actually US30. I took two pictures, the first one looking north and the second one looking south. I am glad I wanted to go south.

The next three pictures are many miles down the road, approximately where that finger of storms was on the western side of the second radar picture, crossing US82. I did go through some rain getting there, but not very much, and it was light. I stopped to take off my rain jacket and take the Zip-Lock Bag off my GPS. All three pictures were taken at the same spot. The first one shows flooding in the farmland off to my left. Remember, all that green stuff in the radar picture is a flood warning. You can see one of those long automatic sprinklers in the field. I doubt they used it today. You can also see clear sky on the left and dark sky on the right.

The second picture looks back to the north, where I have been.

And the third picture looks to the south, down towards Salina. Smooth sailing. You can see more of the flooding off to the right.

Next photo is many more miles down the road, now I have turned east toward Topeka. Can you see that the land is not completely flat. It's sort of like a water bed with waves. Do they still make water beds?

Now I have moved further east, and you can see what is happening to the north of me. That area got darker and darker. The way it was spreading was cutting off the sunshine to me, but those clouds were quite high and did not produce any rain. That's the storm that hit me here an hour ago with the hail.

I did go look at my bike after the hail storm passed over, but I did not see any damage. The bike was under the portico of the motel, but at the edge of it. Hail stones were bouncing everywhere, including under the center of the portico.

When I got into Topeka, I headed immediately for the State Capitol. I was greeted by this little fellow. He seemed as interested in me as I was in him. He is a red squirrel, back home in Indiana we also called them fox squirrels. Where I lived in New Jersey and in Virginia and in Florida the squirrels all seem to be grey.

And here's my capitol picture. Topeka, the capitol of Kansas.

Here's the statue on the top, I have him from behind because that's where the sun was.

I wanted to get three new capitol pictures on this ride, now I have them. I have only three of the 48 left, Denver, Boise, and Phoenix. My plan is to get them next year. I have updated my US Capitols site with the Capitols from this Ride, the Old Indiana Capitol, the Ohio Capitol, the Michigan Capitol, and the Kansas Capitol.

I rode 304.8 miles today. I crossed the 4,000 mark today, I have ridden 4,205.9 miles so far on this ride. I have about 2,000 to go to get home.

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