Thursday, April 26, 2012

Untitled by studestevo
Untitled, a photo by studestevo on Flickr.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

railZEN -- If You Have to Ask, You'll Never Know Why....

*Quindaro Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas and Parkville, Missouri, Thursday, 19 April 2012....

R-Cal -- A Daily Diary Through Pictures

Tima not wanting to pose for a picture (she thinks she's being punished) during our walk in English Landing Park in Parkville, Missouri.
Dashcam view of the Missouri River Bridge on 291 hwy.
Early morning view of the Kansas Speedway as all the "campers" are waking up from their hangovers.
Stuff of my nightmares...
Dashboard view of Kauffman Stadium as the Ralls were losing 4 to 1 to the Toronto Blue Jays

Friday, April 20, 2012

Retro Svoboda -- A Look Back at Where We Are Going...

First Friday I encountered a street performer who was happy to demonstrate his historic instrument.
Kansas City disfunctions and seems intent on protecting the rights of criminals while criminalizing those who speak out.  Unfortunately, those who speak out must show the stamina to follow through, which is usually way beyond the capabilities of the average citizen.
Every year is different.  Two years ago, we hadn't seen much in the way of severe weather in our area by the third week of April.  This year, we've seen severe weather at the end of February.  Last year, tragically, we saw more than our fair share.

R-Cal -- A Daily Diary Through Photos

Downtown Kansas City, Missouri at about 10th and Grand
Underground Passageway beneath the Kansas Turnpike
Bartle Hall in Kansas City, Missouri
Underneath I-70 in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri
Under Threat of Severe Weather, BETSI stands ready....
TORNADO!  Salina, Kansas
Performing Arts Center in Kansas City, Missouri
Sunset on Signal Hill, Kansas City, Missouri
Bartle Hall at Night, Kansas City, Missouri

Sunset over I-70, Independence, Missouri

Those Storm Chasers are a Menace!

*Kansas Sheriffs Departments Want to Arrest the Problem of "Gawkers"
The Dickenson County Kansas Emergency Manager, Chauncy Smith complained that chasers got in the way of emergency personnel in his area, and then a whole slurry of news articles and reports came out about the perils of storm chasers.  I was in Salina Kansas on the14th of April, chasing, and I noticed a traffic jam of sorts, myself.  However, out of all the people out and about, almost all of them seemed to be respectful of everyone around them and of the danger, and when Sheriffs came up from behind with lights and sirens, everyone pulled over to let them pass with little trouble.  I won't say I witnessed perfect behavior out there.  A WIBW news crew decided to stop at the abutment of an inter state bridge to talk on the phone blocking half a lane of 75 mph traffic.  I saw some chaser types showing off and hot rodding around.  They seemed to be kids with a bottomless credit account.  The biggest hazards I see are people roaming around with cameras with lightening striking close by.  I've got a new rule for myself -- don't get out of the car in severe weather, even if it means my photograpy has to suffer.  Lightening is too dangerous.  Also, it is good to have a chase partner who deals with the distractions, while the driver concentrates on the driving, and the other distracted people on the road.  I'm sure a few accidents are caused by people being distracted by their many screens in the car or looking at the weather and not the road.  Saturday was a high risk day, which was hyped heavily by media outlets and weather blogs.  That means that everyone and his brother was out on that day.  Experienced chasers are not used to that in a normal chase day, but then, a day like Saturday was rare because we all didn't drive a long way just to look at clouds.  I've been to many tornado scenes.  Unfortunately, the gawkers do come out.  Most of them are local and are not there to help.  Some are even there to add to the chaos.  That was certainly true on Saturday as many local teenagers came out to hot rod around and get in the way of everyone.  It is a mistake to confuse them with storm chasers.  Most sheriff departments and county emergency personnel are very professional and often appreciate the extra eyes and help, as long as people stay out of their way when they need to do their jobs.  However, it is wrong to assume that the way to handle the extra traffic is to push everyone way back or to ban or harass people who are suspected of chasing.  That helps no one and would probably hurt the situation more than help.  Everyone needs to know that if they take on the danger, they are on their own.  The worst thing would be to put yourself in a dangerous situation, then force somebody else to put themselves at risk trying to rescue your stupid ass.  In those cases, I think it would be very justified for the county rescue people to forward a bill to someone who put themselves where they didn't need to be.  It would suck to have an entire city/county rescue budget put out of whack by a car full of individuals who decided to tourist a tornado, and got themselves a little too close.  Also, if people fail to heed lawful orders or get out of the way of emergency equipment, then get their license plate numbers.  When the emergency passes, issue a ticket and make these people come 8 or 10 hours back to appear in court.  I guarantee the next time, they will pay attention to the sirens.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

KCK Valentine Diner -- GONE!

A Small KCK Landmark has Disappeared

The former Griffs Burger Bar that stood at 503 North 7th street trafficway is gone.  I've known about it for a few weeks, but finally was able to find time to survey the remains for myself.  The old Griffs sign is there still advertising the last restaurant venture in the place, but there is nothing of the old pre-fabbed a-frame and dining room but a hole in the ground.  I'm not sure weather it was demolished, which would be a shame, or was moved, which is quite possible.  

Griffs Burger bars were part of a local restaurant chain that used to grace off ramps at many locations in the midwest and south.  They were a family owned operation out of the Kansas City area, and are now based in Dallas, Texas.
I am also saddened to find out that in researching information for this article, the Griff's in Sedalia has shut down.  That was the last remaining Griffs in our area.  We ate there in October 2011, on our way to a float trip.  The wrappers on the burgers said the restaurant chain was celebrating 50 years. 

Griff's had a unique a-frame design which is a product of Valentine Manufacturing, which used to exist in Wichita, Kansas, and was the sole builder of diners on route 66. 

Former Griff's as a Mexican Restaurant on October 22, 2008
Griff's, now closed, in Sedalia, Missouri when we visited at the end of September, 2011...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Salina Tornado

Photogenic Storm and a Perfect Chase

Often on these things, we are used to driving hours away and hundreds of miles just to see.... clouds

 Rest area on I-70.  We needed a break from driving on the "Blue Star Highway."

 Then back on the highway.  The Storm Prediction Center called for the highest risk up north in Nebraska.  There was also high risk down south.  So, we decided to drive down the middle on I-70.  We passed through the Flint Hills, which are gorgeous as always.
 Wind turbine heading west on I-70.

 Mammatos clouds indicating turbulence in the storms out west.

 There was a storm southwest of Salina, Kansas that consistently had a hook echo on the radar with reports of funnel clouds and tornadoes.  It looks like it is the only game in town as far as our promiximity, and with the limited light, if we hoped to see something we needed to target that cell.  I topped off the gas tank south of Salina and checked the radar.  Cell service is really spotty out here.  Fueling up before going into a storm is a wise thing.  I looked at the radar and saw that we were minutes away from an intercept, but we were on the wrong side of the storm -- Northeast of the storm, with the track coming right over our heads.  So we needed to drive south to get away from any potential hail core and to get south of the rotation track.
 We got to a good spot, and found a bunch of chasers in the same area.  It was kind of like a parking lot.

 It wasn't long before the tornado appeared and started passing nicely to our north.  We were in a good safe spot  -- no hail, no wind, and an excellent view of the rotation.

 We repositioned north towards Salina.  The tornado was cycling and lifted, fortunately over the city.  We could hear the warning sirens in Salina.

The tornado crossed over I-70 northeast of Salina, and did some damage to road construction signs and a junk yard.  The tornado then reformed into a perfect cone as we watched it head away from us as night fell.  The trip back home didn't seem very long at all.  We made it to Topeka, which was under threat of another tornado producing cell.  However, that dissipated just a few minutes southwest of Topeka.  Later we watched on the radar as a tornado hit the south part of Wichita.  Then later in the evening, unfortunately, a tornado hit Woodward Okalahoma with loss of life.

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