2. Day – Tornado and Thunderstorm

Early on the first day in "the wilderness", as Linda had called the area around Willard, a beaming blue sky welcomed us and more than 30º C of heat with high humidity.
We walked to the small restaurant that belonged to our Willard’s Country Inn & Kitchen to have breakfast. We were surprised about the activity that was there. A lot of people had come in for breakfast – and this was no hotel company. Here were truckers, people from the neighbourhood, factory workers. In the USA people don`t make themselves breakfast. They are used to go out for breakfast or take away something on their way to work. And with the low prices this did not surprise me. Here, finally, one could agree for a little bit more than three dollars (a dollar has the value of about 80 euro-cents) a complete breakfast and coffee, as much as one wanted. Indeed, the American breakfast is not so completely my thing. For somebody who consumes in the morning only my favourite yoghurt and fresh fruits the bacon and eggs, Bagels, Doughnuts, pancakes, muffins and deep-fried food are not exactly the right thing. And the coffee was also bad. However, after inquiring they served me fresh melon, and my day was saved. Nevertheless, we decided to drive to the next supermarket and to stock up for the coming days with "healthy" breakfast produce and above all with strong coffee. However, we had landed in "the wilderness". Up to the next supermarket we had to go to Newalk – half an hour away by car. Newalk, we got to know, is the town in which Thomas A. Edison was born. On our way we saw along the roads nothing but endless grain fields (Ohio is America`s breadbasket), now and again a few houses, a lot of churches of different believes and many, many cemeteries. I seldom saw so many burial grounds like on this tour straight through the USA. In contrast to our countries single gravestones in America stand on a big meadow – there are no graves that we are used to. Single stones are decorated with the US flag, before some there is a candle or a bouquet. The churches are small (possibly the size of a semidetached house) and have only one 2-storied tower. In front of every church there is a big parking area – apparently nearly all the people come by the car to the church. The houses we saw were built of wood and were dressed up with plastic panels. Every house had a gigantic property with a full-green, very cultivated lawn. We saw no fences – the properties seemed to flow into each other. Flowers and shrubs made the comfortable impression of these small settlements perfect. Along the street were the mailboxes, so that the postman can deliver the post from the car and they do not run up to every single house to the front door. Newalk itself turned out to be "the wilderness" relation "city" with an industrial area, this met all our wishes. There was even an Aldi market. We stocked up at Wallmart with all the necessasary shopping and made a small excursion to a drugstore. There we discovered the secret of the perfect brown tan of the young Americans. They do not lie down in the sun (1. too hot for it and 2. too dangerous – there could be cancer of the skin). They use Constant Tanning, a spray which browns the whole body seamless and free of stripes –during up to six weeks. In the meantime, there are also "Body-Tanning" studios in every town were trained staff selects the brown tone perfectly fitting to the type of the customers with the whole body „browned“. Time will tell how long it will take, until this (exactly like the nail-art studios) also becomes a trend with us in Europe …  you do not see tanning studios of this type at all – the people avoid the sun and rather stay in air-conditioned rooms or in the shade.
On our way back we discovered more and more clouds in the sky, and on the radio we heard the first storm warnings. Back in the motel, we stowed away all our purchases, made a strong coffee and watched the football (soccer) world championship on television. In the meantime, outdoors it had become rather stormy – and oppressingly hot. And then the first tornado warnings came on television. The running programme was interrupted over and over again by weather forecasts and warning tips. In the meantime, outdoors the sky had become almost black, only around the edge bright stripes were to be seen. The storm increased, then it started to flash and thunder, and then it rained buckets full. Within minutes the street was flooded. I have never experienced such a violent thunderstorm and such masses of rain. Constantly fire brigades and ambulances were on the move. Three hours the Thunderstorm lasted then took of, and everything was quiet again. The streets steamed in the heat, it became brighter in the sky. Thank God the tornado had spared us in Willard; we dealt only with a full-grown Thunderstorm. Later we found out that on this afternoon six people had died in Ohio during this tornado …
Also for the night there were storm warnings again, but in Willard we only had some smaller Thunderstorms.