Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Davie meets Water

Yay, I finally have time to post!   This last week I went on a road-trip with my parents, ending up finally in Duluth, MN, where I will be spending the summer as an advisor at a math research program.  Anyhow, I was intending to post about what we saw during those 1500 miles of driving, but something happened last night that I should really talk about first.  Here's how it went:

6:00 pm - I am hungry.
6:05 - I find out what the cooking team is making today.  (We have set up an LMF-like system - two-person teams and no food steward.)  The menu turns out to be mushroom turnovers.  Yum!  Three of them for ten people, and nothing else.  Oops?
6:30 - I decide to have dinner with my parents.
7:00 - We get to the Duluth Grill.  Btw, this is just about the most awesome restaurant ever.  Here is an indication of the amount of food they pile in front of you.  It's also really cheap, and organic, and they grow their own everything, and their menu is about a mile long.

8:00 - We notice it's raining.
8:30 - We leave the restaurant, and make a break for the car, because it's now Raining.  I drive back very slowly to where we are staying.
8:40 - I park the car, but we can't get into the building, because there is a puddle about 10 feet wide in front of it.  We go around the side, running through the downpour.  The stream beside the building is very swollen.  My parents go to their room, I go back to the research program.
9-11 - I skype people, procrastinate, start playing cards with the rest of the program.  I tell them it is wet outside.  They are not interested.
11:30 - We look out the window and notice the stream is almost up to the bridge.  We decide to investigate when we are done with the game.
12:10 - My team narrowly defeats that of another advisor, whose birthday it is (sorry, Adam! I'm making you a cake!).  We prepare to go out and look at the stream.
12:15 - We open the door and find that the stream has come to us, being now about 30 feet wide and almost at the walls of the building.  The storm drains are now fountains, overflowing with water from further up the hill. We splash about and get thoroughly soaked, to the enjoyment of all.  I discover a puddle that is almost up to my waist.  We watch the stream (now river) rage and we almost get hit by lightning.  It is now RAINING and thundering and storming.
12:30 - I go inside and take a shower - hot and from a faucet - and go to sleep.

This morning, I got up and went for a run to one of my usual trails.  There is normally a stream here, called Chester Creek.  This is what it looked like today:

I talked to some of the other onlookers.  Apparently, 8 inches of rain fell in Duluth overnight.   (!!!!)  Downtown, at the bottom of the huge hill on which the city is built, there are places with 12 feet of water.  Roads have caved in.  Power is out in many places.  People are kayaking in the streets.  A donkey named Ashley died at the local zoo.  The county looks like it will be declared a disaster area, in the face of its worst flooding since 1972.  And there are more thunderstorms on their way.  Fast.

As I turn back from Chester Creek, a thunderstorm comes overhead.  Fast.  Within moments, I am soaked.  Water is coming from all directions - the air is just as much a puddle as the ground.  I didn't fully appreciate before how a rain "shower" can in fact deliver as much water as a normal one.

That thunderstorm is now over, but apparently there are 2 more inches of water in store for us.  The Land of 10,000 Lakes seems likely to become the Land of One Big Lake.  I will be out running somewhere in the middle of it.


  1. Running on the, you and Ashley have been talking a lot.

  2. Not sure which is more intense: that GIGANTIC orange plate of whatever (some kind of meat?) or the overflowing Chester Creek.

    Poor Ashley (the donkey) :(

  3. @Daniel, yes, I thought that would be easier than learning how to swim properly. :-)

    @Anna, that is, in fact, a *pancake.* I think the menu calls it "Huge Pancake." It was about twice the size of my head. It was also, in fact, a side dish that comes with the meal (we ordered only one dish each). The pancake, in turn, comes not only with maple syrup but also with a special lingonberry syrup made by the restaurant. For some reason they put a sprig of parsley on the pancake. That confused me.

    Apparently, as the zoo was flooding, a Polar Bear managed to escape. It was caught soon. A seal also escaped and was discovered, swimming happily through the middle of town, by some astonished guy who was walking down his street to look at the water.