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Every year, long about April, a buddy of mine named George hosts The Kalm Before the Waaagh in Huntsville, Alabama. This tournament is very special in the world of 40k tournaments. It's held in a bar, with a catered barbeque lunch and limo service so you can get as plastered as you like while playing 40k, and not have to sweat how you're going to make it back to the hotel.

Well, in 2011, The Kalm turned out to be the single most unique tournament to ever be played in the history of 40k. Here's why...

 

The Prelude

In the days before the tournament the entire Southeastern United States had been getting pummeled by some pretty severe storms. I got a call the night before I was supposed to fly out that Huntsville, as well as most of the rest of Alabama had been hit by a ton of tornadoes.

Power was out to nearly half a million homes. Dozens of people were confirmed dead, with hundreds more missing. Here are a couple of pictures of just a small portion of the devestation, shot by some other attendees of The Kalm.

 
I waited until the following morning to make a final decision. I checked the weather reports and the forecast looked beautiful for the next several days at least. I checked with the airline and they said they would still be flying into Huntsville.

I talked to George and he said that he would still be holding The Kalm. The venue had changed from a bar to his home, the guest list would be considerably smaller, the food and water situation might be dodgy at best. He was also certain there wouldn't be any electricity.



It's like a herd of Carnifexes rolled through there!
 

I got on the phone to my friends who would be travelling with me, and the general consensus was "Screw it! Let's Roll." I loaded up on Power Bars and Jerky, just in case, made sure I had plenty of cash since the ATM machines might be hard to come by, and headed for the airport.

It takes a certain kind of crazy to fly into a government-declared disaster area, complete with National Guard presence and dusk-to-dawn curfews, to hang out with some friends and play 40k. I am just that kind of crazy :)
 

Stranded...


 
Ahhh, Dallas! A paradise on earth... 
 
... yeah right!

Even though the airline assured me they were still flying into Huntsville, somewhere between San Francisco and Dallas, they cancelled our connecting flight. F**k you very much, American Airlines!

We had a choice at this point.

Turn around and go home...

... or stay the night in Dallas, have a steak, get drunk, and fly into Huntsville the following morning.

It wouldn't be much of a story if we tucked tail and ran, now would it?
 

I will say this about Dallas: For all it's faults (and there are a lot of them!), you are hard-pressed to find better steak than in the middle of "cattle country." We went to Bob's Steak & Chop House in Grapevine, Texas; not far north of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. The dry-aged steak they had on special was fantastic, and the bartender could really pour a mean Manhattan. If you're ever stuck in Dallas overnight, I highly recommend the place.

We wandered back to the hotel, with full stomachs and elevated blood-alcohol levels, and hit the sack so as to be ready for the next leg of our journeny in the morning.
 

 

Next up: Day 2 ->