When we left home we had no idea what a ride we had in front of us. I was driving the Suburban stuffed full of personal items, 4 children & 3 Great Danes. The-Man-of-My-Dreams was driving the truck with the 4-wheeler, 1 son, and gas cans.
The traffic was unbelievable! Jam-packed roads. There were broken down cars on the sides of all of the roads because they had been there so long that they were out of gas or their engines over-heated. All of the gas stations had huge signs that said (OUT OF GAS) in front.
It was a nightmare... all of these people were trying to flee to safety but they ended up stuck out in the open with no food, no gas, and no shelter in the Texas summer-time heat.
My father-in-law was trying to make what normally would have been a three hour trip to San Antonio. His trip took over 14 hours! And he was one of the lucky ones who knew his way along the back roads and actually made it to his destination.
We decided to try to go against the flow of traffic and actually go INTO Houston as everyone else was trying to leave. This worked out to our advantage. But what usually took an hour ended up taking us three hours, but we did reach my mothers house in Houston.
The problem was... Houston was not any safer than our farm was. The plan was to meet up with my mother, sister & grandmother, then we would all head out for safer ground.
There was no way this was going to happen unless we wanted to join the crowds of stranded motorists jamming all of the highways.
As the storm approached, I became more and more anxious about my critters that I had left behind at the farm. All I wanted to do was go home! I understood that our safety was more important than the animals. But it was awful to think about them being afraid and in danger. My goal was to leave for the farm as soon as the worst of the storm had passed.
As we waited for Rita to blow in I realized that my mothers house is surrounded by very tall pine trees. I was worried.. what if the wind blows the trees over onto our cars? How would we be able to get back to the farm quickly? We were in Houston after-all... we were not in Kenefick with access to our chain saws, and come-a-longs that we could use to move fallen trees. We made the decision to go to my ex-husband's house. He lived in a newer subdivision with very few mature trees to worry about.
Rita hit Houston in the middle of the night. The winds howled, Trees snapped, debris flew around, and we lost power. The only thing we could do now was wait for it to pass. We were safe in the house, But our minds were all on the farm and what we had left behind.
When daylight broke, the worst of the storm had already passed. The Man-of-My-Dreams and I decided to make our way back to the farm to survey the damage and check on the animals. We left the kids in Houston, put the dogs in the Suburban, and hit the road.
It was very eerie driving along the roadways... There were abandon cars everywhere and not a person in sight. It looked like a scene from a movie showing the aftermath of some big catastrophe or war. It was quiet, still, and looked lifeless. There was no power, traffic lights dangled precariously from one wire, there were tree limbs in the road and various pieces of debris thrown everywhere.
As we slowly made our way, I saw houses with roofs missing and windows blown out. Homes that once kept their families safe and dry were smashed into what now looked like piles of toothpicks by HUGE hundred-year-old oak trees. The closer we got to our place, the worse the damage looked, my heart was in my throat as we headed down the long road to our farm.
To Be Continued....
(don't worry... it should be later today)