It was September 2005 and I was working as the Women’s Residence Director at Houston Baptist University. Weeks earlier we had all witnessed Hurricane Katrina from a distance. There were students in our dorms who had just transferred because of the previous Hurricane. And then Houston came under a Hurricane warning for Rita.
We were not ready.
The word came down from the University that if there were any students left on campus, Andrew and I were responsible for getting them to a shelter and staying with them throughout the hurricane.
“Just think of it as one of your adventures!” My boss, Kirby, encouraged me . . .
The city of Houston was evacuating, Mayor Bill White announced, “Don’t wait; the time for waiting is over,”
We went to work finding places for all of students. We did that.
We then moved all of our furniture up to the second floor. Done.
We packed whatever possessions we thought we should “save.” It was a short list, we realized.
We tried to go to sleep. Did not work. So we headed out on the roads at 10:30 at night . . .
Within miles we found traffic slowing to a crawl, and then it virtually stopped. We were not outside of Houston’s city limits and we were not moving! We moved inches in hours. When the sun came up we found ourselves in such an odd predicament.
We were in miles and hours of traffic with a Hurricane bearing down behind us.
It was a surreal world where convenience stores and restaurants were all closed, because of the incoming hurricane. There was no where to go because everyone was heading north. Cars were pulling on to the medians . . . it all felt odd and a little hopeless.
Sixteen hours into our trip . . . at 2:30 the following day the state finally opened up the south bound lanes for north bound traffic and we started to move.
Here we are finally moving, headed toward the giant statue of Sam Houston. That is 77 miles in 16 hours. That puts our average speed at 4.8 miles per hour.
And then there was the issue of gas. Of course gas stations were closing too, but some were open . . . and some were running out of gasoline. The lines at the gas stations were miles long, with no guarantee that by the time you got to the pump you could get gas.
We had brought two small gas cans, but once we used them, we would be driving with very little hope of finding gas again. Seventeen hours into the trip we saw an open gas station. We asked, the line was three hours long.
We took a risk.
I approached a woman at the front of the line, asked if we could pay for her gas, if she would let us fill out little gas cans. She was in, and here I am filing her tank for her.
We spent another nine hours on our trip to Dallas . . . it was 26 hours total.
The best part was that I spent all of it with this man . . . who drove the entire time.
Neither of us had a meal or a bathroom break and we were kind to one another and enjoyed our time together.
The second best thing was arriving at our friends, the Easley’s house. It was amazing after 26 hours on the road, to arrive at 12:30 in the morning to signs throughout the house . . .
My favorite sign (and I loved them all), was this one . . .
The drive back took us four hours, and it was beautiful. There was no damage to our building and very little to the campus.
This is one post of 31 of ours, see others here.
We are one blog of over 700 blogging for 31 days in a row, see others here.
Updating as we go . . .Day 1: About Intention Day 2: About Adventure Day 3: Challenge – Community Event (Hayride) Day 4: Challenge – Use Groupon (Daytrip) Day 5: Challenge – Find Event on the Internet (Art Show +) Day 6: Challenge – Head to the Local Fair Day 7: Flashback Friday – Andrew, Liza Day 8: Challenge – Celebrate with Family