It’s 1030 Sunday morning and we’re on I-45 north to Saginaw, TX. Amber is currently driving.
After the misadventure of Friday evening, we started trying to think of another plan for getting off the “island” of Beaumont. The family slept in, but I got up with no alarm at o’ dark thirty as I’ve been doing so for the past week — regardless of what time I went to bed. I was surprised to find that we had a trickle of water from the tap again, but not enough pressure to put any water in the toilet flush tanks. This new day was starting again as the past two with the now routine task of going out to the swimming pool for another bucketful of water. I wonder what folks in Beaumont did who were not as fortunate as us to have a clean pool to draw water from? We were fortunate indeed!
Once Deverie and the kids got up, we began contemplating our new course of action. We decided that Jake and I would take one of the military C-130 evacuation flights out of Beaumont to DFW, and then Jake and I would fly to Salt Lake City to pick up the Rotramel’s motor home. But then we thought of needing to drive my sister Sonia’s car back to Beaumont, and that Jake could drive it back while Jon Wood and I could go up to Utah to team-drive the RV back to Texas. Jon and Christine Wood are good Air Force friends of ours from our days together at Dyess AFB back in the early days of OEF and OIF. We knew them through our church family of New Hope Church in Abilene, Texas.However, Amber and Deverie would have none of it. They insisted that Ashley needed to accompany our 16-year-old son 0n his drive back to Beaumont. Jake and I could not convince them otherwise. But by now it was early afternoon and we found out through a friend of Deverie’s, Amy Rutty, who was volunteering with her daughter at the Beaumont Jack Brooks Regional Airport, that C-130’s were no longer taking evacuees to DFW, but that they were going by bus.
I knew that we needed to pack and get ourselves down to the airport soon since we had no idea what the wait times might be — hours or days? But I told Deverie I needed a quick nap first so that my mind would be clear. I laid down and was soon out cold. I awoke I don’t know how many hours later to find just about everyone, including the pets, dead asleep. (Jake was playing some video games to pass the time.) We were all starting to feel the exhausting effects of the stress, and I realized we all just needed to rest for a full day without doing anything. Plus, we were not looking forward to that long bus trip that would have to take a slow and circuitous route through the same flooded roadways we tried to take the night before. Deverie agreed to the “operational pause” in our ongoing drama, and that we would again attempt to drive out via Highway 90, but this time at 0230 in the morning. During one of our dog walks the night before alongside Highway 90, I had talked to one evacuee who informed me about a conversation he had just had with a state trooper. 0230 was the best time to take on the waters over Highway 90 with the least amount of traffic.
With our new gameplan set, our family then settled in to making dinner, and I finally started catching up on a few more of my texts and phone calls to family. Livi also wanted to play a boardgame with me that Isaac, Emily’s boyfriend, had introduced the kids to while they had been waiting on me to evacuate our home. We started playing Catan at around 2000 and had a blast playing until 2300. We laughed and ate chilli with corn chips. I won, but only because Jake & Livi don’t like it when they catch me letting them win. It was good to have some fun as a family.
My alarm went off at 0315, but the water-hauling routine was no longer required. The water pressure was now high enough to slowly fill the flush tanks. Deverie and I got the kids up and started packing again. After feeding animals, cleaning up some, we headed for Highway 90 again at 0500. I let Deverie know that I was going to drive us through the water, and Amber could take over the driving after that. But we were in for a pleasant surprise — the road was no longer waterlogged. It had obviously just receded during the night as the roadway was still wet and the water was at the pavement edge. There was only one spot where a highway patrolman was warning motorists of water over the roadway, but it was only on the east-bound side. After a quick pit-stop for coffee and donuts, the drive to Saginaw was uneventful.
It was good to have an uneventful day.