Tuesday, May 10, 2011

They Call the Wind Mariah

We are parked at the Walmart in Lindale, TX, near the intersection of US 69 and I-20. Yesterday's drive was hard work due to unrelenting cross winds. My right tricep is aching from holding the bus straight all day.

We chose a route that skirted the Dallas-Ft. Worth gravitational zone, but traffic was still aggressive and heavy along US 380 between Denton and Farmersville. The landscape is not particularly pretty through here (sorry, Dallas-ites), and at the end of the day Godfrey remarked there wasn't much incentive to take photos.

He did capture me dumping the tanks at a rest area near Wichita Falls.

My first time doing the stinky deed alone! Now that I've seen the task, Sean has complete job security.

South of Greenville, the countryside turned to tall pine forest, and I had a surreal moment where I couldn't remember where I was. Oregon? Florida? The weather has turned very humid and sticky. The change from northern California perfection, to desert heat, to high desert eyeball puckering dryness, to plains dusty winds, to eastern humidity in 6 days overwhelmed me. I'm burning fuel and blasting through counties too fast to really see anything except the center line. I miss my husband and have no idea when I'll see him next. It was a low moment, for sure.

We rolled into this Walmart a few minutes before sunset, knowing it had several restaurant options. We initially chose the Mexican joint across the street, but were tired and hungry enough to decide that Chili's, a mere 300 feet away, was good enough.

We ordered drinks right off the bat, to round out the square corners of the day. The waitress asked for, then scrutinized our IDs. Wow, I haven't been carded in years! Clearly all this driving is turning back the clock. It turns out Lindale is in a dry county and the waitress said we'd need special "private drinking club" cards to order. I remember getting one of those cards 6 years ago, and carried it around in my wallet until about 3 months ago. She disappeared to get the card application, but returned with our drinks and no further requirements.

This morning, Godfrey loaded an ABC news video on his iPad. Watching Diane Sawyer wade through the rising Mississippi in Memphis reminded me why I am driving 2,300 miles in 6 days. My focus is renewed; it's time to buckle down to the real work at hand. According to Jeff Masters, the Mississippi is expected to "smash the all-time record at Natchez, Mississippi by six feet on May 21."

I spoke with a friend who is already on the Jackson Red Cross relief operation, and he has scouted out a good spot to park the bus. He also gave me the lowdown on what to expect work-wise when I arrive. We need to get Odyssey over the river near Vicksburg. I have one more full day of driving, then I'll do what I'm trained to do.

If the images of people's family homesteads under muddy, murky, filthy brown water move you to help, please consider a donation to an aid agency. Of course, I would love for it to be the Red Cross, but I'm not overly picky. Help can't wait!

All photos by Godfrey DiGiorgi


  1. I'm sure Sean will be oh so thrilled to learn of his "job security". Good on ya though for knowing what to do.
    Maybe the "dry" restaurant somehow had your membership on file? Or, maybe the waitress simply forgot. I can't remember the last time I was carded. Seriously, I think it must have been back in the seventies.
    There was a point in time when it would have been met with a certain amount of glee, but now I'm afraid if anyone were to ask for ID where a drink is involved, they're probably just being a jerk.

  2. I was at a BevMo the other night, first time. I was carded. It was so funny - I'm 66 years old - I just laughed. He was serious. Their policy is that EVERYONE is carded, and he has to scan the Drivers License in front of a card reader.
    You are such good people for doing what you do. The drive back there must be grueling. Good luck when you get there, I hope things go okay for you all. :)

  3. We crossed the Mississippi at I 55 again today, and from the bridge, it looked like an ocean when looking South. The water was about 6 feet below the road on the West side of the River.

    Tonight we are at Sikeston, Mo, and the campground is surrounded with water on three sides, but we are several feet above it. They claim the crest has passed here as of yesterday.

    Travel safely, the disaster will be there when you get there. Rod and Loyce

  4. Thanks for all you do in these situations.... but, can I ask you for an opinion..... I bought on a lake that is part of a river system. I have 3 flights of stairs to the water. People on the other side of the lake are at water level. We all knew we were buying where we bought years ago. When our water rises from the "legal" level each spring the local paper always allows the people at water level to complain. In other states the fed Gov ends up insuring or paying people for damages. I don't think that is right. What do you think? Ernie in MICH

  5. yep Texas is a thousand miles wide and two stops deep.


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