Oklahoma, Texas, Tornado, 911

Labor Day was visiting with my beloved Dad in Tulsa, Ok. Then relaxing with a friend, munching salad and shrimp and sipping beer, at Southern Hills Country Club.  A cozy, safe and wonderful world!

The next day, it was lunch at Diamond Jack’s, for a drip beef sandwich. I crave these, at times, and have eaten there for decades.

That evening, it was the new Wolfgang Puck’s Bistro on Peoria, for dessert and Mojitas.
The next day, after visiting with friends, and before my drive back to Texas  even though, I knew that it would make my four hour drive back to Texas, start a bit late, I just had to go to Goldie’s Patio Grill for one of the best burgers ever!
  It was days and nights of visiting and eating. What could be better? Not much!

It was raining cats and dogs (as my mother used to say) as I headed out of Tulsa and back to Texas. I called my Dad to see if he had heard of any bad weather and he hadn’t. He said just lots of rain and to be careful.

So, off I go. It rains and it rains harder. The rains stops. It rains again. I drive, rocking out to my Meatloaf CD, “Objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are.”, and making good time as I travel.  I am so looking forward to getting home and out of this down pour. I really don’t like driving in the rain, never did, and never will.

Outside Durant, Ok. traffic slowed to a crawl. It was raining so hard that I could barely see, even with the windshield wipers flying across the windshield, at rapid pace. I am walled in by large trucks as we crawl along. Something is not right. Something is really off! Too slow and the back up looks like it goes on forever! 

I lower my window to get the attention of a truck driver. “Hey, do you know what’s going on?” His reply. “Power lines are down on 75.” (I know, Amy. I should’ve asked, “Dude, can I snap your photo for my blog?” But, I didn’t. My mind was elsewhere.)

We crawl along going next to nowhere. Police cars appear on the other side of the road. Up ahead, a policeman stands in the middle of the street. I ponder, ‘Okay! What to do? What to do?‘ My mind flashes to that traffic jam in China that could last for months. Okay! Enough already! I’m getting out of this mess!

I dial 911 and tell them where I am and inquire as to what’s going on. The operator informs. “A tornado hit on 75 just outside of Durant. It flipped over a semi-truck and power lines are down. It T-RF-05could take up to 3 hours to get the road clear.”

Me to 911: “Are there more tornadoes around??? I didn’t even realize that there was a tornado watch.”
911 Operator: “No, it swooped down, just in that spot, as far as we can tell, for now. Total surprise!”

Oh my gosh! A Tornado! Three hours!???!!!! Three hours sitting in my car on this highway in the rain!

We all just wait. It’s so dreary! I feel dwarfed and alone in my Jaquar surrounded by trucks and the rain comes down harder! I am getting hungry. Sure, wish I had another burger from Goldies. I call 911 again. There must be a back way out or some way to get off this road and back on my way?!

Me to 911: “Ma’am I am trying to get to Plano. I am stuck on 75 just outside of Durant. Any idea about what I can or should do?”

911 Operator: “Get over to the access road and go down to the road named, Platter, then turn right and head West, then turn left and head towards Plano. It’d be better than just sitting there.”

Me to 911: “That’s for sure. Okay, I’ll give it a try.”

Anything (I think?) is better than just sitting and waiting in the pouring rain. I wave to get the attention of a truck driver. He let’s me through and over to the access road. Truck drivers are usually nice people.

I head down the access road in the blinding rain. ‘Umm, why hasn’t anyone else thought to do this? Ummm… this is bizarre. Is this dangerous?! Was this wise?! Okay, God take care of me and guide me. This feels a bit freaky.’

Then up ahead, I see policemen. I stop and holler out the window as rain slams into my face. “I am trying to get to Plano!?” 

He directs me to turn right then to head West on an empty backroad. I do and it RAINS HARDER!

There is one other car in front of me as I travel the desolate road and wonder, ‘Where in the world am I going?’

I ponder…How fast can one go from indulgent eating in cozy environments with friends to alone driving in the pouring rain not knowing where you are. Cozy to survival can happen really fast! Okay God, please, guide and protect me.’

Then up ahead I see policemen, fire trucks and ambulances, at an intersection. I holler out my window. “I am trying to get to PlaJaguar X-Type 2008no!” He motions to turn left.

I do and it’s onto an even more desolate road. Oh, my gosh! I am the only one driving on this road in this down pour!

My phone rings and it’s a friend in Dallas. “Tornadoes are hitting down in Dallas and there’s flooding in Arlington.”

I tell her what I am dealing with and where I am.

“Ann, Be careful! The weather is crazy today! I will pray for you.”

We stay on the phone talking (I know real stupid to drive and talk on the phone) until, I see more policemen and holler out my window again as the rain assaults my face. “I’m trying to get to Plano!”

He motions to turn left. “Just up ahead, you will connect to 75.”

Hooray! Back on 75, there are few cars, the others must be back there still waiting. LUCKY ME! I was guided out and around. Whoo! HOO!
I am once again rocking out to rockn’ roll as the rain clears and I am back on my path!

Meat Loaf performs at the Celebrity Theatre Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010 in Phoenix.

Like a bat out of hell!

Bat out of Hell II: Back into HellAint no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed

Aint no doubt about it
Baby got to go and shout it
Aint no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed

Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed

What an adventure! The road less traveled got me home faster. It was a bit scary, I was alone, but I took it anyway! Of course, I was never really alone, I had guidance from both above and below.
Once again, I am back in my cozy world! Thank you 911, Meatloaf (singing to his CD’s), friends, Dad, truck drivers, policemen, and of course, God! I hope that everyone else in that adventure made it home safe and sound!
When I got home and settled, I indulged in one of my favorite treats!