I am home safely, after some harrowing moments on the road.
Greg wasn’t feeling well today so we delayed our start from Joplin. We stopped in Fredonia to get gas, only to discover they didn’t have any due to last week’s flooding. Well, we needed gas and found some at the other station in town. They were out of regular, but had some premium at Casey’s General Store. I have to give them credit – they were charging the same price for both although they could have been gouging customers. As we were turning the corner leaving town, we saw the Casey’s gas truck turning toward the station.
We could tell we were driving into a storm by the look of the sky. Eventually the rain started but it wasn’t too heavy.
Then, somewhere along the way we spotted emergency vehicles ahead. While we were trying to figure out why they had traffic stopped on the other side of the road, but not on our side we found ourselves approaching a low place covered with water – lots of water. I was going highway speeds – too fast to slow down by that point – so I plowed through it. Fortunately, no harm done.
I stopped to ask the patrol woman if it was safe ahead. She asked how we got through the water. I told her I didn’t see it in time. She asked how deep it was and I had no idea – it had been a bit of a surprise – obviously. If you’re going to stop traffic, you need to do it BOTH directions.
So, we kept going and a few miles down the road saw an even larger amount of water across the road. There were no emergency vehicles – we noticed it when we saw the wall of water being thrown up on either side by the oncoming traffic that also wasn’t expecting it.
I got stopped before we got to it and watched a couple more vehicles come through. There was an SUV on the shoulder on our side across the water. We watched a big truck come through throwing water 20-30 feet in the air.
I said to Greg, “I’m scared.” We were discussing what to do when I looked over to the left and saw the water literally rising by the moment. I mean it was barely at the edge of the road and in the blink of an eye a foot of the roadway was covered and in another blink it was three feet over it.
We saw the guy on the other side turn around and head our way so we watched his approach and then another car coming from the other direction.
I looked to the edge again and realized the water was now over more than half the road. We certainly couldn’t stay where we were. So, without waiting for the ripples to subside from the last vehicle we went through.
Fortunately, we were OK. But the experience took a little bit off my life. It was scary. But I didn’t know what else to do. We couldn’t stay where we were and I knew that a short way behind us it was already impassable – and we had watched people go through this, so we did. And we were OK. But it was not a fun experience.
If we had delayed another 10 minutes anywhere we’d be sitting on the highway now, or washed off into the field or creek.
By the way… it’s NOT normal for it to be flooding in Kansas in July.