Sunday, July 1, 2012

A memorable trip!

I write this from the Comfort Inn in Richmond Virginia after a good night's sleep. After the most taxing, frustrating amazing drive we have ever had to the Outer Banks.

We have been there so many times that we no longer consult a map when we plan the trip. We usually stop in Richmond at Chucks sisters home and complete the trip the next day. That was the plan. Our only choice is whether to go south ere 33 to Charleston or east on ere 70. We went south.

Friday night there was a big storm in Columbus and for many people the electricity was out (like Marnie and Kacey) but not for us so we blithely began our trip at 8 am. About an hour in I told chuck I wanted to stop at mcdonalds to get coffee and we kept finding that the restaurants were closed electricity because of the storm.

Then, about 10 miles from west Virginia we were literally stopped in our tracks by a sign that said road closed- both to the east where we were going and to the south. Probably trees on the road. No detour sign, so we got out maps and went north following the rover until finally we got to Parkersburg. We estimated this cost us about 50 miles. There was a long line of people at one gas station in a small town we
Assed, but we were confident because we had a full tank of gas and we were heading south.

As we kept going to Parkersburg, charleston, beckley still no coffee for me because no electricity anywhere. But I kept thinking that we are going south and soon there will be some. Chuck is getting more and more nervous as our gas tank is emptying.
Once we were at a quarter tank we started trying to go off the highway and we wou
D see the tell tcale signs of nonworking traffic lights and have to turn back to the highway. Driving, me hopeful, chuck increasingly anxious. It was when the yellow light came on that I began to worry. More trips off the highway to no avail. Finally at exit 139 off rye 64 we saw a sign for Citgo gas and knew this was it. Either we would get gas there or stay there and wIt. What we had seen along the way was people just stopped at gas stations waiting. That would be us.

Amazingly, they did have gas because they had a generator. And a little store selling food and a bathroom. We waited about 45 minutes and felt enormous relief to have gotten the gas tank filled. Enormous relief. They only took cash, but I brought plenty and so, blessed. There were people working and organizing all of us travelers too. Itmwas amazing. I heard stories of other people who waited in p,aces where people were less organized and fighting. This was great.

So we continued on our way. Marnie and Erik and the girls were also going to Richmond. They left 2 hours after us and we were able to warn them not to go the way we went. They were now running out of gas so we told them about exit 139, tueymwere in line and then I mentioned that they only took cash and they had one dollar with them. They left from their house with no electricity and expected to use an ATM which was not working..
At this point we were 40 miles down the road and so we turned around and came back to where they were waiting in
Ine- the line was even longer for them and we delivered the cash. She did give me a bag of cheese doodles, so it was a fair trade. :). Anyway, enormous relief that they were going to be able to continue.

So we we ton our way and after about a hundred more miles found another gas station and by this tome was actually able to charge gas.

Meanwhile in Richmond we got word from chucks sister that THEY were without electricity and so through text and phone calls to Audrey in Lynchburg (also without electricity!)we were able to get a motel here.

Then we got word through his sister that another storm was coming to Richmond just as we were 9 pm. So the final leg of the trip was me driving in lightening and rain and trying to find this comfort inn. Truly an exhausting day and yet.....
Grateful for those wonderful people who enabled us to get the gas
Grateful for my daughters who worked together
Grateful for a great book on tape that enabled chuck and I to be distracted for hours
Grateful, grateful, grateful

It could have been so much worse and after all, we are going on vacation

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