Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rita & the Smiths - timeline

Thursday; 9/22/2005
4:00 a.m. – the wife, the daughter and my in-laws pull our four cars out of our driveway in northeast Baytown, TX and head out as a caravan for Duncan, OK

11:35 a.m. – we pull out of Dayton, TX (about 20 miles from Baytown) for Liberty, TX; no gas to be had in Dayton

2:20 p.m. – turn out of Liberty and head toward Livingston, TX; no gas to be had in Liberty

6:35 p.m. – arrive in Rye, TX; virtually the first time we've driven faster than idle; no gas to be found along the way

8:35 p.m. – having searched in vain in for gas all along the way, we head for Lufkin, TX

Midnight – pull off the side of the highway to rest; we're exhausted, but hopeful the traffic will unclog during the night
Friday; 9/23/2005
midnight till 4:30 a.m. – family sleeps a bit while I stand watch

4:30 a.m. – continue driving toward Lufkin; the traffic is actually worse / slower than the night before

6:30 a.m. – pull off the road virtually out-of-gas have driven less than 1 mile (.8) in the past 2 hours; we're one mile south of Corrigan, TX on Hwy.59

6:30 a.m. until about 5:00 p.m. – I walk to/from Corrigan, TX several times ferrying water and searching (in vain) for gas or assistance

About 5:00 p.m. – TX DOT tanker fuels us up just after the highway is cleared (traffic was diverted east, we're told) and we head toward Crockett, TX on Hwy.287 at highway speed (yipee!)

Early evening – Brant Wheeler and Bubba & Tammy Gray, coming all the way from Carrollton, TX (located on the north edge of Dallas!) rendezvous with us southeast of Palestine, TX and supply us with enough gasoline to get us to OK and with food aplenty; we head out for Palestine and beyond sometime before dusk
Saturday; 9/24/2005
midnight - our four car caravan gets separated while driving through Ft. Worth and we spend an hour, perhaps two, trying to reconnect and find our way again; finally link back up with each other at the Wise County, TX line on Hwy. 287

3:33 a.m. – turn off the ignition having finally arrived in Duncan, OK
Thus, what is typically a 7 hour trip for us required a total of 47 hours and 33 minutes during the evacuation for Hurricane Rita. From start to finish we followed "to the letter" all the directions / commands given to us by the authorities (TX Highway Patrol, TX DOT, etc.).