In Newton Kansas, where many good Mennonite boys and girls went to college, we had a nice sleep thinking our weather troubles were over. Then we made the mistake of listening to the weather channel. I actually woke up thinking it was not necessary. What more could happen?
As soon as we listened to the weather channel we heard about another storm coming our way. It had already dropped huge amounts of snow in Arizona and New Mexico. How was that possible? The newscasters warned of dire results in and around Oklahoma City, exactlywhere we were bound!
I was shocked. It also seemed that there was trouble everywhere and there was no place to hide. As a result we seriously considered hunkering down again. We had a fine hotel that was very comfortable. A couch and a comfortable reading chair. Why would we venture out into a storm? We wanted to heed the advice of Barack Obama–“Don’t do stupid stuff!” I had already done enough of that. Yet the broadcasters had said the storm would last for 2 days! That meant we would have to spend 2 days in the hotel.
Yet it looked very clear outside. It seemed like only a sissy would stop. We decided to get back on the Interstate toward Oklahoma City about 2 hours away or less. I really figured we would not make it past Oklahoma City. Our thinking was that even if we drove for only 2 hours before shutting down, that might help later in making it to Arizona when the storm was over. The extra 2 hours might make it easier to make it to San Tan Valley in 2 days. Otherwise, if we stayed, we might take 3 days to reach our home. We promised ourselves we could keep an eye on the weather and stop as soon as we encountered bad weather. So we drove right into the storm. So we thought.
That was one of the best decisions we made on this trip. Finally a good decision! We had no problems getting to Oklahoma City. In fact, much to our surprise we had no problems all day. It turned out there was a very bad storm, as we had been warned, but we got past Oklahoma City and headed west on Interstate 40, beforeit arrived and it had already done its damage in New Mexico and Northern Arizona where we were going. This time luck was with us. It was weird perfecttiming. We figured we deserved this luck after Watertown South Dakota. All day we worried about a storm that we just narrowly managed to avoid.
Later we met people in Arizona who had driven through the storm that did reach Oklahoma City and were told it was horrendous. We had already done horrendous, so were grateful we did not have to do horrendous twice.
We were very happy we did not chicken out early in the morning as we were tempted to do. Had we done that we would have been stuck in a hotel in Newton Kansas for 48 hours.
We reached as far as Tucumcari New Mexico where we packed it in. I read in the paper that a couple of days ago, I-40 was closed on account of the storm. This was the storm we had just missed. Hundreds of cars were stranded in the ditch and in town. All 1,200 rooms in the local hotels were taken. A local First Baptist church offered shelter to 200 people and all the spaces there were taken. The Knights of Columbus took in 40 more stranded people.
The next day we drove along I-40 and saw hundreds of tire tracks in the ditches clearly showing where cars had slid into the ditch or meridian. A number of highway tractors were lying on their sides in the ditches, like huge dead insects. Many guardrails were destroyed. All of this was rather disconcerting. This storm had been serious. We had been lucky.
I was convinced this was a reward for years of righteous living.