Continued from Weathering the Storm…
There we were. Sitting on an overpass that was now an island. We couldn’t go back. We couldn’t go either way on I-95 either. So it was either sleep on the overpass or continue on.
Just over the overpass, the road split. A policeman standing outside his vehicle at the fork, was trying his best to direct people who stopped for help. We stopped to see which was the best way to go. He didn’t know. He simply said he would have to be heading back into Lumberton soon (via the route we had just come) or he was concerned he wouldn’t be able to get back in due to how fast the water was rising.
We had found a hotel room in Pinehurst, so we opted for the route to the right. By this time is was dark. As we headed down the road, we almost hit a tree hanging in the road with power lines still dangling. We made our way around it and continued on – albeit at a much slower pace than before. I was trying to navigate us on my phone – trying to keep us away from any rivers, lakes, or streams as I knew they’d all have the risk of flooding out the road. We went through another small town and were diverted around it by the local police – more flooding.
Not long afterwards we came upon some teenage boys pulled over on the side of the road. It appeared that their car had broken down, so we slowed down to see what had happened. They motioned and yelled that there was lots of water up ahead. Apparently they had just come through it. My stomach clenched with the memory of our most recent brush with flood waters, but we had no choice but to continue on – cautiously. I think what made it more nerve racking was the darkness because you couldn’t see what might be coming up down the road. Power was out all around so there were no street lights, traffic lights, or light coming from houses along the road. We were on two lane country roads in southern North Carolina and we might as well have been on the moon.
We eventually did run into the water the boys had mentioned, but it wasn’t near as deep as what we’d encountered leaving Lumberton. The drive from Lumberton to Pinehurst hat would normally have taken a little over an hour, took the better part of eight hours. Each step of the way we had to watch for water coming over the road, downed trees, and/or downed power lines. Soon we came upon two semi-trucks stopped in the road. It appeared the drivers were standing on the road in the beam of their headlights having a discussion.
At first it didn’t seem clear what they were doing, but soon we saw the subject of their discussion. A huge pine tree was laying across the road at a 45 degree angle. The only thing that kept it from falling were the limbs of several other trees on the other side of the road. It soon became evident that the truck drivers were trying to figure out if their rigs would make it under the tree. Here we were, in the dark in the middle of nowhere North Carolina, on a two lane back road and there was a traffic jam. We finally decided to give it a go. Needless to say we didn’t tarry long as we passed beneath the tree and over some power lines. We’d cleared our last hurdle for the day….unfortunately though, it wasn’t the last hurdle of the vacation from hell….
Cover image courtesy of nbcnews.com
To be continued…