Monday, July 2, 2012

Uh Oh Derecho....

Fred cruised with the Princess and me to Ashland and the Chick-fil-a cruise held every Friday evening.  This cruise is sponsored by the Chick-fil-a that is owned by Howe Rice.  They graciously provide a food discount for all owners and one passenger of vehicles that attend the cruise.  The food is great and Diane helps make the dining experience so much better.  Patronizing this sponsor is an easy thing to do….and in July they will start selling their peach milk shakes.  You cannot resist….you will be assimilated…..try one!
The heat was oppressive and the attendance reflected that….only about 15 vehicles showed up by the time we left around 8:30.  When we left we cruised north for home and the closer we got to Stafford the more lightning we saw.  As we turned off I-95 onto Garrisonville Rd. the sky just lit up….it was awesome and frightening at the same time.  It was much more than normal heat lightning….something violent was coming our way.  We got the truck in the garage and I was getting the bugs off of it and unloading the cooler when the wind started howling…. I closed one of the garage doors and looked around the back of the garage and the lightning and wind was rapidly approaching!  It got darker and nosier even though it was already night time, about 10 PM.  Then the rain & wind started pummeling the trees….stripping leaves and acorns off.  I closed the garage up and went inside….a few minutes later the power went off….and would not come back on for 8 hours!  We have two oak trees and the acorns coming off sounded like hail when it hit our skylight and aluminum window awnings.  The neighbors would tell us later that one of our trees in the front yard was blowing over from side to side; they knew it would be broken off or ripped out of the ground!  Neither happened fortunately for us but the devastation was massive in the area and state.  The Governor has issued a “State of Emergency” and three days later the power is still off in many places!  The storm was called a Derecho storm, like a horizontal tornado….I never heard of anything like that.  The next day, Saturday, the power was off at many food places and gasoline dispensing stores.  And by Sunday the gas stations that had power and were open were running out of gasoline!  Long lines like the gas extortion of the 70’s were replaying in my mind as I waited in a line for 45 min to buy 5 gallons of gas for our generator.  The weather guessers were saying we might be visited by storms again each night for a few days!
Sunday we had planned an event in Amissville, VA for the last six months and we had to try to follow through.  Those of us that had power cranked up and cruised to the event at Narmada Winery.  We had planned a vehicle display to complement the weekend event at the Winery that day.  We had invited 20 vehicles but many were calling to cancel because they were dealing with the effects of the storm.  Six vehicles showed up and we made the best of it for our charity, Fisher House.  The heat was too much for one couple so they left for home and their A/ move!   THE Princess and the ‘other’ Princess started sampling the wine slushies inside the winery…. she said it was nice inside and she wanted to stay longer! An Irish/Cherokee is not easily negotiated with when slushied to the max.  She said the wine was just like her truck, purple.  It’s a good thing she had a driver….
It was stiflingly hot but we set up and started interacting with the spectators and in the process collected $100 in donations for Fisher House.  But more importantly we raised awareness to the concerns of our warriors.  It’s what we do!  We decided to call the event early….Did I mention that it was really hot.  We presented one of the owners of the Winery with an appreciation plaque and packed up for home.  Given the effects of the storm it was extraordinary that anyone could get out….trees were down everywhere and people without power numbered above 100K.  But we pressed on and followed through with what we could….it’s what we do!
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