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We love to drive and love to see what the roads and the weather on the road have in store for us. Every day is a new adventure. We have seen so many animals, flooding, tornadoes, bad thunderstorms, dust storms, earthquakes, snow storms, ice storms, wind storms, and the most beautiful scenery ever. And we have also seen the worst destruction from natural and man-made disasters. We have watched the rebuilding of towns as well.
Mother Nature Can Be Destructive
We have seen tornadoes that went through and leveled some towns and ripped homes from the foundations, leaving nothing but an empty pad or hole where the basement was. The shops, hospitals, schools, and stores gone. There were cars, farm equipment, farm animals, trees that were ripped out of the ground and have torpedoed into buildings and houses like a knife thrown at a piece of wood. It can pick up farm equipment like a person picking up a piece of paper off the floor and toss it miles down the road.
You Can’t Beat The Weather On The Road
It is a wake up call to know that you are not invincible. You are a speck in this world that can be taken out by mother nature in a second. It was a scary and amazing thing to see. Why amazing? Because this is the power of mother nature; you can not control this. You have to ride out the storm and pray the whole time that you will be spared and will make it home to see your family again. Some will not. It is humbling. We have driven through some of the towns in Kansas when a tornado went through and destroyed the whole town. And, we have watched people come out after these storms and look around to find loved ones, neighbors, and pets. We watched as buildings were rebuilt, and families were helping each other to heal.
I had my brother out with us one summer and we were headed to Las Vegas. As we were driving through Gallup, NM, we watched a tornado form and touchdown off in the distance. It is amazing to see and terrifying at the same time.
Even Animals Know When Something Is Coming
My husband and I were in Iowa shut down one time and our dachshund started to get really restless. It was storming out, so we figured it was the storm that was making her upset. Knowing a little about the barometric pressure and animals, and seeing the way the weather was getting worse, I said to my husband that maybe we should go, so we left and stopped in Ohio for our pick up following day. We found out on the news that the place we were staying in Iowa was hit with an F2 tornado. I thank my dog for her persistent whining that night.
Thunderstorms that are severe enough to spawn a tornado are nothing to joke about, especially if you are in a vehicle. Some will say you can out run them, don’t rely on that. They can spawn multiple tornadoes anywhere. Some are wrapped in rain clouds and you don’t even know they are there until it hits you. They just drop out of the sky, hidden on the other side of hills,, and you don’t know until you run into them.
Visibility? What Visibility?
The sky turns black as night and you can’t see the end of your hood. Sticks, limbs, rocks, sand, and anything else the wind picks up will hit your vehicle, break windows, push you over, and can pick up your vehicle. How do I know this? It happened to me in Myrtle Beach. Yup, I was so lucky. I was in my personal car with my kids when the tornado formed in the field on the other side of the road. I didn’t realize what was happening until the wind started pushing the Jeep. Then it got so dark, and things were hitting the Jeep, my kids were screaming, and we were being pushed around in the road. I thought my windows were going to get smashed.
Just as quick as the sky turned black it started to lighten up and the street came into view. It was scary. The stop lights were knocked down and I remember thinking afterward about how big they actually are. My kids were crying and the street was covered in debris. We were in the opposite lane, and the wind was so intense that it blew my jeep into the other lane. Tornadoes are nothing to sneeze at. It is so intense and terrifying.
Water, Water Everywhere…
Water is another destructive force that is not to be underestimated. It can take out homes, vehicles, houses, mountain sides, and lives. It does not discriminate. I have seen the flooding of people’s homes and the rising waters scooping up everything in its path. So much debris in the water can take out roads and bridges. Don’t be a statistic and stay away from the flood waters.
With a tractor trailer loaded driving at 65 mph, I hit a pool of water on the freeway just before a bridge. Thank God I slowed down a little before I hit it. It slid me to the other side of the road. In the rain, when you are driving a car, it is easy to hydroplane. In a tractor trailer, you can do the same thing no matter how much weight you have in the trailer. The faster you go in the rain, the lighter your tractor and trailer become. Slow down in the rain. Better to be safe than sorry later.
You CAN Hydroplane In A Big Truck
That’s another thing drivers will tell you out here. “Oh, I have 45 thousand pounds in the box, I will be fine.” UM nope….. Tell that to all the drivers that have ended up in the median, or smashed into another vehicle because they thought they had enough weight in the box to stop them and make them stick to the road.
With all the rain comes the hill sides and mountain sides that slide down, rocks and boulders fall onto the roadway. I have never been in any kind of landslide, but I have seen the aftermath of one. It’s not pretty, had to take the long way around. I can not imagine what that must be like.
There’s Nothing Like Thunder And Lightning
Good ole fashion thunderstorms are awesome. With the rain beating down on the truck when you are stopped for the night is soothing. The thunder is so loud sometimes it will scare the crap out of you, but there is something very soothing about it all when you are stopped at a truck stop. When you are driving, though, it can blind you when it flashes and if you are lucky enough to have lightning strike an overhead sign while you are just getting to the sign it is a sight to see. Sparks fly everywhere….. and the light that it produces reminds me of someone welding. It is that bright.
When the sound comes through and you are not expecting it because the light show has got your attention, you will let out a little scream or jump a little in your seat. I had this happen when I was driving through Nashville a few years ago. When it strikes a tree and pieces fly into the road is a little nerve wracking.
It Can Get A Lil’ Dusty
Dust storms are really amazing and deadly. Going through Arizona and southern California, you will get a lot of dust storms. You can see them coming for miles. When you get to them, it can be deadly. Some have been so bad that you really can not see 10 feet in front of you. That is when you really need to pay attention. You don’t know who is coming at you or stopped in front of you. Much caution is needed for this. If you can pull into a truck stop and wait until it passes, then you really should. If not, then do NOT stop on the road if you can help it.
Winds in the desert will cause dust devils. What a sight to see. Some can be absolutely enormous, like tornadoes, and can cause you to flip over. I have had a strong dust devil hit me from the side and pick the trailer a little off the ground. Hang on to the wheel when going through the areas that have them. They can still cause havoc with your driving.
California Is A Weather System All It’s Own
The Santa Ana winds kick up you might as well find a spot for the night. Those are really rough. Speaking of California, the first earthquake my husband ever had the pleasure of experiencing was when we were in Riverside, California. The funniest thing I have ever seen him do. We were laying in the bunk and I could hear low rumbling then a bang and the truck started shaking.
Tom: “Someone just hit our truck.” (as he is climbing out of bed)
Me: ( giggling) “Honey have you ever felt an earthquake?”
(I have been through so many as a child I knew what it was.)
Tom: “NO. was that one?”
Tom: “Are you F-ng kidding me?” ( as he is looking around for a different place to park)
He had to move the truck because he didn’t want to be near anything if it happened. The following day we had pickups in Los Angeles, as we were headed that way we had to go over some really high overpasses and i just happened to say “Gee, sure hope this bridge holds up.” Well, he looked and me and told me to shut my mouth…. I thought it was funny but he didn’t. He doesn’t like heights.
If you are one of the lucky people that love to drive and do this for a living. Don’t get into the almighty rat race. You are doing things and going places that not a lot of people get to see and do. Slow down and look around. Enjoy this profession, you get to see the United States and not pay out of pocket for it. Love it….