Edit: This post originally appeared on my Blogspot blog.
Fourteen hours. One hundred eighty-six miles. The news footage made it look crazy. It was. Truth be told, Melina and I were lucky. We didn’t run out of gas (thanks to the diesel VW). We didn’t break down (but we did loose our air conditioning). We actually made it to where we wanted to go. Lots of people ended up turning around, or were in car accidents or worse.
Fortunately for everyone, Rita didn’t do much to the Houston area. There was a lot of wind which knocked down power lines, but other damage around us is minimal. I’m glad we left though. The campus well was without power for four days, which meant that even though our house had electricity, we wouldn’t have had water. The four days we spent in Seguin with friends were restful and calm.
I do have to say that while I have no respect for the Department of Homeland Security, I think that the Texas DOT and City of Houston did the best they could. The whole situation was a mess, but the really amazing thing is that the fourth largest city in the United States was evacuated with a minimal cost of life and hardship. There was no rioting in the streets. People on the highway were friendly (something you don’t often see on Houston highways). As terrible as it was, people kept things more or less orderly.
Yes, it could have been better. But on the other hand, it could have been much, much worse.