20 March 2008

8+

"Homecoming" by Green Day which clocks in at 9:19

We're pretty lucky. Lucky to have arrived home safely (from our journey down to South by Southwest and back) last night after three days of some of the worst driving conditions either of us has ever faced. We figured it was that our timing was simply unfortunate in regards to leaving Kansas City on Monday to drive back to New York; yes, it turns out this was true. Perhaps it was that cursed table we sat at* in Austin? Whatever the cause, we drove with a massive storm the entire way back. It made each hour of driving seem like four hours. But still, we were never quite aware of the enormity of the peril we were right in the middle of. Pretty stupid - a couple of American idiots driving through the rain like that. You see, sitting here now (safe and sound, back at home watching the news), it turns out this storm was a LOT worse than we could've ever imagined.

The Washington Post explains:

    Flooding across the central part of the country over the past three days has killed at least 13 people and forced thousands to evacuate. And the worst may be yet to come as rivers approach record levels in the next few days.

    Rain has fallen continuously in the Midwest since Monday, dumping more than a foot of water in some regions. National Weather Service flood warnings and advisories cover much of Ohio, Indiana, northern Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, eastern Oklahoma and northeastern Texas.

    In Kentucky, a weather-related traffic accident killed five people Wednesday. In Texas, a teenager was swept down a drainage pipe Tuesday. In Arkansas, at least three vehicles were swept away by water Wednesday. In Missouri, a state Transportation Department worker was killed Tuesday by a tractor-trailer while setting up flood barriers, three people perished with vehicles caught in rushing water, and a teenager was found dead in the water.
These are the conditions we foolishly traveled through on our way home. There are more pictures, and details, after the jump...


Monday: On our first day after SXSW we headed to Kansas City to have our fourth of four scheduled BBQ meals, this time with Skatterman & Snug Brim. The BBQ, and company, were excellent. The weather, however, was not. It rained (heavily) the entire time. We could barely see Kansas City through the rain and fog. After lunch we decided to alter our itinerary and hit the road to get a head start on getting home through the rain. Bad idea?

We made it from Kansas City through St. Louis to Highland, IL in around six hours. The driving was arduous, the visibility was near zero. See above, that's the St. Louis Gateway Arch. I think. Vancina held strong; we decided to stop for the night and hit the road in the morning. Unfortunately it was past 10pm by the time we stopped. The only restaurant we could find open was Applebee's - it was our second journey to America's Neighborhood Grill and Bar® on our EF Tour'08. The first time was novel and fun and silly: we got Ultimate Trios and large beers. This time was different. We were exhausted and grumpy. Begrudgingly, I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with iced tea. Yum. Ideally we'd be avoiding similar eating and driving conditions the next day.

Tuesday: No such luck. If anything, conditions were getting worse the more time we spent in the middle of this massive storm. We awoke on Tuesday morning and set out for home once again. The goal was to make it all the way to Pittsburgh and we got pretty close. In all, it took us about 11 hours to get from Highland, IL to Washington, PA. Our view for the whole day looked like the above photo: rain, big trucks, bad visibility. Upon arriving in Washington we celebrated our safety by getting Applebees for the third (yuck) time on this trip. Turns out there are very few options for dining in this country at 10:30pm on a weeknight. Can you guess what I ordered?

Wednesday: We faced (perhaps) the worst conditions of the entire trip late Tuesday night into Wednesday because two new elements were added to the mixture of rain, wind, fog, and 18 wheelers: mountains and the city. At first it was dealing with the winding up and down mountain roads in parts of Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Then it was the extra traffic and urban conditions in and around New York City. The above picture best illustrates what we saw (not much) during these harrowing hours. White knuckle driving the whole way. Thankfully we're both competent drivers. Thankfully Vancina is a warrior. Thankfully we had lots of good music, red bull, and sunflower seeds to keep our minds sharp. Luckily we made it the entire way (in about 7 hours too, great time) without an incident of any kind.

It's nice to be home.

NO MORE APPLEBEE'S, NO MORE RAIN.

*the cursed table story goes like this: we went to some Tex Mex place in Austin last Friday night and sat and waited. We waited for over 20 minutes before anyone would even acknowledge us. The waitress who finally did looked, and moved, like your standard Igor. She took our order and then another waitress hobbled over to our table and proceeded to spill a tray of six full water glasses (and a pitcher, all glass) all over me and our table. Glass shattered everywhere. Our food then arrived quickly, but cold, and it took forever to get our check on the way out. Nobody ever even bothered to clean up the shattered glass all over me, my bag, and our table. It was as if we were seated in the one spot of the restaurant where nobody ever dared go. Cursed table: cause of the great Midwestern Flood of '08?

Buy American Idiot on Amazon.

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
Billy Bragg - "Joe Hill"
Van Halen - "Year to the Day"
Kraftwerk - "The Telephone Call"
Neutral Milk Hotel - "Oh Comely"
George Gershwin - “Rhaphsody in Blue"
Múm - "Smell Memory"
Tool - "Lateralus"
Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks - "Real Emotional Trash"

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.

4 comments:

ARTIFACT said...

Welcome back, great homey coverage of the whole affair. I'm glad your both safe!!

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