June 23, 2008

Seeing the Flood First Hand

Most of you reading this probably watch the news, or at least read the paper, on a regular basis. Doing so, you would have seen pictures and news stories about the extensive flooding going on in Iowa.
Malcolm and I have been aware of the flooding, heard stories from friends who drove through the state, and seen a few pictures as we have walked by TV's at truck stops. However, we haven't seen a lot of the news coverage. We just new it was really bad.
Well yesterday we drove through Iowa. We came out of Council Bluffs on I-80 and about 50 miles east of Des Moines, we got off on a side road heading north. We had seen along the way where the water had been over the interstate in places, where corn fields were still large shallow lakes, and other damages done in places, but nothing major. However, we were not off the interstate 5 miles before we were taking a detour because of a washed out bridge, and immediatly started wondering if it was going to be worth it to save a few miles. Perhaps we should have taken the longer route with more interstate driving.
The detour wasn't too bad, though narrow in one place. And we got to drive through the Amana Colonies (look it up online, it was interesting) and that was neat. I looked them up after we stopped to see what they were. Its 7 little towns that were started by a religious group from Germany in the 1840's. They practiced communal living and continued to do so until the 1930's. I was surprised they lasted that long. Anyway....I got off track.
So we were winding through the beautiful Iowa country side and Malcolm was tired so he went and layed down. I was driving and he hadn't been laying down 5 minutes before I crested a hill, took a gasp, and yelled for him to come up.

He had told me I was going to be driving through a town, but I hadn't realized that it was going to be that big of a town,. What I was looking at was downtown Cedar Rapids and piles and piles and piles of garbage thrown out on the sidewalks. I'm sure you've seen the pictures on the news, because at lunch today we saw Cedar Rapids being featured on Headline News. We drove right through the heart of down town, or what was left of it. I can't begin to tell you what it was like...other than heart breaking. Malcolm quickly jumped into the driver seat and took over because all the traffic lights were out, and we didn't know what we might encounter in the down town area. As it turned out it was a smooth drive through, but oh so sad. There was a stack of about 50 computers in front of one building. Another had piled up sofas. I could go on and on. The water mark on the buildings was high. I just couldn't imagine a city like that flooding. All you ever see flooded are these little "back woods" towns. But this was like looking at a miniatre of downtown Chattanooga.
Malcolm stayed up after that and we both did some sight seeing. We came to Dubuque, IA and saw a huge barge half sunk in the middle of the river and leaning against the bridge support. We stopped and ate and then finished the last 50 miles to our destination in Milton, WI. Along the way we had to take another detour because the bridge in that town was nearly underwater. It was dark, but the city lights illuminated the water and I could see it just barely below the cement of the roadway. Once we crossed the river, our road was closed, so we had to continue on another route, but it worked out ok.
In the end, we probably would have made better time staying on the interstate, but I was glad we got to see the damages firsthand. As we sat at lunch today and watched the news, well I feel silly admitting to it, but I almost teared up looking at the pictures of Cedar Rapids. It was something else to see what we had seen on Headline news. I just can't see how a town gets over something like that.
Malcolm's sister has a friend that lives in Oakville, IA whose dog kennels washed away and last I heard, she had gone to look at her house from a hillside and it was standing in water and leaning to one side. Rachelle told me yesterday that the whole town is destroyed.

Today we are on our way to Jefferson, WI to load in the morning. I guess things up here are bad off too. We're having to take a detour because many of the roads in Jefferson County are closed do to bridges being washed out.
Nothings washed away in Montana yet, that I know of, but we've had rainy day after rainy day and its so wierd. It seems like the weather patterns are just so messed up. No rain for so long, and then we're drowing in it, and I guess Iowa and other areas are having the same experience. You just don't know what to expect anymore.

Sunday morning we were driving through eastern Nebraska. It was beautiful (its my third favorite state in the country). You know those long sprinkler systems on wheels that farmers use in their fields? I don't have a picture to show you or I would, but I think most people are probably somewhat familiar with what I'm talking about. Well we probably drove for 20 minutes or more and those sprinkler's had been turned on their sides, disconected and twisted around for miles and miles. There was also a barn that had the roof blown off and a grain bin that was crushed, as well as a number of trees torn apart. There must have been a tornado or some incredible wind there recently.

Well thats my news to share today. We're loading in the morning heading for somewhere in Oklahoma. Somehow, and correct me if I've got my geography wrong, I don't think Oklahoma is in route to eastern Montana. Am I right? Well, we were here all day before we got this load, so I guess there's not much to be had. I'll just be greatful we got a load, and trust our broker to get us home as soon as he can. Hopefully thats going to be sooner than later.


jenni said...

So sad - I can't even imagine. I don't think I could stay and deal with it.

Meag said...

Wow. I can't imagine seeing it firsthand. That is heartbreaking!