When I saw this photo posted this morning about the flooding on the interstates and other roads in the Phoenix valley, my first thought was, “What a bunch of idiots.” After all, I have only lived here three months and I already have seen this site more times than I would have liked. Then I got to thinking…….
It wasn’t all that long ago when a friend of mine was out riding around the back dirt roads of Michigan on a Saturday night. A favorite pastime back then. Dirt roads and a six-pack of beer. Oh, don’t go freaking out, this was long before Mad Mothers. This was when friends didn’t let friends drive drunk, ALONE. We would get drunk and go with them. I’m not saying in any means that was the way to live, but we did and some of us actually lived to tell the stories.
Anyway, it was in the springtime and we had a lot of rain that year. Ditches and fields had plenty of snow melt off, plus the rain. The fields and ditches were full and in many cases water was standing in the roads just like in the photo above. We were riding along, when the headlights of the old 1958 Chevy shinned on nothing but water ahead. My friend barely got the car stopped in time, the front tires standing in muddy water. He looked at me and said, “I think we can make it.” I’m looking at the photo above and wondering if those people thought the same thing?
We started easing into the water and within a few feet, we heard water being spit out of the tail pipe from the engine’s exhaust. Bloop, bloop, bloop. Not a good sign. I was grabbing things off the floor board and scrambling to get my feet up into the seat. Water was coming through the doors and we just kept slowly moving forward. 1958 cars have fairly large transmission humps in the floor boards but this one was not high enough. Soon we had water running over the hump. I was sure we were doomed.
Surrounded by water, we slowly made our way out of the small pond that was stretched the dark road. How that old car kept running I will never know. Maybe it was fate, so that some day I could recall the crazy time when we drove through way too much standing water. The local TV stations here all say, “Turn around, don’t drown.” I do remember thinking we should turn around that night so many years ago but we didn’t. Do I drive through standing water now? NOPE! That sound of water running up the tail pipe of the car taught me a lesson.
In my defense, I have to say this was long before there were any local morning television shows reporting road conditions. I will also say, having seen how fast water rises here in the valley, things might be just fine when these people left home and a few minutes into their drive, all the streets are filling with water. I also have to admit, if I was still working I would have been going to work this morning also. I have been known to drive to work when the interstates in Michigan were closed. Dedicated or stupid? Back then it was dedication. Now, just young and dumb.
There have been many other driving stories I could relate from years gone by, some of which I leaned what not to do and other’s, well that’s another story.