8/09/2007

Riding Into a Storm

My cell phone buzzed several times in the morning with weather alerts. Big storm headed for the Washington, DC area.

Our car was packed and ready for out four plus hour drive to Pittsburg, PA to attend the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival. When Jim finished seeing his patients about noon he wrote patient notes and I finished a bit of paperwork and we were ready to leave by 1:30 pm. We headed out. Skies were bright. We assured ourselves we were driving away from bad weather.

Well, that's what we hoped. When we entered the PA Turpike it began to rain, not a soft rain, a hard driving, blinding torrent
Slowed we continued on. The long Allegheny Tunnel was a relief - we could see where we were going. Sortly after emerging from the tunnel we stopped at a service plaza for a Starbucks, a break, and to get some gas.

Jim turned the driving over to me. I saw lightning ripping the sky ahead, over and over and over, Sharp jagged lines flashing across the skies. We plugged on for another forty minutes and then the rain stopped and the skies cleared around us and ahead as well. We thought we had weathered the storm.

When we rode into Pittsburgh we followed the very specific Mapquest directions to the hotel. I pulled up at the front door.
Jim went in to check-in and pick up a big rolling luggage carrier so we could unload the car. I opened the trunk. Turning around I saw Jim coming toward the car. He was not pushing a luggage carrier. He stopped my "why" with "the hotel doesn't have any power - no air-conditioning and no working elevators." I laughted, "you are kidding."

"no, I am not". Then I noticed that the large double glass doors to the hotel were open, and the lobby beyond was like a dark gaping hole.

The storm had knocked out power all over the city, particularly in this area.

We decided to transfer to a hotel further up the highway for tonight, hoping they would restore the electricity by the next morning.