excerpt CHAPTER 28 – THE TRUCK

…When church let out, clouds were forming over the mountain foothills, and we thought that we might get rained on a little, but we probably could get ahead, and stay ahead, of any storm. We said goodbyes to our fellow church members, and headed toward home. It was pouring rain and there was a terrific lightning storm along the bypass, which we would have to drive right through. I took a deep breath, turned on the windshield wipers, asked the kids to pray for safety, and headed directly into the worst of it. Visibility was poor, but the truck handled well and traffic was light. As we turned onto the interstate, we could see really dark clouds to the east, and lightening over where our farm lay, 60+ miles to the northeast.
The wipers were doing their job, and the powerful truck cruised along with no worries. As we got to our exit at the town of Byers, 45 miles from the farm, my cell phone rang. A friend was calling to let us know that the area of our farm and south to I-70 was under not only a severe thunderstorm warning – meaning lightening, high winds, torrential rain and hail – but also a tornado warning. We could see the green swirling clouds at this point, despite the blinding, pouring rain.
I turned off the radio and asked the kids to keep quiet so I could concentrate only on driving. I suggested everyone to be praying, and asked my oldest-adopted daughter to watch the sky for any signs of tornadoes. She has observant eyes and I thought she could be on the look-out; it would give her something to do instead of worrying, as I know she does when the going gets rough.
My biggest fear was about how horrible the gravel roads would be. With several inches of rain, they would be so slippery and soft that driving would be treacherous even with 4WD. We turned on Hank’s Crossing, where the gravel began, and could see water was not only standing in huge puddles on the road, but was flowing in the barrow ditches along the road. It even crossed the road, flooding it with rushing water at the low spots. My son hopped out and locked the wheel hubs, I shifted into 4W Low, and we began the longest hour and a half I’ve ever spent driving.
From Hank’s Crossing to our front door is 25 miles of gravel road which usually takes 30 minutes on dry, hard roads, driving at the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. With up to a half inch of rain, we can normally go about 35-40 miles per hour, and make it home in under an hour. With 2-3 inches of rain, we might as well get a hotel room. The problem is, there are no decent hotel rooms to be had in that desolate part of eastern Colorado. So, there was no turning back, no going around, just forging ahead. My son and I agreed it was the only thing we could do—we must head right into that horrible storm, on roads that were washing out every minute, with all my most precious cargo and I praying our hearts out.
I called my good friend, who is my main prayer warrior, and asked her to pray, explaining the situation. She said she had already been praying as she, too, had heard the storm warning for our area. I took several deep breaths, and pressed the accelerator, praying as I did. My third-born son, bless his heart, was sitting shotgun and had to listen to me expressing my worries out loud, crying out to the Lord to have mercy on us, to show me what to do, how to do it, and keep me on the road and out of the ditch. He coached me the whole way: “Mom, you can do it!” “Mom, a little to the left.” “Mom, a little slower.” “Mom, you’re doing great!” “Mom, watch out for the water flooding over the road here.” Calmly, steadily, across more than a dozen completely flooded-out crossings, he talked to me, prayed with me, encouraged me. I was alternately crying, praising the Lord, yelling for mercy, and laughing with success as we drove through water up to our high wheel wells, staying on the center of the road, slipping but not sliding into the ditches. That 25 miles was like an eternity….