Nude Atlantis

Memphis blows

Another Spring weekend, another round of tornadoes. And along with those tornadoes has come a torrent of rain. North Memphis is underwater. Houses there all have indoor swimming pools. Roads in south Memphis are washed out. Out here in The Boondocks where Mrs Memphis and I live we discovered washed out roads by trying to drive to the ultimate Southern gathering place - WalMart. We skidded to a stop at the edge of a river roaring past where the road used to be and looked in awe at the rushing waters. Little field mice were frantically swimming past, almost like a scene from an old '70s Disney movie in the days before Walt had died and a bunch of misandric pedophiles bought it and began producing ballbusting porn for children.

Run, Forrest, run!!!

We eventually did make it to WalMart, but not before trying several roads in search of one that wasn't a river. Along the way we noticed that one of our newest neighbors had lost his driveway. He built his house himself and only just moved in early this year. Luckily for him local codes called for him to build on a traditional foundation, elevating his house about 3 feet above the level of his yard. Even his garage is elevated which, at the time, seemed a bit odd. But now with the flood waters having turned his entire lawn into a lake the wisdom of the design is clear. Even so, he and his family are trapped. The driveway is underwater. At the connection of his driveway and the road, there is a ditch which he had to build over. That part of his driveway is washed out, so that he can't get out even when the water recedes.

My house is at the top of a hill, thanks in part to our experiences with our previous house which was at the lowest point on our street and came very close to flooding every time we had heavy rains. I'll never again buy or build a home without first making sure I know where the highest and lowest points in the area are. This massive flooding only reassures me that I'm right about that.

Last night I attempted to drive back to North Alabama, where my job is located on most weeks. I say attempted because I never made it. More than that, I almost didn't make it back home again.

I usually drive part of the way down a highway that takes me from The Boondocks, all the way through Kingdom Come, and down into a major Mississippi City. Yes, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "they have major cities in Mississippi?" Yes, well, it's large relative to the endless array of small towns that I pass through. It's not large relative to a real city like Nashville or Atlanta though.

Speaking of Nashville, it's underwater right now. The weather that has me trapped here at my house due to closed roads moved on past Memphis and flooded Nashville. After pummeling Nashville it has gone on into Georgia which is right this moment experiencing tornadoes.

So, last night, as I was attempting to head to North Alabama I encountered a part of the highway that was clearly underwater. But Tennessee Department of Transportation workers were on the scene, directing us to drive right on through it. I drive a 4x4 truck which sits high up off the ground, but even I had some difficulty driving through the water, mostly due to the fact that I couldn't see where the road was and ended up going partly off the side and into the ditch, which is pure mud. I made it through and assumed that if the Tennessee Department of Transportation was on the scene and directing us to drive through then the rest of the highway further down must be fine. It is higher, for the most part, so I assured myself that this was likely the lowest part of the highway and probably the only part underwater.

30 minutes down the road I discovered that I was wrong.

At the crest of a high hill were orange and white road barricades with flashing lights on them, and 2 trucks. I stopped and got out to ask the workers there how the hell I am supposed to get to the connecting highway I need since I don't know this area and my path is blocked. They said that the road was out ahead (duh) and that I should just take the winding streets off to the north, make a right where the road forks at the store with the gravel parking lot, and keep going until I hit my connecting highway. An old man in a Lexus behind me saw the barricades and turned where the workers had advised me to turn. I hoped he knew the area and began following him.

We passed the fork and the gravel parking lot and made a right just like the workers had said. And then we came to another fork in the road. The Lexus went right, so I went right, too.

I should mention that the fog due to all of this water was the worst I have ever seen. I absolutely could not see anything in front of me beyond the taillights of the Lexus at several points along the way. I was reminded that the driving lights on my brush guard do NOT double as fog lights and I need to yank them off and use their wiring to install a set of fog lights.

We came to another barricade, flashing light, and truck. We both stopped and got out to ask the workers where we were supposed to go. But there were no workers. So I talked to the man.

"I have no idea where I am. I'm basically following you because I'm not familiar with this area."

"I live not far from here, up in Farmville, but I'll be darned if I can figure how to get there. I need the same highway you do. It's not far, but so far all the roads are blocked. Let's go back to the fork in the road and try the other way."

So we did. At the fork we took the road we hadn't taken before, only to stop abruptly at an intersection where water was flowing across the road like whitewater rapids. The Lexus wasn't even going to consider trying that way, and I was so turned around by this point that I couldn't find my way out again without him showing me the way. He turned around and pulled next to me.

"I can't get through that. We may have to go all the way back to Kingdom Come and try another highway."

"I'm totally turned around at this point. I don't think I can even find my way out of here without following you. If you can show me the way back to the main highway I'm just going to go back home and tell my boss that I'm stuck."

We found our way back to the highway and headed to the flooded streets that the Tennessee Department of Transportation had previously directed us to drive through. About 45 minutes later we came to the flooded street, where a man with a truck and STOP sign was standing. We stopped and the driver of the Lexus began talking to him. They seemed to talk for a very long time, and a line of cars was piling up behind us. Finally, I got out and walked up to see what they were saying.

"The water up ahead is 2 feet deep in some places," the worker said. "These cars aren't going to make it through that without problems. Your truck should make it OK, hopefully."

Early that day I had been looking at photos of cars that had driven through flooded streets only to have the ground beneath the asphalt collapse, sending the cars into sinkholes upside down, with huge chunks of asphalt then falling on top of the cars. Visions of my truck crashing through the asphalt and sinking into a hole passed through my mind.

"You can go back and connect to Grand Rapids Road and take that straight into town, though. That's not flooded at all." the worker said, pointing back the direction we had just come.

"I know where that is," a woman who had walked up behind me said. "I'm going that way." And she turned and walked back to her car. We all turned around and began to follow her.

An eternity later, after backtracking the roads I had just driven twice now, we found the turn-off for Grand Rapids Road and headed North. The road wound up and up through houses and trees, noticeably elevating as we went, which was an encouraging sign. Even so, at points along the road there was water right up to the edge of the road.

Eventually we made our way back into the center of town. We all headed West, with the Lexus waving to me as they turned off into a McDonalds for a break. The old couple had their young granddaughter with them and she apparently needed a break. I couldn't blame her. The woman who had led us back to town turned down an alternate highway and headed south. I continued towards home. All I wanted by this point was to go home and get in my bed.

An hour later I was pulling into my driveway again. 3 hours before I had left that driveway, not expecting to be back again for almost a week. Mrs Memphis was there waiting for me, a very relieved look on her face. I had called her a few times to tell her what was going on. My battery was almost dead so I didn't talk much, but she was aware of what was going on. She simply had no idea where I was because many of the roads I had been redirected to don't show up on maps.

Once inside the house I turned on the news, where they were discussing the closing of the interstate between Memphis and Nashville due to flooding, the closing of both highways leading down through Mississippi into Alabama, my two best hopes for getting to my job, and the many, many homes that are underwater because of this disaster.

Right now the Weather Channel is showing that Nashville received 14 inches of rain in 2 days. I'm stuck. My routes down through Mississippi are closed. Heading straight across to Nashville was my best bet with Mississippi no longer an option. But 50 miles of interstate between Memphis and Nashville is currently closed. And inside the city is flooded. South of Nashville, which is where I need to go, the situation is even worse.

So, that's been my weekend. What did you do?

Dude, told you it don't float

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