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23 July 2010

Wow!

So.  I had a great day in Door County with my mom, Katie, and Ali yesterday.  Maddy stayed home to "mind the store" before her mid-afternoon departure for a weekend visit with friends in Milwaukee.

I didn't take a single photo yesterday -- a great day for antiquing, lunching, and shopping (i.e., mostly raining) didn't translate to the most picturesque.  Oh, we had fun, though!

There were interesting antiques to look at, but we (Mom) came away with only a postcard and a button.  Across the road from the show site is a shopping complex where one of Mom's high school friends has a gift shop, so we stopped in to say, "Hi."

Well, Mom went to say "Hi" to Lois, Kate & Al went to look at baby stuff (a friend's shower is coming up) and, lo and behold, I parked right smack in front of Red Sock Yarns (Rav link, no website yet) -- so you know where I went!  Red Sock Yarns was totally on my list of things to do yesterday, but I was thinking a completely different shopping complex.  It's a very nice shop -- comfortable, roomy, friendly.  I bought a hank of Paca-Peds H-T by The Alpaca Yarn Co. that will most like not become socks; there's a cute baby sweater pattern on the website that's a definite possibility.

We went to The Cookery for lunch -- long a favorite of mine, it had been closed due to a fire (and subsequent rebuilding) the last few times I visited Door County.  Yesterday, I was able to enjoy a Turkey, Cream Cheese & Cherry Chutney Sandwich -- I looked at the menu, but this was pretty much a foregone conclusion -- served on toasted granola (w/raisins) bread and with dill new potato salad and a nice chunky applesauce.  Oh yeah.  Oh yum.

We stopped at a few shops and markets that we'd never taken the time for before and then headed home.  We were about 15 miles from Green Bay at about 4:30, with a pretty steady rain falling, when Maddy called my cell phone.  She was extremely distraught, about 2/3 of the way to her destination and caught in severe weather -- we're talking limited visibility due to darkness (at 4:30 on a July day) and pounding rain, and tornado warnings to top the cake.

That's a pretty stressful situation.  I calmed her down as best I could, and advised that she get off the highway as soon as possible.  She didn't want to pull over and stop, even under an overpass, because visibility was that bad -- she was afraid that no one would see her.

Experiencing crappy weather on our end, we came upon and slowed down to pass a couple of fire trucks on the side of the road and noticed that there was a vehicle flipped over on the side of the road.  "Katie," I said, handing her the phone, "call Maddy again."  She'd eventually came to an exit and found a gas station where she waited things out for a bit, but eventually she was back on the road.

By the time we spoke again, Maddy was much closer to Milwaukee and I was at home, but things were not good.  She was having difficulty navigating -- the GPS was directing her, trying to get her to I-43, but she was finding roads impassable, coming to flooded intersections, and encountering asshole drivers -- and it kept on raining.  She was all alone, in very unfamiliar territory, and afraid.

I was online trying to pinpoint her location/destination, using Google Maps (yay!), The Weather Channel, and (new & indispensable discovery) Traffic.com.  The poor girl was exhausted after going 'round in circles for a bit and the weather was just not letting up, so around 7:30 she pulled into a gas station lot and found a spot (there were a bunch of people with the same idea) to just sit and rest for a while.  She closed her eyes, read a little, then watched traffic -- to gauge traffic and discern whether she was seeing the same cars going back and forth.

In the meantime, I continued monitoring the weather and traffic, and familiarized myself with the map and different routing possibilities.  It wasn't very comforting to read about the fire truck disabled due to high water at an intersection -- those guys know the city and how to get from Point A to Point B more efficiently than anyone -- but it was GREAT to know that I-43 was definitely NOT where she should go, no matter what the GPS was suggesting!  Yikes!!

I realized later, that I was basically the poor girl's On*Star!  We stayed on the phone together, I listened to her talk to traffic (Cara, she sounded just like you!), she told me what she could see, where she was turning (in circles a few times, due to flooding), what it was looking like ahead and all around, and I was able to eventually guide her around some trouble spots and right to the door -- just before 9:30, I believe.  All told, it took her about 6 hours to get to her destination in Milwaukee -- usually that's a 2-hour drive-- it was a couple of hours to travel the last 10 miles!  Totally crazy.

Technology totally saved the day, you know?  The level of GPS service we have was not very helpful -- I'm not sure there's a level that would have been in this situation -- and it was definitely better than driving blind.  The ability to stay in contact via cell phone was SO helpful to keep her grounded in some scary, freak-out situations.  My ability to monitor several maps at once on the internet -- with traffic, weather and news updates -- and basically give her turn-by-turn directions (as well as info on where NOT to turn) (dead-end, a loop, etc.) -- was so incredibly cool, and gave me something to focus on (saving my sanity)!

Arguably.

Have a great (dry) weekend.

Comments

Wow! is right. I've been there too with my kids, doing the same thing, navigating and finding motels during bad weather, etc. As soon as I started reading your posting and saw that Maddy was heading to Milwaukee I thought, "Oh oh...yesterday? Not good." So glad she made it safely to her destination. Mom to the rescue once again!

Glad Maddy got there safely...if not slightly frazzled.

Hope you all recover from the stress. That sounds very frightening.

I'm so glad Maddy had you to help her!

Back in about 1976 we were visiting my in-laws in Bolingbrook, IL, which is an in-the-cornfields suburb southwest of Chicago. One Sunday afternoon we had driven somewhere in the far southern part of the city of Chicago for something. There was a similar rainstorm, during which we holed up under the canopy of a bank drive-up window.

When we left to drive back to Bolingbrook, we found the same thing as Maddy -- flooded intersections everywhere. We were in a mid-60s VW microbus, which had decent clearance, but when the engine started to gurgle we knew we were getting in too deep. I walked ahead of the car through the water just so we would know how deep it was. At one point I was passed by two people in a canoe.

LOL! If she sounded like me while listening to the traffic, it really must have been bad. Glad she got where she needed to go safely. The weather has been CRAZY lately!

Yesterday I saw the firetruck stuck in the intersection and immediately checked to see if you had any posts (you were on FB so I knew you were ok). Thank goodness you and technology were able to get Maddy safely to her destination. And, if she sounds like Cara I know how it went. ;-)

This story makes me really glad that Hannah doesn't drive yet.

Oh, Vicki! So glad that Maddy is safe, and that you were able to be the Mom-On*Star --- with your own calming, "recalculating" voice. What a trip! (And that sandwich. . . I want one.)

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