Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bittersweet Journey

What a week!!! I'm sitting here listening to a little Captain and Tennille. Yes that's what I wrote, stop laughing. They are ICONS! :)~ what a week...Thanks for the comments on last nights entry B.B. & Ann. I'm glad I blogged what I was thinking because I didn't think about it for the rest of the night! That guy was a jackass though...WOW!

Last Sunday Dan and I stained the deck at like 6 am and then hit the road on a 230 mile journey. I've gotten to the point this year where I ask where we are going because there have been a couple recent adventures that have turned into long distance rides and I've been sitting on the back freezing like an ice cube because of poor planning or lack of communication. A few weeks ago I had to finally gesture at the road sign to exit at Story City so that I could put on my leather coat. When I got off the bike Dan was like..."What's up?" Steph..."I'm freezing!" Dan..."And you call yourself a biker chick!" Steph...Arm punch..."Yep I still do!!" LOL It was funny...guess ya had to be there, huh?

Ok...Captain and Tennille...while a great duo...not really inspirational blogging music. Need to find something else. LOL Alright...I'm going with a little Poison...Bret Michaels is a biker...this will be good! :) Hey was the show? Bret rocks...

Back to the we get on the road and head over to Hwy 330. Great back roads on the way over and 330 is a nice road with not a lot of traffic even though it's 4 lane. We are headed over to Parkersburg to see the tornado damage. I get into my head and think a lot when we are riding...I'm mentally preparing myself for what lies ahead in Parkersburg while still trying to enjoy the ride. I have mixed feelings about this Parkersburg trip. I've never seen the destruction that a tornado has caused first hand.

We've had so much rain in Iowa that the fields are flooded and many rivers are out of their banks. We come up on the 30/330 bypass and there is a sign telling us that we will need to exit and go through Marshalltown because 330 is under water at Albion. We cruise into M-town and stop off at a Kum and Go for gas. Here is a pix of Zippy Pickle at the pump and the current price of gas as of last Sunday.(3.75 was for the cheap stuff)

Back on the road we head through NE Iowa on Hwy 14. We get to Grundy Center and my stomach starts to get butterflies...I'm bracing myself for what I'm about to see. We head past the new Grundy County truck stop, off of 14 and Hwy 20, and are now getting closer to Parkersburg. We blow by the road closed signs and I'm actually hoping at this point that we won't be able to get too close. I see the P-burg water tower and a lump forms in my throat...the closer we get I can hear myself saying Oh My God out loud. Everything that greeted you to this town when you enter it on Hwy 14 is now gone. Debris is everywhere. The tears begin to fall from my eyes. Dan pulls off the road and we both sit there and just look...silent. It's the worst thing I've ever seen. Peoples lives torn apart by nature, strune all over the country side. After about 10 minutes Dan starts up ZP and says that he's going to see if we can ride through. I don't want to...I want to turn around and go back. I'm feeling guilty for being there because I'm not volunteering to help...I'm just another gawker. The ISP lets us through and then we are stopped again by some volunteer firefighters up from Norwalk. One of the guys doesn't want to let us in and I really don't blame him. I'm feeling like shit at this point, thinking that we should have gone back. The looks on peoples faces were so sad. There was no laughter, no smiles. We got past the firefighters and venture into P-burg. As you ride through town it's amazing to see houses that weren't affected at all. It's unbelievable how mother nature picked and chose that day whose lives she was going to change. We ride up by the high school and it's destroyed. National Guard trucks line the parking lot at the school. I finally asked Dan if we could head out. My heart couldn't take anymore...we had to get on down the road, so we did. I didn't take any pictures, it just didn't seem right...if you want to see footage go back to an earlier post and watch the videos.

Back on the road I reflect on life, reflect on what I just saw, said a prayer for the people of Parkersburg and then moved it out of my head. We stopped in Iowa Falls and had lunch/dinner at DQ. Then we cruised on over to Ames and stopped off for a cup of coffee at Burgie's Espresso Cafe. Fueled up ZP and were back on the road headed back to Johnston. This was a bittersweet journey. I still feel guilty for gawking but I'm glad I went up there to see it first hand. Seeing that kind of destruction really makes you think about the things that are most important and it's obvious that they aren't material belongings. My thoughts continue to be with the people of Parkersburg.

Have a great weekend and hug the ones you love!!



Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie, I know what your talking about in Parkersburg. I live in Fruitland Ia where the tornado went through June 1 last year. I didnt get as much damage as some but enough to change my whole life. There is a slide show on my blog of the damage. It will never be the same. Ride safe, dan

Ann said...

Yeah, I don't blame you for not taking pics...I wouldn't have, either. It just doesn't seem right to document these poor peoples' terror.

Gas was already at $3.99 here last hasn't been at $3.75 for weeks.

Dean "D-Day" said...

That kind of devastation is heart wrenching. We had some of that here this weekend. Glad you're safe.

On a lighter note, the Bret Michaels concert was FREAKIN AWESOME! Best show I've ever been too! It was a small venue of only a few hundred people and I had tickets 8th row dead center. He looked great, sounded great and had his "Rock Of Love" Amber with him standing in the shadows of the stage. I was rockin' like it was 1986 all over again!

"Joker" said...

That's bittersweet - I can't even imagine. I don't blame you for not taking pics either. I'm sure it felt awkward, but I also think you were entitled to visit since you have ties their from your childhood. I would've wanted to see too, as much as I wouldn't have wanted to see, if you know what I mean.

Ronman said...


I've seen all too many times the devistation of mother nature. I'm a Amateur Radio Operator and have been a storm spotter for the National Weather Service as well as a volunteer for the Red Cross for many years. Words can't articulate the emotions that you go through seeing such things.

I still remember seeing antiques on a shelf in Clarksville, Tennessee that were undamaged even though the wall was ripped off. I think it's good that you saw first hand what the damage is so that you can know for yourself. Let me also say that being in a tractor trailer as a tornado passes in front of you is no fun either.


B.B. said...

That is the kind of thing that can really put things into perspective. We never know how long we have to enjoy what we have been given. I have been thinking about you with all the weather back there, and I'm glad that you are okay.

FYI- the cheapest gas I can find around my area is $4.43. YUCK!

Lady Ridesalot said...

I can relate to storm damage. Not only growing up in Iowa, but here in Montgomery, AL. We're in tornado alley. I think it's good you went to see, and don't feel guilty. I think seeing things like that, keeps our priorities in check.