Info about our September 2008 car trip to Houston.

Mapquest of San Jose to Houston

   September 13'th 2008 Hurricane Ike struck Houston Texas. A day or two before the expected landfall Directv made one of the Houston TV stations available nationwide. I think it might have been KHOU. Anyway, we were able to keep up with the storm from the safety of our San Jose, CA home. Since we still have a home in Houston and Cheryl's parents and one sister still live in Houston we were more then a little curious.

   Cheryl stayed up Friday night watching the coverage from the Houston station. I came downstairs about 2:00 AM and was watching for awhile. At one point I told Cheryl that it looked like we might need to go help her parents. As it turned out her parents were very lucky. They were in one of the very few parts of town that never lost power. But they did have a lot of yard and fence damage. Our house had some roof damage as well as yard and fence damage.

   Cheryl's sister from San Antonio had driven in prior to the hurricane to be on hand to help the parents out. She stayed a week to help with the clean up. In the meantime we were making our plans to load up the truck and hit the road. Even armed with the knowledge that Cheryl's parents and our house had power, we knew most of Houston did not. We did not know if we would be able to get building supplies, food or gas once we go to the area. We knew we had to fix the roof and do a lot of yard work. So we packed the truck with a chain saw borrowed from my father, roofing shingles and a few cans of gas as well and enough food and water to last a week in Houston.

Day 1

mapquest of San Jose to Phoenix    We left for Houston the following Thursday (9/18/08). The plan was to be in Houston on Saturday, one week after the hurricane and the day Cheryl's sister had to head home. We managed to make the 700+ to Phoenix AZ the first night. The plan was to make each days drive just a little shorter.

Day 2

mapquest phoenix to fort stockton    Friday we spent the day driving the 670 miles from Phoenix AZ to Fort Stockton TX. It was a nice drive. Both Arizona and New Mexico have nice rest stops. The TomTom sat nav got us around the morning commute traffic in Phoenix. Once we hit the Texas at El Paso they had warnings up on the electronic traffic boards telling you NOT to travel to the Houston area. We ran into the same warnings prior to getting to Fort Stockton.

Day 3

mapquest fort stockton to houston    Saturday we arrived in Houston. We did not run into any traffic warnings until just past San Antonio. Then we passed one warning that gas may not be available in the Houston area. Good thing we had extra gas in the back of the truck. We also ran into one of the nicest rest stops anywhere. It was between San Antonio and Houston on I-10. Once we started getting closer to Houston you could start to see the storm damage. Starting around Katy things kept getting progressively worst. We got off I-10 just past downtown and it was just starting to get dark. Everywhere we looked you could see where the wind had damages something. Still lots of pockets without power. We managed to get to our house without any issues. Click here to see photos of what the house and yard were like in 2005.

Seen along I-10 Seen along I-10
Seen along I-10 The view from one of New Mexico rest stops
A bug on the bathroom wall at a Texas rest stop A Texas rest stop

Days 4- 9

   We stayed in Houston for a week. While there we fixed a few fences, patched up the roof of our house and cleaned up lots and lots of tree branches. The Home Depot and Lowes were both open but getting to them was a bit of a challenge. Between the areas of town that were without power the entire time we were there and all the damage to the traffic lights. I would guess that only 1 in 10 traffic lights were working. It seemed that each day got a little better with less stuff in the streets and another light or two would be partially working. We did manage to get to the grocery store for more food and since we hit town with over half a tank of gas, we did not have to buy any. It seemed that if the station had power then they were open. Below are a few of the photos taken during the clean up.

The first project was the back fence The tree kept if from falling all the way over
A few landscaping timbers pushed it back up Dug out for more cement to hold the posts
Next was the fence on the corner lot The back corner section was broken
The problem was the bottom 2 by 4 had given way The people from the church had fixed the part shared with them
We only had to fix this part A new 2 by 4 and a few new fence boards
This part was as good as new Damage at the rail yard about a block away
Missing shingles on the roof Missing shingles on the roof
Missing shingles on the roof and the new shingles This area was facing the wind and had a lot of damage
Tony the roofing repair guy Tony the roofing repair guy
Tony the roofing repair guy Joey is nice but not a lot of help
One of the larger branches that broke off A lot of it was blown into this fence and damaged it
Another view of the fence after the clean up All the yard waste moved onto the side of the street to be picked up later
The corner lot after clean up The lots between homes after clean up
Street view of the yard clean up pile Cheryl could lost inside this pile

Days 10 - 12

   On day 10 we headed home. Since we did not want to haul home 17 gallons of gas. I used 10 of them to top off the truck with enough to top off Cheryl's parents truck and the riding lawn mower. We also left behind the 2 gallon gas can to make it easier to refill the riding lawn mower in the future. The drive home was the reverse of the drive to Houston. We stopped at the same towns and stayed in the same hotels. The only change was that on the way home we stopped in San Antonio to have lunch with Cheryl's sister. The only bad part about the ride home was that each day got a little longer rather then shorter like we had done going to Houston.

We felt like we were driving in a Road Runner cartoon I think you can see Willy E. Coyote on the top of the hill
More cool looking rock formations Tony's guys were out working hard
I gotta go to the can. Man! Still looking for that road runner
Not a place you would want to have car problems Hate to have to walk to the next gas station
About 2 hours south of Buttonwillow CA, Splat on the antenna Stopped in Buttonwillow and it was still on the antenna

   Over all we put over 3800 miles on the truck during this trip. We got over 25 MPG coming home. Going out to Houston we got between 21-23 MPG. I think the difference was the amount of weight we were hauling. We were also pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the ride was.

Last updated: 12-08-08 19:32
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