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Friday, September 23, 2005
The Evacuation
Posted: 9:11:00 AM 1 comments
Surely you've seen and heard all of the news about traffic coming out of Houston gridlocked, people going 24 miles in 24 hours, and the nightmare of having now gas. I consider ourselves fortunate to beat it, but then again, we used a little trickiness, too.

To understand how we got out so fast (Ft. Worth in 10 hours), first understand the nature of I-45 north out of Houston. It starts off, including the HOV lane, not including the contraflow, as 8 lanes northbound. 50 miles north, that is reduced to 2. Traffic normally comes to a standstill on that freeway at times. Put half a million people on it, and you can clearly see the problem.

So, as we were leaving and saw the people that were taking 1 hour to get from US-59 to I-10 taking west I-610 north, I figured that, since I had the laptop and MapPoint with me, it would be easier to just use side roads.

And that's exactly what I did. From the I-610 feeder road, we took Post Oak north to Hempstead, and then took Antoine north to Kuykendahl. We took that into the Woodlands, and after snaking around the village, we crossed the highway on TX-242 and took FM-1314 into Conroe. We then hopped on US-75 in Conroe, taking it to New Waverly for our first stop.

After leaving New Waverly, we hit some real traffic for the first time going into Huntsville. We got on I-45 there, and made it to Centerville at 9 am, completing 6 hours of our trip. At that point, we decided to ditch I-45, taking TX-7 towards Waco.

We met up with Highway 6, figuring that would be a quick way into Waco. However, I had forgotten that was an evacuation route out of Houston and hit some more traffic. We got on I-35, hitting more traffic in Waco due to stupid drivers playing bumper cars, but after that it was smooth sailing. From I-35W after about 12 hours, we took I-20 west through Abeline. We finally got on US-84, taking it straight into Lubbock, finishing the 16 1/2 hour marathon.

Absolutely crazy. I've never seen more disabled cars than I did on I-45 going north. Gas stations were completely empty as far north as Huntsville. The Dairy Queen at TX-7 and TX-6 was out of CASH because they were giving out so much change. An SUV had "Houston, we have a problem" written on cardboard hanging from the back of it. And US-84 is the most boring drive, ever.

The important thing is that we made it out, and have other things to consider. Like what to get for breakfast.

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  Anonymous Anonymous @ 9/23/2005 10:30:00 AM:
so glad you are both safe, and we are watching the news from Chicago, all we can do is pray for all those trying to evacuate and those that plan on staying or left too late to get fully away from the effects of this storm. You are all in our thoughts and indeed, Houston, we have a problem.

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