June 27, 2006

It's A New Ride Called "The Mudslide"

John was coming into town from our San Diego office and gathered a bunch of us to go on a, one-day, trip to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. We filled two vehicles totaling 12 people.

It’s Sunday morning and Mini Red and I head out to pick up some of the others. I start singing, as I sometimes do, “Were off to see the… ummmm Gardens… yeah the Gardens”.

Mini Red stops me and asks “What?”

Oye, I feel a mini life lesson coming on for Mini Red.

Red: “I was going to sing were off to see the Busch… but decided that might not be the best thing to sing.”

Mini Red: “Why Mom?”

Red: “Well Honey… bush often refers to a woman’s vagina”

Mini Red: “No Mom the vagina is inside a woman’s body. This is what we learned in Health Class”

Red: “Well it’s the hairy outer layer”

Mini Red: “Oh”

Red: “Often people giggle when they hear the word bush for two reasons. One being it refers to a woman’s private area and two it could be referring to the President. So you see how my song is not exactly the best choice.”

Mini Red: “ Oooohhhh… yeah!”

I pick up my group and got on the road. The other group wasn’t far behind us. Three hours later we arrive. Wahoo! John is a roller coaster aficionado and can’t wait to ride Apollo’s Chariot for the first time. The word is it’s a very smooth ride. Some of our group still needs to purchase tickets so the some of us head for Apollo’s Chariot for a ride before we meet up with the others. Mini Red attaches herself to John and is determined to do this ride just for him. The ride seats four across so it’s John, Mini Red, me and Liz. Mini Red looks like she’s about to break John’s finger and the ride hasn't even begun. After the first hill I’m already amazed at how smooth this ride is and so I put my arms up. Mini Red was screaming her head off.

I was amazed she rode it again. This time she got all snappy at John and I and we couldn’t help but laugh, which just pissed her off more.

We were expecting a day of rain… even hoping for it so as to keep the crowds away. We had some rain on the drive down and even a little as we were walking into the park. The rest of the day was hot and humid and absolutely wonderful. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. I guess everyone was expecting rain too so the crowds weren't bad.

You can always count on unusual people at amusement parks. Either they were missing teeth or dressed very unusual. We noticed one woman who was bound to have nipple slippage. Often our group would disperse and meet up later. Someone was even overheard telling another to turn right at the fat woman in the overalls. Now that I think about it… I didn’t see anyone in matching outfits. That is usually something you can count on seeing at amusement parks.

We left the park and were on the road by 8pm. We went through some downpours as we got on 95 North. My only concern was traffic, especially, as we neared the mixing bowl. The rain slowed and the traffic seemed ok. I thought we must have lucked out, but then IT happened. We stopped about 10 miles from our exit, where I would drop everyone off. We saw an accident in the opposite direction and figured there must have been one up ahead in our direction. No worries, we were so close it didn’t bother any of us.

Finally, we were moving and we went up over the ramp onto 495 and hit another stop. At this point it was a little after 11pm and our exit was less than 5 miles. This is where John called his boyfriend Chris in California and we had him checking the traffic online for us. Nothing said anything definitive except for extensive rains and some flooding in areas. This area, except for Old Town Alexandria, is not known for flooding so we figured it was the usual D.C. traffic, especially, with the work that’s being done on the Wilson Bridge.

We were able to work our way across three lanes to the right and traffic seemed to at least be rolling so when we saw the Van Dorn Exit we didn’t take it. Soon after we stopped, ugh. The radio announced there was a mudslide at the Telegraph Road exit, which closed both sides of the beltway just ahead. A mudslide! In Virginia! It just didn’t compute. They said that anyone on the beltway should take the Van Dorn exit to avoid getting stuck. Geeze it would have been nice if they told us a bit earlier! This was frustrating because our exit was the one after the mudslide and the exit before the mudslide (Eisenhower Ave) was supposedly flooded.

Cars seemed to be moving again, but every time it seemed we were moving it would only be about 50 feet, if we were lucky. So we took to people watching. There was a huge SUV and it looked like a few people were stretching their legs. They soon started running across several lanes into the woods. The doors shut when they got back their vehicle but soon opened again and a different group of people from the same vehicle would get out and run into the woods. Every time we thought there couldn’t be any more people there would be one more. It reminded me of one of those clown cars.

We started to move again and our hopes rose. We soon realized that this would happen many times and we hopped the next exit would be open so we could escape. As we creped up past a Big Rig we heard honking. To our left a Jeep Cherokee had room to move forward but wasn’t moving and the Big Rig behind him was tapping his horn to try and get him to move up. We inched up to make sure the Jeep driver was ok but he was snoozing. Becca put down her window and motioned to the truck driver that the Jeep Dude was asleep. So he laid on his horn but the Jeep Dude didn’t budge. Becca hopped out of the car, with us urging her, and ran over to the Jeep. She pounded furiously with both fists on his passenger window until he woke up. We were all in hysterics and the truck driver waved, thanking her, and they moved up their 50 feet.

We waited patiently and finally neared the Eisenhower Exit. The road on the beltway was covered in mud but I figured it must be worse ahead. We were able to exit and went under the beltway where we saw a mudslide that engulfed the tires of a SUV. Thank goodness Becca and Liz knew their way around to get us to Duke Street. We were all just so happy to be moving again. I dropped everyone off and Mini Red was now awake to be my co-pilot for the last leg of the trip.

I heard of some of the road closures so I was taking a different route than normal and I refused to touch the beltway again. I was nearing Route 110 and thought I heard the radio say it was closed. Hmmm I didn’t see anything so I continued to follow the car in front of me. They stated again, “Route 110 closed due to flooding”. Just as they finished saying it I saw it and was able to detour. I diverted and continued on my planned long trip home. I was diverted again close to home but made it to my parents to switch vehicles and finally made it home at 3:30am. We found the building is flooded and I’m thankful I’m not on the 1st floor.

At this point I have been up for over 22 hours and spent the day in the heat…I’m exhausted and I want to take a shower and go to bed. No hot water! A cold polish bath and I was out.