7.1.2007 – Possibly the only Part

Careful readers will know that it had been three weeks since I’d last been to Roundrock. I was suffering, but I bore it well, knowing that sooner or later we would meet again.

So it was that we planned to go to the woods on Saturday with the idea that we could drop off some books at the local library (they either add them to their collection, sell them at their fundraiser, or give them to the local used bookstore — all options are good to me!) and maybe rent one of those industrial strength walk-behind mowers to clear the top of the dam and a few other areas that need a little trimming. We might even have bought some Bentonite to toss in the diminished lake to help stem the leak.

But Saturday was forecast to be rainy, and the new Lenses at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City needed seeing, so we decided to switch our woodsy visit to Sunday. The forecast called for intermittent rain, and since the rain gods are again laughing at me, I knew we would have a dry adventure.

Somehow, I disregarded the alarm clock and slept in until the unholy hour of 6:30! I felt bad about that, but we’ve grown so good at packing our things and loading the truck that we made quick work of the work and were on the road in less than an hour.

The intermittent showers were falling from the sky as we left town. I was unalarmed. We’d started out in rain before, only to arrive at the woods to find them tinder dry. I expected the same on this trip.

Only the rain didn’t stop. It didn’t even let up the farther south we went. As we passed farm fields, many of them were completely flooded, with standing water several feet deep (covering the crops that were there before). The great Corps of Engineers impoundment we cross several times was full, full, full, and every stream we spanned on the highway bridges was flowing riotously. This part of the state was saturated, and the rain was still falling.

But to the south I could see lighter skies. I thought that the clouds were thinning, but I think it was only the sun rising higher.

You may recall that when we leave the paved road, we must traverse a large valley to get to the far ridgetop where Roundrock lies. Two streams cut through this valley. One is really just the spillway from a neighbor’s dam, and though it generally always has a few inches of water in it (his dam, like mine, leaks), it is never impassable. The second drains a much larger watershed — more than a hundred acres I’d estimate — and it has been known to make some mischief in the past. I’ve long wanted to see the big water moving through these streams, but, of course, if I did, I doubt that I’d dare cross them in the truck.

Undaunted, we splashed through the large puddles that greeted us at the beginning of the gravel road and began our descent into the valley. Water was running down the road itself as we crept along. This is not how you want it to work (especially since there is a fairly precipitous slope on one side), but with six days of nearly continuous rain in the area, I suppose you can’t expect perfection.

We came to the first stream — the one that drains my neighbor’s lake — and it was more swollen than I had ever seen it. But I had my truck. That wasn’t going to stop me. Besides, it’s a two-hour trip to Roundrock. I didn’t intend to turn around just as we got there. Pausing only a moment, I gave the engine some gas and roared into the moving water.

I shouldn’t have.

I managed to get across, but I could feel the jolt as the flow met the side of the truck, and had I not been moving swiftly enuf, I would have been pushed off the road. And then Libby would have had some things to say. As it was, a great wall of water splashed over the front of the truck and landed on the windshield. The engine kept running, but steam was pouring out from under the hood where the water had made contact with the hot engine block.

Yes, it was stupid, but it looked fordable.

But that was the little stream. As we came around the bend we encountered this:


Missouri calendar:

  • Chigger bites itch from blackberry picking.

11 Responses to “7.1.2007 – Possibly the only Part”

  1. Ontario Wanderer Says:

    Meanwhile, in southern Ontario, we have not had rain for weeks and the cisterns are going dry and the well water is getting further and further down.

  2. Ed Abbey Says:

    I once found out my car could float trying to do something like that. I’ve never done it a second time.

  3. roger Says:

    i’m guessing you got home ok, ’cause you can’t post from roundrock. how exciting was the return trip?

  4. FC Says:

    Turn around, don’t drown.

  5. Mark P Says:

    Lucky Pablo. I once saw a truck that had tried to ford a fordable stream a little too fast for its own good. An inexperienced driver thought that the faster the better. The truck created a nice bow wave that washed over the hood. In the process, the engine ingested some water and stalled, right in the middle of the stream. A tow was involved, and afterwards, I suspect, an engine rebuild.

  6. Carolyn Hoffman Says:

    So, am I correct in assuming that this was Part 1 of your latest adventure? I mean, somehow you got the truck turned around and got home safely, unless the truck has wireless internet installed (which would be cool).

    Carolyn H.

  7. karl Says:

    i guessing wireless internet too. i hope you trudged across it by foot and viewed your gloriously overflowing lake. i have experienced your exact experience almost not crossing upper swan creek.

  8. Hal at Ranch Ramblins Says:

    Having had a Toyota Landcruiser fished out of a tributary of the Willamette River in Oregon, I hope you didn’t try to ford this high water.

  9. pablo Says:

    All – yes, the fording was iffy, and the double trouble was that even if I could have gotten across successfully, the sky was darkening and rain was still falling, so I couldn’t be sure it wouldn’t be even worse later in the day when I had to get back.

  10. cyndy Says:

    Wow Pablo, you are getting your share of rain out there.

    Seeing the link to the Nelson Gallery, reminded me of when I lived out there attending the KC Art Institute. There was a huge flood that destroyed the Plaza Center downtown…I did volunteer work for weeks helping people clean up after that one…what a mess! Be careful out there!

  11. oldwhitelady Says:

    The smaller stream must not have been too large. Lucky for you. It wouldn’t have been much fun to use the vehicle as a float.

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