This isn’t a real picture of what happened, so family don’t freak out completely…but you definitely can get the idea of what we were dealing with yesterday traveling from OC to El Paso, TX. Everything was fin up until we went just passed Picacho Peak in AZ. I had just woken up from a short nap and taken pictures of the peak. And then it happened. Dad looked in the rearview mirror and said, “We’ve got sparks!” Then we all looked back and dad said, “Oh man, we have flames. We gotta get outta here!” But we were on I-10 in the right lane and there was no where to go. If we went to the left, there was a ditch with nothing but dry brush that would have set eveything blazing. But on the right, there was nothing but K-rail for miles. Dad had no other choice at that point but to stop and shut down the highway. But the time TJ pushed me out of the truck the flames were going 2-3 feet up in the air. I was calling 911 to and flagging people down on the highway for help. Dad and TJ were scrambling to try and find someone and trying to put out the fire. Then a man in the semi carrying cotton seed oil in front of us ran out of his truck and gave us the fire extinguisher as another guy from the semi behind us ran to help put out the flames. A couple more seconds, and the wind changing directions, and our car would have burst into flames only to follow shortly with all our life’s belongings in the truck.
Needless to say, we had the highway shut down for miles, Highway Patrol came to assist and get us out to a safe spot in a ditch instead of on the highway eventually (and out of the insane 115 degree heat). The man who saved us with his extinguisher stayed to help us put cones up in the road to direct traffic. Later, after hugging him as tight as I could and thanking him for saving us, he introduced himself as Lucky. Boy were we lucky that he was there. Amazingly, nothing on the car was burned. Not even the wheels melted.
We began driving after calming down at a Dairy Queen a mile and a half back, and thought all of the trouble was over. We were just bummed we had to drive the car behind the truck and had to be split up. Then the downpour hit. We were stranded at a gas station in Wilcox for a good 45 minutes. And when it got dark, it got really bad. It was so pitch black dark, and the rain was coming down in buckets flooding the road. Truckers still barreled down the highway at 80 mph and I was driving to give TJ a break from driving the truck without my glasses. By the time we got to a place where we could pull over, I was sobbing and shaking I was so scared. I have never seen rain like that in my life. I kept trying to figure out how we could get on top of the car when a huge wave of water hit at us. Should we open the door and climb on top, or do we go through the window?!
We took exit by exit trying to stay together and be safe. Our 12 hour ride to El Paso took almost 19. We rolled into TJ’s parents around midnight completely exhausted from the drive and emotionally spent, b ut thankful for God’s protecting us through the whole ordeal.
Hopefully, tomorrow’s 12 hour drive will be much more uneventful. Please pray for safe travels!
*Real pictures to come once we get settled.