I write this from our local La Quinta; we evacuated due to predicted flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Because of our proximity to the creek–and a drive across that creek is our only way out–we decided to leave while we could. In 2011, we stayed home for Tropical Storm Hermine then, after a foot of rain, the creek came up to the house. In the middle of the night, we put the cats in their carriers and the dogs on leash and prepared to hike up our hill–when the rain stopped. This time, with a dire forecast, we left.
We thought concern over the possible damage or loss of our home–and worry about relatives in a nursing home directly in the path of Harvey–would be the only worries on Friday but that was far from the case. Yesterday we had to have our 16-month-old kitten Ochi put to sleep due to cancer.
We are heartbroken.
In our numb state, we loaded up Tiki, Irie, Lucky and Inca (the first time the cats have been to a hotel) and checked in–to be met by a hotel full to capacity with evacuees from the coast.
The numbness we felt was mirrored in the faces of fellow guests, concerned for what they’ll return to in a few days. The Weather Channel is playing on televisions in all the hotel public areas. The hotel is filled with pets, far, far more than we usually see when traveling to pet-friendly hotels.
Throughout it all, one thing really stands out: In spite of what must be unimaginable worry on the part of so many of these guests who have family members who stayed at the coast (I have seen one woman on the phone trying to place a call and nervously pacing the dog walking area since late last night), everyone remains friendly. So many people have stopped to talk with Irie and Tiki, and everyone is cheerful about sharing crowded hallways and elevators with leashed dogs.
Many of our fellow guests are from our favorite beach destinations that we have enjoyed so many times with Irie and Tiki. As we watch the news coverage of the devastation, we recognize so many familiar locations, including ones in Port Lavaca where we stood less than a month ago. We also have spotted many destinations that we just covered in the new edition of our Day Trips from Houston guidebook, the manuscript for which we just finished answering final author queries five days ago.
We don’t know how long we’ll be at the hotel because reports continue to look bleak but we do know one thing: Texas will rebuild and will once again be a wonderful destination for travelers. We look forward to covering our home state in future guidebooks and articles. We know from years of covering the Caribbean that recovery from major hurricanes isn’t measured in weeks or months but in years–but it will come.