And Then Came the Flood … Part 1

By dancingintheraine

May 12, 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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On April 29th, we pulled into Nashville, Tennessee with the garage in the trailer and the Beast in tow. It was a long trip in from South Carolina, but it didn’t take as long as I originally thought. The neighbors, Brian and Colleen came with, and it was our grand intentions to show them around Nashville, to have them experience the places that we have talked about, the food that we bragged about, and, most importantly, the caving that I so love.

Friday morning, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with my most treasured friend, Michelle R. We joined her at a nearby IHOP and had a great time. Michelle voiced interests in going into the caves with us. Then it was back to the hotel to pick up the dolly and truck, and B&C’s truck with the trailer. Boy… with splitting the parties, we were able to get the truck storage prepped and the Jeep restoration project into the respective units quickly. And the rest of the time was for sightseeing and eating!

We stopped at Nashville Violins to pick up lights and helmets, and to visit briefly with Dave. And we were off! We had an enjoyable evening at Ted’s Montana Grill eating bison steaks and burgers 

Saturday was supposed to be set aside for caving at Parachute Cave above the Harpeth River, but the rain was not easing up much. We decided to take Brian and Colleen site seeing. Even took them to Opry Mills Mall. And still, the rain kept falling. At dinner, we decided that we weren’t going to be going to Indian Grave Point (IGP) Cave, either, but could maybe swing Parachute for Sunday. Saturday night, we visited Sitar’s Indian Restaurant with Colleen and Brian, and were joined by my best friend, Sharon.

We woke up on Sunday, and the rain was still falling. I made the executive decision that we would not be attending Parachute Cave either. We went to Bruegers near Vanderbilt for breakfast, and then walked around the Opryland Hotel for a while. Since I used to work there, I could answer a lot of questions and offer some good “tour guide” notes (laughs). I called Dave and asked if we could drop by and return helmets, and he said sure, but sounded stressed. And understandably so! He had no power at the shop and his sump pump was not working. To understand the situation, one can not foresee floods happening on a hill. And he was definitely up the hill!

Unfortunately, Dave had a lot of personal stuff as well as merchandise in the basement. While it only flooded 4-6 inches in the basement, it damaged a lot of things. Everyone pitched in immediately! Brian and Colleen joined Jeff and myself to help knock out the task of removing valuable things from the basement like instruments and cases, as well as business records and personal items.

Unfortunately, things did get damaged beyond repair. We stacked wet cases on the covered porch outside, and instruments upstairs in the practice rooms. We were able to salvage a lot. Thank-you, Colleen, for tenderly wiping all the moisture off the instruments and finding safe places to let them air dry as they needed. After everything was brought up and power was restored to the sump pump, there was really nothing more that could be done that night. We looked for an open restaurant to eat, and thank goodness that Logan’s was open! We were thinking about Flying Saucer, but they were closed. Dave went home and we all returned to the hotel for rest. It was decided that I would stay for two weeks, because he wouldn’t be able to come back and get me until May 14th. In the morning, he dropped me off at Dave’s house and caught up to Brian and Colleen who were already on the road. I-40 eastbound was finally open, but I-24 was closed.

This is the location of Dave’s shop in reference to the source of the current wet situation on that side of town, Richland Creek. The poor community along the banks was just devastated.

As is usually the case, it is the poor that live along its banks. Wasn’t it historically the case that we lived on top of the hills and gardened the flood plains? Unfortunately, many of these houses were on flood plains.

These houses, if they survived, were pretty much gutted. The river rose so very quickly that many were caught off guard. I can’t recall any news statements that reported anyone ignoring any evacuation demands, or refusing to evacuate.

This is the Richland Creek Bridge on Georgia just down from Dave’s shop. The creek surged over the top of this bridge. It’s amazing how peaceful it is now. This was taken on Monday, May 10th.

This little car was upside down in the water. I must say here that no one was in the car and it probably washed from either a driveway at the houses there, or the car lot on Charlotte.

What I didn’t know, was, at the same time, Charlotte Avenue on the other side of the interstate was a river in itself. Richland Creek and escaped its banks and was running amuck! Here is a dramatic 4×4 rescue of people trapped in Pep Boys. And, yes, folks, it’s a Ford!

Here is what the parking lot of Pep Boys looks like after the waters receded.

The garage doors of Pep Boys was simply no match for the power of the flood.

This is a full size trailer that could be used for perhaps small car hauling, lawn equipment, etc. It was washed into the creek, and even today (May 11th) it still is there. I think it was moved simply out of the way of the flow to reduce flow restriction.

As soon as people could return to their houses, they were picking up the pieces. “Four piles” says the government. One for appliances, one for vegetation waste, one for building materials (drywall, lumber, etc) and one for household goods, which includes furniture, carpet, and other wastes. This will help it be properly disposed of, and, in some cases, enable recycling.

Something that I took away from this is, that in all reality, is a very humbling experience. As a flood victim, all of your possessions are exposed to the world. All your belongings are brought outside, and, in many cases, cannot be salvaged, or, even if it could be salvaged, may not be possible simply because of the mass of salvaging that you have. Stand up in your house. Hold your hand at 2 feet, 3 feet, 5 feet, 9 feet, and look at what is within that range. Your dressers, by default all the clothes, books, etc that is in them. Your refrigerator and appliances. Your shoes, your book shelves, your DVD player, surround systems, televisions, etc. Then, also consider that there might be a current to the water, and if it upsets a night stand, or television stand, think about what’s on them. It’s very humbling.

A day or two after the flooding, when residents in the Richland Creek area had a chance to get in their houses and start gutting them, the inmates were brought in to help clean up the piles on the side of the road. I spoke briefly to a CO, and many of the inmates were willing to help their communities. Many of the metal and appliance piles were ransacked by passerbys who were looking to capitalize on the available recycling possibilities. I suppose, as long as they kept to the stuff on the street and not closer to the house, it was better in the long run as less is to go into the landfills.

While Richland Creek went down, the mighty Cumberland began to swell as all the tributaries like Richland Creek fed it. It, too, burst from its banks, and plowed over every obstacle that got in its way…invaded every crevasse it could. This is a local quarry near the Cumberland. It is reported to be 500 feet deep. Look at the power line towers for scale. Jody and I stopped at the quarry on May 10th to see if they would let us peek over the side, but they said no.


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