Chapter 56

March 18th, 2011

Floods and Mudslides

I was ready to get away for a peaceful weekend, without either the Garden Center or Adam's Junction Police business being in my way. So I packed my duffle bag on Thursday evening and loaded the Jeep with it, my AR-10 .308cal and Remy 11-87 Semi-Automatic 12ga, and some canned food goods for The Cabin's pantry. After my 8:00pm Red Lion Church Meeting, I left for I-83 and headed north to the Adam's Junction, the small village nestled in the northern mountains. It would be a trip that I wouldn't soon forget.

While we got (unofficially) 3.1" of rain at the Garden Center, Adam's Junction and its surrounds got a whole lot more and the runoff would continue for

many days in the mountains, while the York area drains quickly into both Lake Redman and Lake Williams Reservoirs, operated by the York Water Company. Mudslides are a common event in mountainous areas after heavy rains, especially on hills and mountains with the vegetations shaded-out by older, high-arching, overhead trees. And the possibility of those trees randomly coming down is also great, once the soils are drenched and loosened around their root systems.

As I was driving toward The Cabin on one of the sideroads after leaving I-83, I saw many streams of water coming down the mountainsides, loosening vegetation and the older trees. I heard a roar and saw in my rearview mirror a mudslide coming down on to the road where I'd just been in the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee "Laredo", just a fraction of a second before. So I sped-up as I neared my driveway and turned into the 1,000ft gravel drive to The Cabin. I stopped the Jeep about 100ft into the drive, and walked back to the road, where I saw another slide coming down just 50-70ft north of where I was standing, violently-shaking the ground, effectively blocking the road from both directions and somewhat unnerving me. I was isolated from I-83 and Adam's Junction. So I got back into the Jeep and drove to the front turnaround and into the left-side carport, to unload and get into The Cabin. After disarming the building, I tried to turn-on the lights but had no electricity, so I threw the emergency solar generator switch and had the lights and furnace working in a matter of minutes. Power lines were obviously down somewhere and unless my neighbors had generators too, they were in the dark and cold. At least Jenny was glad to see me, and I refilled her 3 bowls. The Cabin tremored slightly as I

heard another roar of a mudslide coming down on to the road, well over 1,000ft away. I used my cellphone and called into the Dispatcher at the Police Station, and she told me that no one was there; even Capt Bunce was out on the road with Sgt Clay and their 5 Deputies, trying to keep traffic off of the roads until the power company could restore power to the village and surrounding areas. I told her that I was completely cut-off from them, since numerous mudslides had blocked the road in both directions. She said she'd get a message to Sgt Clay and the Dep't of Public Works, about the road blockages. I turned on the Police Scanner, which didn't draw much juice.

As soon as the inside temp hit 77°F, I turned-off the furnace to conserve stored electric power, left the generator at 25% to power lights and appliances, and lit a fire in the hearth, with the damper only halfway open. It reflected the heat back into The Cabin very nicely. I'd closed the floor vents in both bedrooms to heat only the livingroom, kitchen and bathroom, also to conserve heat. After bringing-in several loads of split firewood and a couple of whole 3ft logs from the tarped Firewood Stack on the Back Porch, I'd sleep on the sofa near the fire tonight, with Jenny on her bearskin rug and we'd be okay until the road was cleared and power was restored. I had plenty of reserve electric power, LPG in tanks and food and water to last me several weeks, if I didn't waste the electric, by letting the generator run unnecessarily. Mt cellphone rang and it was Sgt Clay returning my earlier call. I told him that I'd just made it into The Cabin, before being cut-off and isolated by the mudslides. He said that road crews were trying to clear roads and that they'd get to my road as soon as possible. I detailed my situation and he noted that there were others in the outlying areas in more desperate shape, and that they'd get priority. I had no problem with that and told him so. I had a couple of unread books to get through while I waited for relief. He said he wished he had me as a Deputy right now to help out the rest of his Department, but they'd get along without me for now.

I went to sleep with a roaring fire, several blankets and Jenny at around 11:15pm. We'd be okay, I kept telling myself and her. I had my cellphone on recharge, as it was showing only 2 bars.

I must have woken-up 8-10 times during the night due to various distant mudslide tremors and the dwindling fire, so I knew I'd be napping during Saturday to catch-up on my sleep. I was just glad it wasn't bitter cold outside anymore, or snowing, and that Spring was almost here. Temps dropped into the low-40s at night, but we stayed warm and cozy in The Cabin. I made breakfast at 5:30am, fed Jenny, and went back to sleep on the couch. I'd have to go to the Firewood Storage Shed in the Backyard with the wheelbarrow, and restock the porch stockpile after mostly depleting it on Friday night. That would take several hours on dry, hard ground, but the waterlogged yard would make it more difficult to push a fully-loaded one-wheeler nearly 210ft/ 70 yards. I'd get it done if it took all day; afterall, I had nothing else to do. I was effectively marooned in the mountains.

After waking-up around 9:30am, I made fresh-ground, French Roast coffee in my Chemex Coffeemaker, was standing in the front bay window sipping it, when a mother black bear and 3 cubs scurried across the front 4-acre meadow. Many wild animals would be "denning", now that they had broken their Winter sleep routine, and taking their young out foraging and for hunting practice. I didn't want to run into, and have to shoot any in self-defense, so I'd have to pick my spots very carefully, yet take along the Beowulf® .50cal with an EoTech® Red Dot Scope, and 10 extra 11-round mags of .50cal

335gr .50cal rounds (causing massive damage to whatever it hits inside of 200yds). Buckshot wouldn't do it alone on a 400lb angry female or 600-lb PO'd male. I finished my coffee and figured that I'd shave, shower and change into fresh clothes after getting the firewood and 3ft whole logs re-supplied and tarped on the back porch. I started at 10:15am and finally finished around 3:30pm, with a 20 minute lunch break. I could hear the sounds of heavy equipment echoing in the distance, and figured it was some of the emergency Public Works Road Crews trying to clear the road's mudslides. Yet I was prepared for another day and night in isolation with my fire, my books and with Jenny.

I laid-out my rifle and shotgun on newspaper on the massive oak Dining Room Table, to clean, whether they needed it or not. Each had its own specialized Hoppe's Cleaning Kit and I spent nearly 3 hours breaking-down the 3 units, hand-cleaning and re-assembling them. I did the same for my personal carry sidearm, the Kimber® 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP, with Premium 8-round Wilson Combat Magazines. Weird note: I love the smell of Hoppe's No. 9 Solvent (Cleaning Fluid) — it's probably toxic as hell, but I've been smelling it since cleaning my first .22cal Mossberg Rifle, which Dad bought me in 1958, when I was in the Boy Scouts (Eagle Scout, Class of 1963) for summer camp NRA target competition — and think it would make a wonderful "after-shave". Okay, okay, I'm strange; I admit it.

I re-stoked the fire and continued my reading of "Pillars Of The Earth", with a fresh-brewed mug of French-Roast, Turkish-Grind Coffee. The sky had cleared and temps were already up in the lower-50s by 10:30am. At least it was a nice day to be marooned. I drove the Jeep down to the driveway entrance, got out and

walked north on the road toward the mudslide and around it, only to see another one 100 yards up the road. There I could see that large earth-moving equipment was making short work of the pile of mud, rocks and vegetation, including 2 large trees. As they broke through the last of the roadblock, I waved to the operator of the massive 112-ton CAT D-11 Dozer, whom I recognized as one of Adam's Junction's Public Works supervisors. He'd cleared 3 mudslides and would be coming for the ones blocking me from both I-83 and the village of Adam's Junction, next. The roads were still full of smaller piles of mud and shale, which smaller machinery was beginning to clean-up the leftover debris left by the D-11. They'd also brought-in the Fire Dept's Pumper to hose-off the mud from the road into the creek, running alongside the road. Oooo-rah! I drove back to The Cabin as dusk closed-in.

Going out on The Cabin's massive right-side deck & picnic table later, I stepped down on to the front stoned-turnaround, amd as I suspected it was soggy and oozed water between the 6" layers of ¾" crushed bluestone base. It still hadn't drained very well, yet. The ground was unbelieveably waterlogged after 6½" of unending rainfall. I went back inside to stay warm, as night was coming and temps would be dropping into the upper-30s/ lower-40s. After turning-up the furnace to 78°F, The Cabin rapidly warmed-up and I shut-off the furnace to conserve electricity and closed the 2 bedroom doors to conserve heat. The solar back-up control panel told me that I was at 94% of stored electrical reserves, more than enough for another 12-14 days, if I continued to conserve.

I made dinner — Allen Bros 10oz Prime-Cut Filet Mignon topped with bleu cheese, baked potato w/ butter & bleu cheese, and applesauce — and fed Jenny again, did the dishes and put them in the sink rack to dry. After going back to reading, I re-stoked the fire and moved the couch closer to the massive hearth for the night's sleep. Although I just wanted a weekend without any interruptions — such as Adam's Junction Police Duty or the many possible Garden Center concerns — I didn't want or need this kind of isolation. This was more than I bargained for. I missed my leisurely drives through Adam's Junction enjoying it's quaint, well-kept, turn-of-the-20th-century homes, as well as Bev & Tony's General Store and Nell's Kitchen. I was still hearing the heavy equipment noise and seeing their massive spotlights just north of my driveway entrance, and hoped they were making good progress in clearing the roads there, and to the south toward the interstate. I needed to be back at work on Monday by 10am, since my cleaning crew had postponed their all-day Saturday cleaning job in the Main Retail Building, Office, Kitchenette & my Bathroom, until Monday morning at 10am. Nothing I could do personally right now to affect what ws going on outside, except get some quality sleep tonight and sleep late on Sunday morning. l retired at 11pm amd Jemmy soon joined me.

Sunday morning came early and fast, although I had a very good (shortened by DST) night's sleep for a change. I got up at (5am) 6am DST, turned-up the heat to 78°F, watered and fed Jenny, and then went back to sleep for a few more hours to catch-up on the switchover to DST. After getting back up, making breakfast — 3 Sunnyside-up Eggs, 2 slices of Texas Toast, Bacon & Hash Browns/Fries, oatmeal, Fresh-Squeezed OJ and fresh-brewed French-Roast, Turkish-Grind Coffee (from fresh, whole beans) with my Chemex® Drip System — I got dressed and drove the Jeep out to the road to see what the road crews had accomplished overnight. Mirable dictu! The roads were clear and washed-off of all mud and debris and eminently-passable. It was now 6:45am, and I called into the Adam's Junction Police Dispatcher, to see if Sgt Clay was there yet. He wasn't, but would be in shortly and would call me back. I drove back to The Cabin to do a load of laundry, vacuum and put dishes away. I contiued listening to the police scanner, as I had all weekend. The solar control panel was now at 91% of stored power; still plenty for what I needed.

I turned-off all lights and appliances, grabbed my Full-Auto, Class III AR-10® .308cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO), with the Leupold® Gold Dot Mark 4 CQ/T Scope, put it in the backseat of the Jeep, armed the building and left for Adam's Junction to get some cigarettes and gas. I drove past the Aam's Junction Police Station and the Fire Station — their parking lots were almost deserted except for the employees' vehicles, as they were all out on emergency calls — and into Roy's Shell Station to fill-up. Regular gas was up to $3.65/gal now and I needed 18+ gals ($65.70!). No receipt this time; I forgot to ask for one. I then left for Bev & Tony's General Store to get some Marlboro®s, which were also up to $65.60/carton/ Yikes! Almost makes me want to quit smoking. I bought a carton of Marlboro®s and two 50lb bags of dry Iams® dogfood, a case of canned Iams®dogfood and chatted for a while with Bev, as Roy was at Church now, and would be back by 11am. This time, the subject of Gabrielle didn't even come up; we were both cried-out, it seems. It was now 8:15am and just getting light with the new time change, which would take some getting used to, after losing an hour of sleep. I hate going to work in the dark, even if it stays lighter later in the evening. I paid her and told her to say hi to Tony when he returns.

Continuing my drive around Adam's Junction, I didn't see many flooded streets anymore, as the floodwaters had receeded and the storm drains were doing their job. None of the quaint homes had been damaged, but the road and streets had noticeably more cracks and potholes in them than I'd remembered, probably from their crushed stone bases being undermined by the water. I saw Clay's cruiser parked on Maple & 23rd, and pulled-up behind it. He was inside the Medical Professional Building, housing AJ's 5 doctors and 3 dentists, investigating an alarm from one of the offices. The front door was open, so I drew my the Kimber 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP and stepped inside the hallway. I heard Clay's voice ordering someone to put down the weapon and get his hands up where he could see them; then, three gunshots. I crept forward to the last door and saw both Sgt Clay and another man sprawled on the floor, bleeding; Clay shot once and the other man shot twice. As I entered the doctor's waiting room, another man opened the door and came out gun first. I yelled for him to drop it and he fired, narrowly missing me. I returned fire through the glass and wood in the door — 4 shots of 8 in my first magazine — and he collapsed next to the shattered door. There aren't many doors or walls that a FMJ (full metal jacketed) .45cal ACP won't easily-penetrate. The man lying wounded on the floor reached for his gun, and I shot him "centermass"; he died trying. I grabbed Clay's radio from his police belt and radioed for back-up and a two ambulances: Officer Down! to the Dispatcher. Two bad guys down, none to go as I searched the rest of the office suite and came-up empty.

Clay had been hit in the right shoulder and I put pressure on the wound to slow the bleeding, until the EMTs and back-up Police help got here. I secured the other 2 mens' pistols and used Clay's cuffs to secure them to each other, wrist to foot; they weren't going anywhere, but I still wasn't taking any chances. I checked their necks for a pulse, but found none. The man I'd shot through the door had a paperbag full of Rx drugs from Dr Bob Hansen MD's medicene cabinet, which had spilled all over the bloody floor. I started kicking the bottles to the side wall, away from Clay, so no one stepped on them, as he began to regain consciousness, and told him that medical and back-up help were on the way. It was going to get real crowded in here, shortly. He was glad to see me and thanked me for saving his life, and he laid back and closed his eyes. The medics said both of the perps were dead, but that Clay would be okay, after surgery. They took him "Code 3" straight to Memorial Hospital and "tagged & bagged" the other two. By now, Capt Bunce, Deputies Tim and Alex were here and already going-over the crime scene for evidence and taking my statement and pictures of the scene. Capt Bunce called-in CSI for Monday, to do a more thorough investigation. Good thing I'd had my Deputy Badge on my belt, right in front of my .45cal, as I was "officially-at-work" the second I stepped through the front door with my weapon drawn. I had a boatload of paperwork ahead of me, depositions to give and it was only 11:20am. The office was offically designated as a crime scene and yellow "Police Line" tape barred the door until CSI arrived.

I stopped by Memorial Hospital and was told that Sgt Clay was still in surgery, and that his family and Capt Bunce would be notified when he was in recovery. I was getting hungry and called Nell's Kitchen Restaurant & Drive-In to order lunch, as well as notified the Dispatcher that I'd be taking a "10-20 lunch 20mins" in 10-15 minutes. Nell's was on the other side of town and my order was ready by the time I got there and went inside to

grab a stool at the Front Lunch Counter. I have this "thing" about keeping my back to a wall and all entrances in front of me, so I took a seat at the far right end, where I could keep an eye on the door and main seating area in the restaurant. I had a roast beef sandwich smothered in gravy with a side order of homefries also covered in gravy and a glass of water. After eating, paying, tipping and leaving, I radioed Capt Bunce about Clay and he said he hadn't heard from the hospital yet. I told him that I'd stay until 5:00pm, if he needed me, but otherwise I would be leaving for York, after doing the requisite paperwork. I had a busy two weeks coming up and needed to get some chores done and quality sleep.

Capt Bunce said he'd call me with Clay's condition after he knew it, from the hospital OR Team Doctor. I wasn't needed to stay-on until 5pm and, after finishing the small mountain of paperwork, left for The Cabin to get packed and close down for the trip back to York. I refilled Jenny's 3 bowls, turned-off the generator switch since electricity had been restored, armed the building and left for I-83 south, to go home. I'd had enough for the past few days, and needed some "sanity" back in my life.

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