Hurricane Passes, So ‘Chronicle’ Starts ‘The Road Home’ Blog

By: E&P Staff

With Hurricane Rita far inland, and Houston not badly hit–but missing a million or more residents–the Houston Chronicle Web site added a new blog to its already- formidable storm section, called “The Road Home.” It offers tips and anecdotes from road warriors on how to achieve a “safe return” to Houston. Here are some entries from Saturday:

–Gas truck driver becomes hero

In League City this evening, the arrival of Bay Oil Co. gas truck driver James Kelley’s 9,000-gallon tanker made him an instant celebrity at the Coyote Chevron station at 3026 FM 2094, where lines were already in excess of an hour.

The 52-year-old La Marque resident deposited some 8,500 gallons of gasoline at the station about 5:45 p.m. He is scheduled to make trips to three other Clear Lake-Bay Area gas stations tonight, but prior to each stop he must first drive to Galena Park, where he refills the truck.

”People don’t understand that,” Kelley said.

With most gas stations across Houston closed and many in the Clear Lake-Bay Area shuttered with plywood, Kelley said drivers have been treating him differently today.

”People think we’re the worst people in the world,” he said. ”They cut us off. But with no gas, they love me now. They ought to give us a little more respect.”

–The rush to leave San Antonio

George Chavez and his family weren’t too concerned with Gov. Rick Perry’s warning that many from the Houston area should wait to drive back home to avoid traffic jams and fuel shortages.

”We need to go where our home is,” Chavez, 17, a Stafford High School student, said as he filled up the family car with gasoline at the TA Travel Center off Interstate 10 in east San Antonio.

Even electronic signs warning ”Major Delay to Houston. No Fuel” didn’t faze Chavez or others filling up Saturday at gas stations between San Antonio and Seguin. The stretch of Interstate 10 was busy but traffic was moving along at 60 to 75 mph throughout the day.

–Stuck coming home from Dallas

It is taking David Rhoads longer to get home to Houston then it took to evacuate to Dallas. Rhoads says he is stuck on State 36 South in stalled traffic.

”It’s just a complete stream of cars,” he said. ”We’re going about 3 miles an hour.”

Rhoads left for Dallas on Wednesday and says it only took him about five hours to get there. Heading home to his Galleria-area house will probable take about 10.

Needless to say, he’s frustrated.

–Sam’s Club gets its gas

Gas has landed at Sam’s Club at Highway 6 and 90. They just got a delivery about 20 minutes ago, reports Chronicle business writer Purva Patel. But beware: The lines are really long, she says.

–A five-hour drive home from Austin
Scott Merville, his two children, cat and guinea pig just arrived at there Houston home after returning from Austin.
Merville said it took about five hours to make the trek. He said Highway 59 was smooth sailing.

”If people can get on 59 they have it made,” he said.

The trip to Austin on Thursday took him about 15 hours, so five didn’t seem that bad, he said.

–Gas supply spotted on North Freeway

Flying J’s Travel Plaza has unleaded regular and diesel fuel located at 15919 North Freeway.

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