The State of Vermont was hit hard by Hurricane Irene. Winds toppled trees, the power grid was badly damaged, and flooding rains washed out roads and tore down many of the postcard covered bridges. In the middle of it all, Texoma Businessman Kelly Lipscomb was working to leave a weekend wedding and get back to Texas. He became wrapped-up in a rain-soaked adventure.
He first tried to drive to Burlington to catch a flight Sunday. After making the two hour drive north (and turning in his rental car), he got to the airport just in time for his flight to be canceled. He rented another car, and tried to drive to another airport. That's where things got interesting. "Sunday morning the trees were just bending like crazy, a bunch of them fell over huge trees just knocked down everywhere," he said.
Just a while into the drive, he realized he couldn't make it. Too many roads were closed. "These roads run through valleys and there's water everywhere… As I'm driving, its just pouring down rain and we're seeing high water everywhere… Talking about flash floods," he said.
He decided to go back to the mountain chateau where the wedding was held. Many in the wedding party were still there, and they waited it out. Monday morning, Lipscomb became the de facto leader. "I guess since I had been driving around for 5 hours trying to escape the state on Sunday, I got pegged as leader to lead a convoy of about 20 wedding cars out the next morning," he said.
Like Patton across the plains, he led the army of followers. Instead of a tank, he commanded the brigade from rented sub compact."It was just kind of a war zone; trees down everywhere, power lines, National Guard everywhere," said the fearless leader.
Guided by locals' directions, and armed with a list of road closures, they made it through the Green Mountain State. "We just picked our way through the countryside and you would pass roads that were blocked and there were highway patrol there so nobody would get through… We'd see places where the road had just been washed away, and of course a lot of those historic bridges got washed away," he said.
In the end, Lipscomb caught a flight home to the Lone Star State, no worse for the wear… but with an epic adventure surrounding a gal named Irene.