What an adventure we had today! In my family, whenever we go on a car trip and don't know exactly where we're going, we call it an adventure. Sometimes, my mom forgets to fill up on gas before we set out, and we don't know how far the car will make it, so it's even more of an adventure. We've had many of these little adventures, but nothing compared to what we experienced today!
Well since we're new to the area, my dad wanted to take the drive to the job before he needs to be there for work in the early morning. My parents figured we could take a little family road trip just to get out of the house for the day, and since the job was in Daytona, my mom told us all to put on bathing suits underneath our clothes just in case it stopped raining and we could head to Daytona Beach.
So that's exactly what we did. We had no idea where we were headed, but we set out with directions and the GPS for backup, and we figured we would go find the job site. It was a rough ride there (I'm prone to carsickness... can you say MAJOR headache?), especially with construction areas causing lane shifts and my dad changing lanes at the last possible minute (I swear, he's a great driver, but sometimes I just wonder what in the world he's doing!). But eventually we made it to the site of the job and my dad had a little more confidence that he'd be able to get there on his own for work.
While we were eating, I even noticed a family come in and sit down across from us that caught my eye. They were signing, and at first I couldn't tell who was deaf; I quickly realized that the little boy, who looked to be about my sisters' age, was the only one who signed to everyone and never spoke. I felt kind of weird, hoping that they didn't realize I was staring at them, but I was fascinated! When they weren't looking at me, I took the opportunity to sign across the table to my mom to tell her that this little boy was deaf, so my mom decided that she wanted to go over and talk to the family. When we finished our meal, we went over to say hello and talk to the family a little, and my mom told them about how I had studied ASL and wanted to teach it now. We even got my little sisters to sign their names (after MUCH prompting because Twin B was extremely shy for some reason), so it was really cute. Then we left, ready to find the beach.
Now this sounds like we're having a lovely day so far, right? Well here's where it gets interesting. We found the beach, and it's really cool because you can drive your car right along on the sand. There's parking spaces everywhere, and you can get out and go swim or lay on the beach. So we drove along for quite a while, and then my dad finally pulled into a spot. By this point, I realized that I needed to find a bathroom, because I had been so busy talking to the family at the restaurant that I had forgotten to stop before we got in the car. So my sister offered to take the walk with me, and my mom headed down to the water with my brother and the twins. My dad was going into the car trunk for something, and we paid no attention and took off toward the bathrooms.
My sister and I were away from the family for maybe five minutes. It really wasn't that long. But when I came out of the bathroom, something just didn't look right. It was kind of like a movie, where suddenly everything gets dark and you know something bad is about to happen. I didn't want to freak out my sister, so I just suggested that we start running back toward our parents. We took off, but I soon had to tell her to stop running and walk, because there was just so much sand kicking up into our faces. Well we started walking, and it turned out that we weren't causing the sand to kick up; the intense wind was whipping the sand everywhere! It was growing darker by the second, and I just didn't feel good about the situation.
After what seemed like forever, we made it back to where we had last seen my mom heading toward the water with the kids. I could only see my mom, bending down to pick up a towel, but none of the kids were in sight. Through the howling wind, I heard a faint call and realized that my dad was shouting my name from the car. I kept looking between my mom on the beach and my dad in the car, wondering what was going on. Then I realized that everyone was deserting the beach. People were making their way back toward their cars, and what had, just moments ago, been a beach filled with families, was now quickly becoming a desolate strip of sand. There were intense black clouds looming over us, and I made the decision to head toward my mom and see if she needed help. She was picking up towels and shoes that my family had left behind in their mad dash to get back to the car. We could barely see as we looked for two shoes that were missing, because so much sand was kicking up into our faces, and my mom started to tell us what had happened while we were gone.
We couldn't find the shoes, but we made it back to the car safely. We were all filled with sand, and as we tried to tune out the wind outside the car, my mom proceeded to fill us in on the rest of the story. Apparently, in the five minutes it took for us to go to the bathroom, the weather completely changed. My mom had just stepped into the water with the three kids when suddenly she saw tents, chairs, and umbrellas flying through the air a little ways down from them. She told the kids that they had to start heading back toward the car, but just as she spoke, the towels and shoes that she had just placed down on the sand started flying everywhere. My brother took off after the stuff, one of the girls took off after him, and my mom suddenly couldn't see anything. She started screaming for the kids to come back, but as my sister tried to walk toward my mom, she kept getting pushed back by the wind. My dad finally made his way down to the beach by this point, so he grabbed one twin, my mom grabbed the other, and everyone ran back toward the car. My mom had told my brother to forget all of the stuff, because everything had been blown so far, so that was why my sister and I found her picking things up when we got back. My mom said it was the scariest moment of her life when she suddenly couldn't see my brother and sister anymore and could barely scream loud enough for them to hear her over the wind.
My mom said that it was an electrical storm that had started up, and it was really scary. We sat in the car for a while, waiting to see if things would calm down, but the long line of cars leaving the beach told us that we should head out. My mom snapped this picture of the intense waves, but I don't even think that it does justice to how crazy it was out there. Plus, we couldn't get a picture in the middle of the storm because we were too busy trying to shield our eyes from the flying sand, but it was really dark in the midst of it all. My mom was worried that the twins would be scared to go back to the beach because they had been so terrified, but luckily they both later noted that we would have to go to the beach on a day when it was sunny out, because you can't swim in a storm. Hopefully our next trip to a beach will end with us actually jumping over waves and building a sandcastle.
So that was our crazy adventure. This morning, when we were planning this drive to my dad's job site, I never would have though that we would end up in the middle of an electrical storm. Apparently we still have a lot to get used to down here!
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