This is The Calvert Hotel (http://calverthotel.com) in Calvert, Texas. It is a 5 bedroom Bed & Breakfast owned by three of the kindest gentlemen ever to grace Texas. During Hurrican Rita, when thousands were fleeing Houston and the coastline - a frantic call from a worried mother (ME) elicited courtesy and help. I'm cutting and pasting my daughter Jenny's own tale about her escape from Houston ahead of the hurricane below.
John, Ron and Nelson, who own the hotel, took Jenny in after I made 9 phone calls to other hotels which were full. I am forever grateful for their help. Nelson is a chapter President of the Pulpwood Queens (www.pulpwoodqueens.com) and I've convinced a few of my author buddies to send autographed books, as I plan to do! John was so very gracious each time I called. When Jenny was trapped in traffic, John reassured me he'd hold her room until she got there, long after midnight. Jenny slept through breakfast, even though Ron had made her breakfast already. When she got up, Ron made her a SECOND breakfast so she'd have fresh food (okay, a Lord Of The Rings surreal moment there LOL). All three of them epitomize the grace of the personalized touch of the hoteliers of old.
If you ever need a a quiet getaway in an historic little town with just enough to do that you aren't overwhelmed, Jenny and I highly recommend a stop at The Calvert Hotel. Their antique store is divine, the food is fabulous, and the three owners are gracious, courteous and so very, very kind!
Our entire family was so very worried and I am also forever grateful to Aunt Kathy, Cousin Eileen, Cousin Dennis, my sister Margaret, Cousin Katie and Mom and Pa for helping keep Jenny awake by calling periodically through the night as she drove. It was a wonderful blessing to know I could depend on my family.
Here's Jenny's story, in her own words.
Everyone, Thank you so much for all of the phone calls! I have finally arrived in Corpus Christi. I started out fromHouston towards Dallas and Stillwater, but after driving 12 hours and only getting 47 miles, my convoy and I were discouraged. We resorted to back roads for another 8 hours or so and were faced with the same bumper to bumper traffic. The police blocked many of the exits off of the highways because they wanted to direct traffic to Dallas. This meant virtually no bathroom breaks, and little opportunity for gas. So, we drank little and filled our tanks often. Food was scarce, we only had what we brought with us. I lived on Slim Fast mealbars for the day. Most of the gas stations we passed were out of gas. The ones we could find with gas usually only had regular. I bought the last tank at one station. I felt so bad for the people who were turned away.
About half way through the first day, my car started to act up. The battery was dying. We were going so slow, and it could not support running the radio, AC, and cell phone charger all at the same time. Radio and AC were abandoned despite the 101 degree temperature. As you can imagine, after a certain point, I could no longer make it without the AC and had to run it anyway. Luckily, Grandpa and Dad gave me some tips on how to help the car support all that work. (Thank you, Grandpa! Thank you, Dad!)
For a while, due to the slow traffic, we were sure we would not make it to safety. We had heard that Rita would be of hurricane strength all the way into College Station and there was no indication we would make it. I split up with my convoy, they had decided not to go all the way to Dallas. I was able to make College Station; which I had begun to associate with saftey. From there, no matter where I went, the hurricane was not a real threat.
Traffic, however, was. After doing 21 hours of straight driving, little water, no real food, and almost 40 hours of no sleep I was sick. I had to stop at a Sam's Club and take a nap in the parking lot. It got worse. I called Mom and Dad and had them get online and call hotels in front of me as I headed North.
After 9 phone calls, they got me the last room in a Bed and Breakfast that was absolutely beautiful! I slept for 11 hours! It was fantastic! I took a shower for the first time in two days - I stayed in extra long, just cause I could! They made me BREAKFAST! Real food! I had eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast, and cantelope. I hate cantelope. It was the nectar of the gods!!
Being that I was not even half way to Dallas, much less Aunty M's I decided it was best to head inland and then south to home. The mandatory evacuation for Corpus Christi had been lifted and the hurricane had passed them up. It was safe. Best of all, no one was going in that direction. I was home in a matter of hours. No traffic jams, no problems. On the way down, I passed the First Methodist Church Disaster Recovery crew and a convoy of military vehicles going North.
Everyone was so great! Everyone was nice to each other - I saw no road rage, no squabbles for gas, no fighting in the bathroom lines. Everyone was patient and even friendly. Many offered advice, and were willing to help when they could. Its all that Texas Hospitality! :-D
Thank you to everyone who called me! As most of you know, I fell asleep twice. The second time was the worst. I actually drove off the road and hit a concrete median. But, your phone calls really did help, and the few times I started to drift off, I would call Mom and Dad or anyone I could get a hold of.Thank you so much for all of the emails as well! I really appreciate that you all care so much! I love you all, and thank you so much! Love, Jenny