Most of the time while we were on vacation in Florida the weather was fantastically predictable. Sunny and hot. Lather. Rinse. Repeat and reapply sunscreen. Although in my case that was reapply sunscreen everywhere but my back and neck. Thank God for Lidocaine.
On Saturday afternoon, our first full day of vacation, we were already parched from the heat and the girls, mostly Miss A in all of her fourness, were about to hitch a one-way ride on the afternoon express to super crankdom. We decided to circumvent meltdowns with an open air sightseeing train ride, thinking we’d get a little rest from walking. We climbed aboard, snagging primo seats in the very back, guaranteeing a wonderful vantage point to photograph and video old town St. Augustine, not to mention take advantage of a nice breeze, which got the beads of sweat pooling in my bra quivering with excitement.
We ignored the black ominous sky in the distance until about 10 minutes into the train ride when the wind picked up and it started sprinkling. Miss C had pointed this out, but I assured her it would be OK and even if it did rain, storms don’t last very long on the coast. Of course I failed to mention to her they can be severe thunderstorms because who wants to ruin a family vacation moment with pesky details like high winds and lightning?
Five more minutes or so passed and it was a full-blown thunderstorm of Armageddon proportions. We’re talking flash flooding the streets and hey let’s look for a fish or a gator washing down St. George.
Five more minutes and we were drenched to the bone. My socks, which I forgot to lay out to dry, were still wet three days later and started to smell like swamp rat and musky fish so I tossed them at the hotel. Sorry housekeeping!
To his credit, our train guide tried to find navigate the train in order to find shelter for us twice, the first refuge being underneath several large trees, which would have been somewhat comforting were it not for you know, lightning, and the fact that Miss C was really frightened. Our guide started passing out rain ponchos but of course ran out of them, since were in the “primo” back seats, but toward the end we snagged some from another sightseeing train. Not that the ponchos would have really helped at all since the rain was blowing in sideways sheets.
When the storm started to let up, and by let up I mean downgraded from monsoon to standard thunderstorm level, the guide started the tour again, giving us his standard spiel about historic landmarks all the while we were being pelted by blowing rain and squealing like we were on a water ride. I must give him props for his “show must go on” attitude. I guess it was either that or make really bad jokes about the storm and by that point he might have feared that we’d go all mutinous on him, hijack the train, and drive it into the closest bar.
Speaking of bars, at one point on the way back we made a stop near a downtown microbrewery and all the onlookers, nice and dry and drinking draft beer from the balcony, waved and laughed at us. My husband shouted, “SEND BEER!” Because by then we needed a drink. Or five.
The rain ended just as we finished the tour and we sloshed to the car looking like drowned rats and laughing about it, even Miss C, as we headed back to the hotel for dry clothes.
After the monsoon, er, thunderstorm. As you can see, the girls were fine. Drenched, but fine.
It was one of those hilariously horrible moments that sucks a bucketload while you are experiencing it, but you know will make a wonderful vacation story.
As soon you as wring out your underwear.