Hurricane Harvey came ashore slowly, gathering fury as it hit the Texas coast twice, like a hammer against a pecan. The wind was horrific as some communities received nearly 50 inches of rain.
My beloved hamlet of Rockport-Fulton looked like it had been targeted by guns from afar. For many homes, only the shell remained standing. Boats thrown like toys littered the shoreline.
Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed along a large swath from Galveston to the Louisiana border. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. The death count reached 60 and was expected to rise.
The great city of Houston trembled under 5 to 10 feet of water. A once-thriving metropolis was lying near death in an ocean of water.
A cry for help went out from Texas Governor Greg Abbot. There was a quick response. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) teams were already on-site, rallied before the wind quit blowing and the rain no longer fell.
Corporations like Walmart, HEB Grocery Stores, and Exxon stepped up, sending hundreds of supply trucks into the destruction zone. The Texas National Guard and officials from the Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security arrived with equipment and vehicles to assist in the recovery.
Texans responded, as did our friends and neighbors in Mexico. Mexico sent building supplies, portable kitchens, and manpower. The Cajun Navy from Louisiana brought their bass fishing boats and power boats along with big-wheel vehicles to help in the rescue. The Texans, assisted by hundreds of volunteers, rescued thousands by boat, truck, and helicopter. Heroes were plentiful.
My hometown of Dallas received thousands of evacuees who were flown by U.S. Air Force cargo planes. One commercial carrier evacuated a plane full of pets. Shelters were prepared and staffed by volunteers from organizations like the Red Cross, Lions Clubs, Visiting Nurse Association, and Masons. Churches were represented, helping to console and feed our visitors and to hand out clothing.
Rescue Convoy Brings Harvey Relief
On Sept. 2, as the storm ebbed, I received a call from a local church asking for help to transport donated supplies to the devastated area. Nissan gave me a 2017 Titan XD Gas SV Crew Cab.
In a matter of hours, a convoy consisting of trucks and vans were loaded and headed south. I pulled a 20-foot trailer packed with items like water, diapers, medical supplies, and cleaning supplies, towing up to 9,730 pounds.
Initially, I was worried, not having pulled a trailer in over 40 years. Even in my best days my towing skills were marginal, much less to pull a long trailer into harm’s way.
But with the Titan it was a breeze. Standard features like Trailer Sway Control, Trailer Brake Control, and power disc brakes made even my “trailer pulling” look good.
As we started out, traffic flowed smoothly and the convoy traveled just under 70 mph. But closer to Houston it began to slow, soon crawling at a snail’s pace. Some trucks struggled and pulled to the side of the road, most fully loaded. But the Titan’s heart was into the mission and we pressed onward.
The 5.6-liter Endurance V8 gasoline engine delivered 390 horsepower and 394 lb.-ft. of torque. The Titan XD provided all the muscle we needed and still returned nearly 20 mpg.
The 19-inch steel wheels with four-wheel power disc brakes, guided by a healthy seven-speed automatic transmission, carried us along debris-filled streets and through rupturing water crossings. We deposited our cargo near Porter just north of Houston.
With tailgate area illumination and a removable and lockable tailgate, it made unloading easier.
The Titan’s interior is large, with headroom of 40.9 inches in the front and 38.7 inches in the rear. It is also cool, thanks to dual-zone automatic temperature control, as well as quiet and watertight. Even with water above the bottom of the doors, not a drop got inside. And power is a key word when talking about the windows, doors, and mirrors.
Coming back home from the coast that night left me with a deep degree of satisfaction. We had helped, though in a small way, some people who were desperate to survive. I felt such pride in the marvelous courage I witnessed everywhere we went during the journey.
As the bright moon shepherded me home, I enjoyed such a sense of accomplishment. SiriusXM Satellite Radio played some Johnny Mathis as I relaxed, understanding how lucky I was, going home to where it was safe.
There would be lights, comfort, food, cool water, and my beautiful wife welcoming me back. I hope my fellow Texans on the coast will reap these blessings soon.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $40,950 for the 2017 Nissan Titan XD Gas SV Crew Cab.
Durhl Caussey writes a column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or at email@example.com.