Saturday, June 14, 2008

LOTS TO CELEBRATE

Thurs 6-12-08
Lots to Celebrate
We have lots to celebrate today. Today is our 37th anniversary. Happy Anniversary to us! Today is our son in laws birthday. Happy Birthday Andy! And we survived last nights weather and got out of the flooded campground. Yes, lots to celebrate.
Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day (after the rains stopped). We did what we do – visit and relax and generally have fun. As we were walking to dinner we were commenting on how beautiful the day had turned out. We had a great dinner (the caterers were excellent) and then were entertained by the Rivoli Revue again. They do a great job. After dinner there was a request to help tear down the tables and chairs. MM helped the men and I stood around and visited with the women. As we were finishing up a State Trooper came in to say that they were going to all the local campgrounds to warn everyone of the possibilities of severe weather. There were tornado sitings west of us (we learned that it hit a boy scout camp and there were lives lost) and they told us to watch the weather and head for shelter if necessary (5 minutes away by car). That put a quick damper on things. Actually, several coaches that were going north or east left earlier in the day because they heard of road closings and they wanted to get out while they could. As we walked back to the coach we said how it was hard to believe that bad weather was that close when it was such a beautiful evening. It was still about 72, there was a slight breeze and there were a plethora of stars in the sky. The perfect evening. When we got back to the coach we put a few things away and pulled in the slides, then took a walk around the campground. Several people were out talking about their plans. When we watched the local news they weren’t really talking about a storm, just about the severe flooding everywhere.
We (maybe more me) decided to get a bag packed with important stuff in case we had to make a fast getaway. Then it was off to bed to try to get some sleep. I knew there wasn’t any sleep coming my way anytime soon, I’m much too much a worrier. I must have dozed off around 1:30 a.m. The rains woke me up at 3:30. Nothing bad, but my mind was prepared for the worst. Long story short, it pretty much rained from then on. Fortunately, the winds weren’t nearly as bad as they had been. We did our morning rituals as usual and watched as the coaches started pulling out. About 8 a.m. central time we decided it wasn’t going to get any better and we’d better get going. MM had to walk in ankle deep water to unhook the coach. We were able to pull to a little higher ground to hook up the tow. Most of the internal roads of the park were flooded.

When we got to the end of our road at the edge of the park we noticed some cows that were up to their bellies in water. My guess is that park will be totally underwater by the end of the day. When we got to the exit area there was a small lake that had developed and we were wondering if we should try to traverse it. After sitting there for a few seconds a truck pulled up to us and the driver said to follow him. He took us over to another internal road that lead to higher ground. There he unlocked a gate for us to get out onto a main road which was not flooded.
Once we were on the main roads there was only one spot on Hwy 151 that was being compromised. There were DOT trucks on both sides so we could only go through one car at a time.

After that it was pretty smooth sailing (make that driving). Approaching Des Moines there was a lot of flooding right up to I-80. We passed a little league ball field that was totally under water. The water was half way up the building that houses the concessions and rest rooms. I guess anywhere there is a river nearby there is flooding. Our roads should all be good from here on, but we left a lot of sadness behind us.
We travelled from 8:30 to 4:30 today and covered about 300 miles (that doesn’t mean we were going 40 something mph – we made a few stops). We landed in Stone State Park near Sioux City Iowa. Pretty little park with about 20 campsites. We were the only ones there for awhile, but then a biker came in. He’s peddling from DC to Oregon following the Lewis & Clark Trail and then back to DC. He just finished changing his second flat tire for the day. Bet he’s tired because I know we are lol.
Another bicycler came in shortly thereafter so we invited both of them to dinner.

The first guy, Ludlow, is 62 and kind of bicycling across country. He stays in motels a lot, this is only his second time in a tent. He’s making a lot of side trips on trains or renting a car. The younger guy, Jeremy, is 29 and traveling from Jacksonville FL heading to Montana. He would like to work in Montana on a ranch for a year then take another look at his options.
After dinner we went for a walk then came back and headed to town for ice cream. Came across a pretty overlook. You could see for miles.

Friday 6/13/08 Happy Birthday Harmony! We had a good travelling day today, about 350 miles. Left Stone State Park in Sioux City IA around 10 a.m. central and just drove. It was a very windy day which made it kind of tiring for MM. The slide awing on the front was unrolling a little due to the west winds. We noticed a few convoys of National Guard heading south carrying boats, probably heading for where we came from. Going through SD there are miles of prairie with lots of cattle ranches. The wind blowing across the prairie grasses was beautiful. I took one picture of a ranch, but there were several that were just as picturesque.

There was one construction zone (they call them cone zones) that was 12 miles long with 2 way traffic. The big trucks going the opposite direction along with the cross winds were nearly blowing us off the road. I was watching the steering wheel. When a truck past us (going in the opposite direction) the cross bar was straight across. As soon as the truck was by it was back to 8 and 2 (if you know what I mean). Like MM likes to say it’s like flying a kite with a steering wheel.
We tried to stop at a motel/campground in Fargo ND (it had wifi), but it ended up being a gravel pit with campers on top of each other, just totally unappealing. We decided to just keep looking and just down I94 at Tower City there was a similar camp outside a motel only this one had grass and was farther off the highway. We ended up stopping at this one.
Once set up I quickly fixed dinner and then we went for a walk around the city park that was close by. When we got back there was a couple our age setting up a tent. We talked with them briefly. They left Saskatoon this morning and are headed for IL and MI looking at boats. After talking with them we noticed a few of the locals sitting at a picnic table and joined them. It was actually the motel owners and two guys (James and Ronnie) who are in town working on a pipeline that is coming from Canada and going to Oklahoma and splitting off from there. We tried to help them solve all of the world problems, but it started sprinkling which was our cue to head back and do dishes.
Saturday 6/14/08
We are currently sitting in a rest area in Washburn ND. Stopped for lunch and noticed (with the cool sentry from Scooter and Co) that they had wifi. We're hoping to make the Canadian border sometime late today or tomorrow. We'll try to keep you all posted. Til then.

3 comments:

Harmony said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes :)

Very nice use of the word 'plethora.' It's one of my favorites ;)

Michelle said...

Gosh, I can't believe the weather you guys are running into. It figures the year you decide to take a huge vacation. I hope it gets better. It's been a little crazy at home too.

B Boys Mom said...

Wow this post really had a lot! Love the pictures. I can't believe all the flooding. It wonderful how you talk about the people you meet a long the way. Very interesting.