Not all camp hosting is fun, games, raccoons and other silly stuff. On occasion it can get darn right serious and our last week here has been one for the books!
We started out anxiously awaiting the arrival of my sister Tricia, and brother-in-law Randy, who were coming down once again to spend Thanksgiving day with us. After a very long drive in mostly rain they did make it safely here and fortunate for us, had decided to stay at the casino. Fortunate in that we really didn't have space for them in the motorhome and I did mention they WERE AT THE CASINO! That sort of excuse to visit a casino is good karma all round.
Thanksgiving day was actually sunny. I'm not referring to the liquid sunshine Oregon provides on an almost hourly basis but actual blue sky bright orange orb in the heavens sunshine. We didn't have to worry about sunburn – the rust stains act as a pretty good sunscreen, probably an SPF 100. Anyway, Chris and I dressed up and headed to the, you guessed it, casino to meet up and ultimately begin grazing on the all you can eat thanksgiving buffet. Talk about a tryptophan overdose!
Getting together with family on the holiday is one of the good things in life. While we had been together just two months prior, once Tricia and Randy arrived it really dawned on us just how much we had missed them and how thoroughly we enjoy their company. Um, well mostly. Sorry, our fondness of being together is not nearly enough for us to go back north to the cold snowy weather. Of course now that they are also motorhome owners maybe they'll be more inclined to head south to chase the 70's like we do.
Back to thanksgiving lunch. After receiving several sly looks from the wait staff (hey, just because we asked for pillows and blankies), we headed back to the park for our traditional session of solving the world's problems while watching movies and trying not to think of just how full we were. By this time, the sun had set and the rains started up – heavy enough to make hearing a challenge and if it had rained cats and dogs I'm sure they would have drowned. This was the “deluge is such a gentle description” type of rain - non-stop bucket upon bucket and I'm pretty sure Noah would have been jealous. I seriously considered breaking out the snorkels before walking Tricia and Randy back to their car.
Friday morning there is a knock on my door and looking at the clock showing only 6am I was just a bit miffed; until I opened the door and was greeted with water lapping over the steps. My dreams of a babbling brook made so much more sense now that I could hear the water running under the rig. This was one of those perfect storm moments. Heavy rains on already saturated ground filled the creek running through the campground to overflowing. Combine a minor flooding creek with a storm surge and high tide to back it up and you have a very rapidly rising and swiftly flowing lake smack dab in the middle of our most popular loop.
That early in the morning there are no park rangers on duty so it fell to the yurt host and myself to wake those guests not already awake and get everyone packing up and moving out. Chris had to stay close to the rig to get it ready to move out and to answer questions from panicky campers. There were even a few who really wanted to ride out the storm where they were – until I let a little bit of my old Coast Guard chief petty officer surface (toned down; after all they are civilians).
|Later in the day the sun did come out.|
Despite our efforts and unfortunately for one couple the water rose too fast and was too deep to safely hookup. They made the tough but very wise decision to leave their trailer until the tide withdrew and the water lowered. Another couple who had just finished restoring a 1958 Airstream had the very good fortune to have selected one of the very few sites just high enough to stay above water. Later, they hired a flatbed tow truck to carry the trailer out through the remaining flood waters.
Several things went right for us that day. First and foremost, no one was injured. With the exception of the two trailers mentioned, everyone was able to get out of the park with little to no damage (as far as has been reported). Lastly was the cooperation and joint efforts displayed by our campers. I doubt things would have gone as smoothly without it.
Two days have since passed. Chris and I have salvaged as many left behind possessions as we could find in case the owners come back and we're now wrapping up the site cleaning that we can do. The park will have a larger crew coming in and who knows, perhaps in just a couple more days we'll be back open to the public.
We probably won't get to see the reopening, Chris and I will be departing soon to continue our trip sort of southward. Right now we're wrangling over the routes.