Today with the help of smooth roads, no traffic, great weather, and a lot of 5 hour energy drinks…We covered a record setting 800 miles in one day. We ended the day at Foss Lake State Park in Oklahoma. The campground was on a beautiful reservoir stocked with all sorts of fish. After a couple of days of hard driving. This was a perfect spot to wind down for a day, regroup, and clean house before marching on towards New Mexico. We encountered a heard of buffalo, giant man eating grasshoppers, and a variety of lizards. We have definitely crossed into the West and I am happy for it. Colby and I did a little tubing and fishing in the lake. We also went 4 wheeling and were attacked by swarms of grasshoppers.
Day 2 Be Careful What you Wish For:
Be Careful What you wish for. The last time that we made the mistake of wishing for a good storm, it found us at the worst possible time.
We were traversing the “Going to the Sun Road” in Montana, which is considered one of the most treacherous passes in the United States. Going to the Sun Road… Hell
The storm came out of nowhere and almost washed us off the thousand foot cliffs lining the road. Rockslides happened right before our eyes and washed out the road in front of us. As we turned back we played dodgeball with the rocks as they slid off the cliffs above. A few did hit our jeep, but luckily they were small. The storm was so bad that the road had to be closed for almost a week to make repairs to the washed out sections.
Fast forward to yesterday. Oklahoma is the polar opposite of Montana. No Mountains to be thrown off, no rockslides to worry about. Just huge wide open flat expanses. The view out of the front of Dotties’s campsite was comprised of a huge reservoir and the town of Butler on the other side. As dusk settled on the campground ,lightining could be seen far in the distance. We all remarked that this would be a great vantage point to see a good storm. And it was. For hours we watched the sky light up all around us . No rain, just a beautiful light show. At this point Hunter got the bright idea to go online and look at the Doppler Radar for the area. What he saw was down right terrifying. We were surrounded by huge storms in almost every direction.
Severe weather warnings were being posted and apparently everyone around us was tuned in as well. The locals quickly abandoned their campers, jumped in their cars, and got the hell outta Dodge. We had no such luxury. Hunter told us that there was a good chance that the storms would not hit us and we would just continue to be casual spectators. Well at about 11PM everything changed. The front shifted south of Oklahoma city and pushed right into us like a Mac Truck. The leading edge of the storm was pure wind. Like legit 100 mile an hour wind. So bad that I thought that the RV may flip over. I quickly deployed the hydraulic jacks to try stabilize the old girl. Luckily it helped a lot. This went from fun to scary real fast. Once the pressures equalized the wind died down to a more reasonable 60 miles an hour of so and then we entered a period much like the eye of a hurricane. The storms continued around us, but we seemed to be out of it for a bit. I even wandered outside where I ran into a guy from the camper next store who told me that he was in the bathroom when the wind hit and could not make it back to his camper because he was honestly blown over by the wind. He ended up riding it out in the John, which in retrospect is where we should have all ran to at this point. As he told of the dangers of Oklahoma storms the wind started to pick up again and it was beginning to rain. Before we headed back to hunker down he pointed out a huge wall cloud illuminated by the ever present lighting. Between flashes, I swear I saw a tornado in the distance.
It was clear that this was far from over. Back in the camper we huddled together and watched out the windshield as nature’s fury worked it’s way across the lake towards on. This time we were not just getting the winds, but also the close lightening strikes, the driving rain,and the full wrath of God who was apparently very angry with Oklahoma. We heard things crashing and breaking all around us. Colby was curled up in the fetal position on the floor screaming and crying. I take no creative license when I tell you that he literally said his goodbyes to us and the dog. He was not even trying to be funny. The poor child thought he was going to die. I can’t say that I was not getting concerned myself. At this point a huge repetitive crashing began by the door to the RV. It was as if in the middle of all this.. King Kong was taking a huge metal pipe and beating our RV with it. I had no interest in going outside, but I really needed to see what this was and see it I could stop it before it did some serious damage. Holding on for dear life, I cracked to door open only to have it ripped from my arms. The force was so great I am amazed that it did not rip the door off the hinges. I stepped outside for a brief moment and saw that the wind was pulling the small entryway awning open and then slamming it shut over and over again. There was simply no way to stop it. Normally I could McGyver something up, but I could not stand much less work in this wind. I jumped back in the RV and explained the situation.
We could only hope that it would not break the windshield or the fiberglass roof that it was slamming into. To make matters worse the roof began leaking and water was now running in through the AC vent. After about 30 minutes of this pounding, things began to ease up. The storm continued long into the night, but the worst was over. It was 2:30 AM before any of us got any sleep. The next morning, I rose early to inspect the damage. To my surprise the awning had not beat a hole in Dottie. The old girl was bruised but not broken. There was however fiberglass shrapnel all over the place. One broken piece had the letters DOU on it. I knew immediately that this was The “DOU” was part of the “DOU-THERM” stencil that was on my roof AC covers. This explained the leaking roof. I quick inspection confirmed it. The fiberglass AC unit cover on the roof was gone. The campground was a mess. The camper next to us had been picked up and moved a couple of feet. So the moral of the story is be careful what you wish for. The two times that we wished for a “good storm” we got them. And both times these storms tried to kill us!!!