Thursday was an absolutely beautiful day. Sunshine, fairly warm for South Dakota in April and it was great being outdoors. And then…..
….the wind started. Bob was setting up our satellite dish and was paying attention to what he was doing and I was inside doing something but I don’t remember what right now. All of a sudden our 16,000 +pound 5th wheel shook and I heard this strange sound. Then I heard Bob yell as if in pain. I went to look out the screen door and
Bob was rubbing his lower back. When he looked up and saw me standing there he said, “What the hell was that?” A gust of wind came so forcefully that it literally knocked him down and he hit his back on our steps. Just as quickly as it came it calmed.
The rest of the day was nice. If we only knew of what was to come.
Friday was a cold blustery day. It rained off and on all day. I’m sure we could have found a museum to go to but it was raw outside so we just stayed put in the 5th wheel all day. I did go over to the Shoppette just across the street to get some sodas and I rented a few Red Box movies. First time I ever did that, somebody had a good idea with that!
Saturday. My day started a whole lot earlier than I wanted it to because Bob decided that at six in the morning I needed to know that it was snowing outside. Once I’m awake, there’s no going back to sleep for me, I’m up. Oh yeah, I called him every name in the book under my breath, he woke me out of a really, really good dream for a weather report!
The wind is blowing so hard that the snow is coming down sideways. Bob starts monitoring the weather website and this wind doesn’t seem like its going to stop but in fact will get stronger. By mid morning we’ve strong winds and our house on wheels is just rocking back and forth, side to side. Bob said to look at the coffee pot and the coffee was sloshing in the pot! The rig is moving THAT MUCH!
By mid-afternoon we are really getting concerned. We’ve got sustained winds at 45 mph with gusts to 62. The wind is hitting us broadside and the whole is creaking under the relentless beating its taking.
We’re not comfortable here. We discuss going to the BX (department store and mini mall) just to be in a brick and mortar type structure. At the same time we’re afraid to leave in case we have to respond to something happening to our rig. Sustained winds are now between 49 and 52 miles with gusts in the mid-60’s. This is not fun. I’ll tell right ya up front, I was scared.
We are being pounded by wind and the 5th wheel feels at times that it will tip. We decided we had better leave. We got ready as quickly as we could and pulled the slides in. The weight of the rig is now centered and feels more stable but we don’t know if higher winds are yet to come or just how forceful the gusts will be.
Shoes and winter jackets on, ID gathered, we’re ready to go find a safer shelter. Bob stands at the door and gives me instructions to move fast because its going to be hard for him to hold the door. Little did we know.
Bob pulled the door handle open and pushed. Nothing. It didn’t budge. The wind is so strong he can’t push against it enough to open the door. He waited until the gusts subsided and tried again, nothing. The wind is hitting us broadside and its just too much pressure on the door. Our inside door is a screen door so it isn’t like he could put his shoulder against and push, besides if it did go then and the wind caught it he would be off balance and likely fall down the steps. Not a good option.
So, we were trapped. We couldn’t get out due to Mother Nature. Putting the slides back out wasn’t an option so I went to the bedroom and laid across the bed and watched TV. We could get a few channels even without our antenna being up. Bob crawled over our kitchen island and was able to grab a dining room chair and my computer which he situated in the area in front of the fridge. He monitored the weather website. While laying across the bed, on my side, I rolled back and forth like I was in an automatically swinging cradle and the cradle motor was on speed! Got the picture?
So we sat there and we likened our situation to being in a rowboat on a large river during a hurricane. We were rocking and rolling that much. And everything was creaking. Now I can tell ya we were BOTH scared.
At one point our rig did get lifted because we found out later a piece of leveling wood, 2x8 about a foot long was missing under our auxiliary stabilizing gear. Bob found it laying in the grass.
At five the gusts had subsided and winds were steady between 35 and 37 miles an hour. Still a force to reckon with when dealing with head on. We were both hungry as we hadn’t eaten anything all day and cooking something was out of the question with the slides in. We decided to try to get again.
Once again, winter jackets on, Bob opened the door enough to get both hands on the edge of the door and when it opened enough I grabbed on the top of the door with one hand. We held for on dear life until he could get on the ground and get his body behind the door to prevent it from slamming into the side of the rig or possibly just snapping off.
With the wind at our backs we were pushed to the truck in just seconds and we were both glad to get inside. This wind is just unbelievable!
Not know where anything is in town we just drove. We stopped at this one place, a bar/restaurant combination and when we walked in our ears were assaulted with extremely loud music. So loud you could feel it in your chest and through your feet on the floor. Not conducive to dining. On second thought, not conducive to ANYTHING!
Seeing as how we were both in sweats someplace nice just wasn’t an option. We ended up in the Country Market Restaurant in the Flying J just up the road. I had my usual hamburger and Bob heartily chowed down on a chicken fried steak. We both enjoyed our meals.
We went back to the FamCamp when done and finally around 9 pm the winds had died down to a very strong breeze and we could send the slides back out. Ahhhh….we have room again!
To say its been a helluva day would be an understatement I think.