Riding The Storm Out

It was bound to happen sooner or later.  After days of sunny skies, talk in the park is that a front is coming in, hard and fast.  The storm is predicted to hit in mid-afternoon.  I walk around camp, check on all of my stakes, ropes, tarps, and new shower curtain breezeway.  Everything seems to be quite secure.

One of the ladies down on the corner stops by.

“where are you all going to go, dear, when the storm comes?”  

“Well, I suppose we’ll be in the State Forest, in the tent, or in the truck.” I respond.

“Oh my dear,” she says with a worried brow, and buzzes off on her golf cart.

I can’t imagine a little rain could be ‘all that’….but just in case, I decide to stay in camp and catch up on some paperwork today, and at 8:30 proceed to make breakfast.

It isn’t even an hour later that the wind starts to pick up.  Wind teasing my tarp walls with an intermittent gust that causes slight ripples.  I walk around camp again, checking ties, making sure everything is secure.  It is.

The dogs are restless, so we go for a nice long walk out of the camp grounds and down the road.  The way back is challenging with noses to the wind.  We crawl into the tent and I start to do some work.  Wind gusts are increasing by the hour.  A couple of them rattle the tent pretty good.  Then Angel starts to growl.  She can predict a storm coming from miles and miles away.  And she was right on now, alerting us to faint thunder.  It is coming our way.  It’s about noon.

I load all 3 dogs up in the back of the truck, and close the gate and window.  They feel much safer back there.  I go back into the tent and continue working.  The sky gets darker, the tent is getting darker, the winds getting stronger, and suddenly with a

CRRRRRACK!!!

of thunder,  gale force winds rip into the campgrounds with no end!  The tent is rocking! I quickly zip up the windows and exit to the canopy.  The sky has become a dark, greenish gray, and the tarps are flapping so loud and hard I fully expect to see the stakes be pulled from the ground.  But they are holding fast.  Wind is pulling at the canopy from all 4 corners. It is desperately trying to take flight.  Back when I read the online rating on this pop up canopy everyone said it was not at all able to withstand any wind. And here I am, putting it to the ultimate test.

It’s hanging in there. The tarp walls are weighing it down.  I move my cooking gear off the table to a less precarious spot under the canopy in case something caves in. As I tuck away the rice cooker along comes another

CRRRRRACKKK!!!!!

And the sky literally opens up with a torrential downpour.  I am being pounded under the canopy.  Wind ripping at the walls, and water coming straight down in solid sheets.  I glance back to the tent and breeze way.  Both are doing surprisingly well.

The bad news is the canopy roof is caving from the rapid downpour.  I try to push the water over the edge of the canopy frame so it doesn’t cave through.  Then even stronger cross winds appear with a vengeance, attempting to pull the whole thing apart.  I find myself hanging onto the top of one of the tarp walls, trying to keep it attached to the canopy frame, and all earthbound.  At the same time, I’m trying to direct water away from, and off of, the roof of the canopy. 

I think I’m loosing this fight. 

Not a peep out of the back of the truck.  All 3 dogs are hidden deep into their kennels.  Not a movement throughout the park as far as I can see, which isn’t far, either.  I continue to hang on for dear life, facing the onslaught of bitter cold and sharp pounding rain and wind.  Up against the tarps and frame, I’m taking the brunt of the weather and am soaking wet.  But I continue to hang on to my Florida Fortress kitchen. I will not give up.  I will not.  This storm cannot have my kitchen.

And as the next two hours go by, I am about blue, teeth chattering, and still hanging on.  Is it my imagination, or is the wind letting up?  Is the rain maybe letting up, too?  Perhaps it’s a hallucination, but it almost looks like the sky is turning a lighter shade of storm cloud.  Could it be?

Please let this be over soon.

My fingers are burning.  I have forgotten all about itching my bit up and welted body. I see small rips starting around some of the tarp grommets.  Please hang in there!  Please let this be over soon!

And suddenly there’s a break in the wind.  I let go of the structure and rub my cold shriveled hands together.  

Along comes another gust and round of ripping winds with sideways rain, and I grab the canopy frame again.

And then, a break in the wind.  I let go.

And then, a mega gust.  I hang on.

A break.  Let go.

A smaller gust.  Hang on.

A longer break…

And finally, after an hour or more of this, the rain becomes just a drizzle.  The wind subsides, the dark green-gray clouds roll away leaving a bright blue sky. It is 3:25

I wipe my dripping bangs out of my face, shake off some of the water I am soaked with and walk out onto the road.  There is standing water everywhere.  Broken tree branches.  Palm branches. Someone’s antenna.

And a beautiful blue sky.

Here comes the sun. Ah do-do-do-do-do.

Here comes the sun, and I say,

It’s all right.

Holy crap I love camping!

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Comments

  1. UR sooo funny!
    I am NOT a very good reader, BUT LOVE ur stories….going to read them to the boys. Wish u had someone to take pictures! So glad ur having fun and enjoying life! Ur an inspiration!

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