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We had a real scare last night…

Posted by on August 3, 2014

AUGUST 3, 2014.


This is what our campsite looked like this morning, after the storm passed. If we’d not evacuated last night, I doubt that I’d be writing this post! We’re lucky to be alive! The wind blew down dozens of these trees in the campground.

WE’RE LUCKY TO BE ALIVE! We’re lucky to be alive with our motorhome intact. No kidding! I’ve written about some tight spots and stressful situations we’ve encountered earlier on this Journey, but nothing like this! Right now, we’re safely parked in the lot at Northern Quest Casino, about 20 miles from our campsite at the KOA park near Diamond Lake. We evacuated our campground this morning after having a very close call last night. Here’s what happened:

A FIERCE STORM: There was a powerful lightning and thunderstorm early yesterday morning. By mid-day it seemed to have passed. We met some folks from Alberta, Canada and spent the afternoon with them, sharing our stories and listening to theirs. After our little get-together ended and we were starting to think about dinner, the storm resurrected itself with much more intensity than earlier in the day. As darkness began to fall, the wind whipped through the pine trees surrounding our campsite. Big dollops of rain pounded our rig. Soon, pine branches were flying through the air and slapping the vehicles. Our mood began to change from one of interest to one of apprehension.  The trunks of the tall pine trees were now swaying in the wind like stalks of grain on the prairie. Next were crackling noises…the sound of wood cracking! In an instant we realized that these trees were in all likelihood coming down! Soon!


Big rig headlights interrupted the darkness, adding to the suspense and chaos. Can you picture it…dozens of motorhomes meandering around in the rain and wind…pitch dark…searching for the safety of a clearing, and trying to avoid running into each other. Mass confusion. “Who’s in charge here?” Silence.

GET OUT…RIGHT NOW! We decided to get the hell out of there. But how? Just run? Take the Jeep and get away from the trees? Or take the Jeep and the RV, knowing that this would take longer than just getting out with the Jeep. We decided to risk it…take a bit more time evacuating and get both vehicles out with us. We got the power cord pulled, the satellite dish down and the slides in within record time and carefully backed out of our spot… praying that we’d not waited too long. Florence led the way in the Jeep and I drove behind her trying to keep her tail lights in view, through the driving rain and flying debris. We made it…just as a large pine fell right on the spot where we’d been parked! By now it was pitch dark and there were dozens of other evacuated rain-soaked campers inching around in their rigs in the dark…trying to figure out just what to do. Rangers and utility trucks with emergency flashers glided silently around the area, the drivers seemingly as confused about all of this as we were.


The Rangers didn’t seem to know just what to do…although I suppose there’s no protocol for dealing with falling pine trees in a storm!

PANDEMONIUM. It was frightening pandemonium!  Some official looking guy told us that pine trees in the entire area were falling like dominoes in a row and that all the roads were blocked. Lightning had started fires on both sides of the highway anyhow, he said. Wow. We didn’t have a lot of options, so we just found a spot out in the open and parked. Other rigs soon joined us in our open area. Now everyone was outside, braving the elements and talking about what we’d all just experienced. We were all in disbelief. Finally, as the accounts of what happened became repetitious everyone meandered back to their rigs… and all of a sudden the frightening evening was over. Just like that. We slept a while, although the thoughts of what had just occurred kept us from getting much rest. As dawn broke, the storm had passed, utility workers had cleared the roads and firemen were mopping up the smoldering ash along the side of the road. We were finally able to leave. Good bye Little Diamond Campground…we’ll not forget you!

WHEW! WE’RE SAFE. We drove to Northern Quest Casino’s lot…just to have a place to stop and collect ourselves. It’s never felt so good to just be parked in a lot.  No wind, no rain and not a pine tree in sight. We’ll stay here overnight and head to Coeur d’Alene in the morning. Our adventure continues…

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