Last night was quite a wild ride! At about 5:30 pm the weather alert radio began to alarm. There were major storms approaching from the west of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. When they were about 120 miles to our west there were two small, confirmed funnel clouds, although not on the ground. As the storms approached, the tornado threat was somewhat reduced but weather spotters were reporting wind gusts exceeding 80 mph. The storms were very fast moving and by 6:30 they were producing serious wind damage about 40 miles to the west of us, with the eye of the storm projected to pass directly over the park where we are.
About this same time the Corps of Engineers rangers began to go through the parks suggesting that visitors take cover in the concrete shower houses or leave the park for shelter in the police station about two miles away. Since our son lives about eight miles from us and has much better shelter than we, and with Pam still on crutches, we chose to flee the scene. We touched bases with the gate attendants as we left, arriving at our son's house at about 7 pm. By 7:30 the storm hit and the winds were pretty wild, although somewhat deminished from the destructive winds that had hit to our west. By 8 pm it was raining so hard that one could hardly see the streetlights that we right in front of the house. By nine it was mostly over and we returned to the park, finding that all had faired well and only a few small tree limbs were broken. This morning my rain gage had recorded 6 1/2 inches of rain between 7 last night and 9 am today! The sun has now returned and things do seem to be back to nromal once again.
Well, perhaps it isn't so much squatters as it is nesters? One of the regulars here in the campground asked me the other day if I was aware of the activities of our local mockingbird. When I told him that all I had noticed was that there had been a lot of singing in our tree next to the campsite, he suggested that I open the engine access cover on our motorhome. That was clearly a good thing to do, as this is what I found.
He had quite a construction project going on the airfilter housing of our engine! Being a nasty landlord, I evicted him!
On Monday afternoon we arrived back on our site at East Fork Park, near Wylie, TX. It was a great trip and a really nice break for our routine. We are starting to give thought to next year's Escapade and we are probably going to be a part of the staff in some way. We don't seem to be people who can just watch anything but always have to get involved!
We also have some good news to report. On Wednesday Pam went back to the ankle surgeon and the reports are very good. They say that we may be able to resume travel in August. We may just get to spend some time at Swan Lake NWR yet!
On Friday morning there is one last breakfast before everyone begins the trip home, or returns to the road for those of us who travel full-time. As attendees begin to leave the campground the staff wraps things up by loading everything back into "Big Red," the equipment truck, for it's return to Livingston, TX. It is amazing how quickly all of the hours of hard work by the staff just dissappear and become part of our memories!
One last check of email, a quick social to discuss how things went, lots of long parting conversations, and it is time to head down the road. From Greg & Angie Carr, as well as all of the Escapees staff members, "Hope to see you at Livingston, or perhaps in Goshen next year!"
As all things good must, Escapade is coming to a close. Thursday was the final complete day of the event. Friday morning is the last event with the "Hitch-up Breakfast." Some have already gone, others have pulled out of the campground area and moved to the paved parking for their last night, in order to be ready for an early departure.
The three days of rain which we endured did not prevent a good experience, but it did have some major effects. One of the big ones for many was the fact that not all RVs were able to get out of their campsite, unassisted. Yet even the rain could not stop the fun. One of the interesting things for me was that the Anderson's of Workamper News taped an interview with me for use on a new website that they are creating. That could lead to some new and fun experiences in the future. The closing ceremony has now been done, breakfast and breaking down are all that are left to do. We plan to stay one more day and do some laundry, wait for the big rush from the campground to be over and then leave on Saturday. With our final night rain free, there were many gatherings in the campground to spend a bit more time with old and new friends.
There are many subjects covered at Escapade in seminars, from how to write a book, to RV water systems lead by Mark Nemeth. Each day starts with coffee and donuts in the hospitality hall and there is activity there all day. There is also a Wifi hot spot there for those who need internet access. This is also the palce to get information, meet friends and even to spend a little time volunteering. Many of us are asked to help with small things, and we were no exception. Members who donate three hours or more of their time receive a special commerative patch. Even Pam was able to help in spite of her crutches. She spent her three hours working at an information table, while I took a roving assistance job outside.
We had dinner once again with new friends, spent a hour or so visiting with Mark and generally had a very busy day. Having had so much rain since we got here, there have been several RVs leaving early which had to get assistance from a tow truck in order to get out of their campsites.We are hoping for a couple of days of sun before we leave so perhaps we won't be in that position.......
On day three we attended a few seminars and did a lot of socializing and relaxing in the RV park. My favorite seminar so far has been one that was put on by a meteorologist from the National Weather Service to teach all of us to understand what the terms in the NOAA warnings mean and how to understand what we see in the sky with approaching storms.
Escapade is not just for RVs, but there is at least one tent here as home for a participant. In addition, not every moment is filled with action but there are times that folks just gather, or perhaps retire to the RV and relax under the awning. Even our pets come to Escapade to make new friends!
Monday was somewhat dampened by the rain which was pretty constant for most of the day, but activities continue.
We spent some time in the market area to see who was selling what, then made a visit to our new frineds, George & Star at their RV site. In the afternoon there was a seminar given by Joe & Kay Peterson, Escapees founders. Their subject was "They Gave a Depression, But Full-timers Are Not Invited!" They addressed the fact that we who are full-time have an easy lifestyle to adjust to changes in the economy and they told much of the story of their transition from living in a house to their life on the road. The day ended with some wonderful entertainment from the Brett Family, entertainers from Branson.