Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Storm of Apocalyptic Proportions (thanks Fred for the thought!)

It's been a while since I took time to stop by and tell our story. A whole lot has happened since we survived the flood in de Pere. Sunday was family day on our trip. We went up to Marinette and had a wonderful visit with Mary's cousin Ed and his wife Julie, their son, and three BIG dogs. It was a good afternoon of sitting there talking, sharing stories, hearing stories, and being family. Thank you, Ed and Julie, for being such delightful hosts.

We had dinner at an old time Green Bay institution, Cranky Pats, the successor to Frank and Pats. It is a great neighborhood pizza place and serves good pizza. If you're in Green Bay on the east side, look up Cranky Pats and pay a visit. (This is a completely unsolicited endorsement!)

Monday, we broke camp in de Pere and headed for a campground we knew little to nothing about, Camping in the Clouds in Florence, WI. We drove up to Iron Mountain, MI, and then went west to Florence and just out of town we drove UP a steep gravel drive to Camping in the Clouds. It's a campground in progress, just a few years old, with a grand vision and great potential but with yet a ways to go. We had a fantastic campsite on nearly on top of a hill with a VIEW. It was a great place to sit outside and relax. Tuesday we hiked around the campground area. With 76 acres of old mine workings there is a lot of land to walk around. The number one target of the whole area seems to be ATV'ers. We were the only non-machine-riders that we saw there.

By late Tuesday afternoon, we were sticking close to home, the camper, since storms were being predicted and we didn't know when the rain might come. We had just started eating supper when the weather radio went off. A storm was coming. It was miles away but moving fast. And we were on top of a hill. Winds up to 60 miles an hour were in the storm and tornadoes were a possibility.

We broke camp immediately (IN the middle of supper) and headed down to the camp office and central building. A young couple were covering things in the absence of the owners (who were far out of the area on another job) and they weren't really aware of the possible severity of the situation. Once I explained what we had heard on the weather radio, he headed out in a hurry to get others rounded up.  Since it was a weekday, there were not a whole lot of campers and only a few came down.

It was indeed quite the storm. I'm not sure I have ever seen rain fall any harder. And it just kept coming. Eventually the worst of the immediate storms passed. Some of the campers went back to their sites, the couple closed the office, and we moved back to our rv coach sitting in the parking lot. I was not going to drive up that steep, slick, muddy road to a campsite on top of a hill when it was clear that more storms were to come. There was a slight slant to our parking spot but we managed to get some sleep as more storms beat around us. It was a bit frightening, I'm not ashamed to say. I thought we were safe now that we were off the hill, but the storms were still fierce. Lightning and wind. No tornadoes. No hail.

This morning, Wednesday, dawned bright and clear. We decided to move on from "Camping in the Clouds" a day earlier than we had planned. It was just too muddy to be fun and the forecast was for hot and humid which didn't promise to be very pleasant. So we decided to move on.

Tonight we are in Arbor Vitae at the Arbor Vitae Campground. This is the nicest night we have had all summer. The temperatures are cool and comfortable. By the end of the night, they will probably be too cool for comfort in short and short-sleeved shirt. It will make for great sleeping. We are across the street from a beautiful lake and had a great afternoon walk. Grilled salmon for supper with peaches and veggies to accompany it and a glass of wine. A perfect evening.

Tomorrow, we'll backtrack to Eagle River and spend the last three nights of this trip there. Let's hope the weather is friendlier than it has been in the previous stops on our trip.