We woke at 2am Sunday morning to pinecone missiles hurdled from on high. They were launched with gusto from the 100+ foot fir trees above us by the gale force winds of a windstorm reaching 60mph. I seriously believed they were coming through our 5th wheel’s Thermoplastic Polyolefin roof. Unnerving as this was to listen to, even more frightening was the roar of the windstorm through the trees above. At any moment one of many branches might break off and plummet though into the interior of our bedroom.
The thought crossed my mind, “Should we pull in our slides?” We have heard this might be necessary during a windstorm. However, we decided it was not needed this time. Why?
- When the slides are in, the bunkhouse is cut off from the rest of the trailer. I would not feel comfortable leaving the kids in their beds.
- Slides should be pulled in during windstorms to protect slide toppers from being damaged, or so I have heard. As we don’t have any yet this is not a concern.
- Somewhere I read that by closing the slides you decrease surface area and thus decrease the movement of your trailer during a windstorm. Our 5th wheel’s weight is about 15,000lbs and we are protected from direct gusts by the terrain. We felt hardly any motion as we lay listening to the wind in the treetops.
Were we prepared for a windstorm? Not completely. Garrett is usually pretty good at checking the weather apps to be ready for inclement conditions. He uses the Apple weather app and the MyRadar app to get this information. However, this squall surprised us, coming in with a furry and blowing itself out in a matter of hours. It left in its wake a chaos of limbs and debris battered about by the northbound wind. Fences smashed, roofs torn and powerlines destroyed. The greater King and Pierce counties (about 119,000 homes) were plunged into darkness.
We have no power
“We’re finally being forced to boondock. Let’s treat it like a practice session.” This was my cheerful comment to Garrett next morning as he came in to report that church was cancelled and the entire city of Covington was dark. “Only the Fred Meyer’s has power because it’s on the hospital power grid.”
Our batteries were nearly depleted so the next logical step was to get the generator running. We purchased the Predator 3500 watt in September but had not needed to use it yet; it remained as it had been, fresh out of the box. Now, gas and oil were poured into it and the massive machine roared to life. Still no power! We did not have the correct 30 to 25 amp adapter necessary to direct the energy from this noisy beast into our electrical system. Garrett braved the roads again in search of the device. Failing several times, he finally located one at the illustrious Camping World. The dashcam footage of this trip gives a little taste of the destruction caused by the wind.
Once again, the generator roared to life, this time connected to our power grid and giving me the needed energy to prepare a warm meal for my tired but happy trio of little people. Earlier, Emma (7) and Timothy (5) both wanted desperately to get out and help the numerous camp hosts/grounds crew clean up the littered RV park. Armed with only their collapsible wagon they started out that morning with Edison (2) in tow. I took a watchful perch on top of the rig to sweep off our roof and clean the gutters. So excited to help were they that no adult in the cleanup party complained if they were in the way or if there was too much child chatter. Good. My mom heart hoped there would be no rebuff but an acceptance of their desire to help. I have found this builds a great work ethic in my little ones. It also gives them that warm feeling gained only by serving others.
Many hours and multiple piles of debris later I coaxed my brood in for hot cocoa, lunch, and a much-needed break. As we rested Emma turned to me and said, “Mom, I like windstorms, they give us lots to do. I helped a lot, didn’t I?” Yes, you did daughter, and I am very proud of you.
Power was restored to us about 24 hours after it first went out. Many others remained without power or easy access to their homes for several more days. Thus, ends our story: we survived our first windstorm in an RV.