I neglected to mention in my first post that we were supposed to caravan with our friends, The Barry’s, out to South Dakota. We were to meet them at a gas station on I-95 at 6am Sunday. Shockingly, that didn’t happen, so we made plans to meet on the road. Well, we finally caught up to them Tuesday, a mere 3 days later at the Akta Lakota Museum and Culural Center. Prior to finally reuniting, we stopped at the Corn Palace (literally a large structure made of corn cobs) and at a beautiful rest stop on the banks of the Missouri where Lewis and Clark crossed.
From there, we were on our way to an actual campsite for the night. Being from the Northeast, it never occurred to me that there may be an issue with the address provided by KOA. So naturally, I plugged in the address to my phone and we, along with another car filled with my friend and three of her sons headed off toward a relaxing and early evening at more than just a parking lot. Wrong. About a mile before the GPS told us we had ARRIVED, we knew were in trouble. I can’t exaggerate enough the desolateness we were surrounded by.
My friend Alison re-read the email confirmation from the campground, and a paragraph down from the address given was a warning telling NOT to use GPS, but rather the Google directions. Oops.
Fortunately, we only drove 1 hour out of our way which only added a total of 2 hours to our multi-day trip. Could have been worse, right?
As we were out joy-riding, we recieved a text from our friend Beth, whom we were going to meet up with the next day at the Rosebud Indian Reservation. She and a group from Trinity Church are there for the week doing mission work and we will be delivering books. Anyway, the text warned of a severe storm and that we should plan on being shored up by 7pm. As we approached the “town” where we were staying, enormous, black clouds were blowing our way. Not too concerned, our goal was to get everything hooked up, laundry started and steaks grilled before the rains came. In hindsight, our ignorance truly was bliss.
First loads of laundry started. Check.
Steaks defrosting in the microwave. Check.
As I was quickly and efficiently getting dinner ready for everyone, Ryan decideed to go to the showers to bathe the littles rather than trying to do it in the RV. The winds were picking up a bit, but we were sure that all was well. Until I saw Ryan heading back with the littles.
“Why are you back?”, I inquired.
“I THINK I SAW SOME FUNNEL CLOUDS FORMING”, he replied.
Just as I recieve this news, my children and the Barry family piled into the RV. We all knew this was bad.
Just then, the winds hit. It was like nothing I have seen before. The wind was running along the ground scooping dirt, debris, our welcome mat and anything else in its path. The RV shook back and forth. Ryan went outside, having to hold on the railing of the steps to not be blown away. We knew we couldnt stay in the RV, but we knew we couldn’t make a run for it because we would have been swept up in the winds.
It was awful. I first sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to break the tension. Then I just prayed out loud. We didn’t didn’t know if Ryan was okay. We didn’t know if the RV would be picked up and be tossed and turned. It was wicked.
There was a slight break in the intense, tornado-like winds. We made our break. The littles were carried by Claire and Quinn, I dragged the dogs and we all ran like the wind through the wind.
It was hard to move at all without being thrown around. We finally made it to the main building. Thank God.
Two hours later, I decided to make a run for the RV and finish the steak, potato and salad dinner I had started 2 1/2 hours before. By 10:30, we had weathered most of the storm (the RV continued to be tossed around a bit in the night), eaten dinner, showered and were ready for bed. I often say, “You can’t make it up”, and this, my friends, most certainly falls into the category.
We found out that two tornados touched down in the area. We are so grateful that we are all ok. Suddenly, a night in the Wal-mart parking lot seems like a cake walk.