Peter and Connie's Lifestyle Journey travel blog

A Flat Cookhouse!

Picnic area before the storm

Picnic area after the storm

More debris

Campground 9/25 the day before the storm

Campsite #4 is under that tree

Funny place for a pool cover - tree on a fence -...

Hi Friends,

We are coming to the end of our summer adventure. Today is the last day of work and Mother Nature threw us a ‘party’ last night!

Peter & I decided to head out for dinner – neither of us felt like cooking. As we drove to town we noticed the dark ominous looking clouds north of us – heading east. We wondered if this would develop into something more threatening for us, but after noticing the direction of the clouds we figured this storm was bypassing Drumheller once again. As we sat waiting for our supper to arrive we noticed a number of people walking towards the big glass doors – they were talking and pointing towards the sky. Peter decided he had to go see what was happening and just as dinner arrived he got up to take a look. He came back to the table and told me it looked like a funnel cloud was forming west of the restaurant (this would be towards the campground area). Just as he said that the power went off and we continued eating our meal in the dark. As we ate we watched the waitress lock the glass doors to prevent the wind from pulling them open and busting them. Then we noticed the sky getting darker and the debris was flying past the windows – bits of wood, twigs, paper – it was like a scene from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ – I almost expected the wicked witch of the west to fly by any minute!

Naturally we continued eating and wondered what was happening around us. The waitress joked that if you didn’t have cash to pay you’d be held hostage till the power returned! Lucky for us we had the cash – the power didn’t return to Drumheller till the wee hours of the morning! Outside we encountered a moderate wind and the start of the rain – we’d missed the main storm. As we drove through town we saw huge trees lying on their sides, across the road, with the whole root system sitting on the sidewalk! The rain was pouring, the lights were out and the city workers were struggling to get the trees off the roads.

As we headed west we hoped that the storm bypassed the campground but as we arrived we realized this was not to be. In our first group area there is a 12 x 12 foot cookhouse that tenters use to cook inside if the weather is unpleasant. The entrance to the campground was blocked by debris from the cookhouse – it was spread across the road. The floor was about 10 feet from the base, the walls and roof were lying flat across the road in a straight line about 75 – 100 feet from it’s original home! We skirted the wood by driving into the Arizona area – luckily this area was closed (it’s the end of the season) and there were no campers here – if there had been I’d say we’d have had a disaster!

We continued into the main campground and it was a mess. The pool cover was wrapped around a fence – about 100 feet from the pool house. Huge trees had broken and fallen across campsites as well as the road – once again we were very lucky that each of these sites were not occupied – the ones next door were – but not the ones that were destroyed! One poor camper had his tent wrapped around a tree – but other than lots of trees and branches down, awnings broken, not one person was injured! We found out afterwards that one camper was filming and this clip ended up on You Tube and the national news!

So our last day of work was not going to be an easy one – the guys were busy lugging trees and branches and cleaning up the mess. In the office we tried to get our computers working after the power outage from the night before!

I have photos of the campground areas before and after the storm – this one was much worse than the storm we had in August – I do wonder if we did have a mini tornado hit – or at least the outer winds of a tornado – not an experience I’d like to repeat! Enjoy the photos and hope you are all doing well……Peter & Connie

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