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Flood 2!

They say the second movie is never as good as the first. With floods, that just ain’t so! We got a really hard rain in on Sunday. It lasted much longer than the usual 2 minute Texas rain. When the ranch manager came by to let the horses loose and told me to watch for flooding I took it seriously and kept an eye out. The rig had already moved on so I was alone waiting for the next phase to start. Unfortunately, an eye was not enough for a flash flood which occurred the next day long after the rain had stopped. Late in the day, the rocks I had admired out my kitchen window just half an hour earlier disappeared. I went outside to check and found water just starting to run underneath my trailer from behind. It was running very fast. I immediately began disconnecting all electrical and shut down the generator. I started pulling outside items to higher ground and saw the water begin coming in from the side as well. I knew I was in trouble.

I tried to call my support person for help but he was too far away to be able to help. I tried calling the ranch manager but got no answer. I drove my truck out of the water and up to the ranch manager’s gate but no one answered the page or honking horn. I tried waving down a trucker but he thought I was waving hello and just waved back and drove on. I was on my own and the water was rising fast. It was now across the road and coming from the other side too.

All I could do was pull all the cables in, move things inside to pull in the slide-out which had water on it that drained inside as I closed it, crank up the jacks, and hitch up my truck. That took a lot of precious time and I was trudging through deep water the whole time. The water got higher. My support person kept calling and checking on me to see how I was. The external sewer tank I was connected to started to float. I had to work at it to get disconnected from it since it was hard-plumbed to my outlets. Then it started to float off so I had to take time to pull it around the back of the RV to beach it. The water rose.

I finally got hitched up all by myself for the very first time and tried to pull out. The ground was now thick mud below and not letting go. Rocking it didn’t help and I had to be careful not to hit the support trailer next to me. I know I could have just driven off in my truck with my cat previously but this was my home, not some weekend cabin. I had to try hitching up to save it. Since my accident the previous October where I lost both my travel trailer and SUV and the insurance company paid for both, I wasn’t so sure they would appreciate having to pay for new vehicles again either.

My support guy called again to let me know he had a brilliant idea and the cavalry were coming. They were only 6 miles away. I continued to try to move out myself. Just as I gave up and the water was at the bottom of the truck door ready to come in, I heard the squeal of a large truck loaded with a bulldozer pull up. I thanked God and the support guy. They went to work fast. I stayed in my truck to keep the engine alive as they hitched up to the front end of it. They towed me up onto the roadway which was more solid and not as deep until my wheels caught and I was able to drive out the rest. I continued on down to the rig pad which was still dry and turned around to come back out the gate. I had the bulldozer guys tow the support trailer and sewer tank down to the hunting lodge area on the ranch which the foreman had told me usually stays dry. The bulldozer was then loaded back on the truck as I hugged both of my saviors and thanked them. The ranch manager and his wife drove up just as we closed and locked the gate to leave. They were able to tell me road conditions since they had just come from the direction I was headed. The 85 was closed at Big Wells. The 190 which I was on was closed for a mile (the part I was on of course). I believe the 83 was closed at Asherton. That didn’t leave me much choice than to go toward Carrizo Springs which also had some flooding in parts.

With the gas tank not as full as I would have liked and 2 deep spots to go through, the big truck pulled out ahead of me to cut through the water and hopefully make it easier for me. At one spot it looked like we were driving through a raging river crossing the road which was a bit scary. There was another gate guard still there right next to it in a motorhome behind a gate. I inquired if we should help them but the truck driver told me he had already checked on them and they said they were OK. I’m not so sure they saw the raging river behind their rig. In any case, we swapped positions to put me in the lead down the 85 to Carrizo Springs with them following to be sure I made it. I pulled off into the gas station as we hit town for gas, food, and directions while they continued on.

Most of the campgrounds in the area are not in any of the camping guides. This is an oil boom area where things spring up overnight and is not exactly what one would call a tourist mecca. The gals in the gas station told me which direction to go to stumble across one and allowed me to park at the pump long enough to grab something to go at McDonald’s. It was now dark. I was dripping wet, hungry, stressed, and exhausted. I took off down the 83 and stumbled into an RV park but it was full. After explaining the situation, the manager was kind enough to call a friend down the road who came over and lead me down to his own campground. It was tiny but he was an excellent navigator and spotter. He got me backed between two trees to park in a site with full hookups behind them. Nothing fancy there by any means but it was level and he even gave me a discount. I was there for four days when I got the call to go man a new gate. Back to work again.

This being my first time actually in a flood, I learned a few things. Some things I could have done differently. There are some things I can do to be better prepared next time. I’m working on those. One thing to do is make a point when I get time off the gate to meet other gate guards nearby and exchange phone numbers. The gate guards we passed in the flood knew I was there and were worried about me but did not have a phone number to call me. I have already taken care of that at my new gate. We are a family and help each other.

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