RVing During Winter Storms

12/07/2009 at 2:21 am 2 comments

High Plains Camping is open all year but that doesn’t mean we are the same operation 365 days of the year. We’re in NW Kansas on America’s High Plains where storms can roll across with a vengeance. Every season brings its challenges. Winter is no exception.

A few years ago we had ice storm after blizzard after ice storm after blizzard … repeatedly for 7 or 8 weeks. It was the worst winter weather I had ever experienced. I know WWII vets who were born & raised here who claimed the same thing. A wicked winter, indeed, and we had RVers with us. For days we had some hunters, some “overnighters,” and some folks who were forced off the road when the state shut down I-70 and closed nearly every other road in western Kansas.

We were without power for long stretches. Some of our neighbors were without it for 2 or 3 weeks. We were blessed. We’d get power back every few hours, allowing us a brief reprieve.

Why not get a generator? Given our configuration and situation, so far this is a luxury that’s out of our financial reach for these “once-a-century” storms. 

Rural Americans are survivors. Sturdy stock. Hearty. Our communities are small, with small infrastructures. This rural lifestyle has many blessings but the challenges require stamina, creativity, working together, faith, and kindness.

So how did we deal with that winter? We kept buckets and buckets and buckets (and even more buckets) of water in storage for emergency use during outages. We lit the restrooms with flashlights. We set out antibacterial soapless handwash, and we used water from buckets to flush when warranted.

When power returned for 10 or 20 minutes we would jump into action refilling our guest’s LP, hoarding more water, running all furnaces to warm up the building & water pipes a few degrees … doing all we needed to do while we had power. We did this when ever the power returned, even if it was just 20 minutes after we’d fallen asleep at night.

The RVers had to conserve their LP for heat, so I cooked on my gas stove (the gas oven requires a tad of electricity to operate, but we could use the stove).  Large pots of pasta dishes were served in the park’s laundry room. (I imagine the state would cringe to read that but in survival mode I chose to follow my heart & morals rather than my legal obligations.)

Could we keep the roads and walks cleared? Heck no! The winds were howling. The snow was falling. The ice was weighing it all down. It was impossible to do anything but survive! And survive we did, and laugh we did, and bond … yep, we did. Cards were being played in the laundry room. Blankets were everywhere. Radios were being shared. Guys even grabbed my shovels and brooms, pitching in when and where they could.

WHAT IS SHE SAYING? I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that if you find that your road is closed due to bad weather, if you get stuck with me let’s just figure out how to survive it together. Life happens. Make the most of each day, even if it’s not at all the day you had planned. I can’t get you back on the road any faster but together we can make the most of a bad situation.

PREPARATIONS COUNT:  Every December I prepare for the possibility of horrible winter storms. I clean up the buckets, fill ’em, and set ’em aside. I stock up on candles, lighters, pasta and sauce, antibacterial hand cleaner, … I just brace for what might be needed. It’s far easier to brace for an emergency before one happens. You just don’t know what will come.  Last winter I think the heaviest snow removal equipment I used was my push broom!

And Now?  The forecast for the evening of 12/7 and all day 12/8 is pretty wicked.  We’re braced. Come on in and let’s have a winter storm party!

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Entry filed under: Running an RV Park, Weather. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike Erps  |  12/07/2009 at 2:12 pm

    ” Life happens. Make the most of each day, even if it’s not at all the day you had planned,”
    I really like this statement, it should apply to everyday life.

    Reply

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