Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

How the Weather can Give you a Reputation!

I have a funny camping story I would like to share with you. I am a Retired Navy Boatswains Mate. For those of you who do not know what that is, in the most simplest terms, I was a deck hand and then some. So as you can imagine, spending 20 years in the Navy I spent a great deal of my career watching for changing weather conditions. This is a story of how the weather tricked me into doing one of the most foolish things I have done to date.

My story begins two summers ago in a state park in Michigan.

My family and I were camping in a state park about an hour drive from our home. I own a Starcraft Galaxy pop up camper and have more gear than is really necessary for a great time in the outdoors, but then again who doesn't? We had been there about three or four days and had been having a wonderful time riding our bikes, fishing, making Smores, burnt marshmellows, and pizza sandwiches around the campfire. On our last night there I had made the suggestion that we take down the dining canopy and get it put away as well as all of the other loose gear just so that we wouldn't have to do it in the morning.

As I said earlier, I always keep a very close eye on the weather so that we can take the proper precautions should a bad storm head our way. The forecast was calling for rain the next afternoon and I wanted to make sure that we were not folding our camper in the rain. About 3 a.m. something woke me from a dead sleep. To this day I am not sure what it was that woke me up, but whatever it was has left me labeled from now until eternity. Because it was at that very moment, I decided to grab my phone to check the weather. To my shock there was a very large and very ominous storm lurking out over Lake Michigan just offshore. I laid in bed trying to calculate exactly how much time we had before the storm would be upon us. After several minutes passed I decided that it would be in the best interest for all if I woke everyone up and got them moving. As you can imagine I was not Mr.. Popular at that moment but everyone got up and got dressed with me barking orders the whole time.

Each person had a pre-determined job that they had to do and we went right to it. We had all of the gear stored, bunks pushed in and the top down in just a hair over 35 minutes. I was amazed that were able to get all of that done so quickly. It usually takes an hour or more to get everything stowed. Within 45 minutes we were piled into our truck and leaving the campground. All the way home I kept thinking how glad I was to make the decision to get out of there before the storm hit. I kept expecting to run into that storm as we were driving but to my dismay, nothing, not even a single drop of rain hit the windshield.

We arrived home about an hour later and still no rain. I decided to leave the camper hooked up to my truck and head into the house. We were all so tired from the rushed exit from the campground that we just went back to bed. I woke a few hours later, got up and went outside to look around, still... no rain! I went back into the house and once again, checked the weather. That huge, ominous rain cloud was gone, it simply vanished. Not a single drop of rain had fallen anywhere on dry land. The storm just evaporated as it approached the shoreline and I was left with egg on my face. As it turned out, no rain fell the entire day.

My entire family was upset with the situation. We missed out on our last day of breakfast cooked over the campfire, the last day of relaxation in the campground. After a few hours we went out and got the camper unpacked and cleaned up for our next trip. When we went back to work a day later everyone was asking how our trip had been. My wife, still feeling a little tired, told the story of how I woke everyone up at 3 a.m. for the emergency evacuation due to a storm that never materialized. Most people have forgotten the tale, except one. She teases me about from time to time. She'll tell me about how she and her family goes camping, and how they slept all the way through till morning without a 3 a.m. speed drill to stow and go.

There is a saying around these parts, "If you live in Michigan and don't like the weather, wait five minutes it'll change". I guess there is more truth to that than I realized. Since that trip I still watch the weather, but now I wait a while before sounding the panic alarm. So far it has worked out well.

Kevin Wethy, Howard City, Michigan

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