BILL & KATHIE'S 2011 RV ADVENTURES travel blog

Bandit & Tyler

Ft. Smith Cannon

Baby Turtle

Arkansas River Overflowing into Ft. Smith

Gallows at Ft. Smith

Alma Wall Cloud #1

Alma Wall Cloud #2

Alma Wall Cloud #3

Cumulus After the Storm

Mammtocumulus After the Storm

Campground Lake Overflowing


We finally had a dry, sunny day today for tourist-y things. The campground staff warned us not to go to Walmart, as it was flooded and full of cottonmouth snakes! And just how will they know for sure that they've gotten all the snakes out before they re-open? Can you imagine all the hiding places there are in a Walmart? Then they also mentioned that there are cottonmouths living near our campground lake! We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head east about 10 miles to Ft. Smith. The Arkansas River (what comes out of the Pueblo Reservoir in Colorado is nothing compared to the flow here) borders the Fort, and many of the sidewalks were washed out. A little girl showed us a baby turtle that she found on the sidewalk. We saw the parts of the Fort that we could, and also went through the museum. We got back to the rig about 5pm, and the weather quickly started changing, so we watched the local news and saw that a super cell thunderstorm was just going to miss us, but it suddenly turned right and followed I-40 right to our little town. The old grump at the campground office drove his golf cart around to all the rigs and warned everyone that a wall cloud was forming right over us, and we needed to head to the office for shelter (they don't have a real storm shelter). I asked about bringing the dogs, and he first grumbled, and then said we could bring them, but if they started fighting with the other dogs, it would be our problem. We grabbed them, my purse, our cell phones, and Bill’s laptop (forgot about Bill's meds), and raced in the car down to the office. I snapped the wall cloud photos just as we were running into the office. There was no basement, so we just went into the back room (that doubles as a tattoo parlor), which has concrete walls. There was a TV, and we watched the dopplar radar of Alma (where we are) as being ‘ground zero’. We’ve never had to leave the rig before in a storm, but I’m glad we did today. That was way too close. There were about a dozen other people from the campground there, and six dogs. We could hear the quarter-sized hail falling outside the door, and torrential rain, but the funnel never actually touched down. The storm moved pretty quickly east, and when we went outside, we saw that the hail didn’t do any damage to the cars or rigs. We have to unhook the rig Thursday morning and bring it 3 miles into town to a repair shop. Our fridge has had two recalls for potential fire hazards, and we brought it in both times, but the most recent fix was flubbed, and caused the fridge to lose all power Sunday. Bill was able to undo what had been done, and it's been running ever since, but without the modification we could still have a fire problem. The repair shop in Alma has to see that the modification malfunctioned, order the replacement part, and send it to our Branson campground. I have my doubts that this will all go smoothly (you know, Wiederspan Law is like Murphy's Law). We are staying here through Friday night, leaving Saturday for Branson for a week. The camprgound there is under water, but they've relocated the event to another campground, so the rally is still on.

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