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Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A New Experience

And its not one that I care to have again, although I'm sure it will be inevitable at some point as we're traveling.

Sunday was partly sunny to start, but very humid. It was going to get into the 80's, and we had a severe thunderstorm watch for the late afternoon hours. I opened the store at 12:00, and was supposed to be alone until 3PM when Chris was scheduled to come in. Now, when I was doing the scheduling, based on the busy periods from the past two years, I was going on amount of sales for each given hour. It didn't look like sales got going too much until around 3:00, so that's why I figured I'd be ok by myself until then. I have now wrapped my mind around the fact that there's alot of $2.00 ice creams and $1.00 slushies in a couple of hundred dollars in sales! I was completely bombed upon opening. I was scooping and ringing like a mad woman :-)! I had asked Al to go down to WalMart and pick up a few things that I had run out of on Friday ( I sold alot of s'mores ingredients) and he walked in about quarter after one. Paula, from sales, had just walked through and gasped! and then sent in Robin, her secretary, to help me thin the line...it was going out the door. Peter (the activities director) came in to see what I needed, and I just yelled, can you send me Chris? ( Chris is part of my staff, but was working the marina until 3PM when he came on duty for me.) Then Al walked in, and I asked him to please run back to the campsite and ask Lorraine to come down for a couple hours. That's the nice part about having your staff living on property :-). Which she did, trooper that she is. Robin handled scooping ice cream great, Chris showed up, although wet and shoeless :-), and we cleared out the crowd. Lorraine stayed until about 4PM, and we were fairly organized the rest of the afternoon. But it was an interesting afternoon, and a busy introduction to a holiday weekend around here! Vicky worked with me Sunday until 4PM, and Chris closed with me, and Monday Lorraine and I ran the store from 12 until 6. We did really well, and had a good amount of sales. I was personally disappointed with the weekend's total, but was assured by my boss that we did very well. I guess I have high expectations for myself, but all three of us want the store to do well this summer.

Now, Sunday afternoon turned out very interesting. It was very busy, we were selling tons of firewood, ice cream, doing well with the food as well. Al brought my dinner down before going on duty at 5PM. I was busy, and he pretty much stuffed it in the fridge and ran, but told me there was now a tornado watch in place. Nice. We do have the internet on our register, so we pulled up the local radar, and wow, there was a really strong line of storms about 45 minutes out. We started telling people as they were coming in the store, but most already knew and had been preparing their sites.

Then about 5:30, I heard it; the tornado siren. I did not like hearing it, but there it was. Chris and I immediately went into lock-down mode. The store gets locked up, any campers in the building, which includes the family center and the cafe as well as our store, are to be placed into the restrooms, and the staff of the building is taken to what I can only say publicly is a "safe area". So as Chris was locking up our shutters, I closed down the store and started herding people to the bathrooms. Then I was pretty much physically removed from the building by Paula and Debbie, and we sat out the warning time in our shelter. I was really afraid for my dogs, and  knew Al was out there rangering. And he was out there, actually in the guard booth, as people were fleeing the campground like the proverbial rats leaving a sinking ship! Many people were stopping and asking him 1. where to go, and 2. making sure he knew the siren had gone off and were concerned he wasn't seeking shelter. He was telling folks that didn't have a nearby home to take shelter at one of the large stores down the road, and here I have to give a huge plug for WalMart. I heard from several families afterwards that WalMart was taking in anyone that needed shelter, and even allowed people to bring their pets in with them. Kudos to WalMart for that!!

I could not hear anything going on outside our shelter, it was pretty soundproof. I have been told by many, including Al, that it got pretty wicked out for about 10 minutes, but thankfully, no touchdowns here. There was much damage about 15 miles west of here, in Fowlerville and Perry. I read that 300 firemen from the area around here were deployed right afterwards to do damage control and start cutting up downed trees. So it must have been pretty messy. We were given he all clear by 6:15, at which time we re-opened everything, and I ran back to check on the trailer and the dogs. Chelsea was not happy at all, but they both survived, and the weather calmed down after that. It was certainly an experience, and I don't need to repeat it again, please!

Monday, Memorial Day, was clear, sunny and hot! It was a perfect beach day, and the store was very busy. Everyone was enjoying the good weather, and spent the entire day at the campground before heading for home. There was a small parade here, and yes, I mean small. I took pictures as they went by the trailer:
Alex is the clown, and she is the wife of Chris, who works with me in the store. Dan, in the red polo, is the assistant activities director.

This is Peter, the activities director, driving the golf cart they decorated for Memorial Day. Most of the sales staff went to Hartland to ride the Waldenwoods float in the big parade there.

So, that was our weekend. We worked hard, but it was fun. We're making some good friends here, both among the workampers and the regular staff. They're really nice folks here, and we're enjoying it very much. Today is our last workday, Al rangers tonight, and I have some supply shopping and then some inventory tracking to do this afternoon. Then tomorrow is our "weekend", and we're taking a short excursion over to the Lake Huron coast. It's about an hour and a half to the starting point of our driving tour, and we're looking forward to exploring the "sunrise coast" and the Huron National Forest. I hope to have lots of great photos to show you, and am especially looking forward to seeing the bald eagles and trumpeter swans in the area. So, until next time, stay safe and have a great day!


  1. WOW OMG!!! what an experience!! I hope you don't have to do that again any time soon!!!..so glad all turned out ok and nothing "touched down" close to you. HHMM SCARY!!

    Usual Memorial Day around here...parade at 9 AM!!
    I didn't go to this year's..it was pretty dark out there and did start to rain and a bit of thunder when all were at Marine Park...but at least they got the parade and ceremonies in..... but, I'm glad I stayed home....very hot and humid after that all passed by though..yuck!!!

    News flash: Start my new job (part-time to start 25-30 hrs wk.) tomorrow @ Rite-Aid, Bridgehampton. Have to do something....going crazy at home and watching your brother working so hard..thank God, work is turning BUSY in the trades again..he's thrilled with some overtime!!..{I feel so bad/guilty..but you know him..he keeps telling me not to over due it}...even if I have trouble with the swelling in legs and whatever else is wrong with me..I don't care..I'm going to make some $$$$$$!!!
    Wish me luck..
    Luv 2 you both..take care and as always be SAFE!!!
    Beth & Bill <3<3

  2. Glad the store is doing so well. What a scary time for you though. Looking forward to the pictures from your trip. Safe travels.

  3. What an experience in that storm! That is too scary. I look at storms in a whole new way since we moved into our motorhome. That was one scary storm and your description of it gave me goosebumps!
    Your busy store time gave me goosebumps too! That's got to be interesting with a line out the door :) I think I'm grateful I'm retired :)

  4. And we were under a winter weather advisory on Memorial Day, but I think I'd rather have snow than a tornado. Glad the worst of the storm passed you by. Enjoy your weekend...we are enjoying ours!!

  5. WOW!! What a scary experience!! Very happy to hear no tornado's touched down there, but what an experience!

  6. WOW that was scary! Poor dogs must have been frightened to death and I'm sure you were really anxious about them. So glad it all turned out OK.

    Sounds like you are doing a great job with the store. Time to relax and have fun on your day off.