Sunday–July 1, 2012

This post is very long.  It didn’t start out that way, but our day took an unexpected turn!!  So this post is written in two parts…

Travel Day to Modoc COE Campground, SC

After two successive 105-110 degree days in Columbia, we packed up early and left Sesquicentennial State Park for a short 100 mile trip to Modoc, a Corp of Engineers campground on J. Strom Thurmond Lake.

Normally we don’t like to travel on the weekend. However, when we are in a big city, Sunday seems to be a great time to get out of town missing the big trucks and work traffic:o))

Heading to I-20 past our son's housing development.

We headed west on I-20 towards Augusta, GA.  Modoc is about 20 miles north of Augusta, but still in South Carolina.  I have been to Augusta once to the The Masters.  Nancy has never been there, so we will have a lot to explore the next couple of weeks.

Leaving Columbia, we crossed the Broad River on I-20.

The traffic on I-20 was VERY light!!

As we approached the Georgia border,
we crossed the Savannah River.

The Savannah River marks the state line between Georgia and South Carolina.  J. Strom Thurmond Lake was formed by the COE Dam along the Savannah River.  We only went to the first exit in Georgia on I-20, then headed north and back into South Carolina to get to Modoc.

Just as we got off of I-20, we stopped at a Pilot gas station to fuel up.  This was my first fill-up at a Flying J/Pilot with the truckers.  To be honest, I was a little intimidated.  The lady trucker next to me helped me through the process.  I didn’t know that I needed “tractor” fuel?!?!  I was looking for diesel.  They had DEF right at the pump, but I didn’t need any.  It’s probably a good thing since I guess I would have to move the motorhome up 30 feet after I filled up with diesel just to reach the hose for DEF.  I wonder what everybody else does that needs DEF?  I also didn’t like the idea of guessing how much to put on the credit card and charging that amount before I get fuel.  Oh well, it all turned out fine as I charged $125 and that’s what it took to fill her up!!

We got to Modoc Campground and into site 41 just about noon.  It was a short drive and easy travel day:o))

Site 41 - tucked into the woods!!

View to back patio

View back toward the motorhome

Patio view of lake and our path to the lake

Our access to the lake

As you look back from the lake,
the tree on an angle marks our path to the lake.
Yes, Baby is tucked in the shade behind those trees!!

The lake is way down. 
Normally it would cover the red clay and sand :o((

You may have noticed that we have not set up the screen room or other outside stuff.  Well, I neglected to mention that I wrenched by back this morning moving Nancy’s hand weights ;o((  All I did when we got here was plug in the electric and connect the water.  Nancy got me some lunch, Aleve and an ice pack.  We'll get the rest of our stuff set up later!! For now, Nancy said we have 14 days here to recoup and relax.  Besides, we have a few days before the temperature drops below a 100 degrees.  Won't be spending much time outside!!

The ice on my lower back felt good...
I think I’ll take a rain check on the heating pad;o))

Baby Got Her First Boo-Boo ;o((

We had settled in at Modoc. I spent the early afternoon writing the blog of our travel day and resting my aching back. About 4:15pm the skies across the lake got dark and the winds  kicked up a bit.  We watched some boats and skidoos running for cover. Nancy took a couple pictures of the white caps, a far cry from the beautiful calm lake we saw when we arrived. 

View out our dinette window

Boat and Skidoos scrambling for cover
We had a little wind, but no rain at our site.

Then, at about 4:45pm, a sudden and severe storm hit us!!  It came so quickly we couldn’t do a thing.  The winds were over 40+ mph and the rain was beating us sideways.  The winds got stronger and stronger until they were practically lifting our heavy motorhome of it’s jacks :o(((
That’s when it happened….

an 18” Pine Tree cracked just a few feet above the driver’s side and came crashing down on the passenger’s side of Baby’s roof. 

The sound and sight was petrifying, but the fallen tree actually help to hold us down in the wind!!!

Just as quickly as it started, it ended.  The wind and the rain just went away!! Once we  were sure things were over, Nancy went out and moved the car back in case the tree decided to fall any further.

We both could not believe what just happened.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit unnerved—I was!!  Here we are standing in front of our home with a tree on the roof.

Thankfully, no one was hurt...

 but I knew Baby had a Boo-Boo:o((

Just a few minutes after we got outside, park rangers came by to check on us and told us that shortly there would be people here to help us get the tree off the motorhome.  Within an hour, a full crew with a bobcat (lift), chainsaws, and compassion arrived to help us out. 

We needed to move Baby in order to get the tree down. However, we were afraid of doing more damage if the tree shifted.

They held the tree in place while I put the slides in, lifted the jacks (which lowered the motorhome) and backed up the motorhome as far as possible (about 10 feet).

They were still concerned that the tree might roll towards the motorhome windshield as it came down. 

They expertly and carefully tied off the tree,

 dropped it straight down
and drug it off to the side
without any further damage to Baby. 

As soon as they finished with us,
they were off to help anyone else that needed them 
get the roads cleared.

I got the ladder out and was able to survey the damage. 

The fiberglass was cracked and chipped in a 12” X 18” area, but no damage inside the motorhome.  I got up on the roof and removed some limbs and found no other damage!!! I think, structurally, it could not have hit at a stronger point on Baby!!

I can’t thank enough the camp hosts, park rangers, other campers and all COE people that came to our aid.  They were at our site immediately after the storm ended and by 8pm had the tree removed, debris cleaned up and power restored to the campground!!  What an amazing display of efficiency and compassion.

It was a good ending to a very scary event.  Nancy and I just need to sit back, take a deep breath and thank our lucky stars!!  Right now, we need a good nights sleep…….

Nancy here: 
I have mentioned before that I think Bill and I live a ‘charmed’ life.  Well, now I know it for sure!!!  When we arrived at MODOC, we spent quite a bit of time trying to decide where we wanted the motorhome positioned on the site.  You know, up-back-up-back, left-right-left-right...  Well, if Baby had been 6 inches further up-back or left-right, the damage would have been much worse. During the storm, I thought our 29,000 pound motorhome was about to be toppled in the wind when the tree crashed and pinned us down.  Who would have thought a tree crashing on your home could be a good thing ;o))  No one was hurt anywhere in the campground and there is no damage that can’t be fixed.  Yes, we really live a ‘charmed’ life!!!


  1. Oh my goodness! So sorry to hear about Baby's boo-boo but oh so glad that you two are okay! That is what counts. And how nice for everyone to pitch in and take care of getting the tree off and out of your way! Stay safe....

  2. Wow! That's quite a story, doncha know???!!! So very glad you're both ok. You're right, damage can be fixed. Baby is now christianed. It happens to the best of us :) The important thing is you are ok!

    BTW Bill, if you apply for an RVer loyalty card at Pilot/Flying J, you'll be able to swipe that card at the pump and go pay later, after you know how much it'll be. It also gives you a discount and the cash price even if using a credit card.

    Now, please have a boring couple of weeks!

  3. Wow. I think I would have had a full-blown panic attack in that storm. So glad you are all right and Baby had minimal damage. I'll second the vote for a boring two weeks.

  4. Charmed life eh...that's looking on the bright side. The lake looks nice but I know Baby will be your first concern.

  5. That doesn't count as a boo boo because you were not actually driving Baby at the time. Real boo boos require a driver behind the wheel.

    I'm surpised you missed that part in the owners manual. ;c)

    Glad the damage was minimal, the front on the Winnebagos is the strongest part. Hope the repairs go quickly. And especially glad you both are okay after that wild weather!

  6. Oh no poor Baby. Poor you guys seeing your new baby damaged. You two have the best attitude. Hope the fix is quick, easy and soon.

  7. Glad you guys are OK. And, Baby is not too damaged. Just looking at those pictures, is enough to unnerve me. Glad I am always looking for a site with a clear sky for the sat dish :)

  8. So glad you guys are okay! Sorry about Baby! Modoc is a great place to chill out especially after this! This campground is one of our favorites!

    Bruce and Laura

  9. Sorry to learn about Baby's boo-boo, but at least you are safe.

    As for the red clay - be careful not to track any inside. It will stain the carpet. I speak from experience.

  10. So glad you two survived the storm. Too bad for Baby, but at least it wasn't any worse than it was and hopefully no more boo-boos. Glad the cleanup crew was so respectful of your rig. We don't like high winds too much either, but who does. Hope your back gets to feeling better soon Bill. Now the two of you just need to kick back and relax!

  11. I was in site 27 and I thought it was a tornado coming across the lake! Went up to the concrete bathrooms for cover with the family.