Snowbirding 101

The desert I know and love

A winter storm in the desert took these campers by surprise

RV in a storm
A desert storm was not part of the itinerary. — photo by Lynne Benjamin

There we were in our favourite desert camping spot two miles south of Why, Arizona, just north of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We woke up Tuesday morning to bright sunlight, quail scurrying through the wash and the smell of creosote…now that’s the desert I know and love.

Monday night was quite an ordeal, however.

We have an add-a-room that fits onto the awning and attaches to the motorhome. This is our alternative to a slide. We put the room up the day we arrived. For over a week we enjoyed the extra space and protection.

Not for long!

Monday night, a horrific wind swept in underneath the walls of the add-a-room and pulled the eight-inch-long anchor spikes right out of the ground. The walls sucked in and slammed into the side of the motorhome then flew straight out. We tried to catch the walls to peg them down again, but it was no use.

Adrenalin does it every time. We managed to get all the panels unzipped and the walls unhooked from the side of the motorhome. The rods that held up the side panels needed to be unhooked from the wall of the motorhome and pulled out from the awning. We slid the front wall off the track in the awning and into the trunk of the car before the winds took them off into the unknown. The awning got rolled snug up against the side of the unit.

Damage control

It was a job well done. We felt safe again for the time being. It rained and blew all of that night, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and all of Thursday. Friends lost their new awning to the desert storm but they did get a chance to see their first flash flood in the wash.

The wind and rain calmed down on Wednesday and gave us enough time to batten down the solar panel and put everything away that we could. We could leave at a moment’s notice. That didn’t make sense either, though—who wants to be on the road with winds like that?

It was going on Friday and it had not stopped raining. And I will never complain about Lethbridge winds again.

They called this a winter storm. According to what we have heard, winter storms are supposed to have gentle rains that saturate the ground. These violent rains and winds are supposed to accompany the summer monsoons.

Yes, the weather is changing all over.

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