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Our Engaging Vermont Adventure

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

After five weeks and 4,000 miles we took off on July 1st for a three week vacation in Vermont to relax. Or so we thought!


Our first stop: Winhall Brook, our favorite Army Corps campground in South Londonderry. The first week was hot and humid with some storms. The campground electric grid had a tough time keeping up with everyone running AC units. The Winhall and West rivers were pretty as usual. Little did we know they were going to get pretty angry too.


Winhall River week one!


Winhall River week two!!! This was just the beginning! Eventually this bridge would be completely under water.


We did manage to get on our e-bikes and ride my favorite trail to the bench.

This place I was standing was also eventually under water.




We did get to relax some but unsettled weather kept us from doing more bike riding. Had some pretty sunsets!




We did have to drive home for one day on July 7th to attend a friend's deacon ordination.



We were scheduled to move to our next campground, Camping on The Battenkill in the southwestern part of Vermont, Monday July 10th and with the rain forecast for Sunday and Monday we decided to get the bikes on the rack and put everything away outside early. Then the heavy rain came overnight. Tom said he could hear boulders landing in the river. We were awakened at 6:18am Monday morning by a ranger banging on our door. Evacuate! The only way out of the campground was over the river and it was rising. The ranger also told us to meet at the contact station and then we would have to figure out what to do because there were roads already closed. It was a bit unnerving. I don't think we have ever been in this situation in Vermont before in all the years we have been camping.


We got out and a shed business owner let several of us park in his lot down the road because the contact station for the campground was not big enough for the dozen or so of us rigs evacuated. It was pouring and it was going to rain all day so we needed to make a move fast! Looking at a website we found on road closures it looked like we were trapped.


Tom called the Vermont State Police and they helped us figure out what roads we could take. We worked our way to Rte 100 South and then Rte 9 West to Arlington. We had to take Rte 30 a little bit before 100 and it was crazy. Rivers on the side churning violently, tree branches weighed down by rain, and some parts of roads already washing out.



We made it to the campground! But the Battenkill River was also rising. It was not yet over the banks so maybe just maybe it won't go over. They gave us a choice to go on our river site #1 or stay on one nearby and see what Tuesday brought. We stayed on a site nearby. It rained all night. Ugh. This time 5:30am brought banging on the door by our neighbors. River was over the banks and under our 5th wheel! Our electric cord was in a foot of water and the bin I put it on was floating!


Tuesday brought carnage. Daughter Kara was already at our house in Ellington and was supposed to join us on Monday and now we were not sure what to do. It was stressful. Kelly and Jordan were scheduled for Wednesday. The campground scrambled to relocate people on river sites.





Our site #1 was now part of the Battenkill River!

River Road was literally in the river!


The campground found us a site for a few days while the river receded and then they would get people in with backhoes and gravel. We told Kara and Kelly to come.

Surrounded by water but dry and waiting for our real site on the river. Kara and Kelly and Jordan and the 3 dogs arrived Wednesday and we enjoyed one another while we waited for the river to calm and our site to be ready. New management of the campground and our beloved previous owners gone did create a sense of anxiety and sadness. We needed normalcy! We needed our beloved river site #1.


Wednesday night as we were going in for the night a beetle decided to fly into Tom's ear. He was yelling in pain and we had no clue how to help him. Jordan googled and Kelly took over. She put olive oil in his ear which smothered the bug so it stopped moving but they could not flush it out. Finally the decision was made to go get medical help. Jordan and Kelly drove Tom to Bennington Hospital ER. They could not get the beetle out! They arrived back at 3:30am! Tom was instructed to drive to Albany in the morning to see an ENT doc. This week was unbelievable.


Tom found an ENT doc who could see him on Thursday in Rutland which was about 15 minutes closer than Albany. I guess we take for granted how close we are to medical help at home. Tom and I drove to Rutland and it took about 5 minutes for them to get it out! It is amazing what having the right tools can do!





 

After returning from Rutland and beetle-free we were treated to wonderful news! While walking along the beautiful Battenkill River Jordan proposed to Kelly! We were thrilled and can't wait to have Jordan in our family!





We finally were able to move to our site. Lots of good food, family and celebrating! Oh and dogs!








Dutch Oven pizza makes everything better!


After the girls left we had a few days to ourselves and also had a few days of good weather to get on our e-bikes.





Norman Rockwell lived in Arlington for about 13 years and when he was here many of the locals were his models for paintings. He lived in this house and right next to our campground is the Sugar Shack and they have a little museum on Norman Rockwell.



The day before we headed home we went back to see what Winhall looked like. We are so sad at the destruction.






The bridge we drive over to get to our site was totally under water during the height of the flooding. They only had time to round up some picnic tables and tie them together. The bench I sat in near the bridge was seen in a tree at the other end of the campground. Lean-to shelters came off foundations. The dam did its job protecting homes and lives at the sacrifice of the campground. We hope it's ready for next season.

I didn't take this photo. A friend on the campground sent it to me. It was taken during or after the storm in our area of Vermont. It's the perfect photo to end this blog post.


While this Vermont vacation was far from relaxing, it was indeed a rainbow after the storm. We had some tense moments and anxiety whether we were going to be able to continue our vacation. But in the end our rainbow appeared and it was all good. Perhaps Kelly and Jordan can remember this photo and look to this experience as symbolic. Wait out the storm and you never know what will turn up.

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