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Old 08-24-2005, 05:53 PM   #1
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it's important to know where all the escape exits are located......

greetings folks

if images of distruction make you weak, stop reading now and close this post.....really.

i did the bike ride across iowa a few weeks ago (ragbrai)along with 10,000 others and towed the 34 for the trip......while also riding my bike......figure that out!

anyway on the 2nd nite a straight line high wind storm hit sheldon iowa for about 15-20 minutes at 1am or so.....wind was out of the north.

i was staying in the city park cg along with 12-20 other trailers/mhs. 10 of us were on the north border of the park, arranged so our huts were side by side pointed n-s. a beautiful city park filled with stately old cottonwoods that provided shade from the heat and plenty of firewood.

first a sprinkle of rain, then with a flash the real storm hit.

i awakened and remembered all my awning were open......so i pushed open the trailer door and grabbed the rear awning brace...... but the wind was blowing so hard i couldn't get the big main awning rolled up......the wind just pushed it skyward like a sail......

so i went back inside to put on my rain gear before heading outside again to roll the others up.

when i tried to open the door this time the wind was blowing so hard i could not open the door more than 2-4 inches.......for a minute i considered going out the road side escape window......seriously, but instead i just waited.......

10 minutes passed. the winds calmed and the rain began. now i did go outside and rolled up all of the awnings i could. the big one still wouldn't cooperate so i left it and surveyed the park.

the 150 or so people in TENTS crawled out of their nylon shells and were bused to the high school along with most of the rv folks....a few of us remained.

at 5 am these were my first photos of the damage.

i realize the images are dark but they do convey the scene.

---a man living in the park had returned just as the storm began. he and his 8 year old were about to get out of their car when the first tree fell crushing their trailer just feet from them.....that's the prowler.

---the folks in the next trailer heard the tree fall and decided to go sit in their t.v. there were six of them and it took a minute to get ready to exit.....just then the second tree fell right next to their trailer blocking both the front and rear doors......

and crushing the suburban that was their destination.

with both doors blocked they couldn't remember wear the escape window was located......

the med/police arrived and found it in the road side slide wear they exited to safety.

no people were injured in this park but one rider was killed in town when a tree landed on his tent.

my airstream was 3 trailers east of the main destruction and 2 trialer west of another down tree.

i was in between and ever so luckly.
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Old 08-24-2005, 06:10 PM   #2
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2 hours later when the sun was up........

as the sky brightened a more complete vision of the distruction was possible.

the prowler had "exploded" as the tree hit, the side popping out like a house of cards......while the trailer nest too it was barely scratched.

the folks headed for the suburban were fortunate not to make it.....that subie is totaled.

the tree that blocked there trailer doors DID NOT scratch the trailer at all......i mean not one mark.

a blanket on the window ledge shows the 3rd escape route....a truck still hooked up to the trailer had the passenger side front window cracked and right front fender dented but was driveable. 5 hours later when we had moved all the down timber the truck and trailer were towed out of the spot. these folks decided ragbrai was over for them and headed home.....

the subie was taped and they were to retrive it later in the week.

the luck man who lived in the prowler retrieved a stuffed chair, some papers, some of his childs clothes and headed off to find another place to sleep.

i inspected the tube closely and not one scratch.

even the awning worked perfectly (in one of the photos of the tree against the trailer you can see my curb awning still open.

we were all lucky......yes.

i didn't ride that day as i was busy moving timber for others.

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-24-2005, 06:13 PM   #3
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once the brush was cleared.......

after all the trees were moved this is what remains of the trailer and the suburban.

two families were spared because they didn't make it to their destinations.

but always know where your escapes routes are located......always.

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-24-2005, 06:14 PM   #4
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Glad no one was hurt. Looking at the carnage, it's hard to believe no one was hurt.
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Old 08-24-2005, 07:55 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Something that has always concerned me

The lucky folks with the Suburban can always rent a car to get home, but no car rental company, or even U Haul or Ryder/Budget, has anything that can tow a large travel trailer. While not first and foremost on anyone's minds at the time of the disaster, eventually you have to figure out how to get your trailer home.
It would even be a major project just to get the trailer to a storage facility, and that is if one is anywhere close by.
I rented a pickup truck a couple of years ago, and towed a small trailer with it. The rental company would have crapped themselves if they had found out, not to mention if the truck had had a problem or accident with the trailer attached. Has anyone found the "perfect solution"?
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Old 08-24-2005, 08:10 PM   #6
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hi overlander63

the cedar creek trailer was still hooked up to its tv (that't the white gmc in pics 6/7) so the suburban was parked next to the truck/trailer.....in the direct path of the tree. the truck had minor cosmetic damage an was still driveable.

as part of the excavation process the truck unhooked and moved so it's not in the daylight pics....once the trailer was cleared of the tree debris a tractor was used to pull it out before being hooked back up to the truck.

because the trailer was so close to the tree trunk and their was concern about the trunk moving.....a fork lift/tractor was place behind the cedar creek trailer and after cross bracing the frame rails, the rear end was lifted and moved sideway, away from the tree trunk. then it was pulled into the clear.

the town of sheldon was badly damaged by the storm but they city folks really helped us travelin' bikin' out o' towners get on our way.

i'd go back to this park in an instant....but i'd park on the other side where the trees were really small......next time.

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-24-2005, 08:15 PM   #7
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U-Haul - or similar

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
It would even be a major project just to get the trailer to a storage facility, and that is if one is anywhere close by.
I rented a pickup truck a couple of years ago, and towed a small trailer with it. ..... Has anyone found the "perfect solution"?
Most of the big "U-Haul" (one ton plus) have 2" receivers on them - that would be my choice for an "emergency" tow.

I use "U-Haul" as a generic name for any reputable "moving van" type of rental.

If you put the numbers to it, the U-Haul rental prices are not that steep. Especially if you need a "bigger" truck only once or twice a year.

Don't think you'll find one with a brake controller though, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
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Old 08-24-2005, 08:20 PM   #8
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Welcome to Iowa! Gotta love the weather here!

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Old 08-24-2005, 08:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 87MH
Most of the big "U-Haul" (one ton plus) have 2" receivers on them - that would be my choice for an "emergency" tow. Don't think you'll find one with a brake controller though, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Dennis, that solution would work for me right now, if needed, but aren't most modern (post 1968) Airstreams equipped with a 2 5/16" ball? That could take a very bad situation, and turn it into a surreal nightmare.
Although, I agree, sometimes you just have to say a "hail mary" and do what you need to.
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Old 08-24-2005, 11:08 PM   #10
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Question Holy Toledo! J M J + 1!

Whew I'm getting the manual out to figure out my emergency exit.
Guardian angels were working overtime. Thank heavens everyone was safe!
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Old 08-25-2005, 05:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
I rented a pickup truck a couple of years ago, and towed a small trailer with it. The rental company would have crapped themselves if they had found out, not to mention if the truck had had a problem or accident with the trailer attached. Has anyone found the "perfect solution"?
yes, it is our "blue list"! http://www.airforums.com/forum...ight=blue+list

if that happened around here i would certainly volenteer to tow a member's trailer part way if not all the way home!

between my two tow vehicles i can handle anything up to and including a 34 footer!

john
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Old 08-25-2005, 06:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by john hd
yes, it is our "blue list"! http://www.airforums.com/forum...ight=blue+list

if that happened around here i would certainly volenteer to tow a member's trailer part way if not all the way home!

between my two tow vehicles i can handle anything up to and including a 34 footer!

john
I was hoping someone would jump in with the Blue List. Thanks John.
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Old 08-25-2005, 02:42 PM   #13
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For grins I called my insurance company to see how something like this would be handled. I have towing of the trailer if my tow vehicle is disabled as part of the trailer insurance. Unfortunately in this type of case my policy covers 15 miles or the distance required to get the tow vehicle to a qualified repair facility. In this type of case getting the trailer home would be a matter settled by insurance from the offending party, although in this situation I think the campground would be held harmless from this type of storm. I suggested to the customer service rep. that they might consider a rider as an offering that would cover a tow home in case the tow vehicle becomes totaled due to an accident or act of god.

Sort of makes you think twice about those nice shady sites doesn't it.

Jack
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Old 08-25-2005, 04:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Dennis, that solution would work for me right now, if needed, but aren't most modern (post 1968) Airstreams equipped with a 2 5/16" ball?
I think he's talking about the size of the receiver on the back of the truck (2 inch) that you slide your ball mount into. P.
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