Water, Power and Fireworks

The events of the past few days are hard to describe, but I’ll do my best.

This year, the 4th of July was on a Monday, so the holiday was a long weekend.  Most folks had the 1st through the 4th off, or Friday through Monday.  On the Friday, July 1 Triplog entry, I mentioned the campground was filling up.  By Saturday morning, the campground was full and you could see every conceivable camping tent, trailer, 5th wheel and motorhome.  There was even one guy who camped in his pontoon boat that was still on the trailer.  Not a bad idea, but not a good one either.  Every available spot was used for camping or the storage of vehicles and boats.  If you looked carefully, you could find every kind of camping gadget, water toy and human body type.

For some campers, the entire weekend was liberally lubricated with alcohol.  You could easily spot the Vodka or Tequila drinkers since they rarely showed themselves before 10:30 AM, and that was only to have a cigarette.  By the end of the festivities, the campground owners had collected a small fortune of empty beer cans.  Yep, these folks had four days of freedom and they were determined to make the most of it.

Pipes for city water are currently being installed and the campground will have access to city water sometime next year.  In the meantime, the campground has to rely on two wells located on the property.  For years the wells have provided an adequate water supply for the campground, but excess water use can run the wells dry.  If the wells run dry, you have to wait for the wells to recharge before pumping can resume.  Anyone who uses a water well knows this and is careful to conserve.

Two events triggered a water crisis.  First, Saturday afternoon, a toilet in one of the 5th wheels overflowed and flooded the 5th wheel and the entire surrounding area.  Water was pouring from every opening on the rig, including the front door.  Of course, the owners were away.  By the time someone noticed the “rig of a thousand rivulets”, thousands of gallons had already been returned to the northwest Arkansas aquifer.  The second event was more sinister.  Saturday night, some vandals (probably kids) got into the bathrooms, turned on all the showers and left them running.  By morning, both wells were dry.

Here’s the scenario:  People had been playing all day in the hot, humid weather.  After dinner, they had been up all night drinking and partying.  Now it is 9:30 AM in the morning, 82 degrees in the shade, 85% relative humidity and not a breath of wind.  A cloud of dust is kicked up by each passing vehicle.  There is no drinking water, the showers don’t work and the bathrooms don’t work.  There was not even enough water to brush your teeth or wash down an aspirin.

Of course, since we usually carry about 1/3 tank of water in reserve, about 30 gallons, we were o.k.  But, the mood of the masses was ugly.  The lake and pool became very popular spots.  When we headed for Faye and Don’s house around 1:00 PM, the water was still not on.  We were glad to get out of there.  As it turned out, the water didn’t come back on until 4:00 PM.  I asked the campground owner if there was anything I could do to help.  He said if he found the kids that turned on the showers, I could hold them down while he beat them.  No beatings ever took place, but I believe he was mad enough to do it.

Faye and Don live in secluded lakeshore neighborhood.  It had become a 4th of July tradition for the neighborhood to have a fireworks competition of sorts.  Participants vie to outdo each other and the prior year.  Money is not a consideration.

After a leisurely afternoon of playing pool, swimming in the lake and eating hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner, we set up lawn chairs on the front lawn to watch the fireworks.  Basically, three professional-quality displays intersected directly overhead.  The show was spectacular and lasted for 90 minutes.  We were showered with ashes and spent shells.  Occasionally we had to dodge some wayward missile.  When it was over, it took several minutes for the smoke to clear.  What a show!

That night we returned to the coach late.  We were asleep for only a few minutes when a violent thunderstorm woke us up.  The coach was buttoned up, so we were o.k., but the tent campers got hammered.  In the morning, sleeping bags were hanging everywhere.

The next two days we hid out with Faye and Don, spending lazy afternoons visiting, playing pool and helping them with some cleanup around the property.  We very much enjoyed their hospitality and the leftovers from the Saturday party.

Monday morning, disaster struck again at the campground when a thunderstorm knocked out power.  With no power to run the pumps, the campground was dry once again.  With almost every plug in the campground in use, I know it would be hard to restore power.  We unplugged the coach, shut off the water and waited.  I could have kicked on the generator, but the masses would have attacked.  Mercifully, services were restored within an hour.

By now most everyone was fed up with the camping experience and the place quickly emptied out.  I wonder how many sunburned and hung-over drivers were on the road that day.  By evening, things were back to normal.

So, we got through another 4th of July holiday.  Upon reflection, we never quite know where we will be.  Last year we were in Pennsylvania, this year was Arkansas.  We have no idea where we will be next year.  And there you have it.