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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At first, I didn't think the weekend was going well. You see, the '8-hour pukefest' had happened 2 nights before, with two of my crumb-crunchers... and somehow I was blindly optimistic that it wouldn't continue through the family. A stressful week of work between the holidays, and a moderate forecast had me ready for some dirt biking at the ranch. God knows, after all the Christmas eating, I needed some exercise, too.

Friday night... I got the mother and four kids into the truck with the dirtbikes, pulled out of the driveway, and number-one starts heaving. Crap! Brake squeal, door flies open, daughter baptizes a neighbor's lawn. Not sure what my poshy neighbors think of my pickup truck, or my (ahem) motorcycles... but they HAVE to love having a kid jump out and puke on the lawn. LOL

Well, you know how that goes... daughter says she feels much better... can we make it 90 miles to the ranch before she blows again? No. Not even close. She fills a handy grocery bag, once again sparing the leather interior of the vehicle, but it does fill the air with a not-so-nice scent. Wife puts her foot down this time, and the mission is aborted. Truck turns around and returns to port. Dang, this isn't going well.

9-year old and 4-year old are my two biggest riding buddies, they're the two that already had the pukies, so I know they're immune (?) and they are crushed about not going to the ranch. Wifey makes another directive. Me and the 2 motorheads are to proceed to the ranch, while she stays in town with the green daughter and yet unscathed baby. Divide and conquer! The only thing I would have to miss on Saturday, is my spirited 'lone ride,' but at least I'll be turning wheels.

Still Friday night, on the mountain highway, only 15 miles from the warm beds at the ranch, there's a strange sound in the back seat. Happy meal soufflé from the 4-year old... all over the place. What the... ? But she's so comfortably resting, she just sleeps right through it. Sonny and I were putting our faces out the windows to avoid the putrescence. When we pulled up to the ranch house, son got out of the truck so fast it looked like a fire drill. Okay, make a to do list.
1) Tie the seat belt around the door handle so the vomit doesn't get rolled up into the seat belt.
2) Bathe the 4-year old and get her in clean clothes.
3) Drop her in bed
4) Attack the back seat of the truck with sponges, detergent, towels, wet-dry vac, thank goodness the ranch house is equipped.

The WR450 still perched on the back of the truck, I felt more like sleeping than unloading, so I wandered off to bed. Then at 6am, I stumbled out of bed with that unmistakable dizzyness. AHA! We have another victim!!! One good barf session did it for me, but I can't believe I'd eaten that much in a week! So there I was, at the ranch, two rug rats ready to ride, and I felt like a wet noodle. The kids were really sweet about it, as they agreed to get along, and play video games while I lay feeling dead on the sofa. Saturday afternoon, can this weekend win some kind of award for misery? The WR450 never made it out of the truck. By Saturday evening I felt feverish, but felt strong enough to drive home. At home, I slept from 9pm until 10am. How'd that ball drop thing go?

When I woke up, I felt like a new man. Wifey knew not to stand between me and any functioning motorcycle, so after some bacon and eggs, I made a quick ride plan.

- -

Several weeks ago, I heard on the radio about the failure of a dam around a hydro-electric reservoir that sent 1.5 billion gallons of water cascading down a mountain and right through a very popular state park, carving a 0.5 mile wide trench in the earth. My ears pricked up when I heard the story, because I was very familiar with the area. It's a great area for dirt riding and street riding, and the town in the path of the flow is a start point for an annual dirt ride. The park, campgrounds and scenic falls were said to be completely destroyed, as all of the mature forest in the water's path, with 100-year oaks flowing down like matchsticks.

http://www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower/safety/taum-sauk.asp







The story that captivated me most was about the state park's administrator, and his family. Their house was in the way of the flow. This all happened at 5:20 am. The administrator thought it was an earthquake, was shuffling for a flashlight. 3 children, the mother ran to the room of the infant and 2-year old and had just reached their room when the wall of water hit. They say the house was like a speck of dust in a sneeze.

More miraculous than the fact they found all 5 family members' bodies in the freezing mess, they found them all alive! They were all wadded up in brush, and hats off to those savvy hillbilly volunteers that found 'em and knew what to do. They found the mother clinging to the 15-month old infant with the 2-year old gripped around her thigh. The 5-year old boy was found 100-yards away and almost died from burns received while trying to save him from hypothermia. I still don't understand where the Dad was, but he was mostly uninjured. If you could see the debris fields, you'd be as amazed as I am that this entire family survived. It's almost like there were no two bricks of their house together anywhere, and the foundation was scraped off with a dozer blade.

Anyways, I've been wanting to head down there and see the damage, so I got on the electrics and headed south. Some the roads were sweaty, but my favorites were dry and clean. In about 2 hours of spirited play, I arrived at the scene of the flow.



This road the Duc is parked on had a measured 10 feet of water over it.




It was sad to see such a favorite part of my state so torn up. The electric company claimed full responsibility, and I'm sure they'll be paying dearly for the incident. Hopefully this beautiful park can be resurrected.

Before I left, I wanted to see if I could get any view of the actual breach, so I dialed up the detail on the GPS and started heading up every fire road. They always ended up in someone's driveway, until I found one I'm pretty sure would have taken me where I wanted to go, but after about 4 miles of ducking branches, I came to a gargantuan chainlink gate. Wouldn't happen today. Maybe I'll get a helo headed over that way sometime.

So I threw the camera down and grabbed one last shot.



I was pretty happy with how easy the moist gravel was to ride on, even at up to 60 and 70mph, so on the way home, I took a gravel road detour to cut off 9 miles of interstate, and hit I-44 just as darkness fell.

Now if you read all of that, you really must be bored!!!! :shock:

:)
 

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Liquidsilver said:
Wife puts her foot down this time, and the mission is aborted. Truck turns around and returns to port. Dang, this isn't going well.

..... Then at 6am, I stumbled out of bed with that unmistakable dizzyness. AHA! We have another victim!!! One good barf session did it for me, but I can't believe I'd eaten that much in a week! So there I was, at the ranch, two rug rats ready to ride, and I felt like a wet noodle.
:)
Great read, but don't you hate it how 'they' are always right :lol:

We saw reports of the dam burst, and I wondered how close it was to you. A pretty scary event, but specially for the family. Glad they all made it OK.

And also, like my new year ride - all your stuff turned out good in the end, so that is very good. 8)
 

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Liquidsilver said:
Now if you read all of that, you really must be bored!!!! :shock:

:)
Liquid, quite an interesting read, it will be down hill for you from here on.
 

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That was a great tale, liquid! Thanks! Reminds me to say 'thanks' for missing the puking years with my stepson!
 

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Liquid, man you made me laugh and cry all in one post man!! Those puking kid years when all were affected; seems like yesterday, thank goodness it wasn't. And as far as the dam busting pics and story....What a piece of great fortune for this family to have survived it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
AHA!

Thanks to some local HSTA boys, I finally got to see the breach with my own eyes.

I got out for some play on Saturday, with the local club, and we happened to go past the area... and I heard the leader of the group telling of a place you could see the breach. I called BS (not really) but told him I had tried everywhere to get where I could see it.

Sure enough, one of the gravel roads on an opposite hill has a view of it. WOW! It's big! Hard to believe that thing was man-made, back in the 60s... for peak-energy control. Anyway, here;



and here;



Happy New Year!

:)
 

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Liquid, My family and I tried to buy a vacation home in Lesterville on the Black River downstream from Taum Sauk...but couldn't bc the county had not opted for flood insurance program and bank wouldn't finance. Wonder if that house is even there now?

Rode myself on New Year's Day with some friends down to Ft. Kaskaskia, no hooning but a good time nonetheless. Got to get together and ride in some Duc-wake! Peace, TW
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm pretty sure the care-taker's house and the park buildings were the only ones demolished. There's a farmhouse right across Highway N from the caretaker's house, but it's built on a 25-foot (?) camel hump. You can see the debris spread around the house, but I don't think it was touched by the flow. There's pieces of a fiberglass Peterbuilt front end in their front yard, too.

With the proximity of that house, to the care-taker's foundation... I wonder if the 'heroes' in the incident came from THAT farmhouse.

I can't imagine what those pretty rock-falls (Johnson Shut-Ins) look like now, probably like everything around there... scrubbed down to muddy bedrock.

Good to hear from ya.


:)
 
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