A mighty wind

May 1, 2014

By Pat Detmer

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In September, we rented a large houseboat on Lake Roosevelt with my sister Susie and her husband. After taking possession, we cruised up the lake and found a perfect spot for the night: a protected little bay, embraced by wooded peninsulas. The Sainted One ran the boat on shore and we tied up.

That was the night the Seahawks game was delayed due to a freak windstorm, and to get to Qwest Field, it had to get across Eastern Washington — and Lake Roosevelt — first.

It was hot and still when we retired early, so I was pleased when a breeze blew through the open stateroom window until that breeze grew into something less appealing. Staggering out of our staterooms, we had to hold onto the walls to keep from hitting the deck. We turned on our phones and they began simultaneously ringing: High wind warning, the messages from the marina said. Batten down the hatches, because something wicked this way comes.

It was so bad, in fact, that we actually did a Sitcom Couch. In sitcoms, three or four people will end up sitting on a couch together because it’s the only way to frame a shot that captures everyone, but really, have you ever seen that happen in real life? Well, it happened that night. The four of us sat shoulder to shoulder, eyes wide, as the Good Ship Vacation was battered by wind and waves. We ended up sideways on the beach, and the next day it took us an hour to extricate ourselves.

Early March, same group, different place: the Anza Borrego Desert on a guided overnight trip. The tents were mesh so that you could watch the stars crawl across the sky. The mesh was not as nifty when the windstorm came out of nowhere, because it acted as a sieve. Only the very finest sand fell through the tent roofs and blanketed everyone and everything underneath it. It was a mighty wind, and another mighty wind (we had stopped for Mexican food before the trip, and it included refried beans) blew beside me.

When we emerged the next morning, I expected our guides to dismiss the storm and call us city slickers for our worry, but they were amazed and — almost literally — blown away. They ‘d slept outside, and their cots had been lifted into the air. It was wild and unexpected, and they’d never seen anything like it in their 30 combined years of guiding.

Then I wondered … is it us? Is it me? I thought of other vacations: In Albuquerque, gazing out the hotel window at a cloudless night sky as the outdoor furniture by the pool is picked up by the wind and pushed to one corner; Galena, watching tornado warnings on TV; dodging more tornados on a trip to Missouri and southern Illinois; at Westport, where the wind was so strong that we couldn’t see the beach for the sand whipping, knee-high, around our feet.

Am I a force of nature? Is the Sainted One? Whatever the reason, true to my sales and marketing consulting background I’ve decided to monetize this, so for a small fee, we will provide you with our vacation itineraries for 2014 and 2015 so that you can avoid blowing in the wind.


You can reach Pat Detmer — who will be blowing into a vacation spot to be named later — at patdetmer@aol.com.

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