Just back from another amazing Nascar Race Weekend in Bristol, TN. The weather was wacky, but did not affect the racing. It did however affect the camping…
I survived what I call the “Great Bristol Flood” of April 2017. During the “Great Flood” campsites were literally floating down the creek/ Holston River. I was lucky and was able to pack up and move to higher ground before the flood hit. For those that have not heard the story a pair of yoga pants saved the day! I was just getting ready to pull out of the campground to go get a pizza when I realized I couldn’t go out in public in yoga pants…just as I got out of the truck to grab a pair of jeans the campground owners came over to tell us that we needed to pack up and move to higher ground ASAP. Within about 20 minutes of the warning the entire lower level of the campground was under water.
The creek also runs along side the Track and it flooded for miles. Most people probably would not camp in the same area, but since I was told that the Creek has only flooded 3 times in its history and only once since I started going to Bristol I figured it was a safe choice. Plus the campground I love is less than a mile walking distance to the track and it has real bathrooms. Real bathrooms people! I will take the risk of a flood vs. using a port a john any day! I am not a camper. I can barely stay at a motel, but my love of Nascar outweighs my fear of germs, dirt, bugs, and outdoor living!
The sun was shining when we arrived at the campground this past Friday. When I checked in I asked to camp in the exact spot that flooded last year. (it is really close to the bathroom) Due to the huge crowd we had to set-up in an area a few hundred yards down the creek. As luck would have it I was still only a 4 minute walk to the bathroom. I promise this is the last bathroom reference! Friday was perfect. Even with threats of rain the storms missed us. It started raining through the night into Saturday and continued for about 4 hours. In comparison to the “Great Flood” I really wasn’t alarmed. In April 2017 it rained for days before the creek flooded. As we sat at the campground watching the rain, reading magazines, and enjoying coffee my dad mentioned that the creek was rising. I am just as nosey as the Four Legged so I took a walk down along the creek and realized the water was moving pretty fast and it did look like it was on the rise. Since the rain had stopped I didn’t think twice about it and continued to gear up for Night Racing!
Late in the afternoon campground officials starting asking people to move their tents and campers to higher ground. Word came from Virginia that the river that feeds into the creek was rising and would indeed flood even though the rain had stopped in Tennessee. Nascar fans started moving their belongings and luckily no one was injured and campsites were moved without issue. Even though I was along the creek I was at a higher elevation and did not need to move.
After a quick call to Grammie to check on the Four Legged (a story for another day) I headed to the Race Track to cheer on my drivers! What a Race! In all the years I have been going to Bristol I always think it can’t get better and then it does! I made it back to the campground around 10pm as lightening was filling the sky. The campground was still wet from the “small flooding,” but the creek had receded to normal levels. I headed for bed as light rain bounced off the tent.
Around 4am I woke up to what I thought was drunk Nascar fans trying to move RVs. There is always someone that thinks it is a good idea to move their RV in the middle of the night. “Back Up Man. No the other way. 3 More Feet. Hold My Beer, I’ll do it.” (Just some of the common phrases waking me!) My dad had been awake for several hours and said he could hear crazy fans for the past two hours moving cars and campers. After about 30 minutes and the “ridiculous” horn and yelling I couldn’t take anymore and decided to get up and see what all the ruckus was about. This was more than just normal Nascar noise.
Oh Dear….Not a drunk fan moving an RV. The campground across the creek from us was 100% under water. The Fire Department and the Campers were trying to get everyone out and awake to move their RVs. Cars, Trucks, Campers, and SUVS were more than 40% submerged in water. Belongings were floating down the creek. It was mass chaos.
I was one of the last people to wake up. All of our “camping neighbors” were watching in sadness as those across the creek were trying to get out safely. I looked down the creek and realized there was no reason to risk staying. Even though it was 4am we needed to get packed up and on the road. As we left the campground the area near the bathrooms was completely under water. 40+ RV owners were trying to maneuver through the water.
I arrived home extra early Sunday morning and Rufus helped unpack. He is now holding my sleeping bag hostage so that I can’t leave! Kudos to the officials who came to the rescue of campers. Although a lot of campers were upset about the flooding everyone made it out safely. You can replace your camper, but you can’t replace your family.
#Rescue #Flooding #Bristol #Camping #Nascar