Our family lived in a company owned mobile home park while working on a tunnel project near Beulah, ND. The mobile homes were very clean and well maintained. Our home sat on a corner lot with a large front yard where our three children had lots of room to play. The front entry to the mobile home was a small metal set of stairs with a metal platform about six feet by six feet. An aluminum storm door provided protection for the front entry door. Our children were 10, 7, and 5 years old. They weren’t used to using a small front porch for access because our recent homes had been ground level entries.
Our children also were not accustomed to the North Dakota breezes. When you reside in North Dakota anything less than thirty miles an hour is a breeze. We went through a considerable training phase teaching the kids how to get in and out of the house safely. They had never seen a place where you couldn’t just open the door and walk outside. All of the kids had a habit of holding onto the storm door when leaving the house and closing the doors behind them. It worked great in most of the world, but not in Beulah. The kids would forget. When they exited the house holding onto the door the breeze would catch the door, slam it open, and launch them off the porch onto the front yard. No injuries, but it would scare the daylights out of them. Eventually they learned to crack the door very easy and squirm through the opening without letting the wind catch the door.
Our family transportation in North Dakota was a full size Chevy window van. Linda and I would often load the van and take the kids fishing in the afternoons and evenings. On one trip we had our three children and a couple of their neighborhood friends. We were fishing on Lake Sakakawea about twenty miles from Beulah. Everyone was enjoying the outing. I noticed the breeze had died down to nothing for a while, everything seemed extraordinarily calm and quiet. There were thunderheads to the south of us, but nothing uncommon. The winds started picking up and a thunderstorm was moving in on us. We packed everything in the van and headed home. Soon everything was very dark and the wind and rain was on us in a hurry. At times there were as many as five lightning bolts visible at one time. The broadside winds were buffeting the van around quite a bit. I found a turnout off the highway where I could position the van head on into the wind. We spent about twenty minutes not knowing if the van could remain on it’s wheels. The rain and hail poured down hard. It was pretty frightening for all of us. The storm was gone as fast as it appeared. In Beulah the high school gym lost it’s roof, wheeled garbage dumpsters had taken some long rides, and we had a nice aluminum boat laying in our front yard.
We didn’t catch many fish………but it was a very memorable fishing trip.