North to Alaska…Washing Away in Wisconsin

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June 11, 2008

For the past couple of months you could tell everywhere I have been. Just check the daily map on the weather channel and I was generally under the severe weather bulls-eye. Stopping to visit my sister and her family north of Madison, Wisconsin, this past week was no exception. I got here just in time for tornadoes to blast past to the north and south of me and to stare in awe for hours at torrential rains. I have never seen anything like this before, not even during the monsoons in Vietnam I experienced nearly 40 years ago.

The remains of Lake Delston, Wisconsin.

This picture is of Lake Delton or, more correctly, what was once Lake Delton, a few miles from where I am camped near Wisconsin Dells. Twenty-four hours before I took this picture, this was actually a lake, a reservoir to be more specific. It was overwhelmed by the rain. The dam itself did not fail, I’m told, but the ground to the side of the dam became so saturated that it just washed away and the water roared around the dam into the Wisconsin River. This is where the houses you may have seen on TV the last couple of days were being washed into the river.

This is one of those times on a long trip when it’s best to find a safe place and wait out conditions. Several of the small towns around me are flooded, and there’s no sense in trying to find a way around them, and with more rain due later today and tomorrow, there is likely to be more flooding in this part of the country. Plans now are to start west on Monday or Tuesday.

Copies of Ron’s book, Guide to the Alaska Highway, are available in most major bookstores or directly from Ron at [email protected].

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