We woke each other up in our usual way. There was a chill in the air inside the camper. The boys giggled as they asked me to get out of the nice warm bed and turn on the heaters. I started the RV and turned on all the heaters. I went back into the bedroom and pulled all the warm covers off the bed. The boys squealed. They hurried to put their warm clothes on. It was about 12º C or 56º F inside the camper. You would think it was below zero the way they ran around getting dressed.
I made them a full breakfast in the camper before we drove on the ferry to Port Angeles. The first ferry will be at 10:30 am so we had a couple of hours. It took 90 minutes to cross the strait. The boys treated me by making lunch while I drove down along Highway 101. They giggled and told me that they wanted to get into the warmer climate ASAP. I joked with Davey on how rough it must be to have to put warm clothes on. He said; "Not in the camper," and then went to crank up the heaters.
The boys continued to work on their home-schooling lessons as we drove down the coast. We had dinner in a small café in a little coastal town called Ilwaco on the Washington/Oregon border. We loaded up on extra groceries at an IGA in a small town called Lincoln. I didn't want to continue to eat most of our meals in restaurants. I figured we had at least a week's supply of food; even with the way, the boys ate.
I decided to spare the boys waking up another morning in a chilly camper. We pulled into a hotel between Lincoln Beach and Yachats. I reviewed the boys' lessons while they took a hot shower. Davey giggled and said he needed to 'warm up.' After their Daddy Inspection, we cuddled on the couch and watched TV. They lay on either side of me and I rubbed their backs.
I woke the boys up as they usually wake me up in the morning. As they recovered on the bed, I asked them to order breakfast from room service while I took my shower. They had everything set out on the table by the time I came out of the bathroom.
Davey knew the camper had a remote start on it. He made sure that all the heaters would be on as soon as he pushed the starter button from the room.
The boys really wanted to swim in the ocean every time they saw a beach. Billy would push the inside/outside temperature button on the dash to see if it was warm enough outside. They kept themselves busy with their lessons. Since there was not much to see until we got San Francisco, they managed to get a week ahead on their schoolwork.
We pulled into a parking area on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge around 10:00 PM. I was not sure if we were allowed to park overnight in the observation area. There were a couple of RVs in the lot. I figured someone would come knocking if we were not allowed. The evening view was spectacular. The bridge was completely lit up against the night sky. The bay was clear and mirrored the bridge. We were 132 metres above the bay and could see the whole city night sky. Davey took numerous pictures and a mini video of the view. After he uploaded them to his computer, he e-mailed everything to the grandparents.
We were abruptly woken up by loud siren alarms going off all over the bay. I looked at the clock. It was only 6:00 AM, and the sun was just coming up. We threw our clothes on and ran outside. The first thing we noticed that was unusual was the fact that there were no vehicles on the bridge. A park ranger, who was in his late twenties, pulled into the parking lot and told everyone that we were not allowed to leave the parking area. He said this was a designated safe area. Billy asked him what all the sirens were for. He hesitated and then told the crowd that they were Tsunami warning sirens. Everyone gasped.
"Daddy, what's a Tsunami?" Davey asked with a very worried look on his face.
"It's a giant wave, Son."
I took the boys inside the camper. I turned on the TV and radio. The camper's large front windshield was facing the Golden Gate Bridge. I set up the camcorder to capture the entire event. I told Davey to keep his camera ready.
"Daddy, are we safe here?" Billy asked.
"Yes, Billy we are very safe here. The 2004 Tsunami measured 33 metres or 108 feet. We are 132 metres above the water down there."
About a half hour later, the cell phone rang, and Davey answered it. It was the 'grandparents', John and Betty. They said they were watching CNN. They were broadcasting about a giant Tsunami heading for the west coast of North America. The entire coast is on alert from Alaska to Mexico. Davey handed me the phone.
"Doug, are you and the boys in a safe place?"
"Yes, John we are still on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. We are higher than the roadway on the bridge."
"John, how about you and Betty get on the internet? I set up the webcams on the chat program we use. I'll face my Cam out the front window and we will set Davey's Cam inside the camper."
We hung up, and we set up the webcams. I put the one webcam on top of the camcorder. That way the grandparents could see what the camcorder was recording.
"Daddy, Davey… Look… The water is leaving the bay." Billy said.
I could not believe it. Half the bay was gone. We saw dozens of boats being sucked out to sea like the water.
When we looked out the passenger side of the camper, we could see the huge wave off in the distance. It was a great deal larger than the 2004 Tsunami. It had to be close to 70 metres. This was going to do a great deal of serious damage. I faced the camcorder in the direction of the wave. The boys took pictures with their cameras.
I could not believe it! The wave washed completely over the entire south side of the bay. Everything was under the white foam of the water. It grew as it entered the bay and actually hit the roadway of the bridge. The boats that were sucked out were now being smashed against the bridge and just below us along the hill.
Everything was literally moving in slow motion as the wave went past the bridge. After the wave filled the bay, it started sucking things back out to sea. There was everything in the water. I just glad that we were high enough so the boys could not pick out dead bodies floating back out to sea.
It only took less than an hour for the Tsunami to level or do major damage to almost the entire city. I could only imagine what the rest of the west coast of North America was like. I looked at the TV. CNN was reporting the same devastation all along the coast. They even had reporters in Canada and Mexico.
Huge Tsunami Destroys West Coast Of US!
A 70 Meter, 230-foot high Tsunami struck the West Coast of the United States shortly after Six AM this Morning Pacific Daylight Time
The huge wave one of the largest recorded wreaked havoc up and down the West Coast. Coastal cities from Canada to Mexico were affected, some washed completely off the map
Our power is almost out, we will have more news once power is restored.
I went outside to see if I could find the young park ranger. We found him sobbing on the curb at the corner of the parking lot. I put my hand gently on his shoulder. He pointed across the bay and said he lived over there with his wife and two small boys. Davey and Billy immediately wrapped their arms around him. He was completely devastated and totally in shock. I asked him for his cell phone. He gave it to me without even knowing it. I turned it on, and I looked at the list of numbers he had stored on his phone. I started to randomly call numbers. I reached a frantic boy calling out 'DADDY!' over and over again. I told the boy that his daddy is alright a right beside me. I immediately handed the phone to the ranger. His mood instantly changed when he heard his oldest son's voice. His son told him that he, his little brother and his mommy were all safe. He hung up the phone after he talked to each of his family. He hugged Davey and Billy. Then he got up and hugged me.
"Thank you so much, Sir!"
"Your welcome, my name is Doug and you are?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, I'm Terry."
"I'm glad to meet you, Terry. These are my boys; Davey and Billy." He got down and gave each of them another big hug.
"Where are your wife and boys?" Davey asked.
"Oh… They are on their way up here. It's actually my birthday, and they were on their way to surprise me. I usually get off work at 8 am. They got up early and crossed the bridge as the sirens started to go off. I was on my last patrol and was told to come up here, by my dispatcher, when the sirens went off."
"Happy Birthday, Terry" Billy and Davey both said.
"It's a very happy birthday now that I know my family is safe."
Just then a car pulled up beside the camper and two boys came running out. His wife came running right behind them. They hugged and cried for at least 15 minutes.
"Daddy, we thought you were dead." His youngest son said.
"Ya, we thought you got off work early and were at home when the wave hit." His older son told him through tears.
I introduced myself and then my boys to Terry's wife and boys.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Doug. This is my wife Brenda and my two boys; Tommy, he's 5 and Terry Jr. is 7. We call him TJ."
I invited them into the RV to be more comfortable and continue their reunion.
We watched the news on TV. The devastation, which was in San Francisco, was the same all along the entire west coast of North America; from Alaska to Mexico.
Everyone just sat and watched the TV in total shock and amazement.
All the boys were too young to understand the scope and magnitude of what just happened.
Every coastal city and town were either wiped out or severely damaged. There were millions dead. Hundreds of millions were now homeless and jobless.
Canada, the USA and Mexico were in total confusion. They have never had to deal with such a devastating event in their entire history.
It took over two hours for the water to recede back to normal levels. There were a few smaller waves that pounded the coast during those next few hours.
Tommy announced that he was hungry in his angelic sweet voice. The other boys chimed in and agreed. I was amazed at the innocence of all the boys. They did not understand the magnitude of the destruction but the understood the magnitude of their hunger.
It was a welcome distraction for Terry, Brenda and me. Brenda offered to take charge and make breakfast for everyone.
While she did that, I got on the phone and told the Grandparents to stock up on emergency supplies before the prices went up. Grandpa organized the resort staff and had the go to the stores and buy as much as they could before merchants raised their prices.
After breakfast, I offered to take Terry back to his family home, in the RV, to see if there was anything left that could be salvaged. Brenda offered to stay back and look after the boys. I pulled Davey off to the side and told him that I was counting on him to help Brenda entertain the other boys. He was very proud that I gave him that responsibility.
Terry's Park Ranger uniform and ID allowed us to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to the south side of the city. When we came up to his neighbourhood, we could not believe the destruction. Many homes were simply levelled. Terry had a hard time getting his bearings to find his family home. When we pulled up to it, we noticed it was still standing for the most part because it was made of brick. All the windows were blown away, and the house was completely waterlogged. It was a complete "right off" but some of the "family memories" were still salvageable.
Terry went into the master bedroom and found Brenda's jewellery and the family photo albums. He then grabbed the family computers. He did not know if the data could be retrieved but took them just in case it could be salvaged.
I went into the boys' room and gathered up all the stuffed animals and toys that were still floating around. Terry called Brenda to make sure we did not miss anything. Terry grabbed the food out of the fridge and the family camping supplies. We loaded up the RV and headed back across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Tommy was thrilled to have his favourite stuffed dog, 'Snuffer' back in his arms. It was soaking wet, but he did not care. He hugged Snuffer as if his life depended on him.
Brenda was thrilled to have the family photos back in her arms.
Terry's boss drove up and started to chew him out, in front of his boys, for leaving his post. I stepped in front of Terry and his boss.
"Excuse me!! Terry, his family, and most of the entire west coast have lost EVERYTHING!! I highly doubt that YOU have a plan in place to get everyone out of here. So, here is what I plan. Terry and his family are welcome to come back to Canada with me and my boys. I am in a position to give him and his wife jobs at the resort that I own with an elderly couple. I can give his family a place to stay where they can rebuild their lives."
Terry and his wife were in complete shock at the way I talked to his boss.
"Terry, do you want to start a new life in Canada?"
"Ummm…… Ya, I guess so…. Brenda?"
"Ummm ya, if you want to Terry," Brenda said.
"Then it is settled! Terry, his family, I and my boys are leaving this lookout spot. Do you want to try and stop me 'BOSS'?"
Terry's boss just walked away and tried to organize the rest of the people stranded on the lookout areas.
I told Terry that his family was welcome to ride in the RV or he could follow behind in his car. He decided to keep his family in the car for the first part of the trip back to the resort.
We left the lookout at 6:00 pm. We drove up Highway 80, 505 and 5 until 10 pm. We camp camped at Castle Rock campground the first night.
I phoned the grandparents to inform them that Terry and his family would be new employees at the resort/campground. They were very open and thrilled to have a new family staying at the resort.
I decided to get a motel for the second night and insisted on paying for Terry and Brenda's room. They had a double room so their boys could have one room and they could have the other. I got a suite for my boys and myself. The boys wanted to go swimming in the indoor pools, so I took the 4 boys to give Terry and Brenda a break.
Wow, they call me evil and Silas takes out the entire West Coast of Canada, the USA and Mexico. Jeez©! This reminded me of the story my Oceanography professor in college told us. It seems that the world Oceanography Conference was concerned that the term 'Tidal Wave' was inaccurate. The high and low tides we have every day are tidal waves. They were looking for a new term and the Japanese proposed that they be called Tsunami. The motion was passed and everyone was happy. After the meeting, someone asked the Japanese what tsunami meant, and the answer was; tidal wave. I like Terry and Brenda of course TJ and Tommy too. John and Betty retiring was a great idea so now they can devote all their time to being Grandparents and spoiling four boys rotten. I can hardly wait to see what gifts everyone got for each other. I've always been a little kid when it comes to Christmas. Even at my age it is the one morning I don't need an alarm to wake me up early, really ticks off my wife, Hehehe. Well, let's get ready to open those presents. If I know Silas you better bring a box (or two) of tissues.