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Old 11-09-2014, 12:00 PM   #1
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Big Thompson Canyon Flood 2013

Many of you know Derek of Colorado Camper Van. I was one of his early customers and I'm pretty sure there are several here who followed my thread and now have one of his tops. The video I'm linking here is several videos strung together from his clean up and rescue efforts during the Big Thompson Canyon flood in September of 2013, just north of Denver near Estes Park and Loveland. Derek actually lives here, in Drake Co, very close to the intersection of 43 and 34. ... c542f2e5ec

He lives up on Storm Mountain just above Drake and used to have his shop at home, where I took my van and where he did my top. Nowadays I'm told he has a shop down in Loveland, which probably makes a lot of his customers (and especially UPS and Fedex) much happier with him! I'm pretty sure this flood and the subsequent problem of having no road to his house for several months is what made him move the shop down in to town. I was in Loveland about a week after this flood, when Derek had scheduled me for a repair on my top. I no longer have this van, but it had a top/lift motor fail and bend the lift mechanism. Derek took care of me on this as I knew he would, but I had no idea when I showed up for my appointment what he had been through within the previous 2 weeks. I was commenting to him on how rough his van looked since it had looked so good when I had seen it a year before (both side ladders beat up, and the van had obviously been laid over on it's side). Now I really get it. He was using his van as a search and rescue vehicle, helping out his community, and also building an old trail in to a road from the back side of Storm Mtn down in to town. The helicopter footage you see in the video is mostly rescues of residents up on the mountain who had no way to get out, no food, no nothing. Derek's wife and son (Canyon) were rescued in the first copter you see. He stayed at home to help out in the Drake area of the canyon. Building a useable road (out of a trail) was, I think, the only hope for many Storm Mtn. residents for a long time. They were told it would be months or maybe a year until Hwy 34 was operational. The video is riveting, shocking, crazy. It's hard to believe some of the stuff it shows. It's 45 minutes though, so grab a cold one and be thankful for your home today.

Also, if you have 4 more minutes, check out the latest wheeling video he posted. Derek's van is not a showpiece anymore, but is a testament to where a badass 4WD van will go. His is about a 2000 or so 7.3 Quigley, modified by him, and it shows up lots of Jeeps. Enjoy!

Currently vanless. Weird.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:07 AM   #2
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Re: Big Thompson Canyon Flood 2013

thanks for posting. natural disasters like that are fascinating to me. the power of water is insane. those "new" boulders he pointed out are freaking huge, and that blue ball of a car was just crazy. fun to watch, no fun to experience.

we have been to dereks house up there on storm mountain. its amazing, and i didnt even go inside. if i had a view like that out of my shop, id never get anything done. id just wander off into the woods like a little kid. i suppose the risks of floods and being cut off from town is a chance you take, but i know my wife and i would have no problem with taking that chance to live in an area similar to where hes living.

and love seeing vans do what hes doing with his in those vids. always surprises me where these things can go under direction of a good driver.

"understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of your car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of your car, horsepower is how hard your car hits the wall, and torque is how far your car moves the wall."
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:54 AM   #3
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Re: Big Thompson Canyon Flood 2013

Scary power by water flowing like that.

Nice to see the Bronco at the end of the video, even if it does have an incredibly annoying power steering pump.

SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:38 AM   #4
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Re: Big Thompson Canyon Flood 2013

Great video, not sure I've seen that one before from Derek. I drove around in awe during and after the floods here in Boulder, in-between pumping out water, building mud berms and ripping out drywall and carpet and moving things to higher ground for most of our neighbors, we were one of the lucky few not scrambling around trying to save our stuff from water damage and sump pumps not able to keep up, insane amounts of water. We stood outside our house and watched the water carry a dozen cars down the street along with hearing some good sized boulders tumbling along with them under the water. Towns and surrounding areas like Drake, Lyons and one of the most hard hit towns, Jamestown, where the water ripped through the middle of town and pretty much wiped it out, there were some devastating scenes that many communities are still recovering from a year later.
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