The Prairie Chicken and the Red Rooster are lying on their sides.
The train cabooses were scooted across the ground and overturned by the May 24 tornado that swooped down on the Red Rooster Guest Cabooses and Inn in eastern Canadian County.
Debbie Morse was sitting on the porch of her log cabin at 15830 Northwest Expressway and watching the eastern sky for the oncoming storm when the twister crept up from the west. Her electricity and satellite had been knocked out so she couldn't watch television weather reports.
But her cellphone worked, and her friend Glenda Galebach in Oklahoma City called about 4:40 p.m. to tell her the massive tornado that would eventually leave a deadly path from El Reno to Guthrie was zeroing in on her.
“I said, but I don't see it! And Glenda told me that was because it was right on top of me.”
Morse ran to her utility room and closed all the doors around her as the wind began to break out windows. The tornado tore off parts of the roof and one side of the cabin.
“I heard the biggest roar of my life,” Morse said. “The doors were shaking and I started praying so loud I couldn't hear the tornado any more. I could hear glass crashing everywhere.”
When the tornado finally passed over she heard someone shouting. It was R.D. Norton, who rented a room in the barn where Morse had her gift shop, The Cock A Doodle Gift Shop. He was not injured, but the building was destroyed.
No guests were scheduled to stay in the cabooses that night.
Her chicken coops were gone, but somehow all the chickens survived, as did five cats and her dogs. One by one the 22 chickens were found, including her pet chickens Taco, Tonto and Quaker.
The yellow caboose dubbed the Prairie Chicken, equipped with a hot tub and fireplace, and the red-painted Red Rooster had been restored with queen-sized beds, central heat and air, bathrooms and kitchenettes. She had entertained a steady stream of guests since opening in 2007. Both cabooses were destroyed.
Morse is not sure she will be able to rebuild the bed and breakfast. The wheels on both cabooses are broken.
“I'll probably sell them or donate them to a museum,” Morse said. “Or sell them to someone who can set them on blocks.”
The extended-cab cabooses were made in 1974 and used by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. She found the Red Rooster in Fremont, Neb., and the Prairie Chicken in Ada.
Morse injured her left foot, possibly when she ran to the utility room, and it has remained swollen. She's been living without water and electricity at the cabin and has spent a few days at a hotel since the tornado, keeping a lot of her personal belongings in her minivan. She said electrical work will have to be done at the cabin before the power can be turned on.
“I'm just glad to be alive,” she said.