RV Travel Experiences in Extreme Weather

This post was prompted by last Tuesday The Road Less Traveled #TRLT talk on Twitter. See below for how to join the #TravelTuesday conversation.

As RVers who have been around the block at time or two we have finally figured out how to avoid extreme weather for the most part. We are now on a tour circuit that takes us across the country and back during the mildest season every year.

But that hasn’t always been the case. When we first ventured out we spent the worst winter in a century on the east coast. The weather conditions were so bad (temperatures in the northeast reached -25 F) that our propane tank froze. Propane doesn’t do that. But ours did just that. No propane means no heat.

We resorted to sleeping in snowsuits bundled together under survival blankets (dang those things are noisy) to get through more than one night. The next day, a nearby resident came by to see if we were still alive. At that time, we were not in charge of our schedule — an agency was booking our shows at schools all across the midwest and northeast with no regard for the weather or whether or not it was even feasible to make it to the shows during the blizzards that typically come with winter. The following year, the weather even was worse, believe it or not.

Now we are in complete control of our itinerary and the extreme weather conditions are avoided, for the most part. Mother Nature, however, isn’t always predictable and we’ve had a few close encounters.

Unexpected Snow in Tucson 2/22/2019

Our scariest weather experience, however, was spent hiding from a tornado in Alabama. Unlike hurricanes, which we can and have run from more than once, tornadoes pop up at the least inconvenient times and often with no warning. We spent the night parked in a car wash hoping it would protect us from wind, flying debris & hail damage as we listened to the weather report and tried to figure out which county we were in and where the local shelters were located. Information like that was not very forthcoming in the day and age of paper maps and radios. While the automated weather announcer just assumed everyone was local and grew up knowing what county they were in, maps did not show the names of counties. We kept a crow bar nearby just in case we had to break into the basement of an abandoned bank if came down to a matter of life and death. We found out the next day that it had touched down a few miles from us and claimed lives.

One of the fringe benefits of RVing fulltime is being able to reroute when a hurricane or bad weather is a comin’. We headed inland and only had to deal with 80 mile an hour winds instead of the full brute force of Hurricane Isabel, the deadliest, costliest, and most intense hurricane in the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season.

Another perk of RVing is we can detour to help communities recover from extreme weather events. We have been on the scene to volunteer in the aftermath of Katrina, and the F-5 tornado that flattened Joplin, MO in 2011.

Easily the most terrifying Extreme Weather experience was taking a ferry in the Solomon Islands. The fierce wind and swells were so bad that people screamed at times because it felt like we would capsize. My least favourite travel moment ever.

Shane Dallas @TheTravelCamel

Two Rules for
RVers dealing with adverse weather

  1. Pull over until the storm passes. What’s the hurry? You’ve got your house with you. Harsh rain storm? Icy conditions? Guess it’s time for dinner!
  2. Allow plenty of time, way more than you think you need, to get where you are going. Get to where you need to be then stop and do laundry or buy your groceries. Just in case the unthinkable happens, because it can and will if you neglect to plan for it.

Sometimes you just have to make the best of a weather situation. Like when it pours unexpectedly and you are tent camping at Blue Rocks in the Allegheny Mountains. Let’s say your tent ends up in the middle of a stream. What do you do? We laughed because our son slept through it. Somehow he managed to be in the one dry spot. His mom and dad might have ditched their clothes and streaked through the night. The next morning all of the sleeping bags found their way to a dryer and the memories lasted a lifetime.

Join us @activatedAdven1 and other Traveling Tweeters every Tuesday for #TRLT at 1:00 pm and #TTOT at 4:30 pm ET on Twitter. Visit The Road Less Traveled on Facebook for a sneak peek at upcoming themes and questions. The group Travel Talk on Twitter also posts themes and questions ahead of time Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.