Wednesday, August 5, 2015

That blew that RV theory

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
It is not nice to fool Mother Nature, or fool with her. Don’t you think you should be more careful stating that you can always leave at the drop of a hat during a natural disaster?
--R.V. Shrink

Dear Me:
Yes, I am writing to myself. It’s okay, I have been talking to myself for years.

If you read last week’s Shrink column, you would have seen my advice on trying to foresee coming natural disasters and moving out of harm’s way. In my feeble attempt to be funny I closed with, “When you think about it, you only have a few conditions to worry about -- wind, heavy rain, hail, tornado, fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, blizzard, sand storm and maybe a dust devil or two.”

Well, I left out Mesocyclone and the very next day Mother Nature reminded me.

We were at the Traverse City, Michigan Film Festival, inside an auditorium, watching the new documentary film, “A Brave Heart, The Lizzie Velasquez Story” (which I highly recommend). Unbeknown to us a vicious storm was raging outside the auditorium. We emerged to a street full of broken trees covering broken cars. Our car was parked a block away and we hurried to find our vehicle unscathed but surrounded by downed branches big enough to heat a house for a winter.

It was a labyrinth working our way out of town. We were turned back several times by large trees blocking roads. We passed the Traverse City State Park and it looked like a box of broken match sticks. We could see the pop-up camper pictured above and feared we may be headed for the same kind of surprise.

Our motorhome was parked in an open area next to a couple large trees that had the potential to do damage. Luckily we found our rig intact. Although a couple dozen trees had been broken or uprooted within 50 yards in all directions of our motorhome, nothing had come close to causing us damage. The point I want to make is, you can run, but you cannot hide. This storm came in so silently and quickly that there was no choice but to ride it out, wherever you were, and to find safety wherever you could.

This has little to do with whether you RV or not. Disaster can strike anywhere and at anytime. This whole region of Northwest Michigan has been reeling from this storm, and its aftermath, all week.

Our next stop is Glacier National Park and the fire there is still burning. You just have to roll with the punches, be as careful as possible and hope for the best.

Last year, at the Winnebago factory in Iowa, a beautiful motorhome pulled in next to us with cannonball-size dents, broken windows, and hundreds of chips in the full paint finish. They had run straight into a storm dropping large hail.There is no way to ever predict this type of event. It is the reason we all have insurance coverage.

Do not let the possibility of something like this scare you from a life of adventure on the great open road. If you don’t go out and find a storm, one will come looking for you. Either way you will have to deal with it.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


MrTommy said...

I'm anal about checking the weather every morning (provided we have some sort of web access) to see if I can spot any potential problems. Even after checking my favorite four sites (which many times contradict each other), we are never sure about upcoming weather. It's a crap shoot at best. So like the above article states, we just deal with whatever happens as best we can. As the old cartoon with the huge foot in front says, "Keep on truckin'"!

Anonymous said...

We check everyday for weather hazards ahead. We have been full timers since 2008 and have run into only 1 snow storm in Canada. It has been more luck than skill however. We travel from coast to coast with the longest stay is 6 weeks. Seems the storms are always in front of us or behind us. The only planned escape was getting away from a hurricane... Traveled from Maryland to Kentucky to get away from that one.

Anonymous said...

RV Doc, I think you and I caught the same storm. I can attest to how fast and scary this storm really was and there was no warning of any sort. It went from a light rain to clear skies. Next some of the ugliest green and gray cloud came out of no where. Light rain and then quarter to half dollar sized hail stones. These were then joined by heavy rain and straight line winds of at least 60 to 70 mph. I spelled all this out to say, this happened in a time span of 5 to 10 minutes. Even if a person could hookup their RV to move it, it really would not have done any good. This was a massive storm that shut down I-75 because of trees laying across the x-way. If nothing else have a good escape plan or find shelter as quickly as possible. I usually watch the skies but this is one time there truly was no warning. Fortunately there was little damage to my rig. This storm scared the crap out me.