July 28, 2021
Well, in our case it was a trash can.
It was December 2020, we were traveling from Summerdale, Alabama to Reeves, Louisiana for a two-night stay before heading home to Arkansas for Christmas.
I have weather apps on my phone, check them religiously before we leave on a trip and during the trip. I saw where storms were predicted for that afternoon that we would cross paths with in Louisiana. Shane and I talked about it. I figured that we would be near a Wal-Mart where we could park if necessary to let the storm go by. Storms can be rough when towing. It’s always a bit easier to wait a bit, let a storm go through, then start out or continue on with the trip. There aren’t a lot of areas where you can pull to the side of a road or stop for a while when you are 60′ long, as we are.
We were going to be fine. It was a great driving day, we briefly discussed if we needed to pull over and find a campground to stay for the night. We decided that no, he would just drive us into Reeves.
We got within an hour of our destination when the rain started. Umm, I was a little surprised because I thought the storm line had missed us or moved on. I was wrong. As I start trying to pull up a weather map, the weather alert goes off on our phones, first one then the other. Uh oh. I look and it is a tornado warning. Um. I tell Shane.
He asks, “Where”?
I said, “Eunice”.
He responds, “Where is that”?
I responded, “Right where we are”.
Driving rain is now pouring and the wind is picking up on this two-lane Louisiana highway in the middle of nowhere. There are no shoulders. It is dark. Our, headlights in the pouring, wind-driven rain are the only light.
Shane urgently, borderline panic-stricken but maintaining his cool, “Get me off this road. I need to get us off this road”.
I am trying to get to a road map, weather map is up, rain is battering the truck, and a trash can blows across the road. Then the trash can blows back the other way. I am trying to find us somewhere to pull off amongst all the debris. The truck starts moving back and forth, side to side. It felt like it was trying to be picked up.
My thoughts were, oh my we are in a tornado and we’re going to get blown away. Us. Our pets. Our house.
Our fifth wheel, Grace, all 17,000 pounds of her sweet body, held the road. Thank the Good Lord.
We couldn’t find a place to pull over.
It was dark.
Shane kept driving. We drove out of the storm or the storm flew by us.
I didn’t care, I just wanted to get to a stop for the night. We were all okay.
We were never happier to finally reach our destination that night.
Yes, we learn lessons the hard way. There was a ton of stuff we shouldn’t have done, but we did. But, we learned and there are things that won’t be repeated.
It is important to have weather apps, never assume storms miss you, verify on a weather radar the current situation, not arriving somewhere after dark if you can help it, and shorter drive days than what you think you should do. (We are ‘get in the truck and get there type of people’. We are still struggling to slow down.)
No damage was done from our Eunice, Louisiana storm encounter, but the lessons learned will last us a lifetime.
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Stay humble and kind,