Welcome to Alabama – if you like tornadoes!

Apr/17/2011 11 Malia Lane
Alabama, RVing
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April 15:  Coming into Alabama, I had scoped out two possible end-of-day stays, depending on how I felt at the time.

Choice was either I-10 Kampground or get 30 miles farther up the road to I-65 Campground.  By the time I got to the first one, I decided I was tired enough to stop, plus I had virtual assistant work to do.

By the time I got hooked up and cranked up the rooftop satellite dish, I noticed it was pretty windy and I couldn’t get a steady signal.  So I hooked into their cable TV system and then started hearing weather reports with nasty sounding sirens accompanying the warnings flashing red at the bottom of the news screen.  Tornado warnings for blah, blah, blah counties – seek shelter immediately, blah, blah, blah.

Huh?  WTH?  What county am I in???

That’s about when I heard the “for real” sirens going off – a sound I had never heard outside of tornado disaster movies or weather reports on TV.  So what’s the first thing I do?  Grab my camera and take some film looking outside my door:

10 second video where you hear stupid me saying “You hear the sirens?” –  YouTube

Then I noticed other people outside their RVs and I asked the couple across the road from me if they were from here and what they thought we should do.  They weren’t, and seemed as  baffled as I was, but suggested maybe the bath house as it seemed to be the most substantial building around.

Facebook friends agreed, along with some “helpful” smartass taunting me with Mexico where “we ain’t got no tornados here,” – love ya Annette!    And Tab reminded me I have a basement model A/C, so maybe I could squeeze in there???  LOL!

Others (locals) gave serious advice about which routes to take if I wanted to hightail it out of that area.  Oh, and by the way, Welcome to Alabama!

Just about then the siren stopped, so I went back inside to watch the weather channel.  First I thought I’d put down the rooftop satellite dish, but I must have turned it the wrong way or something and it was stuck – I couldn’t get it turned around enough to come down.  Great – now I have to think about getting up on the roof – my very least favorite thing about RVing – but I wasn’t about to do that now.  I figured if I had to run for my life, the satellite dish getting cracked off the roof wouldn’t be the most pressing of my problems…

OK, down to basics.  Where exactly am I?  Google (bless their hearts) told me I was in Mobile County, and while the map colors still were pretty vivid and nasty looking around us, at this point the warning for our area was the lesser “severe thunderstorm” threat.

It was then I was really thankful I had stopped short of my further destination, because the areas they were calling out as being the worse, Citronelle, Pineola, Lambert, were all a lot closer to that I-65 RV Park option.

Map shows me at #1 in Theodore. #2 is I-65 Campground. The other numbers are areas with the greatest threat of tornadoes. So once again, miracles and angels abound…

The next morning as I was dreading having to go up on the roof to untangle the cable to put down the satellite dish, I got to talking with my neighbor, Patti, from the night before.  We laughed at being outside taking pictures while the sirens were going off, and I asked her to stand at the back of the RV and guide my foot to the stair when I was ready to come down.  As I was going up, I got more freaked out, and she finally said, “Girl, get down from there, I go up on top of my RV all the time – let me do that!”  I wasn’t going to argue with an angel, and in no time at all, she was up, got the dish untangled, and showed me her trick for getting down – sitting on the edge facing out first, then placing feet and turning around – instead of facing backwards flinging my foot in the air looking for the stair.  Makes sense and I’ll try it – next time I’m absolutely forced to get on the roof!


Thanks so much, Patti!

Southern girls rock!

  • Kim


    Glad you made it through. I’m sure we are not on your route but we live near Montgomery off I-85 if you ever need a place to stop over and plug in.

    • Hey Kim, I already passed through Montgomery, but you never know what I’ll do on the way back. Was thinking I’d like to see that Hank Williams museum… 🙂 Thanks for the nice offer!

  • Daph’e

    Whooee! Sounds like your angels are working overtime … what with protecting you from tornadoes and casting their wings over and around your home on wheels. Having said that, I wonder if your h-o-w has a name? Our former house was named “Rose Cottage” since hubby grew numerous roses. When we got our first hard side he said, sarcastically, I suppose this has to have a name too. Without missing a beat I said, “Rambling Rose” 😉

    • You’re right – my angels are going to be demanding a union soon! 🙂

      My rolling home’s name is “Inspiration” because that’s what people kept saying about my fulltime RVing journey (well, besides the ones that said “crazy” but I wasn’t going to name it that!) Long story on that issue is at http://www.maliasrv.com/Pages/longstory.html

      I LOVE “Rambling Rose” – that’s fantastic!

  • MaryLee

    In one of your blogs I read about the dead battery on your car. For 4 years now I have had trouble like that. While at Amazon in KS last fall, I mentioned it to some folks. They told me that there car was similar to mine and that I probably have the key in the wrong position. My starter has three positions, one at shut off, another where the steering wheel releases and the last one where I start. These folks said I should not turn the key to the start position, just to the second position where the steering wheel is released. I drove from Coffeyville, KS, to Bryan/College Station in two days and did not have a dead battery when I arrived. My car is a Pontiac Sunfire; there’s was the Chevy equivalent. That may be the problem with yours as well. Another solo RVer chasing her dreams. Leaving Bryan on Tuesday (I hope) for PA. I’m watching the weather carefully as my route takes me up northern LA, MA, AL.

    • Hey fellow solo RVer! I appreciate hearing from you and about your experience with similar problem. But I’ve checked the position with the manual, the dealer, and with the 3 guys that have had to jump me since then. They all say I’m doing everything right. I’m waiting for another jump now and am on my way to Ford dealer with it all hooked up to see if they can determine what the issue is. Will update blog with what they say when it’s all figured out. Many thanks, MaryLee – and happy trails to you!

  • Glenda Alexander

    Yikes! Not exactly a nice relaxing evening. Glad you’re safe. Do you have a NOAA radio? It’s a great help in figuring out whether you’re in danger.

    • Nope, Glenda, no radio like that, but you can betcha I will be more conscious when I’m traveling through Tornado Alley in tornado season!

  • Merna

    Ah Yeah ! Now I remember why i left Kansass 38 years ago. HATE those tornados! Merna in Tucson

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