Sunday, April 25, 2010


Yesterday afternoon, for the first time in 7 years of travel, we abandoned Scoopy and checked into a hotel to wait out the bad weather that swirled around Huntsville.

Our patio and view at Trace State Park Beginning on Friday, the National Weather Service broadcast warnings of possible severe weather over the next 36 hours.  Usually, we wait and watch, keeping track of updates through The Weather Channel, the internet, our NOAA weather radio, and local TV stations – plus an eye on the sky. 

Unfortunately, in our heavily forested hilltop site at Monte Sano State Park, we had no satellite TV (no Weather Channel), no view of the sky, and extremely tenuous internet.  We did have local TV stations, and the NOAA weather radio, which blares a siren-like alert for anything from a severe weather “watch” to a tornado warning – in our county or any of a dozen surrounding counties.   There is no sleeping through a night with the weather radio on!

The first wave of possibly severe weather was forecast to arrive on Friday night – and it did, right on schedule.  We had wind and heavy rain, and neither Odel nor I slept soundly that night.  The forecast didn’t improve on Saturday.  Feeling vulnerable, we brought in Scoopy’s slides, disconnected from the utilities, and battened down the hatches.  We packed our computers and some light overnight gear into Jules, took a last look at Scoopy, and headed to the Huntsville Public Library, where I posted yesterday’s blog.

A couple hours passed by, we went off to get some lunch… and the forecast didn’t improve.  Although I truly believed Scoopy was safe and we would be safe inside, the isolation at the campsite was unappealing.  At 3 pm, we checked into a Holiday Inn.

Leaving Monte Sano State Park this morning.

Our site at Trace State Park this afternoon.

Last morning at Monte Sano State Park Site 36, Trace State Park

For the rest of the day, we watched storms pass to the north and south, and sometimes right overhead.  Huntsville missed the brunt of the worst weather, which hit hard in Mississippi, to our west.  I’m sure we felt more secure sleeping in the hotel, but I’m not sure we slept any more soundly, between the noise of people in the hall, in the room next door, and the incredibly loud air conditioning cycling off and on all night (the window didn’t open, of course). 

We were up and dressing by 6:30 am, and home shortly thereafter.  The sky was clear and blue, but with wind still in the forecast, we took off early from our site, on the road west before 9 am.  It was smooth sailing, through rural northern Alabama, with a third of our mileage on the Natchez Trace Parkway, a lovely Scenic Byway – no commercial traffic allowed.

I love this sign – Watch Out for Tractors!

A hiking stop along the Trace Parkway

Tractor signs along the roadway Another stop on the Trace Parkway

Our travel day ended at Trace State Park (click here to read our review), a Mississippi State Park just west of Tupelo.  We have a full hookup site on a lake, with all the modern conveniences we longed for yesterday: internet, cell phones, and satellite TV.   Get this: daily free round of golf is included in the price of the campsite.  A nearby country club draws water from the lake for irrigation - in return, campers get to play golf for free!

The afternoon was all about relaxation.  I feel a good night’s sleep in my future… :)


  1. I would hate to have to go to a motel and I'm sure you did too, but I think you were really smart to be safe. Hope you have only great weather for a while now.

  2. Natchez Trace Pkwy. is a beautiful drive especially this time of the year.

    A State Park that includes golf! I'm sure Odel is trying to come up with all kinds of reasons to stay over for an extended period of time.

    Good luck Odel. :-)

  3. I am so glad you and Odel checked into a hotel, just to be safe. And I am happy to read this morning that you both are ok and traveling again.
    Thank you also for the information concerning our Mazatlan trip (we are flying - as we have not purchased a RV yet). We are torn between retiring in Mexico and being full time travelers like yourself. Maybe the ideal situation is to divide our time between the two! That's what part of this trip to Mazatlan is about, research....... :)

  4. I was glad to hear you were safe. I had the Atlas out trying to figure out where you were and where the bad storms were. Just a branch falling on Scoopy could be really bad.....
    Here's to good weather

  5. Ha,ha, TJ, that was our plan! We scheduled a one week vacation in San Miguel de Allende (in a rented house) to get an idea whether or not we'd like to retire in Mexico. By the time the vacation rolled around, we were on track to find and buy an RV. As it turned out, we loved SMA for a vacation, but not as a place to live. Now we drive the MH to Mexico when we feel live a visit. :) Enjoy Maz - it would be a nice place to live... for awhile.

  6. So glad to hear that the two of you are safe and sound. Wicked weather was all around you and it is something that you just don't want play with. Golf, included in the price of your camping site? Odel must be in heaven!

  7. Congratulations on everyone - you, Odell and Scoopy making it through the storm.

  8. If you go through western PA, Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Waters and the 9/11 Shankesville Memorial are worth seeing. If you decide to do NYC again, let me know, I have a great CG less than an hours train ride to Grand Central.
    Enjoy the NE