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.
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.
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
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… :)