Tuesday 3 Jan. We left Gulf Shores, but not without drama. Monday afternoon there were Thunderstorms and torrential rains training over us for hours. No problem…Blackhawks on TV. Just hanging out feels kinda good. Then, DURING THE Blackhawks game (Winter Classic), a TORNADO WARNING. Phones Simultaneously sounding the alert, followed by a crawler and tone on the TV. DANGER IMMINENT. SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY. Closest thing that looked sturdy enough to be a shelter was the concrete Ladies Campground Bathroom. We were not the first to arrive…and a dozen or so more folks came after us. Power was out (which is not by itself a concern, since the bus has a generator).
Wind at the campground was straight-line…maybe 60—70mph. Pretty violent. Some trees down. Furniture flying. Our bicycles did a Mary Poppins for about 30 yards. But in the end, no damage to anything of ours. LOTS of damage evident along the road as we left town. Weather service said there was in fact a tornado at the Gulf Shores Zoo (about 5 miles away).
I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but the Hawks and Blues were tied 1-1 when the storm hit and we left the TV to head to shelter. When the all-clear was sounded, the Hawks had lost 4-1. All the St. Louis action occurred when we were not (couldn’t be) paying attention. I think we need to find a way, whether by Satellite or Buffalo Wild Wings to make sure we are paying attention going forward.
Although a broken airbag “stranded” us for 5 days, the broken part was successfully repaired by Val and our friends at Lazzari Truck Service. Since we are now planning to put several thousand miles on the bus, while the bus was up on the lift I had them do a stem-to-stern preventive maintenance and an Oil Change. They pronounced the bus in EXCELLENT condition, though they found a few bolts loose and one important suspension bolt completely missing! AND the repairs I made to the leaking ceiling seem to be holding. The torrential rains in Gulf Shores produced not one drop inside the coach. So, we are now ready to make our way to California.
The missing bolt, by the way, was found in Lazzarri Truck Service’s driveway! Not kidding, you cannot make this stuff up. We have driven 5,000 miles or so since we have owned the bus. The bolt fell out 30 yards from the repair place, suitably equipped to put it back!
While, Lazzari was working on the bus, Liz took the Clown Car and went shopping. Where, I have no idea. I am wondering if her credit card bill will be higher than Lazzari’s.