(Edwardsville, IL) 75 Lo 64 -- Last night after we completed our blog post it got very interesting. We were keeping an eye on a wave of severe thunderstorms moving across Missouri toward us in Illinois. We had intended to stay put, since there isn't any structure in the park that would be any safer in a tornado. But when they finally issued a tornado warning for our county we decided to get in the car and go somewhere... anywhere. We figured we'd be safer inside a large building rather than staying in the RV. We remembered there is a Red Robin restaurant just a few miles away. There was no rain at the time, but it was really dark and the lightning was frequent. When we got to Red Robin the warning sirens started up and it started sprinkling. We asked the waitress for a table away from the windows and ordered dessert, even though we were too nervous to be hungry.
Soon after we placed our order the lights went out. We could see out the windows that the wind was really picking up. The manager shouted for everyone to follow him to the kitchen area, and then escorted us into the refrigerated food locker. We had jackets but it was still cold in there! There were some emergency lights on so we weren't in complete darkness. Everyone was coping very well with our situation, there wasn't any panic. There was even some joking. One thing we can say about Red Robin, it’s clean. We were all over the back area. :)
We were there for about a half hour when the worst of the storm finally passed. The lights were still out as we sat at our table for a while longer. By now it was just raining hard, no heavy winds. (We never did get our dessert.) When the rain let up a little we decided to leave for home. The traffic lights were out all over so negotiating the major intersections was a slow process, and we also had to work our way around an accident. We got back to the RV park and, except for a few branches strewn around, everything was in good shape, including our home. Even our satellite dish was still standing.
Since we arrived at the park three weeks ago we've been keeping an eye on a Killdeer nest with four eggs right behind our back window. We ran to check it before we went inside and mama Killdeer was still there sitting on her eggs. She's stayed there through all kinds of bad weather. Nature can sure be amazing sometimes!
It sure was an interesting and scary night. We later found out that a tornado did touch down in Edwardsville, only a few miles from our park. Three tornadoes total hit in the metro St. Louis area, with lots of damage. We feel very lucky that we came through it with no damage whatsoever. This is three years in a row that we've had close calls with weather in this area. We're thinking about changing our travel plans in the future so we visit this area in the late summer or early fall, rather than the spring. Severe weather is a serious matter for everyone, but we feel we're more vulnerable in our RV and need to take advantage of the fact that we're mobile and try to avoid the midwest during tornado season.
Well, enough of the serious stuff. Today we paid a visit to Les and Dolores, two good friends from when we lived in this area in the 80’s. We see them every year and it’s always great to get back with them. We had a few drinks at their house then went to dinner at Papa Vito’s, a pizza place in Belleville. In the 80’s we had fun going out partying all night. Now we have fun sitting and talking about long term care insurance, Medicare, and arthritis. :) We had a great time.
Les and Dolores (Dee)
It was a lot more fun tonight than it was last night!