Strong thunderstorms and possible tornadoes were headed our way and looked to arrive around 4:00 AM. We’ve seen what even small F-0 tornadoes can do to trailer parks and decided we’d need a better option. As we prepared to call it a night around 10:00 PM the line of thunderstorms was still over Mexico, but heading our way. We did our nightly dog walk and decided that if we had to seek shelter, it would be the restroom building. It’s made out of cinder blocks. There really wasn’t any other choice, but still this building looked pretty stout. We walked down to check it out, it was about 5 campsites away, and found a large group of tent campers packing up by flashlight. It turned out to be a wise idea.
At 2:00 AM both of our iPhones went off with a loud alert sound, the same one they use for Amber Alerts, with which you may be familiar. TORNADO WARNING. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. We jumped into our clothes, grabbed rain jackets, flashlights, Chloe and iPhones and the three of us walked to the restroom building. Mary Lou, being the more risk averse or smarter (you pick), sheltered in the lady’s room. At this point there was neither rain nor wind, so I hung out just outside the men’s room where the roof extends forming a small porch.
A look at my weather radar app showed it would hit us in a few minutes – and it did. We had heavy rain, thunder and lightning and strong winds. I was ready to duck into the men’s room at any time but it never came to that. After 20 minutes or so the line of thunderstorms passed and all that was left was a little light rain.
Interestingly, no one else joined us. They either stuck it out in their RVs or sat in their cars, the latter being the tent campers. Anyway, it was over and we made our way back to the RV, which was now in a huge puddle and went back to sleep. We did each have a shot of Jameson’s to calm us down, a habit we picked up following earthquake aftershocks in Southern California.
In the morning I peeked through the window to see if the puddle had returned. It had and was bigger than it was before.
The other side was worse. It doesn’t show real well in this picture, but our campsite had turned into a small pond. The water outside of the trailer door was about 2 1/2″ deep and too big to jump over. While it had rained all week in Texas, this storm was the first of 2 knock-out punches that caused all the flooding in Central and Gulf Coast Texas.
Hmmm. Problem or opportunity? As we looked around, we could see folks packing up. It was Sunday morning of a three-day weekend, so some of them may have planned to leave. But, I had a feeling folks were bailing out. I proposed the idea that we might now be able to get a spot on the bay front, which was already full when I made the reservations months ago. And so we did. We did a light pack up and headed over to the bay front, taking the opportunity to dump our grey water in the process. We can last 3-4 days without dumping, but this gave us room for another shower. We only have 30 gallon tanks (all 3).
Once we got settled into #7, it was time to relax. The waters of St. Charles Bay were maybe 20 yards from the back of the rig. There was a stiff breeze blowing right off the water.
I watched who I assumed were locals casting into the surf. As a fairly experienced fisherman myself, decided to give it a try.
There were many failed casts where my bait ended up 6 feet in front of me, but eventually I was able to get it where I wanted to be, conditions being considered.
We fished for probably 6 or 7 hours. Beer was consumed and lunch was eaten. It was quite pleasant. We saw two fish caught all day. Neither was very big and neither was caught by me. But that’s fishing.
Here’s a shot to the north where you can see the Hwy 35 bridge that goes to Rockport.
Here’s a couple of shots of our campsite.
Each site had covered picnic table.
It was nice to be on the beach, but Monday we had 200 miles to drive home and there were predictions of bad weather in the afternoon. So, we hitched up, dumped tanks and headed out. Fortunately, we had no mechanical problems on the way home. No spare either.
As we drove through Gonzales TX we saw that the Guadalupe River had overflowed its banks and flooded a large area that included a golf course, park and baseball facility. It didn’t affect Hwy 183 so for the time being we were okay. As the weather continued to deteriorate, we decided that we’d grab a quick lunch in Lockhart and keep rolling. It was cloudy with no rain when we entered the restaurant but while we were eating we got FLASH FLOOD WARNING message and the sky opened up. We just stayed where we were and waited for it to pass.
It was mid-afternoon and our plan had been to take the trailer home for a good cleaning before we returned it to the storage yard. But with rain and the threat of severe thunderstorms approaching we decided to take the trailer directly to the storage area and offload our clothes and food into the Jeep. The weather continued to deteriorate as we approached Lakeway.
As we got nearer we received alerts of tornado warnings in Lakeway. It seemed wise not to drive into the area right then so we pulled into a large parking lot in Bee Cave to wait it out. After 30-40 minutes it seemed to brighten up ahead of us so we resumed driving towards the storage yard. We arrived there without anything other than light rain and backed into our spot. But, before we could unhitch the sky opened up again and we jumped back into the Jeep to wait it out.
It rained like this for over an hour. We considered all of our options but there wasn’t a better one than waiting it out. And then it passed on by.
This was the second of the big storms that went through Central Texas and this line of thunderstorms and tornadoes created the major flooding in Texas. We finished unloading the trailer and went to see how our house looked. It was generally fine. We had some standing water 2″ deep in low spots in both the front and back, but it soaked in after a few hours.
So, this wasn’t the best of camping trips. The weather was lousy and the conditions at Goose Island State Park weren’t that good. I don’t think we’ll go there again in spring or summer. Not to mention the flat tire that ended up having to be replaced at a cost of $200. But still, we had some fun and it was an adventure. As you may know, we refuse to live an uninteresting life.
We’ll be back soon with another adventure!