Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hello, everyone! Louise here, to fill you in on everything that's been happening.

One week ago, at 5:30am, Sean got the call we've been waiting for from the Red Cross. He was deployed to the relief operation for the incredibly destructive tornadoes that blasted through Alabama. By 1:00pm, he was on a plane for Birmingham. Today, he is heading up the technology department for the biggest operation since Hurricane Katrina. 16-hour work days are the norm at this stage, as the hard work of feeding and sheltering thousands of displaced folks ramps up.

Needless to say, he's been a bit too busy to blog.

Since his skills were needed immediately, there was no time to drive Odyssey to Alabama. Several factors conspired to keep me in California, so I have been comfortably parked at the Redwood City Elks lodge. It's a lovely facility with a golf course, and I've had a dark, quiet, friendly dry-camping spot for a week.

The things that have been keeping me here are:
  1. Increased enforcement of the Red Cross' nepotism rules do not allow me to report directly to Sean. So in order for him to head up the department in Alabama, I either have to work for another department (yuck), not work, or work a completely different relief operation.
  2. The project that I've been helping with here in California was not quite completed.
  3. Flying me to where the tornadoes are would require kenneling the cats, our increasingly frail and ancient dog, Opal, and storing the bus.
  4. We have many friends and family here, so this is a great place for me to hang out.
  5. Dang, the spring weather is NICE in California!
However, we've been keeping a nervous eye on the rising waters of most of the major rivers in the Midwest, and things don't look good at all. So close on the heels of the huge swarm of tornadoes that leveled so much of the south, the possibility of multiple floods means the Red Cross will be working overtime. Experienced, trained volunteers are needed. And I can't sit idly by, enjoying the balmy sunshine here in Lotus-land while there's work to be done.

You know the old saying, "Lord willing and the creeks don't rise"? Well, the creeks are risin'.

So today I'm heading east in Odyssey, with Memphis as a possibly destination. Flooding along the Mississippi can be followed in slow motion, as the pulse of high water works its way downstream. I have a few days to get close enough that if and when the Red Cross calls me, I'll be well-positioned to help. We are not allowed to "self-deploy," but nothing stops we RVers from traveling the country any direction we choose. I choose east!

Long-time friend Godfrey will be my co-pilot. He's a member of our group of motorcycling buddies, and has useful mechanical skills in case the bus gets cranky. We'll share the driving, and he'll get a peek into our exciting life of 2000 miles of interstate travel punctuated by thrilling visits to WalMart and truck stops for the night.

In the last 24 hours, as I made the decision to get moving, I needed to line up several options for this trip. I asked my Dad to help with the driving, in case Godfrey couldn't commit. Dad agreed to be my back-up wingman, and I'm so grateful to both him and my Step Mom for their willingness to help.

I'll try to blog a bit from the road, and maybe post a few of Godfrey's photos. He's an excellent photographer and will probably bring more cameras than clothing on this trip.


  1. Here in Tennessee we didn't get it near as bad as Alabama -- still like to thank you both for the work you do! Drive safe and if you're ever in the Knoxville area, I bet I can find you a place to park.

  2. Louise, you are correct...the Mississippi is risin'! As always I wish you safe travels and if you need anything once in Memphis, let me know. We have two casinos in that area (Caruthersville, MO & Lula, MS)...both closed due to flooding, but we have lots of people around there who may be able to offer up recommendations if you find yourself needing something. And when in Memphis, eat at Rendezvous...great food!

  3. Safe travels to you as you journey to help, thank you for pitching in. I read your blog post with great interest. Since these weather events I have started checking your blog to see if you are activated. Inspiring. I hope that if I ever find myself in trouble, it is people like you I find coming to help me. God bless you and your efforts.

  4. Louise, What route are you taking? If you are going by St. George, Ut? Plz stop for the night as our guest at our resort. M&C

  5. Safe travels Louise. Wish I could join you. As you well know, it's very hard to stay at home when so many people need our skills. Keep us posted.

  6. Safe travels Louise. South part of our state, Indiana, is flooded pretty bad due to the Ohio River rising.

  7. Louise... you are absolutely inspiring and amazing. Safe travels eastward. Many *hugs* coming your way.

  8. Wow, Louise, you go get 'em!!! I am praying for all of those suffering from this crazy weather and so appreciative of you who can be on the go to help them. Journey safely...

  9. Louise, As you know we're only about 3 hours E of the mighty Miss. so if you need a place to park Oddssey and watch over the pets while you arrange temp living on site you know where we live and how to get here.

    Safe travels and "Hi" to Sean. I had a hunch that since we hadn't heard from him that he was deployed...... Pat and Russ

  10. Hi Louise,
    It's such a great feeling for people to know that they're needed and have the means by which to go and help. It's also a great feeling for those in need to know that there are people like you and Sean who want, and can assist. Hope Opal is doing okay. Mojo is almost 17 now, he's still acting like a pup for about a mile and a half walk per day then he likes to nap for a few hours wakes up and starts the process again! Take care, Kelly, Rocket and Mojo.

  11. Wow! I'm duly impressed. This will be like reading an entirely new blog! How exciting!
    When we owned our RV, I tried to convince my wife that she could drive it just fine. Never happened. *sigh*
    Of course, we didn't live in the thing full time, and that's a whole different bag of tricks.
    I do hope you post on a regular basis....with pictures!
    Happy Trails.


  12. Thanks, everyone, for all your kind wishes!

    @Elissa, I'll let you know if I need recommendations for places to park. Usually we can put the bus right near the Red Cross headquarters.

    M&C, my current route is along Interstate 40, so I probably won't get a chance to visit this trip, but thanks for the offer.

    Pat & Russ, If things get huge in Tennessee, we may could end up running the job from Nashville. Gulp! That would be a LOT of flooding.

    K,R & Mojo: Opal is moving pretty slow, but she seems happy to be on the road again! I think she is almost completely blind now, but the bus is so familiar that she gets along fine with her nose alone :-)


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