I figured this was an important topic to discuss. Primarily because we're still in Austin for the Austin Film Festival and the weather has been less than gracious. By now, I'm sure you've read the diatribe about Formula 1 and the weather debacle from last week. We thought that garbage was over. It wasn't.
After severe flooding in South central Texas this past week, plus a few tornado watches, I realized if something were to happen, did I even know what to do? So, I did a lot of research on how to prepare for a tornado in an RV so that not only could we be prepared, but also so our readers can hold onto this for future use.
If You Are At An RV Park:
When you first arrive, find out if the park has a plan in place, even if you are staying for only a night or two. Tornados are one of the only storm systems that have very little warning. Sometimes as little as 3 minutes notice. So having a plan in place already will save you loads of time and trouble.
Find out if the park has a shelter onsite or where the nearest shelter is. The park may have a basement or underground shelter that are sturdy and safe. Hallways also can be a viable option.
If the park doesn't have a shelter, consider the bathroom or shower stalls. Usually the restrooms are sturdy enough and built out of cement, so they will be a great option to stay safe.
When a tornado watch is given, be ready. When a warning is issued-- it's time to go.
Some quick tips to keep in mind:
If there are no buildings nearby, say you are boondocking and there are no bathrooms or shower houses available to go to, leaving the RV is still the best option.
The general guideline for tornado safety is to get as low to the ground as possible and assume the tornado safety crouch. Wind speeds will be slower close to the ground. This way you won't be hit by a flying object. Also, try to refrain from being near any trees. Lightning and flying debri are more likely to happen there. Look for a cave, ditch, rock, or the like. Any of these will offer more protection.
Having a tornado plan in place is very important. We learned this after a few nights of torrential downpour and extreme lightning. Although staying in your RV might sound like the logical answer, it often isn't. Even if you are a full-time RV traveler.
Hope this helped! Stay safe and we'll see you on the road.
Vanessa and I decided we wanted to get away from the Austin city vibes for a bit and decided to check out a little slice of heaven that's centrally located: McKinney Falls. Around 10-15 minutes from South Congress and Ben White, McKinney Falls is a bit of natural paradise and a Texas hikers dream.
We arrived around 2pm and checked in at the office/general store. They had wood for sale, plus s'mores ingredients, coffee, snacks, starter fire, anything you needed for a campout to make it memorable. We of course, grabbed some s'mores stuff and firewood, before paying our camp fee. Probably the coolest part about this Texas State Park is that the camp fee is $20. That's right, for us to be parked in the woods with a water and electric hookup -- $20 per night. Music to our spendthrift ears.
We got to site 52 and set up shop. Unrolled Maude's awning and set the ambiance for the rest of the stay. We love feeling at home everywhere we go, so this is always important to us. We made some soup and sandwiches for lunch and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.
After lunch, we decided to hike the Onion Creek trail which wraps around the state park at about 3 miles. On the hike, we saw an armadillo, very busy doing important armadillo stuffs, and a family of deer grazing. There were rumors of coyotes on the trail, but we didn't get to see any. The trail ended up at Upper Creek Falls, which is where we stopped for a swim.
Since the water was about 50 or so degrees and it was about 65 degrees outside, I probably wouldn't have jumped in if it weren't for some coercion on Vanessa's part (she can be quite persuasive). So, we did, and although my lungs seized in my chest, I don't regret taking the plunge.
Nighttime settled in back at camp and we got the fire roaring. We made some tea and played a round of Rummikub by the fire. Dinner consisted of veggie hotdogs, mustard, and Just Mayo (sriacha style) with a s'mores dessert.
Camping rules. We love getting immersed in nature and falling asleep to the sounds of crickets and rustling trees. I would recommend this Texas State Park to any RV travel blogger, any family looking to get away, or any couple looking to reconnect. If you don't have an RV, bring a tent! And if you're lucky enough to meet Kurt, the park host, then you've found the site where The Roamans stayed.
Big things happening this week from the Austin Film Festival. We're lucky enough to be working with The Sundance Documentary Club. Stay tuned!
Formula 1 Austin came to a close yesterday, and I can't say I'm all that bummed about it. The weekend was an interesting one to say the least, and although there were some highlights, there were also some absolute lows.
First things first, the weather was absolute garbage. Torrential rain every single day. With Hurricane Patricia off the coast of Mexico, we were getting some of that gnarly weather by us. What did this mean for us while we worked? Standing in soaking wet shoes, and clothes, for hours. Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
We picked up work with a company called Stadium People. They hire out for stadium events and pay pretty well just to keep things organized. We were hired as Premium staff for VIP suites. This we assumed, was a jackpot.
We went through two separate training events with other Circuit of the Americas Staff, which really were just about being prepared and being nice to people. We still didn't have any idea what our assignment was, nor where we were placed on the track. You see, Circuit of the Americas is huge. Over 20 turns, 3.4 miles long, with tons of suites and skyboxes. They were so adamant in the training that we know our surroundings and didn't give people wrong directions, yet it wasn't until 6:30am Friday that we even found out where it was we were working.
Which brings us to not working together. We were separated at first, and both had a terrible time finding out where we were going. There was so much error in organization, that we were sometimes dumbstruck with the lack of efficiency. This is a billion dollar track and a 300+ million dollar event -- how is it not more organized?!
But I digress, Vanessa and I did end up working together in the Owner's Box where we met some of the highlights of this meaningful work experience for us. Sarah, Rhonda, Tim, Anita, Pamela, and Brittany. The staff that busted their asses to keep the Owner's Tent running smoothly and efficiently. Not to mention, we all had some good laughs and silly banter the entire weekend. If it wasn't for Sarah and her always-positive spirit, or Rhonda and her kind-nature and determination for efficiency, we probably wouldn't have had very many highlights.
Because Saturday was absolute shit. There, I said it. We had to be at the track by 6:30am, which by then was already hurricane force winds. Mind you, we also needed to wear the COTA white shirt (which were fun to wear when wet) and black slacks with black dress shoes. Did we mention that employee parking was almost a mile from where we had to check in? After standing for 14 hours the day before in wet shoes and damp clothes, we needed to do it all over again, this time in worse weather. So, we packed our work clothes, threw on ponchos, shorts. and flip flops and braved the rain.
Really no reason to put on makeup or do our hair because by the time we showed up at the check in, we were drenched. But alas, our work outfits were dry and warm in our backpack. We walked in, weather beaten and dismayed, to have the woman checking us in say snidely, "Oh, you guys can't wear shorts to work." To which we undeniably replied, "Yes, we know. We walked in torrential rain to get here, and need to change into our uniforms." Maybe it's crazy of us to be expecting a "thank you for showing up!" Especially because we were some of the ONLY people there on time, and well really there at all. Alas, she didn't say thank you, instead she said, "Oh you have to change. Well snap snap."
Vanessa almost left.I still had to band-aid my heel blisters from the day before. But, we decided to be better people and make it work because we gave them our word. So we changed into our dry clothes, only to find out we were taking golf carts to the Owner's Club, so really, we ended up getting soaking wet anyway. And our umbrella broke.
I don't want to keep going on about all the negatives throughout the weekend, like walking a mile to where the gate should be open and shuttle there for pick-up, but it wasn't, and we were locked in, drenched after working 12 hours. Nor about the experience of working the Owner's Box itself and being looked down upon often by people simply because they have a few more commas in their bank account total. Or the fact my shoes broke at the start of day two because they were so absolutely soaked.......SO, I won't. But the worst part was that as I was getting over bronchitis-like symptoms from last week, and Vanessa came down with something after being waterlogged all weekend we ended up missing working on Sunday and didn't even get to see the actual race. We were heartbroken.
But I do need to say the highlights for me included:
Rosie having an extra pair of flats that I could use after my shoes broke. She brought them to change into after her boots got to be too much but gave them to me to wear all day instead.
Sarah giving me her extra pair of dry socks so that my feet weren't freezing and wet all day.
Chatting with Rhonda on the couch about tattoos and Japanese tea ceremonies. There's something to be said about a woman who marches unapologetically to the beat of her own drum that we admire and honor.
Seeing Lionel Richie.
Watching the Formula 1 cars practice, and seeing the ways they risk their lives doing something they absolutely love.
It was a hell of a weekend, and we're still feeling the backlash of being under the weather. But, onwards and forwards as we prepare for another weekend of finding work on the road at the Austin City Film Festival.
We've been on the road full time in our small RV now for almost three months. It's been a wild ride, and truthfully not one that we could adequately prepare for. When we ripped out the couch, pre-full time, we were doing so to gain some space in the slide. We never would have expected that the storage would have been welcomed on the road. Nor would we have thought that the queen pull-out bed in the couch may be a bit more comfortable than the bunk.
Don't get me wrong, I love our bunk bed. There's this throw-back to being a kid every time I climb that ladder and nestle in for the night. It's safe and snug, and definitely keeps us warm when the temp drops down. The issue though was that it just wasn't all that comfortable.
I can't stress enough how important a good night's sleep is while on the road. The smallest things can rouse you from a deep sleep and ruin your entire mood, especially when you're dry docking all over the city. Safety is our main concern, making sure we're some place that doesn't put us in danger. But also noise levels, traffic, construction, those noisy Austin birds that are like a weird crow-mockingbird hybrid. But also, comfort. It just didn't seem like we were all that comfortable in our bed.
So, we decided to treat ourselves to a little upgrade. After working out asses off at ACL Fest, and securing our next job at Formula 1 Austin, we decided that spending our hard-earned money on a few bed upgrades were necessary and absolutely welcomed.
hydraluxe air cooling pillow
I've never been one to buy into the gimmicks of these revolutionary pillows. A pillow is a pillow and each is soft and special in its own way. Yet, there was something about the Hydraluxe Air that I needed to disprove, because I'm a realist at heart and could not understand for the life of me how this thing can cool from the inside out.
So, I hugged it. At Bed, Bath & Beyond. And guess what, the damn thing was cool. Really cool. Like sticking your arm out the window cool. Which was absolutely perfect for us because dry docking doesn't leave much in the way of AC here in Austin. Purchase #1 was a success. I recommend this pillow to anyone looking to slide their arms under their head at night, or for those lovers of the cold side of the bed. A worthy purchase.
dream Serenity active support foam Mattress Topper
A mattress topper is crucial for all you full-time RV people out there. RV mattresses aren't like normal mattresses which means they aren't super supportive for your back. Many a-time Vanessa and I woke up in the mornings with back pain, or tossed and turned at night because we couldn't get comfortable. We bought a mattress pad prior to hitting the road but realized it just wasn't enough. We could still feel everything below it. So, the Dream Support mattress pad from Walmart was a great buy for us. We got the queen size, which is a little big, but it works. We paired it with our mattress pad and it is absolutely perfect. 10x more comfortable now than before.
Note: the packaging was a little odd and the actual topper itself isn't all too eye-catching. Plus there was a weird smell initially. But we let it unroll and take shape and air out and we were in business.
Comfort on the road is important. Full-time RV travel can be quite demanding on your body. This is why we wanted to upgrade our sleeping experience to feel rested and relaxed every step of the way.
Feel free to share any of your bed upgrades!
Although it's a bit late, we wanted to give a quick recap of our Austin City Limits Festival experience. We worked again with Futurgarb, the Chicago-based company we worked with in St. Louis. It really is always a pleasure working with them. The value that they show every employee is astounding, especially in today's world where some companies treat employees like they're disposable. Vanessa and I feel appreciated and respected every time we work with Futurgarb, and we hope to work with them again next year for festival season.
A downside to the ACL experience was that Vanessa and I didn't get to work together. We had to stagger days since there were already four other veteran employees from Futurgarb who came along. We were frustrated at first, because that defeated the purpose of working together to foster deeper bonds, etc., but it quickly became clear that six people working in a 10 ft by 10 ft space would've been brutal.
Now, let's talk music. These are the noteworthy bands we were able to see and/or hear while we worked slinging some garb:
Florence & the Machine
I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but this list in itself rules. I can honestly say The Weeknd sounds exactly the same in person as he does on a track, the same with Disclosure. That's something I really value about an artist. Also, as much as Drake threw down in his set, every time he stopped to talk to the crowd about how this was "the best" crowd he's ever performed in front of, I didn't buy it. Nothing seemed genuine in the way he spoke to the crowd. I don't like being schmoozed, Drake. I've already loved you since "Man of the Year" and "Replacement Girl".
We worked two weekends in a row, about 35-40 hours each weekend. It was very exhausting but that doesn't mean we didn't have time for some fun with the Futugarb crew......
Like participating in our very first escape challenge at Maze Room Austin! If you haven't tried an escape room challenge then I implore you to do so. We had such a blast solving puzzles and figuring out riddles and working together. It truly was an experience we'll never forget. A huge thank you to Maze Rooms Austin.
We also visited a few local bars and bonded over some Fireball whiskey (sans Vanessa) and pool sharking. Lots of laughs were shared, and memories made. Thank you to Max, Ali, Sheree, and Irina for welcoming us into the Futurgarb mix and for bringing extra light into our lives.
We've been busy this week gearing up for our next meaningful work experience at Formula 1! We also finished writing about the Austin Humane Society for the next issue of Suncoast Pet. Big things happening for The Roamans. See you all on the road.
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Marisa & Vanessa have a whole "About Us" blurb that they are dying for you to check out.