Stuck in Ozona Riding Out the Storm

The weather reports had us right in the center of a tornado warning, so we decided to stay put for the day.

It was the right decision.  In the late morning, there was a ferocious thunder storm that pelted us with wind, rain and nickel-sized hail.  After the storm passed over, we got hit with hurricane force winds with gusts to 80 mph.  At one point it got so bad we pulled in the slides, raised the landing gear and aired up the suspension.  We were rocking and rolling but it protected the equipment.

What travelers made it into the park that night were shell-shocked and some even had pieces missing from their rigs. I could not imagine traveling in that kind of weather.  It must have been an E ticket ride.

Contemporary note:  Some motorhomes, ours included, are equipped with an air-suspension system designed to achieve a softer ride and improved steering control.  It works great but special attention must be paid when starting up and shutting down. 

When the motor is started, an on-board air compressor slowly inflates air bags between the coach and the frame and the coach slowly rises until the system is fully aired.

When preparing to spend a night at a campground, a manually-controlled valve slowly releases the air and the coach is allowed to settle.  After the coach settles, hydraulic jacks (collectively called the ‘landing gear”) are used to level the coach and keep the strain off the deflated air bags.  The landing gear gives the coach a rigidity so you can move around without rocking the coach.  Also, some of the systems just work better when the coach is level.