For the first time in my life, I am an evacuee!
You see those news stories all the time about people who have to "evacuate," and at 5am in the morning in Pismo Beach, Pamela and I became one of them...
During the construction of our New Radio Star report for our morning radio shows on Thursday night, we got the news flash there had been a massive earthquake in Japan...an 8.9, in fact. We immediately began monitoring the TV news channels and pulled up live video reports from various Japanese TV stations. It suddenly occurred to us, that thousands of miles away, sitting here in our RV on the beach at Pismo Coast Village, it might actually affect us!
Around 1 in the morning we got the news the whole west coast was under tsunami alert...we continued to monitor until about 4am when Pismo Coast Security head, Larry started flashing lights and turning on a wake up siren throughout the park. He told me we hadn't received final orders, but enlisted my help to begin knocking on the doors of RVers in the adjoining rows to get them up and ready in case the final notice came to evacuate.
We are right on the beach here at Pismo Coast Village, but there is a large sea wall putting us above the ocean. Additionally, right where we are, there is a water channel that brings in water from the mountains and out to sea..it's also several feet below the resort, and in the huge rains, Pismo Coast Village received over the winter, there was no danger of flooding. But, now, they were talking of a possible tsunami hitting where the surge could be 7 feet or more.
Pismo Coast Village management and security, along with Pismo Beach authorities were taking no chances...just after 5:30 am they gave us the order to evacuate. We had plenty of time, so rather than leave our travel trailer behind to chance, we unhooked all the land lines and hooked it on the back of our Roadtrek. Everyone was a bit groggy, but the park emptied calming, easily and without any traffic backup. By 7am we were on the way to the huge Walmart/Albertson's parking lot which is located nearby but several hundred feet above the ocean. Firemen were there to direct us to several large places to park and by now, there were dozens of other RVs plus cars from people along the beach who had evacuated their homes.
Our parking area was behind Albertson's in a quiet grassy area and the manager of Albertson, Mike Miller came out to welcome us and ask us if there was anything we needed. We set up a boondocking site and got back on the computers with plenty of electricity from our solar panels, (thank you sun) turned on the computers (thank you Verizon Wireless) and went back to work on a beautiful sunny day. Time passed quickly and we made some new friends! Some of us went shopping, others set up tables and chairs, read books or took a nap. About 2pm we got a visit from officer O'Reilly (himself, an RVer) and were given the all clear to go back to Pismo Coast Village.
There was an air of gratefulness and joy as RV'ers filed back in to Pismo Coast Village. There was no line and easily drove back to site number 14, settled in and headed for a nap.
Looking back on the whole experience, thanks to Pismo Coast Village, the Pismo Beach police and fire departments there was no panic, no fear, but, just doing the business of the day. The people at our temporary destination could not have been nicer, more welcoming and genuinely concerned. I am hoping that this is my one time experience as an "evacuee," but, if it ever happens again, I could only wish that these people would be back as the group that helps us through it.
Just one more reason I am glad to be staying at Pismo Coast Village...