Last updated: 10:00 AM ET, Sat September 10 2016

Opinion Home | Are We There Yet: Tips For Family Trips

  • Janeen Christoff | September 10, 2016 10:00 AM ET

    Cross-Country Road Trip: Tropical Storm Warnings

    Cross-Country Road Trip: Tropical Storm Warnings

    PHOTO: A tropical storm builds off of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. (Photo by Janeen Christoff) 

    Being from Southern California, I have to say I don’t know much about stormy weather – and I’m really not very good at paying attention to weather forecasts at all. All that “sunny and 70 degrees” stuff is pretty real in L.A. So, I was shocked to learn that, as we were headed down the Carolina coast, careening along Cape Hatteras at a breakneck speed to the reach the national seashore, there were several tropical storm warnings. How did I miss this, I thought to myself? 

    Complacency. That’s how. After our early summer road trip across the country netted us nothing but good weather and our summer in New Hampshire dealt us but one or two thunderstorms, we had become totally complacent about the weather and drove straight into the mouth of a storm – or at least that’s what it looked like. 

    As the clouds built off the coast and the skies turned dark, the wind picked up and nearly blew our kayaks off of the roof. There was a dark, windy 3 a.m. wake-up call as our RV was shaking like an earthquake in the increasing gusts and my husband and I climbed onto the roof to finally remove the pesky boats. It wasn’t quite at that moment that we thought we might want to make a swift departure, but it was pretty close. 

    However, low and behold, we weren’t ready to give up on our beach day and we persevered onto the sand. The storm never materialized and hovered just off the coast, teasing beachgoers with its menacing darkness. But we felt like we had gone to battle and won. Success – a day at the beach complete. We could now say we had driven “coast to coast.”

    We headed inland, toward Atlanta, thinking that we had dodged a bullet. And then came Hermine. While we had given up our plans for further beach camping down the coast of North and South Carolina and down to Savannah, Georgia, we thought we had avoided the deluge but as we said goodbye to Atlanta’s Stone Mountain park, dark skies, gusty winds, thunder and lightning were there to greet us. Luckily, by now, this California clan had learned to pay closer attention to the weather updates and we were able to coast along on the edge of the storm, narrowly missing downed trees and flooded roadways on the way to the Magic Kingdom. 

    READ MORE: Cross-Country Road Trip: Driving in NYC   

    Arriving in Orlando, we were once again welcomed with sunny skies (for most of the time) and blessed with warm weather – but just as we were pulling away we got wind of another storm on the horizon. Tropical Storm Newton was threatening to intersect our path. As it dissipated into a heavy rainstorm, we breathed a sigh of relief. Just a few days to go before we are back in the clutches of California sunshine.


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Janeen Christoff Are We There Yet: Tips For Family Trips

Janeen Christoff Janeen Christoff caught the travel bug while living in London, England. After two years on the road, she settled in Los Angeles and focused her writing on what she loved best — exploring the world. Today, she’s a well-traveled mother of two, an adventurer and a world wanderer who writes about destinations around the world for Want to know where she is headed next? Check out her blog at
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