Now I know how Dorothy felt ...
I can sum up today in one word: WIND!
The entire east coast had high wind warnings following passage of a cold front. The forecast was for 20-30 MPH winds, gusting to 40 MPH. Seeing the weather reports gave me some concern, but our campground in St Augustine couldn't offer us another night, and everything else was booked. So we headed out on I-95 with to join about a million snowbirds migrating back to the northeast.
The winds were just as fierce as forecast, blowing RVs all over the road and giving us a few nervous moments. But overall, Vintage Thunder pulled along just fine ... until we took a detour.
I should explain that I-95 was clogged with traffic through the entire state of Georgia. The annual Snowbird Migration is an awesome sight, with equally awesome repercussions for traffic on the Interstate. After spending two hours to go 35 miles, we decided to bail out and try Rt 17.
At first, all was well. Then we encountered the bridge pictured below, the Sidney Lanier Bridge. What you can't see in this picture is that the bridge passes over a broad expanse of marshy land and a river -- a giant flat plain unobstructed by anything that might slow down the wind.
The bridge rises abruptly about two hundred feet. Halfway up, we suddenly we slammed by an enormous gusting wind, hitting us broadside from the left. The truck/trailer combination began slewing like an elephant on rollerskates. I realized, too late, that I had been suckered in to a seriously dangerous situation. The wind was incredibly powerful up there on this high, exposed bridge. But we had no choice but to continue onward.
We immediately slowed to 40 MPH, then 35 MPH, then even slower. Handling improved to the point that I could keep the rig in one lane, but really nothing was going to end this situation except getting OFF THE BRIDGE as soon as possible. I can't emphasize enough how stupid I felt being up there, looking two hundred feet down. There was no posted wind warning ... but I felt I should have foreseen this situation.
Here's where having an aerodynamically efficient trailer and a darned good Reese hitch paid off. I think any white box trailer would have probably toppled over. The gusts were easily above 40 MPH, and probably much higher. We had a scary moment, but by slowing down we got safely down the bridge and into town, where we saw streetlights and smokestacks blowing sideways. (See picture). Even down there, the winds were fantastic. We continued on our way for several hours longer, humbled by the powerful impact of weather even on a sunny clear day.