Due to hurricane Gustav, our family evacuated over 500 miles from South Louisiana to the Dallas, TX area. Dad has a work location here and it puts us within a few hours of Little Rock for Bo's peanut allergy study treatments.
Along with the normal logistical issues of an evacuation...
- Do we leave now, days before we know exactly where the storm will make landfall and how severe it will be to avoid the traffic or wait another few days? For hurricane Gustav, over 2 million people evacuated Louisiana over a 4 day period! That is a lot of traffic, and most people are going to the same 5-6 obvious cities to evacuate far enough to be safe but close enough to manage the drive. Neighbors who left a day after us were only 150 miles away after driving 6 hours.
- What do we absolutely need to bring? (2 weeks of clothes, basic food, extra cash, insurance & medical records, etc.)
- What would be nice to bring? (photos, games, silverware, etc.)
- What do leave, hoping it survives the storm? (patio furniture, home electronics, memory items, etc.)
Adding to the complexity of all those issues above, throw in managing around a child's life threatening peanut allergy! So how exactly does that complicate things?
- Eating options during the actual 5-14 hour evacuation trip are severly limited. In Bo's case, we can bring items from his peanut safe food list and eat at Wendy's.
- The evacuation hotel must have a kitchen, since we have few safe restaurant options for Bo, especially in an unfamiliar city
- As a precaution, the evacuation hotel must be near a major hospital
So, we evacuated a day earlier than most people which allowed us to avoid the major traffic and we got a better choice of hotels. Plus we needed more space for the peanut safe food items we brought with us and that we purchased once here. We all give the Homewood Suites hotel a major thumbs up for meeting all of our "home away from home" needs!
We are all safe and feel very blessed that hurricane Gustav weakened a bit before making landfall because it came ashore within 100 miles of our house. If it had been a strong category 3 hurricane or stronger at landfall, we might have been house shopping in north Texas!
At this point, it appears Bo and Mom will be able to go to Little Rock from Dallas as planned for his peanut daily dosage treatment increase at the end of this week or early next week. Dad will busy with work stuff related to the storm and may return home after us.
In the mean time, we are surrounded by many new restaurant options, such as, Red Robins, which quickly provided us 17 pages of peanut allergen information about their menu after we e-mailed them. The information was very helpful, and even though Dad has eaten there before on business trips and raves about how good their food is, we haven't been brave enough to try anything new yet with Bo under these evacuation circumstances. We at least want to applaud Red Robin for the amount of effort that put into making it easy for families with food allergys to make an informed decision about eating from their menu. And though Bo has not eaten there, major kudos to Red Robin for taking food allergys so seriously! More menu food allergy information is available from the Red Robin FAQ page.
That's it for now. Stay safe everyone and God Bless!
Bo and family