Experience Huntsville!

Welcome to Huntsville, your location for prime, newsworthy weather activity! In order to get the most out of your time in Huntsville, you should consider making or purchasing what we in the unofficial tourism board call an Experience Huntsville! kit.

Experience Huntsville! kits have been available for some time at local retailers, but due to popular demand, are probably currently sold out†. Chances are good, though, that you - the average Huntsville visitor - probably have most of the individual components of an Experience Huntsville! kit already in your garage or attic:

  • rocket engine (D size acceptable, JATO bottle preferred - can be 'liberated' from the Arsenal)
  • pair of lightweight oars
  • self-inflating raft
  • handheld amateur radio
  • self-inflatable decoy trailer park (posher models will come complete with inflatable rednecks equipped to play prerecorded "It sounded like a freight train!" comments)
  • large lightweight flag (preferably safety orange)
  • hand-cranked Personal Doppler Radar
  • John Deere hat
  • Dan Satterfield's cell phone number
  • Geof Morris' useful book, "Redneck-English/English-Redneck Dictionary"
  • bottle of Jack Daniel's

Official Experience Huntsville! kits have an estimated weight of fifty-seven pounds, and come with cushioned backpack-style straps for easy toting. Those of you planning to visit Huntsville by car should order the optional Experience Huntsville! kit cover. This heavy-duty kit cover comes with pre-drilled holes and two heavy-duty bungee cords, so that you can attach your Experience Huntsville! kit to your car and have it available at all times.

The following instructions are included with all official versions of the kit. They are printed in Spanish and English, with a clearly-drawn set of pictorial instructions for those unable or too panicked to read in any language at all.

Welcome To Your Experience Huntsville! Kit

Thank you for purchasing an Experience Huntsville! kit. By breaking the seal on this envelope, you have indicated that you are in need of the contents of this package, and hereby release Experience Huntsville!, LLC from any liabilities incurred by the usage of its contents. Experience Huntsville! kits should only be owned and operated by responsible adults. Do not attempt to use or activate any part of the Experience Huntsville! kit while driving or operating heavy machinery.

Step One: Determine If Problem Exists

Turn on amateur radio. Listen to local severe weather spotters. If coherent discussion is heard, you may stop reading now and open the bottle of Jack Daniel's. If garbled, incoherent screams are heard, place John Deere hat firmly on head and open the large electrostatic bag contained in the Experience Huntsville! kit. This is your Personal Doppler Radar.

Step Two: Determine Specific Nature Of Problem

In a dry area, crank the Personal Doppler Radar with a smooth, steady motion. Carefully study the results on the LCD screen. Compare the results with your current environment. Remember, an Experience Huntsville! kit will not function to its fullest capacity if you, the user, are not aware of your environment. If on an unusually muggy and still day, the sky begins to turn a greenish-grayish color, examine the screen of your Personal Doppler Radar closely to determine if the storm above you contains a 'hook effect.' This will determine which portions of your Experience Huntsville! kit you will need.

Step 2a: No Hook, No Water
Open the Jack Daniel's. Begin drinking. Carefully pack up your Experience Huntsville! kit for another use.

Step 2b: No Hook, But Lots Of Water
Skip to page 2, "Water Events." Do not prematurely activate bottle of Jack Daniel's!

Step 2c: We Have Hook But I Don't See Anything
Skip to page 3. Prepare bottle of Jack Daniel's, but do not prematurely activate it.

Step 2d: We Have - Oh Crap, What Is That In The Sky?
Take long pull from bottle of Jack Daniel's while skipping to page 4.

Using Your Experience Huntsville! Kit, page 2:

Water Events

It is critical to prepare early for a Huntsville Water Event (HWE) in order to get the maximum enjoyment from the experience. Early deployment of the Experience Huntsville! kit will enable you to react quickly, while maximizing enjoyment and minimizing unnecessary panic.

After determining an imminent HWE, strap the rocket engine to your back. If you can figure out how to activate it, do so, and immediately evacuate the area. (Caution: most injuries occur on landing, not takeoff!)

If the rocket engine malfunctions, or does not remove you from the immediate vicinity of the HWE, take it off, kick it three times, and discard it. Activate bottle of Jack Daniel's. While placing emergency flag in back left pocket and dictionary in back right pocket, pull tab to inflate raft.

Test structural integrity of oars by attempting to break each of them over your knee. Any oar that breaks is not suitable for use. Climb into the raft and firmly place John Deere hat on your head. Take bottle of Jack Daniel's and amateur radio and row to safety. Hoist flag, learn a few phrases from the dictionary, and hope for rescue.

Using Your Experience Huntsville! Kit, page 3:

We Have Hook But I Don't See Anything

Time is critical! You must deploy your Experience Huntsville! kit now in order to maximize tornadic enjoyment!

Caution: do not activate rocket engine in case of hook echo! A potential tornado is equally dangerous to you if you are in the air or on the ground. Experience Huntsville!, LLC recommends that, for optimum enjoyment, users should remain in contact with the ground at all times.

Place John Deere hat firmly on head, and Dan Satterfield's phone number in your front right pocket. You will need to carry your Personal Doppler Radar and your Decoy Trailer Park on different shoulders; studies indicate that carrying both on one shoulder greatly contributes to the risk of degenerative spinal injury later in life. Discard oars and raft in clearly-marked containers (if they haven't already blown away). Tuck bottle of Jack Daniel's in the crook of your arm. Caution! Jack Daniel's bottle is susceptible to hail damage; guard it carefully.

If you see any two of these three conditions, conduct frequent weather checks with your Personal Doppler Radar:

  • greenish/blackish sky
  • intense, frequent lightning
  • hail of any size

Should all three events happen at once, and a hook echo is shown on your Personal Doppler Radar, skip to page 4. Otherwise, activate bottle of Jack Daniel's and wait for the power to come back on.

Using Your Experience Huntsville! Kit, page 4:

We Have - Oh Crap, What Is That In The Sky?

Take long drink from bottle of Jack Daniel's. Scan these instructions quickly, commit them to memory, then drop this page of instructions. You are now about to Experience Huntsville! at its finest.

The first step is the most critical: select a 'safe position.' Depending on the size of The Swirling Thing In The Sky, this will either need to be a sturdy, reinforced closet/basement, or a hastily-dug hole in the ground. If you can see sky around the Swirling Thing, select a room or basement. If, however, you can see nothing but the Swirling Thing, dig quickly (your oars will double as shovels).

In the time you have remaining, you need to activate the Decoy Trailer Park in order to change the path of the tornado away from you. The Decoy Trailer Park should be activated at least one hundred yards away from your 'safe position,' in order to guarantee safe usage. Caution! Usage of Decoy Trailer Park at distances less than one hundred yards will be construed as an illegal misuse of this product, and Experience Huntsville! LLC will not be responsible for any damages that are incurred.

To activate, take three long drinks from the bottle of Jack Daniel's and then press the button on the Decoy Trailer Park remote control three times. You should see an unbelievably-realistic trailer park, complete with rusting cars, appear within approximately 0.76 seconds.

If the Decoy Trailer Park inflates successfully, the tornado should immediately begin to turn toward it. The Decoy Trailer Park is designed to dissolve into fine, non-toxic, non-allergenic dust upon tornadic contact, thus allowing the tornado to vent its fury without causing much damage to surrounding structures. Nevertheless, users wearing contact lenses should shield their eyes.

If the Decoy Trailer Park does not inflate, or if the tornado ignores the Decoy Trailer Park and comes for you instead, you have two options.

Option 1: Stay And Drink

Bunker down in your hole. Repeatedly activate your bottle of Jack Daniel's. Ingest until room spins, then stop. You will either have a hangover or no house. Possibly both. Place John Deere hat on head and prepare to be interviewed.

Option 2: Drink And Run Screaming

If running is your preference, please exit the immediate vicinity of your Experience Huntsville! kit. You are among the special few who will experience the visceral thrill of running through Huntsville at top speed, screaming your lungs out while slugging back Jack Daniel's and preparing yourself for your imminent demise.

Just don't forget to call Dan Satterfield.

† Offer void or prohibited in areas with unusually high levels of water or tornadic activity. Contact your authorized Experience Huntsville! dealer for details.

Many thanks to Geof for providing the right humorous inspiration for a few parts of this bit of writing.


I take credit for the unfunny parts ... and the JATO bottle and the PDR. ;)

The electrostatic bag and the bottle of Jack Daniel's were my idea ;)

Drink and run screaming!

LMAO! We had sirens going off near work & had to go to the basement. No one in Atlanta's forgotten the tornadoes a few years back.

Why have the inflatable decoy ... trailer parks already are tornado decoys! This is why they are placed outside of major metro areas. It's the equivalent of placing a scale papar-mache model of Tokyo outside of the actual city to thwart Godzilla-related urban renewal.

I'm still surprised that it was Amy, not me, who thought of the JD. I mean, I'm the one that drinks it! The electrostatic bag was beautificent, though. That, and the decoy trailer park. ;)

I'm amused. And PDR also stands for Physician's Desk Reference. A useful thing to have when looting the pharmacy after an Experience Huntsville! event.