Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Little Disturbance Named Irma

Joe Davies Air Park, Evergreen, AL

Irma Bug Out Trip

We had just returned from our Iceland/Greenland trip to find a hurricane looming, poised to pounce on our home base. Having just purchased the Phaeton in July and having not really taken it on a shakedown cruise, we were feeling very anxious about exposing our new baby to a direct hit hurricane.

Ist Irma forecast

No doubt about it, Jacksonville, FL (northeast Florida) was squarely in the crosshairs. We immediately started throwing whatever we thought we would need into the motorhome. I think it was the fastest we have ever packed. By the second day we were on the road.


And we immediately run into this. Looks like everyone is leaving town. Just about dark we pull into Paradise Lake RV Park. They meet us and guide us into a spot. We ask how much and they ask back if we are running from the hurricane. We say yes and they say we are welcome to stay as long as we need to.

We make a note to stop by here again.

The next morning we’re off and running again. Our next stop is Eufala, AL at the White Oak Creek Corp of Engineers campground.


We have a lovely sunset by the lake. We think we have safely escaped the wrath of IRMA. Sunday morning Frank wakes up early and checks the weather. Oh Crap!!

2nd Irma Forecast

Now Irma is heading straight for Eufala which is where we are. We go into high gear and put everything away and hit the road. Again.

This time we have no distination in mind. Our goal is to simply travel far enough west until we outrun Irma. We stop to fill up with fuel and another RVer asks where we are headed. All we can tell them is west until are too tired to go any further.

In Evergreen, AL we are worn out from the anixiety and the driving so we stop in a grocery store parking lot to take a walk break. A policeman pulls up next to us and I think he is going to run us of or tell us we can’t spend the night there.

Instead, he tells us that the city of Evergreen has opened up the airport grounds to all RVers that need a place to stay to wait out Irma. Wow!


Boy were we glad to see this sign announcing our refuge for the next few days.

It seems like most of the town officials were on hand to great us, the fleeing masses, with open arms. The mayor was there, the city maintenance director and his staff were making sure we all had working electric and water hookups.


There were a bunch of us there and we all just layed low and waited for IRMA to hit us with whatever she had left.


The cats were fine, handling the situation much better than we were.

On our second day there, the rains came and it was just a generally nasty day. To our surprise, one of the local churches came by with hot meals for anyone who needed them and even delivered them to your front door, in the rain! Wow again!

Over the next few days, the weather cleared, the sun came out and so did the folks. We weren’t real anxious to hit the road along with everyone else so we thought we’d stick around for another few days. Word came down from the mayor that whomever needed to stay a little longer was welcome. The Florida news was filled with stories of flooding, wind damage and blocked roads. More good reasons to stay put for a few more days.

Since we are at an airport, we thought we would wander around and see if anyone was in the flight shack. We found a real talkative young woman who told us that the Air Force was sending up some pilots from Elgin AFB to do some flight training and we ought to watch. And so we did.


It was fun watching them fly around doing “touch and go” landings.

But finally it was time to head back to Florida and see if there was anything left of our house. Actually that was an overly dramatic statement as our good neighbors, the Strattons, had been keeping an eye on our place and kept us informed about the minor damage we received.

But Murphy wasn’t done with us yet.


Our normal procedure is to pull into the neighborhood to unhook the car before proceeding to our house. But, the car battery was dead and Sunny would not start. Once again the Strattons came to our rescue and brought a set of heavy duty battery cables that got us started. In the picture above, I tried hooking two light weight sets together and it just wasn’t doing the job.

With the car started , we eased on up to the house to end our hurried, frantic maiden voyage.