Thursday, October 20, 2016

October 6, 2016 Evacuation

At 5:00 am, I had an emergency alert on my telephone warning us of the hurricane.  That was it!  I wasn’t going back to sleep and I wasn’t staying here for sure.  I got up and started making lists for packing, since Dave was still asleep. 

Once he got up, I said I would pack and then help him with any other preparations.  That’s when he said “I’m not leaving”.  All of a sudden, I was sick.  After hearing that hurricane alarm on my phone, my mind was set to leave, no matter what.  Brenda came over to ask what time we would be ready to leave.  She was shocked that Dave wanted to stay.  So she and I walked around the boatyard to talk to others.  Dave wouldn’t listen to our emotional pleading, so we were hoping to find a local that would talk to him about the risk of staying. 

We found out that Larry and Rosie were staying (and they are in their upper 70’s) along with a hand full of other single men.  The owner of the boatyard has a wife and 3 year old son, so they were leaving for their protection.  But the head maintenance man that lives on site was staying.  Yesterday he was urging people to leave because of the possible flooding.  But I guess that didn’t apply to him. 

SO, we could not convince Dave to leave.  He didn’t ask me to stay, or encourage me to leave.  It had to be my decision.  There is a level of knowledge of the risk vs what can be done to help the situation that each person has to be comfortable with.  I couldn’t stay, but it was tearing my heart apart to leave Dave.  He truly felt he would be OK and wanted to protect our investment.  He would leave if he had an early warning that things were changing for the worse. 

I called the rental car company to cancel by reservation about 9:30am.  They told me that the Camden county sheriff just announced a forced evacuation for the entire county.  Even that didn’t change Dave’s mind. 
This is the radar screen from my  phone.  They predicted the path to follow the coast, hitting land as early as Miami

Before leaving, a boat owner of a stored boat that was a couple boats away from us showed up to prepare his boat.   We had been discussing whether to remove our bimini and dodger.  It’s recommended when there are high winds.  But Dave kept looking at his boat and saying “he’s leaving his bimini up.”  So today, the guy says “Are you leaving your bimini up?”.  Dave said “I thought you were, so I was going to.”  The guy replied “I was just thinking I would leave mine up because you were!”  Is this what you call “the blind leading the blind”?  The guy started taking his down. 
the canvas over the cockpit is the bimini

I had a tearful good-bye with Dave in the privacy of our boat.  Then I had to just be mad at him for being so stubborn, or else I wouldn’t have stopped crying until I saw him again. 

Brenda, Adrian and I left the boatyard at 10:20 am.  I had sent the Louchart’s a text to tell them only 3 of us were coming.  Randy called just as we were leaving.  Dave wouldn’t answer him.  So Randy called me.  I kept repeating “I know!” to everything he said.   But there was no changing Dave’s mind. 

As we were driving through St Mary’s, there were a lot of closed businesses and places boarded up.  It was really strange.  I had to take a picture of the first “Evacuation Route” sign I saw.  I have seen them on the roads in the south for 4 years, but I never thought I’d be following one of them.  Our town had a designated high way to take inland, which was Hwy 40 to Folkston.  From there we turned north to head to Atlanta on back roads.  We didn’t want to sit on the interstate or creep along with everyone from Florida, too. 
Never thought I'd be following these signs
We stopped in Waycross for gas and lunch at Chick-fil-a.  Brenda and Adrian had never been to one and enjoyed it.  When we left there to head further north, there were traffic cops at every intersection.  We later heard that shortly after that, it took about 2 hours to get through Waycross.  We checked a couple hotels, but everything was full. 

We continued north to Alma.  There we found 2 rooms at a local motel, the Sunset Inn.  Adrian wanted to be closer to the boats, rather than driving to Atlanta.  That way we would be able to return to them sooner.  I was looking forward to seeing our friends in Atlanta, but this made sense. 
motel in Alma, GA
I spent a horrible afternoon watching the TV.  I kept sending Dave text messages about the surge that was predicted.  I wasn’t sure he was getting that information.  I finally had to stop watching the weather. 
If I zoomed out, you could see Nicole further off shore. 
We walked to dinner at the Huddle House across the street.  It is similar to a Perkins, but much smaller like a Waffle House.  I spent the evening flipping channels.  Don’t miss TV.
I think it was near Cape Canaveral at this point
I talked to Dave before going to bed.  He said 6 of the boaters that stayed in the boatyard decided to go to dinner together.  He was in the “scout car” looking for a place that was open.  Several places were boarded up and the town was deserted.  They stopped outside a Chinese restaurant that looked open.  A lady came out the door and said “We closed,  it too dangerous, you go now!”  Closer to the interstate, they found a pizza restaurant open, Ops.  They called the other car to join them.  The bar side was closed.  There were people at several tables, but there were several tables that were dirty.  When someone finally came to their table, they found out that only the owners were there trying to run the place by themselves.  All of their staff had left town, evacuated.  They explained that the service would be slow.  They had nothing better to do, so they pitched in and started bussing tables and seating people.  Other customers helped, too.  It ended up being a fun evening with everyone helping each other. 
packing in more boats
more boats than usual
the lift dock at the boat yard
several boats anchored for the storm

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