Days 1-2-Sept. 6-7, 2017-To Chattanooga, TN
Day 1-Drove 312 miles in 7 hours-bad traffic
Day 2-Drove 230 miles in 7-1/2 hours-horrible traffic
Gorgeous weather, 78, sunny
This is just an update to let everybody know Harry and I are safe. We decided long before we moved to Florida that if a category 3 or higher hurricane was threatening us we would be long gone. We have the RV to stay in and the resources to travel. On Tuesday we thought about leaving on Thursday. We fueled up the truck, stocked up on a few essentials and started to pack. We were surprised to see how fast we could get our act together to go. Within a few hours of deciding we were going we were packed and ready to go. All my lists and spreadsheets certainly helped, we just crossed stuff off as we packed it or did it. Plus we have only been home for two weeks so we knew what we had packed and what needed to be re-packed. So we decided to leave on Wednesday morning. The next hurdle was where to go. We knew we could go to an RV park in Tifton, GA where we had stayed before. We knew the owners would fit us in no matter what. There were only electric sites left but that’s better than nothing. But as we travelled we realized we could get farther north in a reasonable amount of time so I started calling other campgrounds. I found one about an hour farther up I-75 in Perry, GA that could give us a site for one night only, after that they were filled. So we stayed there on Wednesday night. Great campground with ponds with fountains, a goat farm on the property and a place we’d definitely stay at again. It filled up quickly, mostly with Floridians, all with the same idea we had. All in all not a bad trip, took us 7 hours to go 312 miles but traffic wasn’t terrible. Yet. The next day we immediately hit bad traffic on I-75. We heard there was a bad accident so we got off south of Macon and drove route 41 into and around Atlanta. Seemed like we were navigating Atlanta most of the day. We had filled up with fuel last night which was a good move. A lot of the gas stations we passed were either closed or had raised prices. We thought we would go back to Dahlonega, GA in the mountains, a place we had gone to this summer and really enjoyed. They have 7 campgrounds so we were sure they would have open sites. NOT! So I called a few other places in the right direction-north. I was told “Sorry, no room” at 8 campgrounds, at 3 I left a message and they never called me back and 2 others just had phones that rang and rang. My last call was to Raccoon Mountain Campground in Chattanooga. They put me on hold twice and both times I got disconnected. I figured it was futile especially seeing that I had called two other campgrounds in Chattanooga and was told no but I tried again. Eureka, they have room! We reserved until next Wednesday, just to be safe. Imagine me and Harry and the same place for over a week, doesn’t happen much. Traffic just continued to get worse. It took us 7-1/2 hours to go 230 miles. Accidents, stop and go and a general mess, mostly caused by Floridians fleeing the hurricane. When we got to the Tennessee border there was a sign on the side of the road that said “Welcome Florida”. Felt good to know we’re wanted. Got to the campground about 5:30 and as we came down the mountain road there were 4 golf carts blocking the road and checking as to whether we had reservations. If you didn’t, you didn’t get by them. Great campground, much better than the ones we had stayed in before in Chattanooga. The campground is not only full, they are parking RVs in the overflow parking lot. Nobody is concerned about the storm coming here so we feel safe. The weather is gorgeous, there are two cute and friendly kittens in the office to play with and life is good. We set up quickly and drove to the baseball game where we watched the Chattanooga Lookouts lose to the Montgomery Biscuits 3-2. Friday morning we heard the storm is following us to Tennessee and will be here with 45 MPH winds on Weds., the day we’re supposed to leave. We really don’t want to drive in the storm so we reserved for two more days, now leaving here on Friday. One day was even free. We’re also concerned about the roads going home being cleared so we’ll stay a couple more days. We feel protected in the valley surrounded by mountains unless we get lots and lots of rain. But the locals are still not concerned. The gas stations are running out of gas and closing and bottled water gone but that’s from all of us stocking up. A part broke on the hitch so we went looking for a replacement part…no luck, but we got some wood to make do. Also called the manufacturer and we’re having the part shipped here at no charge. It’s coming from Indiana so the storm shouldn’t be a problem. Again, life is good. But not for everyone. We realize to us this is just another road trip. We did all we could to secure our house before we left, it’s not in our hands anymore. We have food for at least three weeks in the freezer, clothes for quite a while, a full tank of fuel to get us at least 600 miles, water in the RV tank, plenty of bottled water and most importantly, each other. People are so willing to pitch in and help. I spoke to a young couple from Alabama this morning who are here on vacation renting a cabin. I’m sure we have more than they do in the line of supplies but they offered to do whatever they could to help. I spoke to another woman with three little kids who bought tickets for her parents to fly from Ft. Lauderdale but they wouldn’t leave. Everybody has a different story here, some happy like us, some scared and anxious. We have the ability to just up and go. But there are people who, for whatever reason can’t or won’t. Some have pets, some have small children, disabilities, financial difficulties, other commitments. Some just can’t leave because there’s no gas or no place to go. To them this is an extreme hardship. AND THE STORM HASN’T EVEN HIT YET!!!! I feel truly blessed to be able to be in the position I’m in. The next few days should prove harrowing to say the least. I know my friends and neighbors in Florida can get through this, hopefully laughing about it in the near future . And to those neighbors with keys to our house, before we left I made a peach pie that’s in the freezer (about the only thing we left). Whoever gets to it first, please share nicely. I’ll keep you posted about how we’re doing and hope you will do the same.