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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Vacation With The Other Woman Irma(geddon) 2017 (week 2)

Monday September 4th

Irma is still on the warpath.....but we are keeping a close eye on her.

We travel I-10 to Florida 330.
We have smooth sailing as it seems everyone is heading north away from the sea. 
You would think they had closed the ocean but everyone was heading home after their long weekend.
We made it to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park by noon and they said our site #143 was ready for us.
Diana and Chris site #142 was still occupied.
We are allowed to park our rig so Diana & Chris park theirs and ride with us back to our site.

The people in #142 didn't seem to be in any hurry to be gone by the 1:00pm check out.
We were almost set up by the time the people left.
It was close to 1:30 by the time they actually pulled out.
Rude is all I can say!
One of the park rangers came by and talked to them and shortly after that they pulled out.
We finally have Diana and Chris in their spot and getting settled in.
again, the Love bugs have to be cleaned off the trucks and rigs before we do much else.

We get on our bikes and head to the beach around 4:30.

 We noticed a lot of people out about waist deep in the water and they were hunting for Sand Dollars.
They were quiet abundant and of course we had to join in.

Irma is still out in the ocean wreaking havoc but all is good in our little neck of the world.
We do have a Purple Beach Warning Flag today, but we didn't feel like we were in any danger of getting eaten by anything.  :)

Tuesday September 5th

We are up and decide to catch the 11am tram to the beach.
We forgot our swim noodles.
Tomorrow we will be prepared for sure.
We even went to Walmart last night and bought a net so we can hunt for sand dollars today.
Sun is out and it is warm.
Perfect weather for the water.
Ate some lunch on the beach and then Chuck and I headed back to our trailer for the 2pm tram so we could check on Bronco.
Diana and Chris stayed until 4.
What a great day to enjoy the water...and forget about Irma.

With Irma on every one's mind Chuck goes and fills up the truck with diesel.
He says the lines were crazy.
He also ran by the fish house and got some of the wonderful peel and eat shrimp we found last year.
The first station Chuck went to was out of gas and the guys at the fish place told him of another location to try.
We ate dinner at the trailers this evening and retired fairly early.

Wednesday September 6th
Yes we know Irma is bearing down and we went to the park rangers to find out their plans for us.
The rangers tell us that if they see Irma as a threat, we will be evacuated.
You see the big problem is if the winds get too high, (35 MPH) they actually close the bridges down that take you back to the main land and at that time you would be stranded on the peninsula that we are on right now.
With that news we decide to drive over to Grayton Beach and visit the Red Bar for lunch.

Our Bloody Mary had a lot of trimmings on them and even had a caper berry in it.
Only reason we knew it was a caper berry is our waiter told us.  LOL

Fish and Chips were very good and of course we had to have a piece of the Key Lime Pie for dessert.

Back at the trailer we get ready to make our way to the ocean.
We were equipped with goggles so Chris and Chuck can go sand dollar hunting for us.
There were a lot of jelly fish in the water today.
They didn't have the tentacles so we didn't have to worry about them stinging us.
Our bounty of sand dollars was very good today.   

We stay until the 5pm tram run and then we go back to the trailers and get cleaned up.
Still watching Irma and praying that she turns out to sea and leaves us alone.
It was a great evening to sit outside and watch America's Got Talent on the TV that Chuck has put in the storage compartment.
The winds are a bit more breezy tonight, as we have a cool front coming through and they are hoping that it will be strong enough to get Irma to turn back towards the east.
Time will tell.

Thursday September 7th
We drive into Destin to eat at Harry T's for lunch today.
The food was good and the view from the open air dining was great.
The waitress tells us that they are thinking this area will get very busy with all the people that are evacuating the mandatory areas of Florida due to the hurricane.

Seems like Irma is the talk of the town.
She is getting to be a pain for sure!

When we pulled back into the park it was about 2:30.
 There was an Alligator Nature Walk at 3pm, and we are going to try to go to it.
We get another chance to ride our bikes which makes us very happy.

We met our ranger named Chris (he looks like a young Bill Murray)
We learn about all types of eatable plants during the walk to the lake.
He explained about the Thai Thai plant and the Palmetto along with a lot of others.
We also learned that we could live off of a whole lot of these plants if we were in a reality show like "Naked and Afraid"  ROFL....

We get to the "No Name" lake and he explains that there is a female gator and her 1yr old baby in this lake.
We didn't see the 7' long mom but we did get to see the baby.
It was about 2' in length.
It was a very informative walk and I think we all came away with more knowledge about all the animals and plants that live in this area.

He told us about the coastal dune lakes that were in the preserve.  South Walton's coastal dune lakes are said to be as much as 10,000 years old and were formed by winds that redistributed sand and created the shallow basins (with most lakes averaging only about 5 feet deep).

 I am going to add a link for anyone that would like to learn about them.

Coastal Dune Lakes

We didn't want to fix dinner tonight so we go to a little Mexican restaurant that Chuck and I had eaten at the year before.
I would love to say that it had gotten better, but it still was about the same.
The service was OK, but far from from exceptional.

Fun day but Irma is beginning to get on our nerves....she still hasn't turned!  

Friday September 8th

Not in a hurry to do much of anything today.
Irma is on every one's minds.
So tired of this hurricane
We are in hopes that the weather models will be correct and she will turn easterly and leave us alone but so far she is not turning  :(

We cleaned on the sand dollars today and finally resorted to bleaching them.
They turned out great.

We made out way to the beach around 2pm.
Flies were biting today.
Lots of jelly fish in the water.
Fairly calm waves.
The guys went out and got more sand dollars for us.
We left at 4 as it was just not that enjoyable sitting with the flies biting us.
Back at the trailer we get cleaned up and decide to try the 98BBQ Restaurant that is less than a mile from us.
Ribeyes for all but Diana.
She got ribs.
Ribeyes were pretty rare for medium but they were flavorful good.
Diana says her ribs were OK.
The fried okra was very tasty.
Back at the park for the 7pm music in the park.

Lukewarm and The Backsliders was a pretty darn good band.
They sang folk music.
I failed to take the thermocell with us and the mosquitoes started biting so we left.

Saturday September 9th
Another day with Irma on our mind.
We go and have breakfast with the Rangers.
It was a fun and informative breakfast, and yes the topic lead to more Irma talk. 
We are again reassured they will let us know if we need to leave.
There were about 8 new people at the breakfast that were evacuees from another area in Florida.

We took another bike ride as we wanted to see if there were any routes to get to Walmart.
Although there were a lot of trails and we could see Walmart from our trail the fence didn't allow us to go there. :(
Diana and I venture to the Publix for some groceries.
We saw first hand a bit of a frenzy as it was quite busy with shoppers.
The store had signs posted they would be closing Sunday at 5pm.
We got our groceries and went back to the trailers to have some lunch.

After lunch Diana and I went to a store I had been to last year called "Retail Therapy.
We both came home empty handed.
The day really consisted of watching the updates on hurricane Irma.
It isn't looking very favorable for us right now.
The guys watch the OU ballgame and Diana and I sat inside and watch the weather channel
I think it's inevitable that we are going to have to evacuate tomorrow.
Leave us alone Irma.

Sunday September 10th

I hope Irma is happy with her latest tantrum since she is causing our vacation to be cut a little shorter than we planned.

We get up and decide it's probably best to leave the park.
The winds are gusting more this morning.

As we finish the packing of the trailer someone knocks on our door.
It's Marsha and Jack.
Through our app RVillage she has contacted me the night before and said they would like to meet us.
(I had truly forgotten about going by to see them since we were in "pack up and get out mode")  
I was so happy they came by before we left.
They were talking about whether they would stay or leave and since we had decided to go they thought they would go ahead and leave as well. 
We exchanged our phone numbers via our "business" cards and said we would keep in contact.

Around 9 am a Park Ranger comes by and says the words we knew were coming.
We are told we are under "mandatory" evacuation.
Thank goodness we were ahead of the game and almost ready to pull out.

We are barely on the road and Marcia text me asking which way we were heading.
No real plan as of yet but we wanted to get across the bridge on 331 before they close it due to the winds.
Ends up they are right behind us.
Marsha shares their route with us and they fall in behind us.
We cross the bridge without incident.

Our route took us through the town of Defuniac Springs, Florida.
We pass a Walmart that is completely full of RV's of all shapes and sizes.
We just keep heading north in hopes of finding a less congested area to pull off.

We decide to stop in a wide spot in the road in the town of Andalusia Alabama for lunch.

We had just gotten stopped and a man walks up and introduced himself as "Andy"
He was with the City of Andalusia and said they had free camping spots down the road if we were interested.
How nice is that.
He was a very happy kind of guy and made us all laugh and forget why were hotfooting it out of the area.

We will continue going away from the storm and so will Jack and Marcia but the offer was so genuine.

Andy took a picture of us with our new friends.

After we ate our sandwiches we all had a piece of that wonderful key lime pie that we had purchased at The Donut Hole.  (this pic is of the pie when we first purchased it.  Not that much was left, but we all got a good taste anyway.)

If I had only cut it a little better we wouldn't have a sliver left.
Oh well it may be great this evening for a little taste of sweet.
We said our goodbyes to our new friends and asked that they keep in touch and let us know where they end up for the night.

They have wind alerts for Birmingham tomorrow and have closed the schools.
Seems Irma is going to disturb a lot of people when she finally makes landfall later tonight. 

We boondock this evening at a truck stop along the way.
We have been traveling Highway 22 for quite awhile, and it's time call it quits for the day.
Hamilton, Alabama will be our home for this evening.
The parking area wasn't busy when we pulled in and we parked out at the back of the lot, under the lights.

Diana cooked up an awesome taco salad and we topped it off with Irma-Rita's. :)
All was good until a strange dude pulled up and mumbled something that none of us could hear.
I walked up to him and Chuck followed.
You know when you get that strange feeling something just isn't right.
The dude was wanting directions to get to Tennessee.....WHAT!!!!!
I told Chuck to just back away, and tell him we couldn't help him.
Left Diana and I with a strange feeling.
The guys just made sure their guns were close by!

I text Diana after we closed up for the evening and told her if they need anything to call, and don't open the doors for anyone!!!
All was quiet the rest of the night.
The steady hum of our generators drowned out the trucks pulling in and out of the parking lot.
Worn out from Irma, I think we all actually slept fairly well, even with our little scare.  :)

By the way we got a text from Marcia and they had made it to the spot they were wanting to stay for the night as well.
The next few days I get updates and they are doing well, and stayed out of the rain bands that came with Irma.