We have found living in an RV requires some diligence in weather watching! Hurricane season in Florida is from June through November. We keep a close eye on what is going on in the Tropics by following Tropical Tidbits, National Hurricane Center, and local news websites. Hurricane Irma classified as a Category 5, and a monstrous storm that was nearly 400 miles wide, twice the size as Hurricane Andrew. The Keys and Collier County had begun their evacuations and we knew traffic and fuel was going to become an issue. The developer of Cypress Trail graciously gave everyone residing in Cypress Trail an offer of 1 week free stay at our sister resort, Crossing Creeks RV Resort in Blairsville GA. So, after work on Tuesday evening September 5th we decided to pack up and try to get above Tampa that night. This will be only the second time we ever drove the rig down the road. The first time was to go to the Pilot gas station less than a half mile from our RV Resort to weigh the truck and RV! It was 10:00 p.m. when we finally had our checklist done and were pulling out. Robin will be tagging along in the RAV4 following behind the rig. The adrenaline rush kept us going until around 1:00 a.m. We were above Tampa and ready to experience our first night at a rest stop near Ocala, FL. Needless to say, not much sleep with no air conditioning and truck engines running all night, but it was nice to have our home with us!
The next day, Wednesday, September 6th, we decided to drive to Paradise Lakes RV Park in Enigma GA, which had several 4-star reviews. Upon arrival, we decided we have been very spoiled by Cypress Trail RV Resort, and we’ll leave it at that!
Friends of ours called us and wanted to make sure we were not relying on our GPS directions to Crossing Creeks. The GPS would take us over a section called “Blood Mountain” probably rightly named with all the switch backs, curves and steep inclines, not for the faint of heart! The suggestion was made to stay on I-75 North directly through downtown Atlanta and pick up I-575. Fuel was also becoming an issue and it was wise to stay on I-75 for that reason. A drive that should have taken about 4 ½ hours took twice as long, but we arrived Thursday, September 7th, safely at the beautiful resort of Crossing Creeks nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia.
It was good to be with our friends from Cypress Trail. Friday night we hosted a chili potluck and of course everyone brought delicious additions to the menu! It was great to unwind and listen to all the stories, including someone’s adventure riding in a 45’ Class A coach towing a pick-up truck across “Blood Mountain!” Saturday, we decided to do a short hike to Desoto Falls. It was beautiful and so relaxing listening to the water flowing down the falls.
We love to eat out! This will probably be one of our biggest challenges when on a tighter budget. A great place to eat close to Blairsville was Brothers at Willow Ranch in Young Harris, GA. After dinner, we had a discussion with our fellow travelers on the path of Irma. Flash flooding, tornado watch, and tropical force winds were forecast for Blairsville. Some decided to stay put, but we decided along with two other couples to head West of the storm leaving in the morning, while others decided to head in different directions.
Sunday, September 9th, we departed Crossing Creeks and headed to Meridian Mississippi. Our first stay in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Wal-Mart had opened their parking lot to several evacuees from Florida. We had a nice evening meeting new neighbors, watching the track of Irma on the outside RV TV, and just sitting on lawn chairs in the parking lot, eating McDonalds burgers!
Monday September 10th one couple headed to Texas and we arrived at Anchors Aweigh RV Resort in Foley, Alabama. Exhausted, we headed out to eat at Lambert’s Cafe, known for throwing hot rolls to their customers! What a great café! They have delicious southern food, huge portions, and plenty of choices! Each meal comes with at least 2 sides and then servers come around with “pass arounds” of macaroni and stewed tomatoes, fried onions and potatoes, fried okra, boiled cabbage and apple butter and molasses for the hot rolls, delicious sweet tea in a quart size mug! Tuesday and Wednesday were days for sightseeing in the area. The white sand beaches of Gulf Shores Alabama are beautiful, the quaint town of Fairhope was great to stretch our legs and the Pensacola Lighthouse, unfortunately was under renovations, but historic and lovely none the less, and a first for us the cotton fields!
Thursday we were up early and departed at 7:00 A.M. CST heading home to Cypress Trail in Fort Myers. There were concerns about I-75 closing due to the Sante Fe River overflowing its banks and coming across I-75. We monitored the situation, and the river stayed just below the bridge. It was crazy to see it that high! We decided to continue traveling I-75 because of the availability of fuel and the most direct route. Eleven hours later at 7:00 P.M. EST., 1,876 miles of driving experience later, we were back at Cypress Trail. We guess home is where you park it, but that’s gonna take some getting used to! Being thrown into this experience, we have learned a lot about planning, packing up, and moving our home, but we are looking forward to learning more at a slower pace! God heard the many prayers of his people and Hurricane Irma is history.
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3