Irma’s Aftermath in Flo-who,Flo-what……Flovilla, Georgia

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Irma hit us at Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla, GA starting at about 2pm EST, cutting out power almost immediately, and still at 1:30pm on Tuesday we are still without power.  The generator we used for two weeks solid after the fire incident failed to crank, go figure.  But we are certainly MUCH MUCH MUCH better off than most people.  This post is not about our troubles, comparatively, we have NONE, not even close.  Just more about updating those that are curious and also so you can see the affects of the largest hurricane on record…. ever!

We had minimal damage to our property, but others in the park were not so lucky.  A sweet couple who had borrowed their son’s truck to flee Florida and Irma, unfortunately, felt her impact in central Georgia.  A tree snapped right in half and onto their truck, which was totting their motorcycle.  They had just ran to seek shelter at the bathroom, after hearing a pretty large tree only a few sites down (where no one was, thankfully) fall. They turned around just in time to see the whole thing happen, not sure if that was a good thing or not.

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After the tears, their spirits were high, just being thankful that they, their grandson and two pups weren’t hurt in the whole ordeal.  All hands were on deck, to help cut the tree and get the bike out of the bed, we just happened to have ramps that we use to get our bike in and out of our truck.  Poor BJ was soaked to the bone and oddly enough, Tropical Storm Irma didn’t bring tropical temps, but rather cold ones especially for Georgia in September.

We had no idea this was all happening on the other side of the campground.  Until after the second tree fell just outside our window we decided to take cover at the bathrooms as well.  So we all piled in the truck to head over, I gave our camper a little pat and said, “Please be in one piece when we get back!” Us, a few other campers, our pups, their pups, Dave, the other host, all huddled in the storage area of the bathroom.  We stood outside much of the time just listening to the wind and hearing the snap, crackle, and pop of trees falling all around us. Mainly, due to the action of the park staff on Sunday morning, no other damage was done. We were asked to hand out flyers explaining to campers and evacuees that we were still in Irma’s path and suggesting parks further north and east that still had availability.  By Sunday afternoon there were literally only a handful of rigs left.  Their were tons of trees down in sites throughout the park, but there was nothing there to harm!

After about three hours, we decided to head back, we were cold, wet and HUNGRY! Pulling around the corner I held my breath and crossed my fingers hoping to see a tree-less camper….AND WE DID!  Other than a massive amount of debris on the roof we had been spared.  Once my focus was off the camper, I noticed a pretty sizable branch had fallen under our little carport for the bike and golf cart and was laying on our motorcycle. Not really sure how it got under their, Murphy’s Law, the one thing covered with protection would somehow still get it hit.  But it was still standing and maybe there would be a scratch of two, and we could live with that.  Upon further inspection this afternoon, BJ said there wasn’t even that, just a whole in the cover!

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My happiness for myself, however, quickly became sadness for those less lucky.  One of the main reasons we wanted to start this lifestyle was to be able to pick up and go to help where we can.  So many in Florida are coming home to flooded homes or completely demolished ones.  After we help with cleanup here, we hope to be able to do head down there.  Of course, I’m worried for the animals that have been displaced and the over crowded shelters.  Here in Georgia, many shelters opened up to house the fury evacuees from Florida and even Harvey.  Friday I plan to lend a hand to a local organization, Butts Mutts.  The Atlanta Humane Society is hosting hundreds of animals and I wanted to go there as well, but they are asking for monetary donations at this time, unless you have FEMA training and have volunteered for them previously.  I know so many of us just want to get in our cars and be the boots on the ground.  It never occurred to me that isn’t always the best way to help and can actually do more harm than help, until I started researching after Harvey hit.  Each organization is different so don’t hesitate to reach out and help in your own way, with causes that are close to your heart.  Also, check out FEMA’s website, to see where you may be needed. I’m sure you can imagine with Harvey and now Irma they are strapped for cash and volunteers.

I’ve reached out to the volunteer coordinator down in Bahia Honda that accepted us to host in April to see how they are doing.  I know it’ll be awhile before I hear back.  But my thoughts are with the Florida Keys as they start to rebuild.  I was able to find a picture that @Miketheiss posted of US-1 near Bahia Honda State Park.  He also posted a video of the flooding in Key West, check out his Twitter account.

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This has been one hell of a hurricane season so far and I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my hurricane fill.  I’m ready for sunny skies, autumn leafs, and a crisp in the air, not caused by the 50 mph winds and rain.

Stay Strong Florida and Texas!  We’ve got your back. Those affected are in my thoughts and constantly on my mind.  I hate that it is disasters like this that remind us there are still good folks out there.  Thank you to our first responders who put their lives on the line, and the linemen for the electric companies that do the same, often with much less thanks.  Much gratitude to the men and women that volunteer day and night to help feed, house and comfort families (human and animal) in unfamiliar places with home on the mind.  The hospitality of the south is an amazing thing.  There ain’t nothing a strong glass of sweat tea and some fresh fried chicken can’t make a little more bearable. Everyone turns into your grandma, wanting to be sure you have a full belly, some left overs, a church to visit on Sunday, a soft place to lay your head and promise to call when you get home!