Monday, November 9, 2009

Storm Watch

We are at the Petro truck stop in Kingsland, Georgia (map).

When we called the River's End Campground on Tybee Island yesterday, they told us a large rally had just come in and they had no spaces left that could fit us. We'd been seeing a lot of Airstreams in town, so perhaps it was an airstream rally. In any case, that called for a different plan.

By this time, the forecast for Hurricane Ida had strengthened, and a hurricane watch had been issued for a good stretch of the gulf coast, from New Orleans all the way to lower Alabama. After checking our projected travel times to the three Red Cross "hot sites" in Montgomery Alabama, Hattiesburg Mississippi, and Baton Rouge Louisiana, we decided it would be prudent to head out of Savannah and get a bit further south, in case the storm did some damage on landfall. We ended up having a final lunch with our friends, who picked us up and took us out to Tybee just so we wouldn't miss it entirely.

We set our sights on a Wal-Mart just north of Jacksonville. Owing to a very late start, it was well past dark for the last hour of our drive, and ~20 miles of highway construction, with narrow lanes constrained by jersey barriers and no shoulders, took its toll, so we ended up here, about half an hour shy. Other than being parked under a Klieglight, it was a fine stop.

At some point during our drive, the hurricane watch got extended all the way to Mexico Beach at the eastern end of the Florida panhandle. By this morning, the watch had turned into a warning for the gulf coasts of Mississippi and Alabama,. At this writing, however, the cyclone is becoming extratropical, the warnings have been canceled, and the watches have been downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm. I think it is extremely unlikely that we will be called.

There are a mere 20 days left in the Atlantic hurricane season, and Ida is the first named storm to make landfall in the continental US this season. This is the first time in four years that we have made it all the way to November without being called; at this time last year, we had already been deployed for 14 weeks straight.

Now we find ourselves in a truck stop with no real plan for the next couple of weeks. We have some friends in Jacksonville, and I have dropped them a note in case they might be available for a visit in the next few days. We have some tentative plans to catch up with friends in Fort Lauderdale the first week in December, which leaves the rest of this month to fill out. I think we will work our way slowly down the Atlantic coast, catching up on our project backlog, and we might even try to visit the Keys again, now that Opal is allowed into the state parks there.

Photo by House Of Sims, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. What is this in reference to?

    "now that Opal is allowed into the state parks there"

    I'm missing some context.

    Robert in Houston

  2. Tybee is cool! That campground is a little tight but you would have fitted in a couple spots. That is where my Mother and I spend a month (yes... a whole month) last year. She got a motel room and also rented a car... Talk about extravaganza month!!!

  3. @Robert: We visited the keys in February of 2006. Back then, Florida's state park system allowed pets only in certain campgrounds, and none of the parks in the keys were on the list. I mentioned this prohibition when I talked about trying to get reservations.

    The Florida park system policy has changed since then, ironically only a few days after our visit. As of March 1, 2006, pets are now allowed in the campgrounds at those parks (but not elsewhere in the parks).


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