After two days on the road from our "hurricane hole" in Mississippi, we made our way back to Winter Garden, unsure exactly what we'd find. The eye of Hurricane Irma passed very close to if not directly over this area, but the national news we'd been watching focused more on the coastal areas and the Keys than on Orlando, so we didn't really know what to expect. We knew that our campground had power (in fact, they never lost it, amazingly!) but that cleanup efforts were underway.
As we discovered after getting settled back into our site and taking a look around, some sites were undisturbed, but there was certainly visible damage around the campground. The rigs that backed up to large trees on the perimeter fared worse. Many of the trees were just fine, and one of the ones that fell was behind a pond and only damaged the fence, but then there was this very unfortunate fifth wheel.
We don't know the folks who own this rig nor why they didn't bring their slide-outs in and move to an open site before evacuating (which they did, thankfully), but it appears that the camper sustained serious damage. Some cleanup work has started on this site, but whether the trailer is a total loss or not, we don't know.
Below is another big tree that fell during the storm. It whacked the corner of the roof on one of the park model homes and did some damage.
Here's the tree that was uprooted and fell over the fence behind one of the ponds.
There was (and still is) a huge brush pile in the big field that buffers the campsites from the road. This pile has grown since I took these photos as the campground maintenance staff continues to add to it while cleaning up.
And the familiar campground sign is no more, courtesy of Irma.
Our site, being treeless, was unharmed.
We probably could have stayed put and fared just fine, but 100+ mph wind gusts in the wee hours would have been terrifying in an RV, so I am really, really glad we evacuated.
We both agreed that it was nice to have a change of pace, to ride our bikes in a different area, and to watch the storm on the Weather Channel from the safety of southern Mississippi, instead of having a front-row seat!
In our next post, we'll share some more storm damage photos from around town and the bike paths.
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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