I sure didn't expect to be writing this particular post when I published the last blog post about my braces and promised that the next one would be about our RV. I guess you could say it is, but not our bedroom renovation, that's for sure!
How quickly things can change when a hurricane is approaching, On Monday night, we expected to be staying put, but while watching The Weather Channel about Hurricane Irma on Tuesday, the latest track looked worse for central Florida It appeared that Orlando would not be a good place to be when Irma came to call, most especially in an RV. For that reason, we made an executive decision to evacuate from our campground west of Orlando. Barry thought we should leave on the very next morning (Wednesday), a very wise decision, as it turns out.
All of a sudden, our day became a whirlwind of unexpected preparatory activity. We stocked up on far more groceries than the few items on our list, did three loads of laundry, brought in outdoor items from our campsite, got an "Occupied" sign for it so we could get the same site back when we eventually returned, and planned our evacuation route and stops. We would stop for one night in the Florida panhandle, then make our way to a campground we'd enjoyed before in Mississippi, hoping this location would get us far enough west to avoid the storm, or at least the worst of it.
Wednesday morning we did a pump-out in addition to our usual campground departure tasks and managed to get on the road by 9:10 am, a good time for us.
Governor Scott had cancelled all tolls on Florida highways, so we got a free ride on the Turnpike up to I-75. There was traffic, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it would get a day or two after our leaving. And although gas was more expensive than before Hurricane Harvey, we ran into no problems with shortages or long lines.
What did come as an unexpected surprise was a large cold front coming through the central and northern part of the state, bringing heavy downpours in spots. The rainy weather and a small wreck south of Ocala made for slow-going on the road for awhile but only cost us perhaps 30 minutes overall..
Overall the moderate traffic moved smoothly northward. Much to my surprise, there were nearly as many vehicles heading southbound; perhaps some were vacationers returning to prepare their homes for the hurricane, since this was Labor Day week and a lot of folks were having fun vacationing until Irma reared her ugly head. We also saw work trucks likely returning from helping in Houston, now gearing up for more shifts ahead in Florida.
Once we turned westward on I-10, traffic was much lighter. We still had some rain to go through, but past Tallahassee, all was clear. We forgot about the time change to central daylight time, so when we reached our destination, it was earlier than it felt to us after the long day on the road.
We spent the night at a very nice RV park in a rural setting outside of the town of Defuniak Springs, which I'd never heard of. The park, Sunset King Lake RV Resort, a Good Sam park, sits beside King Lake. It was a large park with over 200 sites, though many were permanents and park models. Still, there were plenty of sites available for travelers, and we saw a few other rigs we'd passed on the road that day.
Our pull-through site didn't have a lake view (few did), but a short walk took us there. There's no swimming allowed in the lake, only boating, but there's a pool as well as a clubhouse, library, large laundry room, and multiple bath houses. Our pull-through site had full hookups (electric, water, sewer, and cable TV), making it a very comfortable stop. We would certainly return to this park if we're ever passing through again.
This was a very dog-friendly park, with plenty of green area, a small fenced dog park, and poop bag and disposal stations scattered around, a welcome touch. Paisley really enjoyed exploring the park with us. I'm sure she was as happy for a change of scenery as we were!
We also found this to be one of the friendliest parks we've visited, with many residents stopping by to say hello as they walked or drove their golf carts by.
We were in good spirits even after a long day as we felt incredibly relieved to be out of central Florida ahead of the traffic jams we anticipated were bound to occur, not to mention gas shortages and lines. We were looking forward to getting even farther west the next day, where we planned to ride out the storm.
We hope everyone reading this will be safe in this massive hurricane, or far enough away from it not to have to worry. We'll share the the rest of our evacuation story in the next post,
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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