Our plan was to park the bus for 4 months at local County park campgrounds while we moved in, finished up with work, and got ready to go. Hurricane Irma threw quite a monkey wrench into those best-laid plans!
Hurricane Irma is a big, bad storm. As it worked its way west in the Caribbean toward us, the projected path put South Florida directly in the crosshairs. We received an email from our campground, notifying us that they would close if the area was put under a Hurricane Warning status and we would have to evacuate the motorhome. So, we starting making plans to leave. There was no freakin’ way we were going to risk our brand shiny new home in a storm if we could avoid it.
I had essentially moved our belongings into the bus anyway, so I moved over everything else of importance and stocked the pantry and fridge. The only thing we couldn’t take was our brand new F-150 truck. Our tow set up wasn’t installed yet and driving separately would be complicated. So, we just parked our vehicles as safely as we could and hoped for the best. That was when we discovered that our engine cover was broken and wouldn’t open (thank you Dixie RV!). We couldn’t deal with it then, so had to hope that all fluids were still OK for the trip.
We had been notified that we were required to evacuate the campground at 10 am on Thursday, so pulled out around 9 am and headed for points north. Our plan was to head west to the Florida Panhandle, continuing to the storm, adjusting if needed to stay out of its path.
Traffic on Florida’s Turnpike was gridlock. It was fortunate that we had nearly a full tank of diesel because lines to get into the toll plazas were back up for miles. It took us until nearly midnight to reach I-10. Rest stops were mobbed. We found one lone parking spot at a rest stop and grabbed it to hunker down for some much-needed rest.
It is lovely to have a generator, refrigerator, and king size bed while on the road! We slept in comfort, despite the circumstances. The next morning we continued heading west. We managed to get a service appointment at a Dixie RV dealership in Defuniak Springs to assess our engine cover problem. They worked us in right away and diagnosed the issue, but unfortunately were unable to fix it. We got back on the road and stopped early in the evening at another rest stop to relax and monitor storm coverage. Based on the projected path, we felt safe stopping around Pensacola to wait out the hurricane. Campgrounds were packed with other refugees, but I managed to find one lone spot at a little, quiet campground just outside of Pensacola.
So, as of this writing, we are tucked away in the campground, waiting for the storm to pass by us. After a couple of boondocking nights, we really appreciate full hookups and the slides out! The bus has performed admirably. Our family members are fine and Irma has moved away from the southeast Florida coast, so all is well at the moment.
We are indeed blessed.
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