After leaving Charleston, we made tracks south, aiming for warmer weather. What we got was – more cold weather! The unusually cold winter blast followed us south to our next destination just north of Lake City, Florida.
As we settled into our campsite at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, the overnight forecast called for freezing rain. And that’s what we got – icy cold rain falling as temperatures plummeted, hitting and freezing onto every surface. Not just freezing rain – we had a full-blown ice storm!
Our Aquahot gas heating systems along with the electric fireplace were keeping us toasty as we watched the ice build up on the trees. It created a magical fairy forest around us. It was peaceful – at least, until branches started breaking from the weight of the ice and falling around us. As the ice continued to build, we noticed several families near us beginning to break camp and move out. We could hear the crack of trees and limbs snapping and falling to the ground. Shortly after, the park ranger stopped by and recommended evacuation, as they could not assure that trees wouldn’t fall on our rig and cause damage. Yikes! Adding to the fun, the power cut out, with no clear timetable for restoration.
Loading up and leaving was not a trivial exercise for us. It would require driving our large Harley motorcycle up a ramp into the back of the pick-up truck – an impossibly unsafe operation in the icy conditions. We assessed the weather forecast and the trees around/above us and decided to wait it out. The rain was due to stop any time and the weather would be dry and warming up. There were no large branches directly above us. If the ice melted just enough to reduce the loading by the end of the day, the risk of damage would be greatly reduced.
So, we sat tight. We watched as most of the campers around us bugged out, onto the icy roads. A few more branches broke and fell but then the rain stopped, temperatures warmed and the ice started to melt away. By evening, the sun had peeked out and much of the ice had melted off. Although several large branches fell directly in front of our motorhome, nothing dropped directly on us. Our angels worked overtime that day!
Power was restored early the next morning, the sun came out, and we had the campground nearly all to ourselves. Life is good. I’d just like it to warm up a bit, please.