Travel Day to Perry Florida

Wednesday September 23rd 2020

It was a nice sunny day with a strong breeze from the east. The temperature varied from the low eighties to almost ninety across the area. It was eighty six while I was getting set up in Perry Florida.

I packed up slowly this morning and departed the Eastbank campground around noon. I only had little more than 100 miles to travel. The first twenty miles and the last thirty five were on secondary routes. In between I was on Interstate 10 around Tallahassee. Traffic was light most of the way. It was and easy and uneventful travel day.

Site D-5 at the Perry KOA.

I arrived at the Perry KOA a little after 2PM. I’ll be here until Sunday. This is a new area for my travels. I haven’t been to the Big Bend area of Florida before, so I have some exploring ahead.

Last Day at Eastbank Campground

Tuesday September 22nd 2020

For a change today started sunny. The clouds moved in during the middle of the day to do battle with the sun. There was occasional sun for the rest of the day. The temperature peaked in the very comfortable high seventies.

This is my last full day at the Eastbank campground on Lake Seminole. Last weeks evacuation will make it memorable. I will probably be back again when I’m passing through the area on Interstate 10. It is a good facility for a short stay, but doesn’t have a lot to keep things interesting on a longer stay. The lake is a nice feature, but it doesn’t have enough action or wildlife to keep my attention over the long haul.

Water blossom of the day.

I got a few more maintenance tasks completed today before I started to pack up for tomorrows travels. All of the outside tasks are complete. The inside tasks will get done in the morning. I’m not in a real rush to depart. I only have a little over one hundred miles to travel. I’ll be in Perry Florida through Sunday.

Is Travel Slowing Down?

Monday September 21st 2020

The day began like Sunday ended. It was cloudy and cool. As the day went by it warmed up into the mid seventies making a little improvement on Sunday. By the end of the day the sun was trying to break through the clouds.

I spent the day doing chores around the RV combined with walks around the campground for exercise. More campers arrived for short midweek stays. The visitors seem to be a mixture of people from the local area and full time RVers. There really aren’t many travelers here. I attribute that to the type of campground, the time of year and the pandemic.

US Army Corp of Engineers parks are located on lakes and waterways away from Interstate highways. This one, like most, only have electric and water hookups. I seek them out, because they have a good blend of features with a natural setting. For some travelers it is difficult to find COE parks and venture well off the highways to get to them. The need to have a prepaid reservation, particularly now because of pandemic restrictions to the parks taking cash, is also a drawback to some visitors.

This is also a transition season in this area. The prime season is October to April. There are some travelers and tourists in the summer, but not nearly as many as in the winter. This time of year the summer travelers, particularly those with school kids, have returned home and the winter travelers haven’t arrived yet.

Sun over Lake Seminole trying to break through the clouds.

It’s hard to know what impact the pandemic is having on RV travel. Coming across the country I got the impression there were more RV travelers than usual. The exceptionally high RV sales figures would tend to support that impression. Once I reached the east coast it seemed to lighten up. The end of summer could be a factor or it could be the high number of COVID cases reported in Georgia and Florida over the summer. I’m interested in seeing how the winter snowbird season turns out. If the Canadian US boarder stays closed a large number of visitors will be staying home.

Early Fall ?

Sunday September 20th 2020

It started to rain during the night. I had to get up and close windows and roof vents, but I wasn’t awake enough to take note of the time. It was still raining lightly when I got up around 9AM. There was also a north wind keeping it from warming up. The day was a real harbinger of the coming season. Even though Fall doesn’t officially arrive until Tuesday, today’s temperature barely broke the seventy degree mark. It rained or drizzled off and on all day. The next few days are forecast to get better, but tropical storm Beta could cause changes.

Today was a turn over day at the campground. The weekenders and most of my fellow evacuees departed this morning. This afternoon a few new arrivals took some of the vacant sites. The campground is emptier tonight than it has been while I’ve been here. It will be interesting to see if it fills up any more before I leave on Wednesday.

During the periods of dry weather I walked around the campground for exercise and to capture a few pictures to include in this blog entry. While it was raining I watched TV and read. I watched a similar mix of golf and football as I watched yesterday. The only difference was the football was NFL games that I had a clue who some of the players on the field were. Tonight I get my first chance to watch a New England Patriots game this year. I suspect I’m going to know fewer of the players on my preferred team than I know on some of the other games I watched today. They have had a lot of turn over and at least three of the name players took the year off because of COVID concerns. I don’t think I really have a “horse” in this year’s race to the Superbowl.

A Cloudy and Dreary Day

Saturday September 19th 2020

Today was a cloudy dismal day. The sun never made an appearance. The good news was it was a comfortable temperature in the upper seventies, it didn’t rain and a breeze kept the bugs away.

The weather didn’t help my mood. Even though I’m no longer evacuated, it is easy to think about what has gone wrong this year and wonder what kind of an interruption to my plans is coming next. If it isn’t a pandemic, it’s a tropical weather system. Tropical storm Beta, in the Gulf of Mexico, could swing this way and there are many other weather systems in the Atlantic heading west. With two and a half months left to hurricane season they’ve already run out of names. Traveling into the storm zone before the middle of October was my choice. I knew the risk, but Mother Nature didn’t have to prove the folly of my decision with one of the worst hurricane seasons on record.

I watched a lot of television today. College football is back as a Saturday staple. The only issue is the quality of the games. With many of the football conferences not playing a regular schedule the TV networks are forced to carry games from lesser known colleges. Luckily, the US Open Golf championship was also on this afternoon. Between all of the choices I found some things to watch.

For exercise I walked around the campground a few times. There aren’t as many campers here this weekend. The fact that the park was closed for two days in the middle of the week probably has something to do with it. Fishing and kayaking in Lake Seminole are more active today than I’ve seen it since I arrived. There were several fishing boats at the edge of the weeds all day.

Wildflower blossom of the day

Back to Eastbank Campground

Friday September 18th 2020

It was foggy overnight. Everything that started to dry out yesterday after the hurricane was damp again this morning. By late morning the sun had burned through the fog and was shining brightly in the sky. It was the first day of real sun all week.

I got a text message this morning confirming the Eastbank campground would reopen at noon today. Gradually over the course of the morning I prepared to move back. Shortly after noon I pulled in the slides, lifted the jacks, hooked up the car and moved the three plus miles back to the Eastbank campground.

Site 17 at the Eastbank Campground in the Lake Seminole Recreation Area.

The site I was on before the hurricane had been reserved for part of my remaining five day stay, so I reserved another site on the other side of the same camping loop. I got parked on site 17 shortly after 1PM. My first order of business was to walk over to my original site and retrieve my water pressure regulator. In my hast to get packed during the storm on Wednesday I had left it connected to the water tap. Luckily, the maintenance staff hadn’t removed it and the site was not yet occupied.

Once I was setup I took a walk around the park to check for damage from the storm. All of the standing water has drained away. There was only a little water still flowing in the drainage ditches. I could see signs of dirt or mud removal and a little regrading of the gravel in some sites. The park was in very good condition compared to what it looked like when I left on Wednesday.

I wonder what this guy is watching.

Gradually over the afternoon my fellow evacuees and I were joined by new campers for the weekend. Hopefully, things will get back to normal and I won’t feel as lost and homeless. The only problem is there are at least two more hurricanes that may visit the area in the next week or so.

Waiting Out the Evacuation

Thursday September 17th 2020

The remnants of Hurricane Sally are well north of here. It is still very cloudy and damp with an occasional brief drizzle of rain. The sun is forecast to return tomorrow.

View of the sky to the northwest over Lake Seminole this morning.

I am high and dry in the River Junction Campground. It is only has about twelve sites, but it was big enough to hold all of the evacuees from the Eastbank campground that didn’t just go home. This campground has been closed since March. It is scheduled to reopen at the beginning of October. The power and water work and it looks like it could be a nice campground when it is open. Right now, the grass needs to be cut and some debris needs to be picked up. The ranger in charge said they had begun getting the area ready to open a couple of weeks ago. We are fortunate it was available.

The damage at the Eastbank campground wasn’t bad. They have been working on it today and will be reopening it tomorrow at noon. Most everybody here will be moving the three plus miles back to Eastbank tomorrow afternoon. A couple of people that were scheduled to leave on Saturday are just going to stay here at River Junction. Since we are all in this evacuation together, we kind of got to know each others plans in a short time.

My site during the evacuation at the River Junction Campground. Site number 8 is a little small for my rig, but I made it fit.

I’ll be on a different site when I return to Eastbank. When they closed the campground to new arrivals all of the existing reservations were canceled going forward and refunds were issued. I had to reserve and pay for my site again, but someone else had booked it for the weekend before I did. It is not a big deal, there are many good sites. I’ve got another site in the same camping loop booked.

Evacuated

Wednesday September 16th 2020

The rain fell at a moderate level all night. The report his morning was that the hurricane had made landfall about 180 miles to the west of my RV home. It was moving slowly and flooding was predicted to the north and east of the storm. Earlier in the week I had verified with the camp host that flooding in the campground was rare and the location I was in was away from any of the areas that might flood.

Around 10AM the rain went from moderate to heavy to deluge. Watching the runoff outside my RV home confirmed that I was in a decent position relative to the water flow. The rain continued to fall at a very heavy rate. Around 11:30 I noticed that a couple of sites on the other side of the camping loop were starting to flood causing the residents to pack up and leave. I started to consider what I’d do if I had to leave and started doing a few travel prep tasks. Shortly after that I received a phone call from the park office indicating that the park was being evacuated. A ranger arrived at my site shortly after that. They were going to escort about ten of us to another Army Corp of Engineers campground in the Lake Seminole Recreation area. I’m not even sure the campground was open before we arrived.

Muddy water backed up waiting to pass under the road in a culvert. The water in the picture is six to eight feet deep.

I set to work at a steady pace packing and getting ready to move. The rain continued to fall at a heavy rate. Even with my raincoat on, I was soon socked through. The contents of my wallet are still drying tonight. I got the inside ready, the bicycle loaded on the car and other things stowed here and there. My gas grill went in the back of my car rather than taking the time to pack it away. Thinking it would be easier and quicker to move the RV separate from the car I arrange to have the ranger bring me back for the car after I moved my RV. While it worked out fine, the car was safe where I left it, I had plenty of time to hook it up safely and move it with the RV. The rangers desire to escort people to the new location was not quick. That was particularly the case once people were out of the low ground and the rain let up.

Water starting to cross the road in another area.

I set up at the new location in dry conditions. The sun was even trying to break through the clouds, My new site is tiny. I had to do a bit of maneuvering to get parked. I don’t know how long I will be here. My stay at the Eastbank campground has been officially terminated and my money refunded online. The though was that it would be more than a week before they determined it safe to reopen the Eastbank campground. I don’t know if I can stay here for my remaining week in this area or if I will need to move on. That’s tomorrow’s problem.

My RV home waiting to be escorted to the high and dry campground. It is well beyond the rushing water and flooding.

Another heavy band of rain fell for about an hour and a half this afternoon. That should be the worst of the storm around here. The center has moved well north. There is always the possibility the system will stall again, but I’m going to be optimistic and say it has moved along.

Watching the Rain

Tuesday September 15th 2020

I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof of my RV home. It wasn’t a heavy rain, but it was a steady rain. Shortly after noon a band of heavy rain passed through the area. For about an hour the volume of noise on the roof and volume of water falling from the sky were over the top, but it was followed by a period without any rain. After the lull it was back to steady rain. At least the wind isn’t bad yet. I suspect as the direction changes it may become more of a factor.

Water exploding out of a culvert under the road.

Hurricane Sally is continuing to be on a path around my location. It has been off to the southwest all day, but it is crawling along at a very slow speed. Tonight it has turned north toward Mobile Alabama about 200 miles west of here. Who knows how long it is going to take moving north before it turns back toward the east. Rain is in the forecast through Friday.

Water high on the banks of a runoff stream through the campground.

During the break in the rain I took a walk around the campground. There is plenty of standing water between the sites. For the most part, the roads and campsites are high enough to keep the standing water away. The campground is nestled on the side of Lake Seminole at the base of high hills. Water is running off the hills and down through the campground in several natural streams and cement lined drainage ditches. The rushing water has cut into the banks and widened the streams. It is really spectacular to see the destructive power of the water.

Inside during the rain I’ve been working on travel planning again. I booked another two weeks at the end of March and have started to explore ideas for next summer. Between now and he end of March I have one week in February that isn’t booked. For next summer, I’m exploring the idea of less travel. I working on the assumption that COVID will still be an obstacle to travel. Maybe I can find a place to stay for a couple of months instead of moving every week or two.

Sally’s Rain has Arrived

Monday September 14th 2020

The impacts of hurricane Sally have started to arrive here in the southwest corner of Georgia. The day began with heavy cloud cover. The sun never made any appearances today which kept the temperature down even though the humidity remained high. For most of the day the storm with all of the really nasty weather remained off the coast more than seventy miles from here. The center of circulation was even further out in the gulf. As the day went by the weather radar showed the rain shield reaching inland. Shortly after 4PM a band of rain rotating around the system moved into the area. Heavy rain fell for an hour or so. The noise on the roof of my RV home was a steady roar. Since about 6PM there has been only occasional light rain. More is clearly on the way as the storm circles this area with a radius of one to two hundred miles.

Blossom of the day complete with mating pair of love bugs.
Cloud cover over a calm Seminole Lake.

So far there hasn’t been heavy wind in this area. The current forecast keeps most of the wind in Mississippi and Alabama. As the storm wraps around to the north of here the wind will pick up, but much of the strength of the slow moving tropical system will have dissipated by then. Rain is the main concern in this area. By the time the system moves away on Friday, over five inches of rain may have fallen.

Fishermen trying to get in more fishing before the storm.

As you can probably tell from the previous two paragraphs, I’ve been monitoring the approaching storm pretty closely. Between the weather channel, the internet and the local TV stations I’ve been keeping up to date on the track of the storm. I’m in a good location. The path of the storm will be well south, west and north of here. Even so, I’ll be watching all of the storm coverage again tomorrow.