Getting Off the Florida Keys

Saturday November 7th 2020

It rained hard overnight accompanied by strong winds. The noise caused by the flapping slide toppers and the rain on the roof woke me up several times. I did not get a good nights sleep, and was up early to prepare to leave Curry Hammock State Park. Fortuitously, the rain let up while I finished up the outside tasks. I was on the road a few minutes before nine.

The drive off the Keys was into the wind. The coach was buffeted heavily on the causeways and bridges. The rain was cooperative. There were only a few brief showers. With each mile more traffic joined the parade. The county hadn’t issued an evacuation order at that time, but the forecast predicted many of the islands would be covered in water by Sunday night. The traffic never bogged down and I was back on the Florida peninsula in a little less than two hours. The normal traffic in the Miami suburbs was much slower overall.

Site 15 at the Ortona South Campground.

I made one stop along the way for gas. The price was twenty cents a gallon higher than the price on the islands. I expected just the opposite. With a nearly full tank of gas, I continued north along the east side of the Everglades before cutting northwest toward Lake Okeechobee. Around 1:30 I arrived at the Ortona South Army Corp of Engineers campground. The water level in the fields and drainage ditches is already high. The six to ten inches of rain expected over the next two or three days will only make it worse. I won’t be staying more than overnight despite currently being ahead of the storm and having a reservation here until November Sixteenth. I like this campground, but not enough to risk the impacts of the tropical storm.

Visitor behind my campsite. This area down the bank is usually dry.

Tomorrow I’ll continue north on the east side of Florida. I’ve made a new reservation in Titusville until Friday and I’ll work on finding a place for next weekend once I get there. Hopefully, the storm doesn’t decide to cut back across the middle of the Florida peninsula before it finishes its run. The current forecasts don’t really know what the storm will do after it gets into the gulf west of Tampa.

Another campground visitor.

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