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Old 10-15-2018, 05:39 AM   #1
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
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Dancing with a beast called Michael

Since my Verizon phone came back to life I've had a couple of inquiries from fellow streamers as to my well being and how my place near Panama City Fl. did thru Huricane Michael. Thanks guys for checking on me! I'm A Ok.

We were very lucky at our place in Ebro Fla. located 15 miles inland or north from Panama City Beach. This put us on the west side of the storm that came ashore between Panama City and Mexico beach farther east, Causing its worst damage on its east side because of its counterclockwise rotation.
The east side gets the full power of the onshore winds plus the biggest surf and storm surge which just add to the damage particularly in a low lying coast like the gulf coast of the panhandle.

Since I full time in my 345 it made sense to get out of the area before this dangerous storm got here. My preparations to evacuate kind of dragged on mostly because my toad ( and hobby car a 1980 Porsche 911) is down right now
With some as yet unfound issue that keeps it from starting. So I was spending time trying to get it sorted so I could take it with me. When I should have been boarding up the shop and wrapping up things around here and getting on my way out of here.

My brother, who also full times in his airstream trailer and volunteers at nearby state parks left the area mid day Monday. The call for mandatory evacuation of all the coastal towns came out late Monday for first thing Tuesday morning. One day ahead of the projected mid day wed.landfall.
This could have put me right in the middle of one of those painful looking near gridlock evacucation scenes we have all seen on the news.

So I got up at 3 am Tuesday morning and using the headlights of my truck got the boards up on the doors of the rickety old shop building, with my beloved old Porsche tucked inside. All the while I could hear constant traffic noise from the Highway a half mile from my place. Finally getting under way just before the first light of daybreak into steady but not yet heavy traffic.

I joined my brother later Tuesday at Wind Creek SP on the shores of beautiful Lake Martin in central Ala. where we spent a few days relaxing and watching movies from his collection. We almost felt guilty being so comfortable there, knowing of the thrashing going on down along the coast.
There was a day and night of rains on Wed. From the fringes of the storm passing well to the east. And with the dire news of distruction on the coast were wondering what sort of mess we would find on our return home.

Fortunately a friend was able to get over to our property and send us pics of the shop still standing and relatively minor damage in the immediate area.
This made for a much more relaxed return trip on Friday.

During the drive back to the coast the damage started to show up about 100 miles inland with trees down here and there. As I continued south the number of downed trees increased and buildings started looking tattered with broken windows and some missing roofing. The town on my route south near I 10 was completely dark and many of the building along Main Street were quite beat up with awnings ripped off and lots Of debris strun all over the place.
Driving into the twilight I was able to see less of the damage as I got closer to my little town of Ebro. In the last few miles there started to be lights on at passing houses even a few streetlights on here and there.

Driving into Ebro there was quite a glow to be seen. The large parking lot of the Dog Track was chock full of big trucks, power company bucket trucks, big rigs with equipment on them etc. it's now a staging area for the recovery in this area. Even the one corner gas station was lit up and had lines out to the road on both sides. Houses and street lights were on, this was looking promising.

But as I continued towards our end of town it got dark again. The dirt road going the half mile out to our property was a bit of a mess with downed branches and shredded vegetation everywhere and a few trees leaning askew but not blocking the road completely. I made it slowly to the driveway and pulled into our property to park in the open area there for the night.

I checked with the neighbors who had just returned earlier that day and were shaken but ok, there house was undamaged.

I woke up early the next morning to step out in to a world is shredded vegetation and piles of branches and general debris every where, but the shed and shop structures are intact, my car still tucked safe inside. We really did dodge a bullit here, so blessed!

So the clean up is now under way. I'm two long days into what looks to be a week of dragging branches to the fire, raking up countless wheel borrow loads of debris to the fire. Just two small trees are down and will need to be chopped up and burned. Still no elec power yet so no well water either.

But the coach is serving me well with the built in generator, full water and fuel tanks providing relitive comfort till the power comes back on.

Please pardon my long story, it seems that after many stressful days most folks want to talk it out, as a way of finding relief.

It will be a very long recovery for many folks farther to the east where this beast of a storm had terrible impact,
Your preyers and support for those those so damaged by Michael will be appreciated.

Cheers Richard.
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Old 10-15-2018, 06:46 AM   #2
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Thanks for updating everyone Richard!
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Old 10-15-2018, 06:51 AM   #3
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Richard, So glad you made it through ok. My sister who lived in Key Largo, stayed home for a cat. 2 hurricane. She said never again.
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:55 AM   #4
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Glad you're all right!

I almost ended up full timing in Brevard county on a barrier island in my rig, I wondered how full timing in hurricane season would go

Sounds like it's not impossible, be prepared and leave early.
Getting stuck in evacuation gridlock and running out of gas was my biggest fear.
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:24 AM   #5
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Glad to hear you escaped. And, also that the Porsche was unharmed. I've been trying to find an older one, but have not had any luck. They are either too far gone or too much money. Good luck on getting her running. Mike
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:40 AM   #6
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Airstream motorhome

Great story. Iíve got 2 of the 34.5 parked at my place here in ca. Trying to sell one itís the 1990 and a 1984. with a new motor installed
I love ❤️ em but I donít think I could live in it full time. Anyway, if you know of anyone who wants to buy one give me an email. (tojimmiller@gmail.com). I have a lot of pictures.
Glad to hear it all worked out so well. Having an Rv sure comes in handy. We needed ours when we had the fires 🔥 in Sonoma county last year
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Old 10-15-2018, 11:32 AM   #7
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Wow, glad you are okay. Close call. We had a couple on the big island this year, first time I have had FEMA people in my driveway, bless their hearts. Here's hoping for smoother sailing next year...
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Old 10-15-2018, 11:36 AM   #8
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Richard,

Glad to hear you're ok!
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Old 10-15-2018, 12:07 PM   #9
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Never feel guilty for having a good escape plan!

I loved reading your story.
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Old 10-15-2018, 12:35 PM   #10
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Some years back, I danced with a beast called Rita, which prompted the largest evacuation in American history, an evacuation that killed more people than the hurricane itself. It was a life-altering experience for me, in multiple ways. Sounds like your dance went fairly well, all things considered.
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Old 10-15-2018, 01:00 PM   #11
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Richard

Very glad to hear that you and your, as Jeremy Clarkson calls it; "glorified Beetle" are okay.

Man, talk about short notice; Michael went from tropical storm to Cat 4 in what seemed a heart beat. Usually you guys have a bit more notice than that with storms coming out of the Atlantic; but not this one. Seeing metal this and metal that flying by the reporters at over 100 mph, made me glad to live where I do.

I wonder what kind of house can be built to with stand that kind of punishment....a missile silo maybe.

But don't worry, there is no such thing as climate change, and these storms are just getting stronger because the world is rotating faster; yeah, that's it.

Between you and hurricanes in the east coast and Steve and Dadstoy with massive fires in the west coast......maybe a move to Alaska?

Cheers
Sidekick Tony
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Old 10-15-2018, 02:22 PM   #12
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Lived in Huntsville, Alabama for many years, built a nice house into the side of the mountain. Had a heavily reinforced area of the basement built as a storm shelter--basically a solid concrete bunker with filled concrete blocks and a poured reinforced concrete roof 8 inches thick, with a steel-reinforced door to FEMA specifications. This area was buried on three sides with packed dirt fill and was mostly below grade.

Since Huntsville is basically the tail end of "Tornado Alley" we spent many an evening during heavy T-storms and wandering tornadoes in the area, eating dinner in the bunker.

That said, the problem in Florida is the high water table--an underground structure will either flood, or float up out of the ground. The house I grew up in was built in the early 1960's to a high spec for wind resistance. It was built like a bunker as well. Concrete block walls, small windows, poured pillars in the corners tied to a concrete and steel bond beam over the top of the block walls, with a tied-down low slope roof. It was able to withstand a 160 MPH hurricane that we sat through for 36 hours or so in the 1960's. It was NOT on the beach, however.

The stuff that blew apart on the exposed shoreline during Michael looked to be conventional 2x4 stick-built homes on an ordinary concrete slab, probably quite old. Sad to see the mess and potential loss of life that resulted from the wind and water surge on the coast.
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Old 10-15-2018, 03:09 PM   #13
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Glad you made out relatively well.
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Old 10-16-2018, 09:43 AM   #14
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
Ebro , Fla Panhandle
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My thanks to all for the kind thoughts and support, much appreciated.

Yesterday was a good one here in Ebro. The power crews showed up with two bucket trucks an proceeded to replace a transmission line from the back of our property over to the next road to the north connecting our road to the live grid.

Woohoo we have power, wells are running, a very welcome upgrade to life in the country.
I decided to go out for a drive around town, my first time out since returning. Whew, some places lost most of their big old live oaks. Some of the roads are lined with the chopped up trees that had been cut and moved off of the roads. Way worse than our road.
And kind of depressing to see. A few houses with tarps on the roofs.

Then on the way back home I was stopped at the one stop light in town and realized that I was surrounded with relief vehicles heading toward the harder hit areas to the east.

One dully pickup was towing a very long enclosed utility trailer with signage from a church group in Arkansas it said disaster relief on the side. Another rig was a truck filled with seasoned firewood in the back towing a open trailer all set up as a grill and smoker also heading to where most eating places are shut down or destroyed. Also some power company trucks heading that way.

The response now mobilizing for the recovery is truly amazing and very heartwarming. People from all over this part of the country are showing up to help in getting things back together.

Cheers Richard
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