Hello from soggy eastern North Carolina. I have a lot to catch up on so this one might take a bit. First, the hospital has asked Kendra to stay through the end of the year and she has agreed….we’re just waiting on a contract. Nothing is set in stone until that contract is signed. The hospital has also agreed to let her work 3-day stretches as much as possible so that she’ll have 4-day stretches off. That gives us much better control on how many times we get to come home. Again though, nothing is set in stone until there is a signed contract. She is still doing well in her clothing business, so well that we are doing an in-home party this weekend.
We are currently in Morehead City now…I had to come home for my doctor appointment. It seems I have Relapsing Polychondritis, an auto-immune disease that attacks the cartilage. My doc seems to think it will be easily controlled with medicine, so for now that is the plan…no big issue there.
Now for the storm news. Living on the coast, we expect hurricanes and tropical storms. But still, I keep an eye on the forecasts because that determines so much of how we prepare.
From the get-go, Matthew grew into a large and powerful storm, at one point a Category 5…strongest hurricane that you can get. We continued to watch it as it crossed Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, and on up to Florida’s coast. Watching the news of how the Florida coast was getting hit with a Category 4 storm made us glad that Kendra’s contract got canceled and that we weren’t there. (If you remember, we were in the Daytona Beach area.)
It looked more and more like Morehead City was going to be spared the worst of the storm and to be honest, there really is only so much you can do with your permanent home. So, my preparations geared more towards our “Mobile Mansion”, parked at Camp Pedro only 60 miles inland from Myrtle Beach. As the storm progressed, it appeared to take a more easterly track and was predicted to turn out to sea, just as or right before it would make landfall with Myrtle Beach. It had also decreased to a Category 1 storm, making it weak in wind power. Still, I had packed up the campsite and was ready to hook up the RV and move inland if needed, but it looked like we wouldn’t need to. Winds in our area were predicted to reach 35-40 sustained, and we had been through winds that strong, in a camper, in Arizona. This was clearly going to be more of a water event.
Early Saturday morning, the wind and rain started, and begin to increase as the day progressed. Kendra had to work that day, so I told her I would take her. As we got in the truck and headed out of the campground, this is what we saw…
The entire front half of the park, and the only way in or out, was under water. All these sites were full of evacuees from Myrtle Beach campgrounds, but they had disappeared…I found them outside the park, in the parking lot, on high ground. No one told us the park was flooding.
We made it out of the park, with water up to the running boards on the truck. We drove on out onto US501 north only to find half of it flooded at the I-95 interchange. As we continued on towards Laurinburg, I was dodging downed trees and power lines. In several places there was running water crossing the roadway…as much as 2 feet deep. I made a command decision and told Kendra we were turning around…she was not going in to work that day…it was just too dangerous.
We got back to the campground and found that the water there had risen and was rushing across the park. It was pushing so strong against the automatic gate that it would not open. Kendra hopped out of the truck and had to push it open…when she got out, the water was up mid-thigh on her…a good 3 feet.
We managed to get back to our camper which was on high ground, outside the flooded part of the park. I had planned to hook up the camper and pull it outside the campground to the parking lot with the other campers, but I knew when I got back to our camper, there was no way I could get it through that water…so we stayed put…along with about 25 other campers that could not get out.
We watched the water line, but it only got up to about 25 yards away from us. Our power went out about 1pm, but we had battery operated lights and gas to run the fridge, stove and hot water heater. I had bought some groceries the day before, so we were stocked up with supplies, so we had prepped as much as we could.
The storm actually took a more northerly and westerly track than predicted so the eastern eye-wall came ashore in Myrtle Beach, SC. We got higher than expected winds, 40-50 mph sustained and 70mph gusts. The camper rocked a bit, but stood its ground. All in all, with the house in Morehead City, and our camper in a partially flooded campground, we did well…sustained no damage.
The flooding in the eastern area of NC and SC is quite another story. When we drove back to Morehead City for the weekend, my usual route and back-up routes were closed in several places. I had to drive down to Myrtle Beach, and go home from there. I won’t go into much detail about the flooding because it is on the news, but seriously…keep those folks in your thoughts. The areas hit are populated with a lot of poor people who did not have much to begin with. Now all they have is gone. They have asked that you not donate clothing, but donations of canned food, water, diapers, and money are greatly appreciated. Help is appreciated as well. I ran into a group of Baptist from Missouri who were on their way to help with the recovery efforts…now that is a way to spread your religion around. You can talk all you want about how much you “love Jesus” but show me some action…that’s what people like to see.
Here are some shots in and around the Dillon, SC area of flooding and downed trees. The first picture is of Main Street in Dillon.
I didn’t take this picture, but it is US 501 at I-95, in front of the campground during the height of the storm. Notice the top of the flooded car.
When the power came back on, it was good to see Pedro lit up again, welcoming people to South of the Border.
That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed it…this year has truly been an adventurous one, and I’m sure there is more to come…so stay tuned.