Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Can't Stand It

Zebulon, NC

We can't stand it being up here instead of in Florida.  We need to volunteer to help friends and neighbors.   So we are departing today.   We travel slowly, so we won't arrive in FL until the weekend.

Meanwhile, our hearts go out to people in the Virgin Islands who are about to get slammed the second time.  OMG.

Update:  We aren't the only ones. My hear was warmed today by 4 posts on FB by people offering free equipment and labor to help others salvage their boats in Marathon.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Irma Foils us Again

Zebulon, NC

We can't return to Florida yet because of Irma.  As plan B, we thought that we would return to The Blue Ridge Parkway for more camping.  But I just learned that the parkway is severely damaged.  Many sections remain closed.  Scratch Plan B.

We all hear about how bad hurricanes are.  One thing I never thought about was being on a mountain top when a hurricane passes over.

Plan C, I'm going to research the Smokey Mountain National Park.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Heart Breaking Images

Zebulon, NC

Regular readers of this blog, plus friends and family who visited us in Marathon know how much we love Boot Key Harbor.   Then you can understand how heart breaking it is to see these images after Hurricane Irma.  Deepest sympathy for those who's boats were there.  The only good news, no reports of any injuries or deaths.

We are very fortunate that neither we nor Tarwathie were in the keys on that day.

You can see every mooring here and how many boats remain.  It was reported to be full with more than 300 boats before the storm.  Click on it to zoom in.
The dinghy docks at the marina.  Familiar to our blog readers and visitors. Those motor boats probably came from houses on the other side of the harbor.

Where are the missing boats?  Some in the mangroves.
These missing boats wound up by the bridge.
Whiskey Creek, off Sisters Creek on Boot Key.  These boats went "into the mangroves" to survive.  They all appear to be OK.

Why did so many moorings fail?  A truism about hurricanes is that the biggest danger to boats is other boats.  As one boat breaks loose, it crashes into other boats, breaking them free.  It begins a chain reaction.   You can see in the first picture that the "A" row, closest to the south, and without other rows of boats upwind of them, survived best.  When we rode out hurricane Irene on Tarwathie, we anchored in a bay more than 1/4 mile away from any other boats.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

To Freeze or Not to Freeze?

Zebulon, NC

It looks like we'll have to cool our heels in NC for some weeks before returning to Florida.  One thing on my to-do list is to investigate credit freezes after the Equifax breach.

In case you didn't hear, the credit reporting company Equifax was hacked to steal 140 million accounts.  That sound like just about everyone in the country who has a credit report.  The stolen data included SSN, DOB, drivers license number and other stuff used to secure credit.   That makes is sound like the entire country should do credit freezes.

Also in case you don't know, a credit freeze blocks only new applications for credit.  It does nothing to change your existing accounts.

But I just found this NYT article on the subject.  It suggests a number of obstacles to getting a credit freeze.  Insecure PIN numbers, crashing web sites, expense, turmoil, overwhelmed customer service people at the credit agencies.  Most important, legislative changes.

The simplest solution is to change the law so that everyone's credit is frozen by default and for free.  Why not?  Why not have the security that every time someone wants to create a new credit account in your name, that the agencies should have to contact you to verify that is is not fraudulent?

So, I'm still interested in getting a credit freeze (how? see this FAQ), but I'm going to wait several weeks to let the turmoil settle.

Oh No!

Zebulon, NC

First thing yesterday morning I woke up to find this post from our RV park.

"A tornado came thru Umatilla and thru the park. Everyone is ok but there is major damage. Please do not try to call us. We tried to get out to assess damage but were threatened to be arrested by police as we are not allowed out until after 6 pm tomorrow."
Oh no.  That could have included our RV.   Worse, it will be days or more than a week until we get confirmation.  Of course, that made us very nervous.  All day yesterday we surfed all possible information sources for fragments of information.  Based on all that, I'm optimistic.  I think that the tornado missed our trailer by 150 meters.

FLASH UPDATE: aerial video confirms that our RV is not in the damaged area.  Now thoughts and prayers are with neighbors and friends who were affected.  http://www.wftv.com/video?videoId=607580249&videoVersion=1.0

But the big emotional drain for yesterday was the terrible news coming in from the Florida Keys.  Of course we still have many ties to the keys and to the people in Boot Key Harbor.  So far, no word of any injuries or death, but it seems that half the boats on mooring balls in the harbor are gone.  Since no-one know which half, the owners of all those boats are frantic for information.  More frantic are the relatives and friends of those who stayed behind looking for words about their loved ones.

No word yet on how Tarwathie fared in the boat yard in Placida.  She is in a boat yard and strapped down.  Here's a picture from the last time we saw her.  The new owner, of course, must be worried to death.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Eclipse Trip #10: KY, TN, NC

Blowing Rock, NC

We're winding down on the trip.

We spent several days in the Land Between the Lakes, in Kentucky.  That is the nicest campground we found on the trip.

We stayed at Lilly Dale campground in Tennessee.  This too is a Corps of Engineers site.  We were on the shore of Dale Hollow Lake in a very pretty, very rural area.  The drive on country roads to get there was great.   That is a man-made lake and it is HUGE.

Now we are finishing with three nights on the Blue Ridge Parkway; one of our perennial favorites.

On Sunday, we're gettting out of the mountains before hurricane Irma arrives.  We'll spend 2 weeks with Dave & Cathy in Zebulon, NC.  Libby has gardening work to catch up on there.

By the way, Google sent me an email asking if I wanted to review August.  I would be creeped out at their tracking except that it does such a bad job.  On the map below is where Google said I was in the whole of 2017.  Not that it does not include Florida.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Eclipse Trip #9 Rocky Mountain National Park & Heading East

Grand Rivers, KY

[Today our thoughts are with our friends on boats in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL.   The forecasts predict a direct hit on them by hurricane Irma on Saturday night.  The have the options of going into the mangrove forests in The Everglades, or evacuating and leaving their boats behind.  I

f Libby and I were there on Tarwathie, we would be very stressed.  I think I would choose The Everglades, but then all our friends would worry because we would be out of communication until a week or so after the hurricane.]

We are back to the place where we watched the eclipse.  It is the nicest place we found on the whole trip.

I've been neglecting the blog, in favor of Facebook.  No wonder Facebook is taking over.

We had a great time in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Libby said that it hadn't been on her bucket list before, but it should have been.  It is the kind of beauty you have to see for yourself.  We also had a visit from our friend Lynn who camped with us one night.  Here's a photo album.  Click the link, then you can click on SLIDE SHOW>


Where from here?  We just made a plan for a 5-6 day trip from here to Dave & Cathy's house in Zebulon, NC.   It includes 4 campgrounds.  We depart tomorrow.

The route takes us through Nashville.  We could spend a night there and see a show.  Any recommendations?