We ended up sleeping a little longer than we had wanted to, but we were up and at it right away….emptying the pantry, cabinets, drawers, packing up, and cleaning. (I like to clean the trailer before putting it away, so it’s ready for next time.) We did everything, hooked up, and were on the road at 9:45. (Yesterday, we had called to cancel our camping reservation at Silver Springs State Park just east of Ocala. We were told that we would receive a full refund because the park was closed and everyone was evacuated due to Hurricane Matthew. Over 80 state parks from Ocala, east to the coast, were closed and evacuated, so it all turned out good in the end for us anyway.) We were trying to get home to beat the wind and rain that were expected to come from Hurricane Matthew. The first thing we noticed was all the traffic going west on I-10.
We were only 87 miles from Jacksonville at that point and most beach cities on the barrier islands along the East Coast of Florida are under mandatory evacuation, so many people were leaving. Lots of RVs, trucks, semis, and cars were on the move.
Traffic going east on I-10, the direction we were going, was light. It was very eerie!
From the Interstate, we could look down and see gas stations and truck stops filled with cars and trucks waiting to fill up with gas and other supplies. We had heard that some gas stations on the East Coast had run out of gas.
We had 20 miles to travel on I-10 before going south on I-75. The Rest Areas going east were jammed with vehicles and the state placed extra port-o-potties there for all the additional people. We had somewhat of a cross breeze, not too strong, but enough to move us around a little.
Once we turned onto I-75, the traffic didn’t let up. Now there were 3 lanes of heavy traffic going north and south. People were moving away from the eastern coastline of Florida. Rest Areas going north were jammed full of vehicles and they were actually waiting in line to get into the parking lot. There was actually that much more traffic on the roads today.
Now the wind was behind us so we made good time and had better gas mileage. We passed a huge caravan of Chain Electric Utility trucks probably on the move towards the areas under the hurricane warning to aid those areas after the storm passes. We saw other groups of utility trucks on the move as well.
The governor suspended tolls on the toll roads to get traffic moving faster. This is the closest we’ve come to an “evacuation”. We made the right decision to go home! We hit rain just a few miles north of Gainesville.
The rain came in bands, off and on, for a short while. We watched the rain bands move across the state on the radar on our phone. Then the rain ended and we had clear sailing the rest of the way home. As we drove further south, the traffic lessened and the skies cleared. We stopped at home to unload the trailer. It went quickly because I had already packed up everything.
We then took the trailer to the storage facility just 5 minutes from the house. There it will sit until our next adventure.
We were back home at 3:30. Around 4:30, the strong winds and rain arrived. We had gotten done just in time. Now we could hunker down and wait for the storm to pass. We put on 1,690 miles on this trip. We didn’t go far, but we saw and did so many things. We both agreed that we had a great trip. Now back to reality. Thanks for “traveling” along with us. Till next time…..