Finding gratitude from our Hurricane Irma evacuation trip.
Risks are everywhere. We take risks every single day. When you live along the coast you are signing up to live in the path of a potential hurricane whenever it damn well pleases. Well that is what happened when we moved from Colorado to Florida.
A couple weeks ago we were graced with the arrival of Hurricane Irma. The good thing about hurricanes is that you know they are coming and you have the chance to prepare for them. The bad thing about hurricanes is everything else. To spare you the ugly details I will give you the nitty gritty of our experience preparing for Irma. This storm was to make landfall on a Sunday and it wasn’t until the Tuesday before that any of us started taking it seriously and realizing that it was potentially coming our way. My husband and I made a quick decision to evacuate due to not having a generator at the house incase our power went out. So on Tuesday night I began searching the internet for hotels north of us here in south Florida including Jacksonville and Atlanta; no vacancies. This previous June we spent a weekend in Asheville, NC and loved it so I checked there. 2 availabilities left in Asheville that accepted pets. The first, booked up as I was talking to my husband about it. Well scratch that one off the list. I guess we will take the last hotel available.
Alright now that that was done we could focus on the hear and now. My husband had been working all day Tuesday well into the evening after the sun had set, on getting storm shutters installed for various clients of his. I started thinking about what we were going to take with us on this evacuation trip and what I was willing to leave behind. He worked all day on Wednesday on more shutters around town and once again worked until around 10 that night. We finally got our house boarded up on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. On Thursday we crawled out of bed at 5 in the morning and he worked on a few more shutters and and we packed to car to head out of town.
The lines at the gas stations weren’t as terrible as the news made them seem so we were lucky in that regard. I snagged a 3rd in line spot at a gas station and filled up gas cans. The miserable part was that we weren’t able to to get on the road until 4:00 that afternoon. I was able to pack some awesomely health paleo friendly snacks for the trip to make sure we were at least not going to get sick on this trip.
Normally this is supposed to be about at a 10 hour drive for us but in the end took us about 16 hours. UGH!!! Driving through the night isn’t fun, ever. Try working your butt off in what always seems like 95 degrees and 100% humidity for about 10 hours and then hitting the road for an over night drive. Double UGH!!!
Ok enough with that. On to the fun stuff. We had reserved a room at the Etowah Valley Golf & Resort. We pulled up to the hotel just in time for the free breakfast buffet that they offer every morning. Now normally hotels will not let you check in before the noted check-in time (usually round 3:00-4:00 pm) but the staff at the Etowah Valley was amazing. I informed them that we were evacuating from south Florida and would be driving through the night and they made sure that our room would be ready for us to upon our arrival. What that also meant was that after a very long exhausting drive full of beef jerky and energy drinks we got to fill our bellies with all you could eat eggs, bacon, fruit and many more options. So that is what we did. We had an awesome meal, let the puppies run around outside for a while and then hit the bed.
We slept from about 9:00 am to around 4:00 in the afternoon and man did it feel awesome! We woke up took The Girls on a walk around the beautiful Etowah Valley property and around the perimeter of the golf course area. The weather was just amazing in the mid 70s and the sun was shining. We all loved it. We decided to look at this trip like a forced vacation and enjoy every bit of it instead of looking at it as if we were running away from a hurricane.
That evening we decided to stay at the resort for dinner and ate at Zeke’s Greenside Tavern. I ordered a salad and a side of salmon. I’m not sure how a failed to snap a picture of the salad but OMG it was the largest salad I have ever had put in front of me and it was delicious. As for the salmon, it was probably the best cooked salmon I have ever had. Not over cooked, full of flavor and beautiful grill marks on both sides. YUMMY!!!!! To make this meal even better I wrapped it up with some homemade hot chocolate that our waitress whipped up for me per my special request and Alex ordered a homemade key lime pie. Wow this was awesome!
After dinner we went back to our room and took The Girls on another small walk and made our way under the covers again to catch up on some TV and more sleep. We would need it because tomorrow was going to be full of adventure and fun.