Home sweet Florida

We have finally returned to Florida. It feels wonderful to be cruising down the A1A again.

It was an interesting trip from North Georgia back down the coast. We thought the storm would have moved through the area before we made it to Savannah, but we were wrong. The eye of the hurricane was just off the Georgia coast when we passed through. There wasn’t any rain, but it was gusty outside. It was odd to see the storm we had spent a week hiding from not far in the distance.

We made excellent time driving home because there were very few cars headed east or south on the freeways. They had just opened I-16 to eastbound traffic. And most of the traffic on I-95 was hurricane response teams chasing the storm north.

It is difficult not to have an emotional response seeing the thousands of utility vehicles, first responders, and search and rescue teams who had traveled to Florida to help with what could have been an absolutely catastrophic storm. We seriously saw about 150 police vehicles driving from Lake Hartwell to Palm Coast. We saw hundreds of cherry pickers from utility companies up and down the east coast and tree experts. We saw dozens of semi trucks pulling trailers for search and rescue operations. There were fire and paramedics trucks from all over.

On the southbound side, we saw semis from Operation Blessing, Pat Robertson’s charity (now run by his son), hauling food to vulnerable populations affected by the storm. They have folks on the ground bringing water and food to residents of the Bahamas too.

Living in a developed nation, we don’t often consider the vast planning and resources that go into ensuring that we maintain a comfortable lifestyle and that minimize loss of life in even the most extreme events. But it’s impossible to ignore it when it takes over one of the busiest interstates in the country. And this is happening while our nation is sending our bravest men and women to help in rescue efforts in other countries. We are truly a blessed population.

After seeing that our house was mostly as we had left it – a lot of branches down, primarily from palm trees, and many of my plants in my gardens still had flowers on them! – we decided to grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants on Flagler Beach. We’ve been eating out a lot lately, but we figured they’d appreciate our business since the hurricane drove the tourists away. Have to support the local economy.

I ordered a dish at the Golden Lion that I had never had before (though we’ve eaten there a million times). They have ahi sliders that are seriously brioche stuffed with the contents of a poke bowl. So delicious it is unreal.

There were plenty of lunatic surfers braving the swells at Flagler Beach. No visible beach erosion, and the plants they had just put into the dunes after constructing the new sea wall were still there and thriving.

We have not found any snakes hiding in strange places since we’ve returned. But we did find this guy.

I am convinced that love bugs come out in force after crazy storms. We are getting swarmed with them post-hurricane. I am not looking forward to picking up all the debris tomorrow with them landing on me constantly. But this is a week for counting blessings, so I’ll quit complaining now.

All is right with the world. I’m looking forward to getting back to our normal routine (whatever that is). Along the way, we discovered that we only live a few hours down I-95 from Charleston, so we will be going there soon. It’s a toss up between heading there or the Florida Keys after work calms down a bit. There is no place in the world like the South. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Recess

The thunderstorms continue, but we took a break from work and homeschooling to eat a late lunch on the beach and play in the surf. E managed to put away two dozen raw oysters and a platter of squid. The kid refuses to eat fries, but she’ll bite the heads off of squid, no problem.

Before the latest storm hit. So peaceful.
E standing in front of a sea turtle nesting site.
This is definitely a leatherback turtle, as it was large enough to park a car in.
Playing in the surf.
And then the storm moves in…. Time to go home and get back to work.

These are good days.