Sunday, December 18, 2022

Evacuation with GREAT Friends

November 8-17, 2022                                              Most Recent Posts:
Fort Clinch State Park   Site 11            Virginia to Florida – Unexpected Tires
Fernandina Beach Florida                         October from Start to Finish
Walmart Parking Lot
Home Depot Parking Lot
Yulee, Florida

Everything was dandy when I pulled into Fort Clinch site 11 and met my neighbors Shayne and Bev who travel in van which he has customized.

Everything was great for those 3 days I showed you in the previous post.

PXL_20221110_011826032But on November 8th the entire campground was evacuated at 3pm because of the approaching Hurricane Nicole. 

Where to go in November in Florida when everything is booked up totally?  Luckily I had Shayne and Bev. 

Shayne was watching NOAA and said they weren’t going far away until he could tell where the hurricane was going lest we drive in to it.  Seemed smart to me so I followed them to the Yulee Walmart parking lot.  It was amazing that the Yulee Walmart allowed over night stays.  But Bev check it out and said they did.  My experience in the past has been that no Walmarts in Florida do.   That night, I took them out for dinner at Chandlers adjacent to Walmart.  But no pictures unfortunately.

We played Uno to while away the time.  Boy do I look sketchy or maybe just tired for having to pack it all up again and hook up again and be out by 3pm.  They, of course, look great.

20221111_085747Shayne had been watching the hurricane and felt while the winds might hit 30mph, we could safely stay here on Wednesday, the day of the storm.  So we did.  The hurricane hit and the winds were strong.  Winnona was swaying.  But by the next day it was over.  We had weathered the storm.

In the early morning Shayne and Bev’s van was rammed from behind by another RV that had somehow gotten out of control.  A seriously sketchy story.  Shayne had just gotten major repairs done to it from an accident which put both of them in the hospital when a teenage driver ran a red light.  This was back in February and Bev is still wearing a boot and Shayne still has severe headaches.   I worry for the alignment of her back, hip and knees and for the inability of the doctors to discover what is causing his headaches.  Most of you know I have first hand experience of the after affects of wearing a boot.

The damage was to the bumper and  rear door which now would not close.  Shayne managed a temporary fix until he could locate parts.  He’s like David in his ability to fix anything.

On Thursday, some Walmart Personnel came around and told us all we could only stay 24 hours so we would have to leave “tomorrow”.  Obviously they didn’t know we’d already been here 3 nights thankfully.  Fort Clinch says it isn’t opening back up until Sunday even though the Hurricane happened to us on Wednesday.  I guess the park thinks it will take 3 full days to clean up.

20221111_085759In preparation to move, We drove around in their van looking at every other large parking lot.  Only Home Depot didn’t have “No Overnight Parking” signs.   I called the manager who at first said no they don’t allow it but I persuaded him to allow one night.  So we went there in the early evening.  They of course in a panel van have no trouble stealth parking but there is no way to hide Winnona.

There van had been hit a second time and I was having trouble with my solar set up and having to use the generator.

More games kept our minds off these new troubles.


While we were in the Home Depot shopping center, Bev and I both got haircuts at great clips.   We had some junk comfort food at the Sonic behind us and played yet more games.  We’re all pretty tired of living in parking lots.

Shayne and Bev have been watching the Fort Clinch website and saw that although the park had said it wasn’t reopening until Sunday, they were allowing “walk ins” for Saturday but they had not contacted either of us to say we would be permitted to return to sites already paid for.  We were NOT happy campers.

IMG_4260They drove over to the park to see if they could take a walk in for today and move to their site tomorrow.

They could so they called me and I came over.  When I got there the ranger at the gate just let me go right to my site and charged me nothing.  Not sure what happened to the policy between when Shayne and Bev got to the park and when I arrived.   So now they have to hassle with getting a refund for this night and for the others they had already booked.  As of this date (12/18/22) I have seen no refund to my credit card for those 5 days which were now over a month ago.

These pictures above and below show the park from both directions when we first returned on Saturday.  We were the only ones in the ocean campground.  I’m very glad to have electricity and be able to put the slides out.



But by 5pm, the word was out and the campground looked like this.



At this point we only have 5 days of our 14 day reservations left.  Time for more beach.  First thing Saturday was to see the sunrise.  The clouds made it non spectacular but still…..   It’s sunrise over the water which was still a tad rough.

At first only a very very faint pink at the horizon and then a bit higher  until the sun got high enough for its heat to dissipate the clouds a bit at the horizon.




This is about as good as it got before it went behind the clouds for good.


After a water side hike there were trails to hike.  On this day, I did both loops.


Spanish moss is always a symbol of Florida to me.  It grew on the trees which lined the streets of Ocala Florida in the late 50’s when as a small child I would visit my great aunt Carrie.  At that time many of the residential streets were still sand.  I remember it all so clearly.  Among my earliest memories of childhood not defined by photographs.



Guess the gators live in the green Willow Pond.  I was ready to give way but unfortunately none showed up wanting to cross.





Every day I was back on the beach with the birds and the rock jetty.



There were several lovely days in which I could sit outside and read.  Somehow having only 5 days left made me skip my big mat and antigravity chair.   I’d gotten them out and put them away once and that was enough.


The Fernandina Beach city limits run from  south on A1A along the ocean, up to route 200 which turns into Center Street where the downtown area is located and dead ends into the Amelia River.  From water to water.  The city has a lot of beach front property.


One day I wandered down to  Seaside Park on A1A and saw the folks who love to drive their cars on the beach a custom and permissive law I don’t like.  

I parked in the adjacent parking lot and it was no distance at all to the water so I don’t understand this need to take one’s car and park it on the sand.  The environmental damage just isn’t worth whatever “fun” it is to some folks.  Or is it just a matter of principle?   “It’s always been this way so it always should be.”  It’s  my right”  “I don’t want anybody telling me what to do”.

This was late in the day.  I have no idea how many cars were here in peak beach time.


A picture of the beach walking beyond the cars.  What do you think?


PXL_20221116_180159295One day it rained and I forced myself to tackle all the paperwork that had piled up for quite a while.  Mostly things from insurances of one sort or another, medical, dental, RV, cars.  

NOT FUN.  But it had to be done and I was very glad when I’d sorted it all, recycled much of it, shredded what had personal information on it and filed the rest. 

Clearly it was all over the place in various piles as I sorted.  I hope you are better than I at not procrastinating this stuff.


One afternoon when I went out to catch the sunset over the campground, I caught a couple of surfers.  I wondered if they had been out earlier in the week when the waves were bigger.  But it was fun to see them trying to decide which waves to catch and then walk back out.


There are few places where one can see the sun rise and set over the water.  Fort Clinch isn’t one of them but the clouds often put on a fine display if you stand with your back to the water looking toward the campground.




Nearly every day here, I walk the beach and the trails.  I don’t often see much wildlife other than birds.  On this visit, I haven’t seen the deer I know are here.  Haven’t seen the gator but I did see this armadillo on one of my walks on the trails.  I’m not sure why they make me laugh.


This photo is typical of the scrub forests of Florida that I have come to love.


My favorite of the Florida trees are not the famous palm trees that say “tropical climate” but the Live Oaks that grow tall and shady with Spanish Moss.



This was the largest tree on the trail I walked nearly every day.  Every time I passed by, I hugged its trunk and wished it “long life and perfect health”.


It was on my last trail walk when I decided we needed our pictures together.  There was no on to take it and no where to put my camera so this selfie will have to do.  You can sort of see how big it is.  And what look like the holes of yellow bellied sapsucker investigations just to my right.


Shayne, Bev and I closed out our two weeks as neighbors at Fort Clinch, Walmart and Home Depot with a breakfast together at the Beach Diner.   These are wonderful people with whom I have happily kept in touch and hope to see many times down the road.

Thank you two for all your help – really for everything!  
And Bev, I know you are reading.  Time to comment. Winking smile


I should make it to December next.  I’m actually almost caught up.   Yipeee!


  1. Wonderful story, Sherry. Your resilience is remarkable. I wouldn't enjoy parking lot living either but we do what we need to do.

    1. Thanks for the compliment. So glad to see you here.

  2. Anytime we think about moving back to Florida these storms hit and we are reminded of why we left. We did many evacuations, some of which turned out to be unnecessary, but you just never know. It's very stressful! You were fortunate to meet such nice people to help and distract you during that time.
    Hope you have a good Christmas!

    1. You hit it right on the nose. It was stressful and I was very fortunate. Thanks so much for the comment and happy holidays to you two as well

  3. Shayne and Bev truly seem like wonderful people! The three of you certainly made the best of your parking lot camping experience. So crazy that you had to deal with a hurricane and evacuation in November. Florida is so wonderful in so many ways, and so stressful in other ways!! I'm being lulled back into loving this place now that the beautiful winter weather has arrived...but I'm trying to stay strong in our decision to move, knowing that heat and humidity and hurricanes will descend again in summer.

    And I agree with you, the live oaks are my favorites, but it's a close tie with the gorgeous magnolias that are native to north Florida.

    1. They are definitely wonderful people. I can see why Jim and Gayle and You two are leaving Florida as your year round home. I only love the Winter's here and this is the 1st time in 10 years that I have run into a hurricane. But things are changing.

  4. So nice to have great RV neighbors just when you needed them most. Traveling solo comes with some issues I suppose. Lovely beach and sunset shots!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the beach and sunset pictures Laurie. Thanks for letting me know. Traveling solo comes with a lot of issues especially for unhandy and not strong women.

  5. Happy all went well with the storm. You drove to Walmart and we flew back to Alaska, I guess that was excess. Sure have been enjoying the weather since we came back. No damage to the Cabana.

    1. Glad you had no damage Tom and I did laugh at your flight back to Alaska to avoid the hurricane. You must have a pile of frequent flyer miles.

  6. So glad you met Shayne and Bev just at the right moment. I am also glad Walmart and Home Depot let you stay. Wonder if the parks will give refunds for "acts of mother nature." Glad you got beach time and got to play games to pass the parking lot time. I expect you may play Uno again with Celia soon! 😀

    1. As I said Shayne and Bev were absolutely wonderful. The park refunds only if they close the park. I'm still waiting for mine.

  7. 1st of all, the picture of you looks great as always! 😉
    2nd, you were a pleasure to meet and already have become a treasure of a friend. It's us who were blessed to meet you!!❤️

    Several of your pics are spectacular, from the moss, to the waves, the gator sign I also love.
    The description of the word getting out is so perfect. It went from collecting clams and shells all over the isolated beach to floodgates of people opening the next day, lol

    1. Such fun to see you in the comments and there's something wrong with your eyes if you thought that 1st picture of me was good. The return of folks after the storm reminded me of the gathering of ants at their hill.

  8. Oh yes, almost forgot,
    L❤️VE that photo of you and the tree...

  9. Although the circumstances weren't the best, our meeting was definitely a highlight of those 2 weeks. To think that we both booked sites side by side at the same park, at the same minute of the same hour, 11 months prior was not just coincidental. Not to mention a few other happenings, that are pointing to a friendship that was written in the stars. I am thankful that we were in the right place at the right time to create this lasting friendship. We have really enjoyed our little get togethers and look forward to many more.

    1. This is just beautiful Bev. It brought tears to my eyes. May it be many many more get togethers. You two are the best.

  10. And so another enlightening chapter is penned in the inspirational journal of my favorite trekker. It’s hard to describe the motivation to hit-the-road you spawn in me!

    Don’t know the origin of, “It’s never too late”, but, God willing, I hope they’re right. With that, here’s hoping we meet again, down the road and off the beaten path……

    By the way, more selfies from now on, please. 🥰

    1. Ha! More selfies.. You could be out here now if you had sold Miss B. In my beginning research for this life you were a strong motivator with all your information. I wish you had used it for yourself. Wouldn't you really rather be in Florida or Arizona than in New Jersey or Vermont in the Winter time? 😉

    2. In NJ is where I would rather not be any time of the year! And you’ve seen my little oasis in Vermont. What’s not to love about living there?
      The problem of not hitting the road all boils down to money and the lack thereof.
      Hands down, I’d rather be year ‘round in my 240 sq ft cabin.

  11. Glad you and Winnona survived the hurricane and weren't blown to OZ. I weathered a hurricane once in the Journey and was very happy for every pound of its weight. All in the adventures of RVing. ;c)

    1. Really good point about the weight Paul. I hadn't thought of that. I'm used to worrying that she weighs too much and needs to go on a diet.

  12. So glad to hear you are safe! I've been watching to make sure all was well! Dave and I and Duke will be in Lake Griffin State Park January 30- February 9th. Then we go to a private park in Lake City till Feb 16. If you are anywhere near, perhaps we can come join you for a hike!!

  13. Sure glad you had new friends to literally weather the storm! Wonderful that the park didn't sustain damage that would keep you from being able to return - great to see you back on the beach and on the trails nearby.

  14. Such a stressful pain in the butt, I'm sure glad you had new friends to help along the way.


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