Hurricane Irma

Tuesday, September 5

We are in Pagosa Springs, CO, with Robert and Angela. We parked the RV in their driveway. The leveling jacks are not working.

We wake up and look at the National Hurricane Center website. It looks like Irma is headed straight for Marathon. Robert and I book flights to Fort Lauderdale. We make arrangements with Mark to get a ride to Marathon so we can haul out our boats.

We drive to Albuquerque. On the way to the airport, I get a notice that there is a mandatory evacuation order for the FL Keys tomorrow. We park the car in Albuquerque airport and get on a plane. We stop in Dallas. We cannot find any reasonable return flights.

We call Captain Bruce, in Marathon. He says he can take both boats to be hauled out at Marathon Marina and Resort, where we have a haul-out contract. We decide to abort the mission and fly back to Albuquerque, but we can not get out until the next morning.

Wednesday, September 6

We get on the plane in Dallas and are out at 8:00am. We have a lay-over in Las Vegas and get to Albuquerque around noon. We drive to Taos and meet Angela and Fran.

Bruce gets Questeria to the boat yard and they haul her out.

Questeria Being Hauled-Out
Questeria Being Hauled-Out

Thursday, September 7

Bruce evacuates. Questeria is out of the marina, but we have two dock boxes and two vehicles that are still there. Our Honda 2000 generator is in one of the dock boxes. We call George and ask him to move the generator to Robert and Angela’s storage shed.

We go to the Big Barn Dance music festival and watch Irma approach Marathon.

Friday, September 8

We have a fun day at the Big Barn Dance. The last performers for the night are The Band of Heathens. They are the highlight of the day. Their last song is “Hurricane”. The lyrics are inspiring. It takes a lot of water to wash away New Orleans the Florida Keys.

Saturday, September 9

Irma is headed straight through Marathon, as a category 4 hurricane. We watch The Weather Channel. They keep telling us the wind and storm surge will be devastating. There is nothing we can do. We go to the Big Barn Dance and make the best of it.

Sunday, September 10

Irma is a Category 4 hurricane. The eye goes just west of Marathon. They see 130+ mph wind gusts. James talks to George at about 7:30am EDT. George is okay, but power is out and water is over the docks. Cell phone service goes out.

We drive to Pagosa Springs. Communication out of the Keys is almost nonexistent. We can’t do anything but worry.

We see a video , on Facebook, of our marina under water. All we can do is wait.

Monday, September 11

Irma has passed over the keys. We have no idea how we fared.

The RV leveling jacks are not working and the fresh water pump is hobbled together. Robert and Angela take us to get a new water pump and we go grocery shopping. We have an appointment to fix the jacks at Meyer’s RV, in Albuquerque, at 8:00am .

We drive to Albuquerque and park at a Flying J.

Flying J in Albuquerque
Flying J in Albuquerque

Tuesday, September 12

We hear from George. He is good. Everything got flooded, including his truck and our two cars. Our two dock boxes are gone as well. The good news is that  our friends are alive and well.

We get to Myer’s RV before 8:00am. They look at the RV and decide we need a new hydraulic motor. We agree to pay Fed Ex Red to get the part the next day.

We go to the KOA in Albuquerque.

We install the new fresh water pump. It works great.

We watch Irma destruction on TV, apply for a FEMA loan, look for a new car, and get a car loan approval. We find a car in Nashville, TN.

Wednesday, September 13

We wake up to text messages that there is satellite imagery available of the hurricane aftermath.

It looks like our boat is standing. It looks like the solar panels are laying on the ground, but the dinghy is there and still inflated.

Questeria is Standing!
Questeria is Standing!

We get a call from Bank of America. We have to redo our car loan application because we used our mailing address instead of our physical address.

We finish that and we get a call from Myer’s RV. Our hydraulic motor has come in. We get there by 10:30am. They finish up by 1:00pm and we are headed east.

We pay a $500 deposit on a 2014 Honda CR-V in Nashville. We want to get there by Friday. We make reservations at Two Rivers Campground in Nashville. It is next to Camping World and we hope we can get them to add the towing equipment to the car and RV.

Thursday, September 14 – Friday, September 15

We stop in the welcome center in Amarillo, TX one night and in a Flying J in Russelville, AR the next night.

Questeria in Boatyard
Questeria in Boatyard

Cell phone service is back in the Keys. We are getting lots of pictures. Our boat is standing, but we think we might have a crack in the hull. Our cars are definitely flooded out, but our two dock boxes have been found.

Many people are still without power. Marathon is under a boil water order. They are only letting residents in and there is a 9:00 curfew.

Questeria's Hull
Questeria’s Hull

Bonefish marina has some damage, but it survived a category 4 storm better than most people expected.

We get to Two Rivers Campground in Nashville and get a site for two nights.

We walk next door, to Camping World to find out if we can get the equipment installed to tow a Honda CR-V. They tell us it will be 2-3 weeks and $4000 – $5000. We are not real happy.

Saturday, September 16

We buy a 2014 Honda CR-V at Crest Honda in Nashville, TN. We go to Caney Forks for lunch. We are hearing that the boatyard where Questeria is hauled-out is telling people they are going to start splashing boat on Tuesday.

Our 2014 Honda CR-V
Our 2014 Honda CR-V

Earlier, we had watched a YouTube video and decided that we did not want to install the equipment ourselves. But now we think that that’s what we are going to have to do. We order all the things we need on amazon.com. It costs $2300 and the parts should  be shipped to Jerry’s by Thursday.

Sunday, September 17

We drive the RV and the Honda to Jerry’s house in Athens, TN. We park the RV in his driveway. We have to use leveling blocks to level it out. We plug into his electric and run the A/C.

Monday, September 18 – Wednesday, September 20

We are waiting for our parts. We drive the Honda down to Chattanooga to visit Gary and Ellen for a few days.

Parts start to arrive on Tuesday. We drive back to Athens early Wednesday.

We start working by 8:00. The first task is installing the base plate. We start by removing the front bumper.

CR-V with Bumper Removed
CR-V with Bumper Removed

Next, we install the base plate, which replaces the bumper. Then we wire the tail lights to the four-pin plug and install the break-away switch.

Setup for Towing
Setup for Towing

We get it back together and cleanup by 6:30. We need to test it out but we are too tired today.

The boatyard called and left a message on my phone. They want to splash Questeria tomorrow. We are concerned that the hull might be cracked. We make arrangements for Bruce to inspect it and George to bring her back to the marina if it’s okay.

Thursday, September 21

We test the towing equipment we installed. It all works.

Our Dinghy
Our Dinghy

Bruce checks out Questeria. The hull is okay. They splash the boat and George takes her back home to our slip in Bonefish Marina. Everything goes fine.

We go to the grocery store and get ready for our trip home.

Friday, September 22

We attach the Honda to the RV and start heading south. Most of our friends who evacuated have now returned, Power is starting to be restored. We expect to make it back by Monday.

Many of our live-aboard friends have lost their boats. David and Brenda have their boat back and are able to live on it. Bill and Lisa’s boat is on the mangroves. Susan and Johns’s boat is in mangroves as well. Mark and Angie’s boat burned up from the generator.  John and Mel’s boat got totaled in the marina. Gary and Sally can’t even find their boat. The good news is that everyone we know is alive and well. We hear that everyone in the Keys is helping one another. The new slogan is “Keys Strong”.  It was not enough water to wash away the Florida Keys.