Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Travels due to Irma

Irma from a satellite 
Irma was a bitch.  I don’t know how else I can describe the storm.  I’m just thankful that by the time I had to deal with her, she had lost most of her strength and was more of a nuisance than threat to life and limb.  But I can’t forget what she has done to such much of the Caribbean along with the Keys and South Florida.  A friend of mine moved to St. Martin two years ago.  They were able to catch a flight out just before the storm, but everything they had there was destroyed and they’re left with two suitcases of clothes.  The photos from there are devastating, as are the photos of the Keys.  Although the storm passed to the west of us, we had a much higher storm surge than we did last year with Hurricane Matthew. 

In the middle of the cone (9-7-17)
 It is amazing how quickly the weather can change.  We were still watching news about Harvey flooding in Texas when Irma popped up on our radar.  Up until it skirted Cuba, the weather folks had us right in the middle of the cone.  But then it moved further west, bringing destruction to the Keys.  Although we experienced tropical winds, it wasn’t hurricane force winds.  Still, there were few trees blown down on the island, it was nothing like last year. 

But for a while, Irma looked scary.  Five days out, it appeared she might even miss Florida or bump into Florida’s eastern shore and hit here as a Category 3 o4 4 storm—a major hurricane.  The last major hurricane to strike Georgia was in the 1890s (a decade that saw two such storms). Living on an island meant we were went under an evacuation order beginning, Saturday, September 9.  Many people cleared out before then, and a few who waited till Saturday decided not to leave because by then it was pretty clear the storm had taken a more western track.  I left that Saturday, as planned, having done everything I could to secure property and backed up things at work.  I was glad I’d spent Labor Day (without much thinking about the storm) cleaning out the gutters for the fall and not kayaking. We received just over 7 inches of rain the day of the storm (compared to 12 inches from Matthew).  With nothing more to do, it was time for a hurricane road trip! 

Leaving Coastal Georgia while all of Florida is evacuating is tricky. Thankfully, I had a new downloaded audible book, David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers, giving me over 12 hours of listening.  As Interstates 95 and 75 were creeping along.  Interstate 16, which runs from Savannah to Macon (where it merges with 75 for those heading to Atlanta) wasn’t bad.  They have even closed the eastbound lanes to allow for two more lanes for west bound traffic.  As I was going to stay with relatives northwest of Atlanta, I took I-16 to Dublin, then drove through the countryside on US441, which took me to places that I’d always wanted to see.  I swung through Milledgeville, the old capital of the state.  I have heard much about this town from a fellow blogger, Lynn, I wanted to check it out.  When I told folks here my interest, they thought I was crazy, reminding me it was also the place where the state insane asylum was located.  I also knew it as the home of Flannery O’Conner (who spent her early years in Savannah).
As I made my way up 441, I kept avoiding the bypasses around town and taking the business routes. I just drove through Milledgeville.  In Eatonville, I spied the Uncle Remus Museum.  That was worth stopping, but I learned they’d closed for an early lunch (it was about 11 AM).  I looked around the grounds, then headed over to the Georgia Writer’s Museum.  This was a new museum and they had exhibits mostly on Alice Walker, Flannery O’Conner, and Joel Chandler Harris (of Uncle Remus fame).  I was surprised to see certain folks on the Writer’s Hall of Fame, like Pat Conroy.  While I have enjoyed many of Conroy books, I have never considered him a Georgian.  He’s from South Carolina (and that state needs all the culture boost it can get), but I think he brought gas in Georgia once (or maybe he stayed in an Atlanta hotel for a few nights), so they claimed him.



I left Eatonville, looking for a place to eat. But appeared all the eatin’ places were on the south end of the town and I was heading north, I didn’t find a place to stop and drove on to the delightful town of Madison, named for the President.  I learned that this town hosts an annual Christmas candlelight tour, which would be worth the travel to experience.
African American Museum
(house was built by a former slave)
Madison was one of the towns that was just pillaged and railroad tracks torn up by Sherman and not burned, supposedly because it was the home of one of the Confederate hospitals. The downtown area appeared prosperous and around it was many nice older homes.  I ate at the Madison Produce Company where I had a delightful Cranberry and Pecan Chicken Salad Panini.  It was delicious.  I can’t say the same for the Rosemary and Olive Oil potato chips.  Afterwards, I walked around the town.





They have an African-American museum, which was closed!  I then took the greenway around town, which lead to the train tracks and then around the cemeteries.  There were a couple of section of graves for those who had died in the Civil War (at the hospital).  The tomb stones were all planks of white marble.  Some had names, many were for those who were “unknown.”  I was surprised to find a few slabs with no name, but identified as “Colored” and “Hospital Attendant.”  Later, I saw a sign saying that these marble slabs had been placed in the 1970s and I wonder if they had any idea as who were buried in each grave.  According to another sign, the town maintained segregated cemeteries until the Civil Rights area.  After a pleasant couple hours in Madison, I drove into Atlanta on I-20 and then headed north.

Kirkin' o' the Tartans
While in exile in north Georgia, I worshiped at First Presbyterian in Marietta, which was holding a Scottish Heritage “Kirkin’” Service.  I thoroughly enjoyed the service, from the music to the tartans flying and heard a very good service on heritage.  The preacher spoke about how followers of Jesus need to be careful that in the zeal of celebrating our heritage we not offend others, for we need to remember that Jesus calls us into a new kingdom.






 Knowing that Monday was going to be all rain (as the remnant of the hurricane moved over us), I spent Sunday afternoon exploring north Georgia.  I always like visiting Cartersville (it’s a great place to watch trains) and I walked around the town.  

remains of 19th Century Iron Furance
I also headed over to Cooper’s Furnace, which was an iron making venue in the first half of the 19th Century (it all came to an end with Sherman’s march down through the area on his way to Atlanta and today part of the site around the furnace is at the bottom of Lake Allatoona.  While there, I was able to see a demonstration project for hybrid American chestnut restorations.  The chestnuts were major trees in the Appalachian region of the country but were wiped out early in the 20th Century due to a blight.  Some trees still continue to grow but before they mature, they die back.  The hybrid is an attempt to reestablish the chestnut. 
Allatoona Dam

America Chestnut


Barber Shop roofing in Cartersville

Monday was a day of rain.  I left for home early on Tuesday.  While driving, I finished listening to The Wright Brothers as I tried to cut through the country and avoid the mass parking lot known as I-75 as people headed back to Florida.  Unfortunately, the area between Atlanta and Macon received a lot wind and there were many trees down and the power was mostly out, so instead of sitting on the interstate, I sat on US23, waiting in long lines to get through one stoplight towns (with a stoplight not working, causing traffic back up).  I returned home late in the afternoon, to a bunch of limbs in the yard, but thankfully no down trees and no flooding.  Unfortunately some on this island were not as lucky as the storm surge moved in and flooded many garages and a large number of cars and golf carts was destroyed.  

27 comments:

  1. I'm glad you didn't return to a scene of destruction and that the affects of that storm were minimal.

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  2. You had a very interesting exile from Irma and I'm glad you made the most of your time away. I like that license plate roofing in the final shot.

    What was wrong with the potato chips? That sounds like a tasty combo to me.

    I know it can all change at the drop of a hat, but I sure hope Maria doesn't cause even more trouble in the Islands.

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  3. Sounds like you made the best of your evacuation. These weird flavored potato chips that are cropping up are never good. I had ones made in coconut oil and they were atrocious.

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  4. I know this storm was awful. Im glad you were ok.
    And today I heard about other storm in Caribe and Haiti !

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  5. I have the Wright Brothers book on my shelf but I haven't yet read it. I keep passing it over for others but I'm guessing it is about time to read it.

    Many civil war gravestones are approximate in location to the body due to a lot of time passing before loved ones could find the burial location and get the money together for a memorial. I also run into cemeteries that "straightened and organized" sections long after the burials more often than one would imagine.

    I know of a American Chestnut tree that most likely dates back well before the Civil War. It is a huge tree and every time I go by it, I grab some chestnuts to propagate else where. I think it has escaped because it is a loner. So far, the seeds I have planted still grow with no signs of blight.

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  6. I'm glad you weren't badly affected by Irma. All these storms and such are terrifying

    I love your comment about Pat Conroy must have bought gas in Georgia once, it reminds me of the plaque on a rural bridge in Dumfriesshire that says 'Robert Burns once drank from this stream'

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  7. Thanks for this interesting post...sad about the hurricane and glad you were not badly affected.

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  8. I hope you drove through the beautiful and historic part of Milledgeville. And if you passed right by the entrance to Flannery O'Connor's farm, Andalusia, which is on Highway 441. I grew up two miles from there - as the crow flies. It's so funny to me when people only know Milledgeville as the place where the state insane asylum was. It was a beautiful campus when it was open. It is closed now and the older buildings are ghostly looking. I drive through the middle of it on the (Carl) Vinson highway on the way to the Veterans Cemetery where my parents' graves are.

    Madison is a beautiful city - I go to the daytime home tour every year in December with friend Barbara.

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    1. Your blog posts was what drew me to Milledgeville!

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  9. I wonder where in Scotland they came from. Were they really from the Highlands.
    As I said last time, I'm glad you are safe, and but for the tragic premature deaths of the Golfcarts everything over your way is good.

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    1. I am not sure they were truly "highlanders." Many of those who lived around the mountain area were Scot-Irish who mostly came in via Philadelphia and migrated down along the east flank of the Appalachians. There were highlander pockets closer to the coast, who came in to places like Darien, GA, Charleston SC and Wilmington NC... On the island, the golf carts are not just used for golf--they are often used for transportation (we even have one that was from the estate of the couple who owned our house before us).

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    2. Yes, I've often wondered if those feuding replicated not just the realtionships in Ireland but those on the English Scottish border. James IV(I), him of the KJV exported those problem families to Ireland and the USA. And in doing so recreated the Marcher conditions almost in perpetuity.

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  10. Good that you can focus on the places you're seeing while traveling away from a hurricane. I think I spend too much time worrying about home and wanting to get back to it to enjoy what I'm seeing

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  11. Thank goodness, things for you could have been so far worse. I really feel for everyone and still today Maria is causing havoc! I fear for some of the places as well, what once was will never be again. Take good care of you and family.

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  12. I guess it’s good that the hurricane gave you a reason to go exploring. My grandpa lives in Florida, and he stayed through the storm. It blew down a lot of trees, but his house is mostly okay.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  13. Gosh Sage - you were lucky ... it must be terrible dealing with the after effects - so glad you just had the travelling to do ... and not too much damage once home - cheers Hilary

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  14. Interesting travel narrative as usual. Love the part about the church service. Think I have seen that church; my son and DIL attend a Methodist church near there.

    I believe Pat Conroy lived in Atlanta for a while before finally settling in his beloved Low Country in South Carolina. I don't blame GA for claiming him.

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  15. All the hurricanes have just been crazy. I've been watching the news quite a bit lately.

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  16. Forget about Irma cuz Maria is pummeling Puerto Rico right now ... I will be there in December ... vacationing or not ... I will be there and help ... yes. sir Sage ... Love, cat.

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  17. Irma was a psychotic bitch. She did a lot of damage and couldn't make up her mind. Now I have my eyes on Maria, wondering what she'll be doing. This season is so active it's scary.

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  18. I'm really glad that you are alive. And I mean it. Irma devastated my country. Havana is in tatters.

    Greetings from London.

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  19. It’s terrible to see the images and read the stories of devastation from Harvey, Irma, Jose, and now Maria. I’m glad you made it through with minimal damage though.

    Georgia’s claim to Conroy is probably from his birthplace: Atlanta.

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  20. The hurricanes have been bad this year. I feel very sorry for Puerto Rico and who knows how long it will take Houston and the Keys to recover.

    Cartersville sounds like a place I'd like. I love trains!

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  21. So scary. Glad you are OK, and that your property made it through as well. Your road trip sounded like fun, too, all things considered.

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  22. Exploring small towns is so much fun. You find a lot of little gems and a lot of character. Glad to hear you didn't suffer any major property damage in the storm.

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  23. Great post Jeff! It's a good thing that weather, and climate change is just a hoax. What? Thanks for the very interesting photo tour. I always enjoy your running in narrative also.

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  24. ...is it me or have the storms and hurricanes been far, far worse this year!
    Glad to read you are ok.

    All the best Jan

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