Following our Tennessee assignment — and Mississippi stay, seeing how we were not going to stay in Memphis, thank you — we headed to Kingsland, Georgia. Papa ‘Skiy was due in Jacksonville, Florida, and Kingsland is a brief drive from where he needed to report.
The campground we chose was amazing and we’d highly recommend the North Jacksonville/St. Mary’s KOA in Kingsland anytime. From the fun things for kids to do (small farm, playground, pool, jumping pillow…), to the teepees you can sleep in, to the free breakfast and delicious BBQ… We met some of the nicest people there, and this is one of those rare KOAs that offers large shaded sites and beautiful canopies throughout.
However, it wasn’t all fun for Mama and the boys or work for Papa.
Hurricane Matthew was in the Atlantic, and he had his sights set on the coasts of Florida and Georgia.
And is it just us, or did the satellite image of Hurricane Matthew — seen above — look like the face of something evil?!
A couple of days into our stay, the campground had to get into hurricane-preparation mode. Chairs and umbrellas were collected from each campsite. Light fixtures and plants had to be taken down and moved indoors. The Halloween decorations had to be removed from throughout the park. Even the teepees had to be uncovered.
We’re proud of our sons for helping the park owners in their efforts to prepare for the hurricane. The boys even got a free pizza and drink for being so helpful and working so hard.
Those who work at the campground went around and advised everybody it would be in their best interest to pack up and relocate across state or elsewhere. Most of the campers chose to evacuate.
But we still had our home in Florida to think about too.
We were very fortunate. If a hurricane was going to hit, the timing couldn’t have been better, seeing how we were staying less than four hours north of our house, and the company Papa works for cut short the assignment in Jacksonville and allowed everyone to fly or drive home to their houses to get it ready for Matthew.
And we did just that.
We’ve lived in the house for ten years now. This was the first time we’d had to use the storm shutters that came with the house!
In a matter of hours we were home and running around like crazy, putting up shutters, cleaning up the yard, clearing the porches…
Once we were done, we drove back to the campground and packed up our own belongings and RV. The next day we set off for the western part of Georgia, far west of the path of Matthew.
We found an amazing state park in Adel, Georgia, called Reed Bingham State Park, just off of Interstate 75, that had a campground. Although the campground was filled to capacity with those that had evacuated due to the hurricane, they were still accepting campers and allowing them to park anyplace we could, and they allowed evacuees to stay throughout the weekend. (If you’re ever looking for a wonderful park or campground in this area, Reed Bingham is huge and beautiful, with places to fish, playgrounds, and a dam you can drive across.)
We checked in and settled in for the night, holding our breath and praying for the safety of our neighbors and friends back home that were in Matthew’s path. And yes, we were extremely nervous for our house and Mama’s car as well.
Most of the night we watched the weather reports and listened to updates about Hurricane Matthew. He decided to make his presence known in the dark early-morning hours. Fortunately prayers were answered and the storm turned northward just enough to only skirt along the coast, as opposed to directly hitting Brevard County and other counties north, as previously forecasted.
Our amazing neighbors checked on our house for us once the hurricane had passed and the winds died down. There were some limbs down and debris in our yard, and a tree that we’ve been trying to get rid of for years had split down the center due to the winds, but there was absolutely no damage whatsoever.
With the all-clear sign, we packed up our stuff and left Adel, heading north to our next assignment in Ohio.
The hurricane caused a lot of damage, but everyone we knew — including those at the KOA in Kingsland — was unharmed and safe.