Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Traveling is something I personally love to do. I love to drive to places, see things, and just get up and go. I don't particularly enjoy packing and unpacking. And I don't particularly like it when my husband and I have a wonderful trip planned, and one of us gets sick or breaks a knee or something, and the trip is ruined for all intents and purposes. Alan doesn't like to travel, though. He traveled so much when he was working, that he's had his fill.

Weather related bumps, like hurricanes, are an adventure. I remember when we went to Florida and we were heading south into the state and everyone else was heading north out of the state. We thought, wow, the traffic is great. We'll have to come to Florida more often when there is a threat of a hurricane.

We got to St. Augustine just as Francis was slamming into the coast about 50 miles south of there. The people at the resort (in St. Augustine) looked at us like we were crazy. And, I guess we were. But, hey, we had booked this week, and we were going to spend a week in Florida!

The resort was without electricity, as was ALL of St. Augustine. And, no candles. They gave us a low-powered flashlight for the windowless bathroom, but that didn't work very well. You know when the lights are out all over, it really is dark.

There were no phones, including cell phones. I guess the satellite system was overloaded.

A couple of times during the next two days they would knock on our doors and tell us to get into the bathroom because there was a tornado warning. We never saw a tornado, just lots of wind. And they never let us know when the tornado warnings were over. Do you know how many hours we spent in that dark, windowless, airless, lightless bathroom? Lots!

After three days the resort was STILL without electricity, and no idea when it would be turned on. That also meant that the Publix up the road was without electricity, which meant that we had no food, because I didn't bring any with us, not even soft-drinks, and no place to purchase any. We lived on peanut butter crackers and water, for three days. After that the water ran out and we weren't allowed to drink the water without boiling it, but since the resort had ELECTRIC stoves and no electricity, that wasn't an option.

Being the pioneers we aren't, we headed out into hurricane-torn northern Florida foraging for food and drink. And gasoline. We had not gassed up for a long time and we were really, really low. Did I mention that gas stations aren't open during a electric blackout? The pumps are run by electricity. So we headed NORTH on Route 1, because we figured the storm came in south of us and north of us would have less damage. It did, and we had enough gas to get us almost to Jacksonville where we found a gas station that had food. We still found no Publix or Winn Dixie stores that were open. So, after three days of crackers and water, we bulked up with fruit juice, more crackers, bread, hotdogs, mustard, and potato chips. Hey, it was a gas station, they don't have a necessarily wide selection of food, and when we got there, the shelves were pretty much stripped.

Back we went to our condo -- well, not our condo, we were supposed to be in the penthouse -- but that was eight stories above ground level and with no electricity, there was no elevator, and the staff at the resort wouldn't let us try to use the stairs for that many levels. I wonder why. And, to get into our unit, the swipe card didn't work (electrical thing again), and so we had to go to the desk and get some staff person to open the door with a real key for us. Did I mention that by this time we, Alan and I, had this entire resort to ourselves? All the other people who were stupid enough to check in the day we did, left as soon as they could. But not us, no siree. We hung in there.

Finally, on the fifth day, the resort said they were sending us to another one of their resorts further north FOR FREE for 7 days to make up for the week we didn't get to spend enjoying their facility in St. Augustine.

Would I do it again? You bet. Call me stupid.


Fro said...

I'm surprised they didn't make you leave earlier. Not my idea of a vacation, though. :)

Judi Hahn said...

It was actually not bad. We'd gone through the same thing one time previously, so we were not unaccustomed to what we had to do. Just surprised at how long it took this time to get the electricity going. As we headed north we saw lines of electric company trucks heading south on I-95. They got electricity sometime. I know, because we passed the place on our way home last month.