Sunday, September 17, 2017

Decisions to Make

Blairsville, Ga (high 80, low 58)

Things are a mess in the Keys.

Fortunately, Key West was spared the brunt of the storm, thank goodness.  Key West is such a beautiful and special town, full of history, large old trees and beautiful architecture and although there is damage, it could have been worse.  My cousins house is fine.  No flooding.  A tree or two and some fencing down.  They still do not have consistent power, water, or flushable toilets so they have no urgent need to rush back down.

Information is trickling in, little by little.  Things are not good.  Electricity and cell service is very very limited.   There is limited or no sewer service.  Running water is limited and needs to be boiled but with no electricity, that's an issue.  We did find out that our neighbor Randy who rode out the hurricane, was unharmed and had made his way to the mainland for much needed supplies.

Up until yesterday, most residents were  still being kept out to make room for first responders to remove downed power lines, trees across the roads, washed out roads and to make sure the 46 bridges were safe.  Residents were getting angry.   Many people have damaged property that needs to be secured from the elements and they are very anxious to return home. People are worried about looting. Some people have run out of money and have no food or gas.  Food, water and fuel is still very limited in the Keys.   The powers that be finally relented and as of today have opened up the Keys to residents only and a curfew is strictly enforced.   I have even heard that they are now allowing open carry,  which means you can carry a weapon and not conceal it.

We have two Aircraft carries offshore in Key West proving help, along with the National Guard.   I've seen pictures of Chinook helicopters landing in the grocery store parking lots.  Military is out in force cleaning up.  They are sleeping on cots wherever they can find a place.  God bless them all for helping.  The temperatures are stifling.  Much of the shade has been destroyed and of course there is no air conditioning.

We  already knew our RV had been destroyed from the aerial photos we had seen, but Friday we got some taken from the ground.

To say it was a shock was an understatement.

Most of us have seen news reports from different catastrophes where they paint the red "X"s on property after they check for bodies. These marks identify the agency that inspected, the date and time and on the bottom the number of fatalities. A big "0" means no fatalities.

Someone went around in a golf cart taking video of each street. It was pretty fast but we were able to identify our lot and rig.  Oh the video, you could hear them comment "oh my God" when they saw ours.

Sorry for the bad quality of these pictures.  They were screen shots from a video.  The white Wildwood that is still standing is not ours.   Ours is the pile of rubble to the right of it.

For some reason, seeing the orange marks on our RV hit me really hard. It's something you see on the news all the time, but man, it really hits home when it's on your home.  The furniture sitting outside got to Al more than me.  I never liked that furniture.  haha

The following picture shows it from another angle. This is the bottom of the RV.  More orange writing

We do not know why our RV came apart like it did, when others did ok.  We think it was mostly because ours was hit broadside with Cat 4 winds with nothing to buffer the wind.  Our lot is near the open water with a row of tall stilt houses as the only thing that is in front of us. The stilts allow all the open air to rush right onto ours broadside. The open air that always gave us such a nice afternoon breeze was our downfall.  We are guessing the broadside wind found an opening and tore it apart. Perhaps we buffered the Wildwood next door because it looks to be in pretty good shape.   The stilt houses did fine, but those stilts did not block any wind from hitting us.  Perhaps it was a small tornado, but whatever it was, it did a good job on our RV

We have filed a claim with Progressive. I am so thankful we have Progressive because as a former claim adjuster, I know them to be fair and professional.   We even got a call from USAA since they referred us to Progressive since they don't write full coverage on rv's in Florida. They offered their assistance if we had any issues with Progressive.   A team of CAT adjusters will be in the Keys as soon as they are allowed.   We have $15,000 in additional coverage for contents. We should be ok there but I don't think they won't cover anything outside the rv. Unfortunately the contents will be depreciated depending on the age.  Now, we need to start making a list of everything in the RV.

We have no more info on the boat other than a picture of the storage lot where it was located.  We do not know which is our boat.  Hopefully it is not a total loss.  Fortunately, it is also insured with Progressive.

So what do we do now?  Go down and try to salvage some of our things?  Deal with no power or air conditioning, no water, sewer, cell service?   We don't think much from inside the RV will be salvageable, but who knows. We are hoping to find our scuba tanks, bikes and stuff like that.

The thought of going down with no AC is not something we want to do. We would prefer power was restored so that our one night we have to spend there will not be miserable. Will it be worth the trouble for the amount  we are able to salvage?  We just don't know.

 There will be no hotels available but fortunately my cousin offered us the use of their home in Key West. I think they are inclined to wait for the AC to be restored before they go back.  They were nice enough to offer us the use of their home even before they get back, but I doubt we will do that.

To add another problem, there is a new potential hurricane heading along the same path as Irma. The models are showing it as a Cat 3 and heading towards the same islands that were decimated the last time.  No one knows where she will go, but we sure do not want to be in the Keys trying to evacuate for another storm.

So, that is our dilemma.  Since people are heading back today, I'm sure a lot more information will be coming out.  We will give it a few days and make a decision.

We have been watching videos of the destruction in the Keys. It's heartbreaking.

Here are a few pictures of our beloved Florida Keys from the past. The Keys will recover and be the beautiful place we love again.  Many people assume we won't be going back to the Keys anymore.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It is our winter home, we love it there and we will be back.

Would you believe, this tiki hut survived?  A little windblown I'm sure.

Happier days on our patio.

Some the decorations we had that we hope we can find.

I really want to find my wonderful bike.


  1. I'm so glad you were not there when it all happened. I will never forget riding out the 7.9 earthquake only a few miles from the epicenter, in California in 1989. We had lived in our house for less than a year. We had 70 thousand dollars in damage, but due to the way earthquake insurance is set up, we only got about 45K in payment. But at the same time, we were among the few who even had insurance. So many of our neighbors lost their homes.

    The thing to keep reminding yourself of is that stuff can be replaced. Think about how long it took to get rid of things when you were preparing for Full time. Most of the stuff was worth very little in the long run.

    If possible it might be best to hire someone to clear the lot, get rid of everything, and start fresh. Much less dramatic than trying to pull a few things out of the wreckage.

    Been there, done that! At least our damage was not exposed to the weather. Weeks after the earthquake an adjustor came to the house. We went thru boxes of rubble to determine our loss. One thing I did get more than original worth for was my China. I had bought it years before at a big discount, and they gave me the price of a new high end set. Eventually I donated that high end set to a charity shop, but we didn't need the tax deduction because our taxes were already at 0 that year.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  2. So sorry...those pictures are tough!!! They have closed Bahia Honda and Curry Hammock until at least January 1st. They notified us with our refund. I hope you will wait until they get utilities back before you head down. Nothing you can salvage is worth putting yourselves at any risk!! We know you will be back on your deck, but take your time until is safe!!

  3. Thank you Karen for the update. We are so sad for you. Having to face all of this. Wish we were closer so we could help or at least give you support. Please keep strong and keep the blog up so we can follow along on this with you. Big hugs to you both and a calming pet to Baxter.

  4. So sorry to see and read of the devastation to the Keys and your winter home. I can only imagine how different it becomes when those pictures are of your home this time. On a brighter side, at least you weren't there and didn't have to go through the heartaches of the evacuation. I agree, the Keys will be beautiful again and y'all will once again enjoy the winter there.
    Take care and it will all come together...even if it is step by step.

  5. We're so sorry to see that the damage was a lot more than you both expected. We know from experience how sad it is to see your 'stuff' in ruins on piles of debris. I think seeing our stuff in piles was harder than losing it, if that makes sense.

  6. Good thing that you have the proper insurance and that you are safe. Hopefully you can cover some of you possessions, but I guess time will tell.
    Great that you are in Georgia at least and safe.

  7. Like others who have posted a comment, so glad you both are safe. The pictures you shared have to be devastating to you. Glad you are well insured with Progressive, hoping the clean up and restoring your property goes well and fast. Praying for your safety and restoration.

  8. Wow, I can't imagine. I think I'd rather have a total loss, though and have the insurance to buy a new RV. Wouldn't that be easier and quicker? I do hope you are able to find and salvage many of your belongings. We don't even realize how much we have inside our tiny homes. Thank goodness you have another RV. I hope you are able to recover your bike, decorations and all the things that are important to you. Good luck - my thoughts are with you.

  9. It is terrible and those are sure tough choices to make now. We also have progressive and have had one claim some years ago when our last previous motorhome was hit by a drunk driver, they were super in handling the claim and keeping us informed on everything they were doing. Very happy with them. Hope you find them still to be that good.

  10. We feel so bad for your loss, but hope that the insurance company does right by you. Thank goodness you were not in the trailer during the storm.

  11. I was so relieved to hear you were OK and so very sad to see that you lost your sweet rig there in the Keys. I have been a bit absent from blogs but thought I should check in and see how you were doing. It has been ten days since you posted this, so I am rather late, but want to add my voice to those that are letting you know we are thinking of you in this really tough time. Hopefully things will move forward quickly and get back to your beautiful Keys life as soon as possible.


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