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.