As I mentioned in my last post on April 2nd, I made my way north back to Hamburg State Park in Georgia. This is the park I had was at back in November and December of this pasted year, and previously for six months back in the winter of 2017–18. The plan originally was to stay in Florida till 26 April. On April 10th I was going move from Bushnell up to the Tallahassee area. Because my nephew was having a destination wedding there. But due to the pandemic that was put on hold till fall. So, I reached out to the park manager Julie at Hamburg to see if she had a position for me, which she did and was happy to have me come up. You see the Governor of Georgia has decided to keep the State Park System open allowing camping and day-use of the parks, as long as everyone practices social distancing. They did close all the museums, visitor centers, offices, cabins and group buildings to the public. But figured the outdoor activities would have low risk of spreading the virus, and the benefits of having availability of outdoor activities outweigh the risk. There is a lot of mixed opinion from state to state on what is acceptable and what is not. I will leave those decisions up to the politicians. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to do social distancing and be safe. After being here for a little over a week and settling in the things on Easter Sunday spring storms were moving through the Southern United States. With lots of tornadoes popping up in Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Georgia. The storms started arriving here about 2:30am Monday morning. The reason I know this time so well is Maxine was nervous and keeping me awake. She’s always is afraid of thunder and lightning, sometimes worse than others. She was extremely nervous this time, so neither of us could sleep. A little after three the main storm came through with lots of thunder and lightning but not really much wind here at the campground. The power went out at 3:30am and ended up being out for 36 hours. Finally, I got back to sleep around four after most of the storms passed through. The next morning, I got up and drove through the campground to see what kind of damage we might have. I was pleasantly surprised that there were very few branches and limbs down, just some leaves and extra pine needles on the ground. As I said there wasn’t much wind right here in the campground, but boy did I get a surprise when I drove down towards the shop and the office. This is where the damage started. The trees in these photos fell just a few hundred yards from where I had my rig parked, down near the shop this past fall.
When I got to the main road entering the campground, and turn left to go across the bridge that goes to the office, it was completely blocked. Within about an hour the county trucks were there with a large backhoe to open the road up. Here are some photos where the trees fell right on the guardrails at the start of the bridge.
Within a couple hours they had the bridge cleared of trees and the power company trucks got there to start working on the lines that were down across the road.
It took all morning to get the road open back up the traffic. Even though this was quite a mess, just a hundred yards away the Mill was not touched at all. In the meantime, while the power guys were working on things on their end. We got to work on some trees that fell across the driveway going to the Rangers house. Here’s a couple photos of what the driveway looked like.
God and Mother Nature have a way of letting us know “every now and then” who’s really in charge. It was not till midafternoon that I got a chance to get out and see the real damage. The power being out and the trees across the bridge were only part of the issue. Less than a half mile away “as the crow flies”, from where my rig is parked in the campground. Is where the tornado actually came through and did the most damage. What it did was followed a path along the high-tension wires on the neighbor’s property, knocking down huge pine trees like they were toothpicks. On the other side of the Park road, trees were piled on the power lines. Just over the hill from where these last photos were taken, the power guys were busy. Because it took down two of these “Huge Metal Poles” dropping the high-tension wires. Here in this photo you can see two sets of power poles missing. Here’s one of them crumble up on the ground with the cables hanging low. In this photo the new poles are up and all the wires back in place.
Over the next few days we worked on cleaning up trees as much as we could, with help from some of the other “State Forest Guys”. Mike the maintenance guy, here at the park mostly ran the tractor scooping up piles of limbs and piling them in the dump truck. And then I would get in the dump truck and drive it up to the brush pile on the hill dumping load after load.
By day two they had a new power pole up, but you can still see some of the large trees that will have to be cleaned up later. Like I said earlier it took 36 hours to get the power back on to the campground. Which considering all the lines that were down and poles that had a be replaced in the area, this was very fast recovery time. It did take longer in some areas to get power back up. Julie’s house the park manager was out of power till Friday afternoon because they had a wait for a local contractor to fix the standpipe on the house, before the power company could come back with a new pole and transformer and hook power back up to the house. So even though there was some disruption. We are all very happy that there wasn’t more damage, and no one got hurt in the immediate area. It could’ve been a whole lot worse. On a lot a lighter note, I finally got delivery of some snazzy and brightly colored shoes. I had ordered these a couple months back but along with all the commotion going on in the country and the fact that I moved it took much longer for them to catch up with me. But check them out, I think they’re quite stylish.
That’s it for this time. Life never seems to be boring or uneventful for me, but lately I’m wishing for a little boredom. Till next time “Stay Healthy and Safe, out there Everyone”, Rick