Thursday, September 21, 2017

from Salem to Redding


It is odd to be posting about my travels after spending the last two weeks totally immersed in the weather channel and worrying about Tom.
The three major hurricanes that just monopolized our attention for weeks were preceded by the fires in the west that plagued Jo and me as we headed south from Salem back to Redding.


We spent several nights parked at a casino in Canyonville, Or.  The above photo (and below) shows the smoke that covered the mountains  and kept my eyes watery for days.   


The scenery on this leg of the trip should have been spectacular.  The fire was between Interstate 5 and Brookings on the coast.  The word we received was that the fire was in such a remote area that the firefighters were simply going to let it burn.  They projected it would not be out until mid-October.


I kept thinking about the amazing redwood trees that we drove though on the coast and wonder if any of the giants were being destroyed.


Our last stop in Oregon was at Gold Hill where my nephew, Mike and his family have moved.  I parked at their house in San Jose when they were packing to make the move north to be with their darling grandson, Wyatt.


The house is lovely, located on about five acres....


...complete with deer and wild turkeys.


Mike fired up the grill and fed everybody--something he seems to enjoy and he is really great at it.


Mike and his son-in-law.


Daughter, Caitlin and Mike's grandson, Wyatt.


They have a great spot for parking complete with hook ups.  This may be my favorite RV parking spot .


Wyatt was a good source of food for the dogs.


Here are four generations...Jo in the middle, Mike's wife Dee on the left, her daughter Caitlin with the newest generation, Wyatt.


As we crossed into California, Mt Shasta looked like a faint dream through the haze of smoke.
I dropped Jo off in Redding then headed east. I sure enjoyed having her company for a month.  (So did Daisy.)
I just looked at the calendar and realize today is exactly one month from the day of the eclipse.  So many emotions crammed into one month.

Update from Tom after Hurricane Maria

Tom posted an update on Facebook. I'm sharing it here for those who don't follow Tom there.
2 hurricanes down and more to possibly come.
I have not answered texts, FB, emails, or voicemails due to lack of communications. There is occasional WIFI set up by good smaritans in town that I have to walk up to the highest building in town, I have only been using it to check weather forecasts between mandatory curfews, so most my time is spent at home watching all the barely running cars drive by and pedestrians walking by with random items and water bottles. 
I am not going to post pictures of the damage of the washed up boats, destroyed homes, or destroyed businesses as they are owned by people I know and I would not appreciate people posting pictures of my destroyed whatever if it happened to me.
I am very lucky to live in the building I am in, it is solid concrete with steel shutters over the windows and flood proof, and I have water pressure. 
The best purchase I randomly made right before this is a reverse osmosis water filter. And by the miracle of my great circle of friends from Inn at Tamarind Court, they provided our apartment building with a generator and fuel that we run 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening.
I have the best neighbors ever and we all look out for each other always making sure someone is at the building at all times. 
Sadie Sea got a little beat up with the windows being blown out due to winds at 220mph. But is solid as ever and is one of 5% of the boats that survived on St John. Several of my boating friends that decided to ride the storm out on thier boats are gone. Hurricane Hole, where many boats went for protection, is a complete disaster. 
Before the first storm the Coast Guard did an amazing job of evacuating women and children off the island. As soon as it was over they were on scene immediately along with a massive military presence on island, along with FEMA. Businesses were looted at first with looters getting a nasty surprise by being arrested by federal agents and now under federal custody.
With the 2nd storm hitting many responders had to leave for safety taking more residents and thier pets off island. Resteraunts that were not damaged are providing free food, the community is strong that stayed. To those that left, it's the best decision you could have made.
 I am going to wait to see what happens with FEMAs response once everything clears up and see what a resource I can be along with the rest of the community.
Please do not like this post, share it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

St John survives Maria!!

I just received a phone call from Tom on St John. Here is the best I could make out from a very poor connection:

"Mom, I'm okay. The boat's okay.  The storm was wild but there is little damage to those things Irma did not already wreck.  I'll ................everybody...............phone................(nothing)"

I think he was trying to tell everyone "Thank you for the prayers, best wishes and concerns."

Now I can go back to happier blogs but will continue to update on the island from time to time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Some photos and pics from Coral Bay after Hurricane Irma

From Ron.
My brother Tom's boat, The Sadie Sea, rode out Hurricane Irma tied up near the USVI National Park Vistors Headquarters in Cruz Bay, St. John. According to Tom, his was the only boat to survive intact.

I found these pictures and articles today with stories about the conditions on St John after Hurricane Irma.

From National Parks Traveler:
The Sadie Sea is on the left, red hull.

From National Parks Traveler:
 The Sadie Sea in forground.

From The Boston Globe (Sep 12)
You can see the slip that Sadie Sea was in. The Sadie Sea was not there when this photo was taken. You can see how all the leaves were stripped from the vegatation on the hillsides.

Another from The Boston Globe (Sep 14)
A closer look at Tom's neighbor, listing dangerously to starbord.

The two websites have pretty detailed stories about St John as of a couple of days ago. I will try to post how thing look tomorrow when Maria passes by.






A few words from Tom

"Getting ready for round 2, boat is secure, in a secure house,
plenty of food and water.  Coast Guard and FEMA kicking ass!!!

According to the weather channel, winds have reached 50 MPH on St John and expected to go over 100 MPH by midnight.

Message body


The following are pictures I took on the Island two years ago.  Such a beautiful place.

 


Son, Tom


The Virgin Islands have been the US playground forever...


...and will be again.

Remember when.
Roofs now gone, trees uprooted or completely leafless.


Sadie Sea has survived the onslaught but almost no other boats from the island remain whole.



Sadie Sea has been evacuating people off the island for the last week.









What will become of the annual fundraiser for Team River Runner?




With scenery this beautiful the Islands will rise again.  But they will need lots of help.

                                                                  Stay safe, Tom.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tom and St John Update, Mon, Sept 18

I cannot believe it is happening again.  Hurricane Maria is due to pass St. John sometime tomorrow (Tues) as a Category 4 storm.  It will be close enough to be extremely dangerous and to cause more damage to an already devastated area.

I spoke with Tom briefly yesterday and Ron spoke to him this morning.  Conversations were broken up and very garbled before we were completely disconnected but the following is what we were able to discern in the brief time.

*First, while Tom was working with recovery (clearing, ferrying, etc) he experienced some extreme dehydration and was taken to a hospital. (I am not sure where)  A saline injection was administered and he was kept there for one day before being sent home with orders to stay out of the sun for several days.  This is enough to make me (his Mother) extremely worried.

*On St John his boat (the Sadie Sea) is the only one to survive as operable so he has been using it to evacuate people from the island and to bring supplies when available.

*There is good government support at this time.

* The Army and one aircraft carrier are there right now.

* He has food and water to last a while.

* His apartment is cement and holding up--so far.

* He is not going to leave the island at this time because: "I can help with the boat during recovery," he says.  So I will worry some more.  I keep reminding myself that he was in the Strike Force with the Coast Guard, so he is pretty knowledgable.  Still, I worry.

The singer, Kenny Chesney, lost his home on St John but he has been donating lumber and supplies to the islanders.

If anyone would like to help out the following are websites that Tom and Ron (who did some research) are recommending:

Go Fund Me

Kenny Chesney's Love for Love City Foundation Benefiting Irma Disaster Relief

From his web site, there are links to PayPal to donate.


Thank you to family and friends for your concern and best wishes.  I will keep updating until hurricane season ends.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Update on Tom and the USVI

The following are excerpts from the on-line newsletter, "St John Source"
While it seems as if the suffering and damage to the USVI has been lost in the news of Hurricane Irma striking Florida, the territory is beginning to get attention.  Gov. Kenneth Mapp visited St John, Tuesday, dashing across the island in a five-vehicle convoy, lights flashing and sirens blowing.  He was pursued by a press contingent that included a crew from HBO's 'Vice News', the Boston Globe and the Washington Post.Stephanie Guyer-Stevens from Public Radio International delivered an 18-minute report for NPR.
John Covell who is coordinator for FEMA stated, "The groups who have stepped forward ...they're making things happen in a really wonderful way."
"Our first priority is water and food security, which is now stable...but we're keeping a close watch, and other life sustaining operations like road clearance, distributing tarps so people have shelter," said Covell
Ryan West from the volunteer group Love City Strong said two restaurants have been contracted by the Red Cross to provide two meals a day for 30 days.  The two restaurants are feeding anyone who is hungry.
The Coral Bay shelter finally got a shipment of cots.  For the last six days many of the people staying at the shelter have slept on blankets lying on the floor or on tables.  

(In the newsletter, "St John Source" that I have been receiving daily since the hurricane hit, the Love City Strong volunteer group of young people is mentioned regularly.  They appear to be a very active and inspirational group and I am not surprised.  The two times I have visited the Island I have been very moved by the work the Islanders have done to raise money for the wounded war veterans organization "Team River Runner." Clearly the population of St John is a caring, loving and responding community of people.)

And finally, some people on the island still have their sense of humor...
 A woman was seen in Coral Bay Thursday, leading a pig and carrying a sign that read, "Pet a Pig, it will Make You Happy."
Another woman said recently,  "I would like to send a message to my neighbor.  Please come and get your roof."