Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Major Shift Makes Major Move - Hurricane Ian


So we went to bed last night seeing that the Hurricane had shifted down south of Sarasota...the further south for us, the better for the far south, and worse for being in the DeLand area.  Last night around 2 am I watched the newscast and was about ready to hit the road right then and there...but I can't drive at night like I use to be able to do.  So this morning around 8 am I talked to Marcia about the situation, and we decided to leave the area.  Not only was Ian, as a Tropical Storm, going to pass by within a few miles of where we were, there were going to be many possible Tornadoes in the area too.  Enough is enough...we left and were on the road shortly after 9 am.  Saw the live cams of the Interstates, and they all looked good...not much traffic.  Just so happened to have a break in the rain, so I hardly got wet at all hooking up the car and unhooking the utilities.  Went east to I-95 in Daytona, and north on I-95 to the Jacksonville area to catch I-10 so that we could go west.  Other than about 10 minutes of huge downpour along I-95, the drive was problem free.  Traffic was not heavy, but not light.  It worked out well.

So we made it to Perry Florida, which is along US-19, as is our Condo...but the Condo is about 170 miles to our south.  Bottom line is, we are SAFE, little wind, no rain, and one of about 20 RVs in the Walmart Parking Lot in Perry.  We hope to make it back home tomorrow.  With the Hurricane going so far south, all is well in Holiday/Tarpon Springs area.  In fact, Tampa has done well with this southern path, but Sarasota, Fort Meyers and especially Port Charlotte have been hit hard...and since the path predictors missed on this one, they did not have much time to prepare.  (EVERYONE was saying it was hitting Tampa for the last 2 days prior to last night.)

We had a LONG travel day...lots of stress for the first 4 hours or so.

Now we just fulfilled our day with some gorgeous sunset pictures.  Tomorrow is another day, and we hope to be enjoying it at home in our condo...

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Update on Hurricane Ian Plans


Within hours of my last post saying we were going to Chiefland, I canceled that plan as the Hurricane path moved right for Chiefland.  Late last night the path moved over to Tallahassee, and that model has pretty much held for thee past 12+ hours.  

All of the 'blue' area in the picture above is the 'Cone of Uncertainty' -- where it 'could' head.  The black line is the projected path, or a combination of the many paths, sometimes called spaghetti paths, that they squeeze together to form one path to represent a probable track.  

The thing is, there are MANY MANY spaghetti paths out there.  Keeping track of them in current time can be hard to do.  I am not sure which 'paths' or 'models' are used in the NOAA and the National Weather Service combined site (, but they put out a forecast every couple of hours, and that is what I follow the most.  I let them put the models together, and they come up with a probable path.  As the Hurricane gets closer to landfall, the more accurate the model becomes.  In 2018 when Michael went by us and hit Mexico Beach, their path was within a few miles from where they said it would hit land Monday night, to where it did hit land at 1 pm on Wednesday.  We saw no need to leave with Hurricane Michael, with this one...well, it is closer (not as far off shore).  So Monday we are headed east to DeLand, where Marcia's brother Dean and sister-in-law Caryl live.  That will put us 100 miles further east of the path, however we will still be within the 'Cone of Uncertainty'.  But as the Hurricane gets closer to hitting land, that cone will shrink...and we hope DeLand will no longer be in that cone.  If things change, well, that is why a motorhome has wheels.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Getting far away from Hurricane Ian


If you come back to Florida too early, then you have a strong chance of dealing with a Hurricane.  Ian, at this writing, is still only a Tropical Storm...but that will not last long.  By Sunday night it should be a Category One Hurricane.  By Tuesday morning it should be a Category Three, and when it hits Florida, it will be either a Three or a Four.  Oh, how fun!

This is a snip-it of the MIMIC-TPW2 map of total precipitable water.  If you visit this site here, you can see the full map which includes a 24 hour moving map so you can see right where the storm(s) are moving.  It also allows for you to change the view ranging from the entire earth, to a North America or South America, or other regions.  You can also change the time frame from 24 hours to 3 or 4 days!

So what are we going to do?  The five day forecast calls for this hurricane to hit shore about 50-60 mile south of us...but five day forecasts are just that, forecasts.  The 'cone of probability' ranges from the panhandle all the way down to the keys below Miami.  But most likely, it will land near Tampa.  Because the highways will be full of people getting out of the hurricane's way on Monday and Tuesday, we are leaving on Sunday.  We will travel about 100 miles north to Chiefland Florida.  I hope we don't have to go any further, but only time will tell. 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Blink, Dog Park, IRS Goof, Aunt Mary


To say that I am overly pleased having the motorhome so close is such an understatement.  The "Blink" cameras came in Friday, and I spent a number of hours learning how it all works, and got them set up Saturday for their first night of duty...that brings even another level of satisfaction to this situation.  

Above is a picture I captured from each camera, one looking to the rear, and one looking to the only entry to the storage area.  On Tuesday I am taking the motorhome for a drive, and when I park I am going to park just a bit further away from the fence, and at a slight angle, so that the rear camera will capture more of what is going on behind the motorhome.  Also, there is a tree which has a branch that is hitting the main entry door...I want to stop that from happening.  To get notifications I have to leave my kindle on with the Blink App activated, but that is not a big deal.  (We don't have smart phones, otherwise a smart phone would work too.)  Found a notification that I downloaded to my sounds which says, "Motion Detection", which I now have set up for ONLY the Blink Motion...before it was a general notification, and that was driving me nuts.  Overall I am pleased with the Blink System.  I did add a WiFi extender which allows the cameras to hook onto our existing WiFi system.  It only provides one bar, but it is ample for allowing the cameras to talk to the Sync Module 2 which captures and controls the cameras.  When the motion detection goes off, it captures a minute of video.  I can also manually activate the video, or take camera pictures.  Amazon owns Blink, and two outdoor cameras and the Sync Module 2 comes to $115 through Amazon.  I am opting for the yearly Cloud Service which will allow us to see what is going on inside the Condo when we are gone (will bring the cameras inside, of course), otherwise video would only be captured and stored on a USB drive, which you have to take out and put into a computer.

The first two times I took Indy to the Dog Park, she was the only one there.  I went at 10 am on Tuesday, and found eleven dogs there!  A guy I sat next to told me they come just about every day, some as early as 8:30, and by 10:45 they are all gone.  And yep, at 10:45 it was just Indy and I again.  On Friday we went back at 9:45, and there were 10 dogs there, a few that were not there Tuesday, so a few who were there Tuesday were missing.  So this is going to be our routine, go on Tuesday and Friday early enough to beat the heat and see other dogs there.  Saturday Marcia got her hair cut, so we went to the park which was nearby, and we were happy to find one other dog there at 12:30. 

On Thursday I gave Indy a much needed haircut.  It is nice to see her eyes again, and I am sure she enjoyed less hair the next day when we were at the Dog Park.  (Even at this earlier time period it is well into the 80's with humidity in the upper 70's!)

On Monday we got a refund check from the IRS...but we had marked that we were going to take the credit on our first quarterly payment, which we did.  I looked it up on the IRS website and they have a section on "Returning an Erroneous Refund."  This is what it says as it applies to us:

   If your refund was a paper Treasury check and hasn't been cashed:

  1. Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  2. Submit the check immediately, but no later than 21 days, to the appropriate IRS location listed below. The location is based on the city (possibly abbreviated) on the bottom text line in front of the words TAX REFUND on your refund check.
  3. Don't staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
  4. Include a note stating "Return of erroneous refund check" and give a brief explanation of the reason for returning the refund check.

So we followed their directions, and I returned the voided check with an appropriate letter.  I always try to remember to take a photo of any letter I send to the just never know, having that picture might save a penalty/interest charge if they don't get it.  Oh ya, they actually have us interest on the less than a hundred dollar erroneous refund check...I told them to keep that interest since I took the credit on our 1st Quarter Check (which I provided a bank statement copy for that check.  And YES, I erased our address in the picture.)

Well, my Sister Sandy heard from our Cousin Debbie that Aunt Mary passed away in her sleep Wednesday night / Thursday morning.  Here is a precious picture, which I shared on the blog back in late July, of Mary and Mom together.  We knew at that visit that Mary had stopped eating a few days earlier, and that it was just a matter of time.  This leaves mom the only survivor of the eleven children that Grandma had.

It has now been two weeks since I got the HHR out of the shop.  It 'seems' to be running ok, but I want to give it another few hundred miles before I write about it.  I need to take it back in a week or so because it does have a check engine light, but I read that with a new computer this is not unusual as the computer learns how the car operates.  It has 160,000 miles on it, and another 100,000 tow miles, so I don't expect it to be perfect...just hoping it gets us around town here and other areas we might tow it to.