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Since our bags were already packed and sitting by the door, we couldn't let a little storm like Matthew prevent us from taking a trip over 6 months in the making, could we?
Of course not! Through some very careful juggling of remaining vacation time at the phone factory, Bob was able to put together November 3-20th. While working to restore the phone, TV, and internet service to those affected by Matthew, Julie worked her magic and together they have in less than 3 weeks time made the necessary home repairs after the storm, put in almost 200 hours at AT&T, and managed to book a completely new itinerary.
Due to the proprietary nature of the trip (read as "Julie wants to surprise everyone") we are unable to disclose the details at this time. Pay close attention to our Facebook pages though. We are dropping a few subtle hints here and there, and will be posting photos and updates once we are under way. I (Bob) will tell you that most every location we will be shooting will be places neither of us have been to before, and that we are still hoping to get many of those "Bucket List" shots and videos that are on most photographers' lists.
So make sure you let us know of anything that you think is worthy of attention once we have started. We have planned a fairly loose itenerary due to the nature of our work - so special unknown to the general public sights and locations are always welcome suggestions. We will be checking our messages, emails, and as possible our Facebook pages. We are hoping to update the website as well once or twice, but can make no promises due to intermittent internet availability during our excursion.
Have you ever planned a trip for months, saved, bought your tickets, planned your itenerary, contacted people and arranged meetings only to have a category 4 hurricane bearing down on you only 36 hours before departure?
Trust me, it's not something you want! Julie and I have done just this - not in the past, but right now! Hurricane Matthew, currently boasting winds of 145MPH (Category 4) is currently sitting just SW of Haiti with a constantly changing projected path that now places our home well within the "Cone of Uncertainty".
We have pets that are staying home, and have a service to take care of them, along with great neighbors that are more than happy to help out anytime, day or night. All that having been said, would you leave for over 2 weeks with a storm of this magnitude "MAYBE" hitting your home?
That is our predicament now - do we cancel a trip almost 6 months in the planning, and stay home to protect our property "Should" Matthew take aim on our little kingdom, or should we just leave it to chance and take off? Many would say just go, you've made all the preparations and your home has been made ready for the storm.
In 2004, a little old lady named Frances made landfall near Stuart, Florida. At the time, I was enjoying life living aboard my 50' Cabin Cruiser - a mere 32 Tons of Steel that sat proudly in the marina. By the time Frances left town, the marina was in shambles and my beloved cruiser, named "Tropical Depression #2", was well aground on an island where the inhabitants felt that maritime law prevailed and they were entitled to everything I owned.
At the same time, Julie was a real estate investor with 5 homes in various states of construction - she lost most of three of them.
Now, mind you, we were both here, ready and immediately involved in trying to regain some form of normalcy after such devastating blows. Imagine if you will, being hundreds of miles from home and getting word that your home had been lost to a storm.
And then a mere three weeks later Frances' cousin Jeanne decided to visit the exact same locations! I might add that both of these girls were forces to be reckoned with, tipping the scales at better than Category 3 in both cases! Imagine the horror as cleanup was just getting things back to normal!
Exactly - now we have to retrace our journey home, this time without the aid of planning or pre-purchased tickets, and attempt to get to our now non-existant home. In 2004, bridges were washed out and the county was closed down - National Guardsmen (armed) were blocking all roads into the county to prevent looters from coming in. Power out for over 2-3 weeks in places, and although having lost my home and all my belongings, it was my duty to help restore telephone and internet (and now TV) service to AT&T customers. Six months of being scheduled 12 hours a day, 13 days on with one day off. Makes getting things back to normal just a little more that a challenge.
So there you have it - the dilemma faced by Julie and I. Do we take the chance that everything will be OK and leave, or cancel our trip to protect our property should the storm come ashore here.