Vacation EvacuationNovember 22, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Our Love Story, Wild Stories You Just Wouldn't Believe | Leave a comment
Tags: disability, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, love, love story, Megan Cutter
So we were supposed to go on vacation for our 5th year anniversary to relax, and it had been our only vacation for the year. We did relax, in fact, we had an incredible week, but we also had a bit of adventure getting home.
Why Did We Stay?
Tuesday, we realized that the storm was headed toward the Outerbanks, and there was a possibility of flooding. We decided to stay for several reasons. While we were right on the sound and beach, we were in a secure house, and the main living area was on the fourth floor. We had groceries, everything we needed to ride out a storm. And we knew if we went home, we would just be sucked back into that long list of things to do that would intrude on this time together that we really needed.
Bracing for the Storm
In preparation for the storm, we made sure we had all the food & water we needed. We drove the van a couple of miles up in case of flooding where we were. In the next several days, we experienced little road over wash, rain and wind. The wind was like nothing we had ever heard of, and the waves crashed between 6-12 feet. At one point, we were sitting inside and looked out the window to see an orange beach chair tip over and slide across the balcony to wedge itself under the ledge. And I admit, I did quite freaked out when the mirrored clock on the wall shook as did the rest of the house against the force of the wind.
Saturday, we received a call from the house rental company- an evacuation ferry was leaving in an hour to go to Occacroke. An hour, but there was no way. We didn’t even have the van- I didn’t even know if I could get the van. We weren’t getting off by road as the roads by Rodanthe were completely washed out, and there was no way to know when they would open up the roads. She did tell me the numbers to the ferry so we could find out when the next one would be leaving. Right away we called to book a ferry on the mainland from Occacroke to Swan Quarter, with hopes that we could get to Occacroke in time. We called the island taxi service, however she called about a mile from where we had parked the van with news that she had to turn around. I knew that we needed the van and walked two miles in the wind and rain to pick it up, several times having to climb the dunes to avoid the flooding in the roads. I was a little concerned, after all, I was going to have to drive back.
That night, I could hardly sleep. Waking up at two in the morning, I began packing and loading the van. At four am, I could see the travel on the roads pick up, cars headed into Hatteras village. I woke Barton up with a start and began rushing to pack the van. While I didn’t know exactly what was going on, I knew we needed to be there. At five thirty, I called the ferry. Ferries were going out, on an evacuation basis. We rushed to get everything packed, and headed through the flooded streets. Driving through Hatteras Village, the water got higher and higher around the accessible van we had rented (which was heavy and only 2″ off of the ground). Just the day before, we had ventured out, but turned around due to the road over wash. Several times, the battery light came on- we were getting wet. Yet, we knew we had to forge ahead.
In the ferry lane, we discussed what to do. Should we try to wait it out a few more days? Should we see what Occacroke would be like? What if the battery died? What then? Finally, I noticed a couple of other cars, which were also low to the ground. I asked them about the roads, and we struck up a cool conversation since one of their cars was also accessible. We chatted about accessible vehicles, adoption among other things. It was a great connection and camaraderie!
The men and women loading the boats were absolutely incredible. What a job they had getting every car they could off the island. In Occacroke, the roads weren’t as bad as we thought- with flooding in localized places. However, the restaurant that we had eaten at earlier in the week was completely flooded with water. Because we had made a reservation, we were able to secure the ferry to Swan Quarter. We stopped at the local store, picked up lunch and ate in the car. We waited another several hours to board the ferry that would finally take us home. The dogs began barking and whining on the ferry from Occacroke to Swan Quarter. I didn’t blame them- they had been in their kennel for over seven hours at that point.
Finally, on dry land, or so we thought, we touched down in Swan Quarter. We got a little turned around as we headed home. Now safely at home, we have tales to tell from the sea.