Hurricane Irma: Brandon Stooksbury to the rescue!

Hurricane Irma: Brandon Stooksbury to the rescue!

Well, that was fun! Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you saw news about Hurricane Irma, the largest hurricane ever to form in the Atlantic Ocean. That hurricane hit a slew of islands in the Caribbean and looked like it was going to miss us here in SW Florida. It didn’t. The storm went west and the eye pretty much went right over Naples/Bonita Springs. I work in Naples and we live in Bonita Springs…

Hearing people talk about hurricanes, what it sounds like, being without water and power, and the sheer wind gusts, we decided to evacuate. We got in the car and headed for Marietta, Georgia. Sheryl got a good deal on a hotel and we figured we would spend a few days up there until the dust settled. We left home around 1:30 pm on Wednesday and expected to get to Georgia in time for dinner. That didn’t happen!

Traffic was horrible and was stop and go pretty much the entire way. We tried to take some back roads and managed to easily find gas whenever we needed it. Charlie was with us, so it gave us a chance to let him out and for us to grab snacks along the way. Around 10:30 that night we were stopped in traffic and I heard tires screeching… Then I heard a car behind us get smashed. I thought to myself, “Glad that wasn’t our car.” Then we were hit! Great… We were in the middle of freaking nowhere with no hotel rooms and a car we weren’t sure we could drive. A couple hours later the police officer said it was safe to drive so we took off.

Around 12:15 am I saw a sign that said Macon. Hey, my good friend Brandon Stooksbury lives in Macon. Brandon has been bugging me to come visit him for years… So why not see if he was up! We lost our hotel room for that night and were planning to sleep in the lobby. The manager at the Drury didn’t like that idea, so if Brandon had room on his floor, it would be better than nothing.

Brandon was up, checking Facebook, and called me right away. We were still a couple hours from Macon, but he happily opened his doors for us. We got to Macon around 3:15 am. What a relief. Now, before I continue, I want you to know how horrible I feel/felt. First, calling him so late, but also for barging in on him and his family. We planned to get up and leave on Thursday morning… But the traffic was so bad, Brandon was nice enough to let us stay a few more nights. Then the storm hit. Literally, the eye hit Naples/Bonita Springs and from pictures and videos, it was not pretty. Just look at the size of this storm. We got 65 mph winds in Macon, and they had some damage, too. Just crazy how big this storm was.

That all being said, we were in Macon for almost a week. During our visit I worked from home, got the chance to play Idle Hour Club, got to see their lake (twice, as a matter of fact) and spend some quality time with him and his family. As of writing this blog post, most of the I-75 was closed and there was a strict curfew of being on the roads after dark. Also, no gas station had fuel. Here in Macon all of the gas stations are out of gas.

There is a silver lining here. While we were in Macon, we visited all of the local beer places. They have a few breweries here and a place called Growler Spot that sells a wide range of beers on tap and bottles/cans for take out. So that was pretty fun to see some good local spots. We also went to Ingleside Village Pizza, a local pizza place that was really good. When in Rome!

Anyway, that was our life for the last week and I truly can’t thank Brandon enough for opening his home to us. It goes without saying, but he is always welcome in our home if he is ever stuck in a storm! We’ve been here less than a year and have already seen one of the strongest storms ever… So you never know!

Tip of the cap to Brandon for his friendship and for being there when we truly had nowhere to go. Macon is also pretty great. Small. Quaint. Quiet. Anyway, we are safe and back in Naples. Let it be known that Brandon helped make this week manageable. Cheers to you, sir.