After Hurricane Matthew hit Tybee Island, there was a real concern that River's End Campground wouldn't be open in time for the 2nd leg of our Coastal Caravan. Our reservations were to begin on Sunday, October 30th. That would give Tybee Island three full weeks of clean up to restore power and utilities, clear the roads of debris, and get back to business as usual. We all had our tires, er, fingers crossed we would still get to camp there.
River's End Campground sits on the northern end of the island, so it had to deal with water coming from three directions: the Intercoastal Waterway, the Savannah River, and the Atlantic Ocean. The campground sits below sea level, so we knew it would be hit hard.
Shortly after the hurricane, the first reports started coming in. The campground was completely under water. Four huge pine trees had fallen. There was debris from falling limbs and neighborhood trash washing into the campground. The picnic tables were swept away into the streets, into yards, and even into the nearby salt marsh. There was no power or utilities. Things looked bleak for Momma Sharon and her Beach Peeps.
Some of those Beach Peeps made the decision to cancel their reservations even though my Camper Mom kept saying, "Sit tight. We will wait and see." She got a call from Tiffany, our group contact from River's End, that the campground would be opening on Tuesday before we were scheduled to arrive on Sunday!! Woohoo!!
As soon as we arrived on Tybee Island on October 30th, we noticed massive amounts of debris by the roadsides and piles of household trash ranging from mattresses to stoves, carpet to furniture. It was a sad, sad sight. River's End Campground looked great, almost as if nothing had happened, but we knew better.
Our Camper Folks knew it was important to spend money in the shops and restaurants and support the community. Tybee Strong was a phrase we heard throughout the week. One of the places Mom and Aunt Becky went to eat was North Beach Bar and Grill, right across the street from the Lighthouse. What they didn't know was that the parking lot between the restaurant and the beach had been turned into a drop zone for 50,000+ yards of island debris. Mountains of trees and branches were piled into rows reaching unbelievable heights!
From their table at lunch on Monday at the North Beach Bar & Grill, my Beach Peeps watched truck after truck dump debris on those piles. It was loud, there was dust flying around in the air, but it was a good feeling to know that our Camper Moms and Dads were willing to patronize the restaurant and I'm sure their business was appreciated. We learned that the trucks and crews were from Alabama and they were earning their pay for sure. A lot of them went in for lunch too.
Despite the noise and distraction, Mom and her friends really enjoyed their meal. So much so that they returned again on Thursday for lunch. Aunt Becky snapped several photos through the screened-in porch of the action. Once again, the work was non-stop. The huge conveyor belt deposited mulched material into even more mountains.
Momma Sharon said that the noise from the machines was loud, but the wonderful smell of the mulch made it bearable. Kathrine Williams, the co-owner, thanked my Camper Mom for coming in not once, but twice during the week.
Tybee Strong . . . we heard the chainsaws and hammering all week. Tybee Strong . . . the shop workers thanked us for coming in. Tybee Strong . . . a community pulling together after a devastating fall hurricane.
Thanks for stopping by this evening for a serious chapter from my CCIII Storybook. Until you return, always remember . . .
"Peace, Love, & Tybee Strong"