September 1-7, 2004

Frances, meandering temptingly northeast of Puerto Rico on 8/31/04 as a strong CAT-4 hurricane.
(Image from NASA MODIS Rapid Response Gallery)

The Crew:

David Lewison (Wappingers Falls, NY)
Scott McPartland (Queens, NY)
George Kourounis (Toronto, ON)
Mark Robinson (Toronto, ON)

SEPT. 1 - 3, '04: The trip begins....On Wednesday, September 1st, after days of careful planning, the Canadians (Mark & George) and the New Yorkers (Dave & Scott) head out towards the Florida coastline. We all met up just south of Washington DC around 2AM and travelled straight through the night along I-95....

What a way to start the trip!!

Early morning Thursday, Benson N. Carolina...Mark demonstrates how strong Scott's brush guard is. He didn't know it would be put to the test about 10 minutes later!!

BAM! While pulling into a gas station, a local (probably distracted by George's antenna-festooned truck) slams head on into Scott & me. We were totally stopped and had laid on the horn for what must've been 5 good.

The brush guard was pushed back a good 3 inches, making the hood impossible to open. Always the problem solvers, we decide to remove the brush guard so we can inspect the damage and see under the hood.

This was the only apparent damage to Scott's truck. We obviously did waaaay more damage to the other guy! Thank goodness for that brush guard, or the chase trip would have ended right there! Of course, we now have to carry a mangled brush guard in the back seat. :-)

South of Jacksonville FL. The gravity of what we're about to do really hits home. Thousands of people are evacuating in the northbound lanes.

Further down the coast near Cocoa, the northbound evacuation traffic thickens. We're the only two morons in the southbound lanes!

Friday morning, Juno Beach FL. All is calm & peaceful at the beach, amidst crashing surf.

One of Scott's many NY-style hand gestures.

Mark assembling his underwater-cam.

George videoing the local people.

Midday, the first outer squalls roll in with brief gusty winds.

We stop to stock up on food at one of the last remaining open grocery stores, a Publix in Hobe Sound. Mmmm....lemon-roasted chicken...

We found an available motel in Ft. Pierce and went scouting for interesting storm preparation shots. This was at the gas station next to the motel.

Scott films the son of the owner of this gas station.

These folks were really quite friendly.

Another amusing phrase.

This about says it all.

Friday last beautiful FL sunset...

At this motel, we ran into Jim Edds, Jeff Gammons...

...Doug Kiesling...

...and Chris Collura.


We all had some fun chatting and sharing our disappointment that Frances had weakened into a CAT-2.


Next Page: Landfall (Sept. 4) --->