From the eye of the storm


On Friday morning…at around 6AM [ the exact time eludes me ], the “eye” of hurricane Matthew reached a point about a hundred yards or so east of the Cocoa Beach Hilton [ where Prototype Rails is annually held]. Having some experience with storms such as Matthew [ I even wrote a research paper on Hurricanes while in college ]  and soon after arriving at Cape Canaveral in 1964 , I was confronted with hurricane Cleo [ the first of about 5 ‘canes that year]. At first I thought it was all great fun…the rather young population at the Cape eagerly generated what became known as “hurricane parties”. Eventually, however, such activities became rather boring. I mean why incase one’s self in a small bar and get stoned when the weather had little to do with the urge to get stoned. And then, of course, there is a big difference between a 20+ yr old consuming quantities of beer and a 30 yr old wondering if his new house would survive the visit from the latest “cane. Rocky Top [ I grew up im Oak Ridge, Tennessee ] was never like this.


At any rate, having spent more than one night without power [ and, thus, no AC ] due to named storms, we decided long ago to follow the commands of local law enforcement and evacuate [ we live in a house sitting at 8 feet elevation]. In fact, I believe the last ‘cane we welcomed personally was Erin with its 100 mph wind speeds as it came ashore near Vero Beach [ no doubt looking for us ]. The effect of it all was that we determined that listening to objects striking the roof during the night [ and hoping the part of the roof under attack was not the train room ], was not fun. Then, in a moment of inspiration we decided that camping out in a large hotel in Orlando was not a bad idea. This yr, however, we decided to take up residence in the Hilton in Melbourne, much closer…comfortably at an elevation considerably above 8 feet. Interestingly, this hotel allows dogs along with their owners when the owners are refugees like us so we had a nice dog show. You might ask, why not the Hilton on Cocoa Beach? Simple, the state issued a mandatory evacuation order for the beaches and I could see it coming.


So, you might also ask, what does this have to do with frt cars? Not much.  But, I have numerous resin frt cars wandering about in the train room. These cars were built in an environment of about 1013 millibars of air pressure. Friday morning the air pressure in the “eye” was at 937 mb. Believe it or not, my ears could detect the change. So, will the resin cars, with air inside at 1013 mg  “pop” their sides? All I have to do is look I suppose but…


Another observation I made is that the sound of objects striking the roof of the Hilton are quite similar to that of tree limbs hitting our house’s roof…although perhaps louder. We had a room on the 8th floor [ top level ].


BTW, if anyone needs any slightly used pine tree branches don’t hesitate to let me know. There’s no rush, I have a huge pile at curb side and it will likely be there during Prototype Rails.


For those curious, our Cocoa Beach Hilton was closed on Saturday.  I understand that the new owners applied hurricane protection devices [ we did glass in our home. ]. I plan to visit with the hotel this coming week for a first hand look.


Last, let me tell you of a wonderful sound. That produced by a garage door opener. IOW, we got power!


Please excuse the out of scope parts of this message. The elation of sending Matthew packing is hard to describe….or control.


Mike Brock


Join to automatically receive all group messages.