We settled into our Charleston house, went shopping, and stopped in at the Sunday markets. At the Sunday Night Market, we saw preparation for a TV appearance and wondered who it would be.
After we got home and put the news on, we found the mayor of Charleston standing right where we’d been, announcing mandatory evacuation of an extensive area including our house. (It is in the yellow area–B–in the center of the evacuation map.)
We are among the fortunate, as our friends Billie and Larry are happy to host us in Asheville, NC for a few days until the evacuation order is lifted. Instead of planning a picnic, we got up Labor Day morning, packed a few days worth of clothing, put the rest of our things upstairs, and hit the road. Traffic warnings were everywhere. A single main highway heads north from Charleston, and at noon on Labor Day, the highway lanes were all to be headed north out of the city. There would be no highway access into Charleston starting about 8 am to get the lanes cleared for the switch. Leaving the city around 9 am, traffic was moderate and we could see the empty southbound lanes blocked at each exit.
We hit heavy traffic before crossing I-95 and again just before Columbia, SC, where we sat still about a half hour as police cars streamed by opening four reversed lanes just across the median. It was frustrating, and so was the diversion off our route that required a ten mile loop to get back to where we were headed.
In all, it took about six hours to get to Asheville, two hours longer than normal. Under the circumstances, we were pretty lucky, as the weather was fine, the rest areas were not terribly full, and it was easy to get gas. By sunset, we were safely ensconced on our friends terrace watching the sun set over the Blue Ridge mountains.