Finally Getting Down to Work

So I found out that the ‘man camp’ was set up as a staging & hospitality site for the utility workers, but will now be used as shelter for displaced area residents:

Tent City at Racetrack Now Housing Evacuees from Toms River

Unfortunately, it sounds like the conditions there are less than ideal:

Bitter cold inside a disaster shelter

When I spoke to Rudy Weds. night, he was sitting in the lobby of his hotel, and he said it was non-stop linemen/electricians/other workers, checking in from all over the country. He heard they had reserved around 150 rooms in that hotel alone.

The winter storm dumped about 10″ of snow where Rudy is working. Their equipment will be housed in Toms River, but they will be working on the barrier island east of there. If you saw the photos of the mangled roller coaster sitting in the ocean, that is Seaside Heights. He worked in that area on Thurs.

Many of the people who live on the island have not been able to return yet to see the damage to their homes. They are starting to bus them in for a few hours to retrieve important personal items.

Here is a really interesting website with interactive aerial photos of before and after Sandy of various places on the New York & New Jersey coastlines. If you drag your mouse from right to left over the photo you will see the changes:

Huffington Post Photos

It might take a while for the images on the site to load, but I thought it was worth the wait.

All the Comforts of Home?

This morning they returned to the ‘man camp’.

The “Man Camp”

It had all the comforts of home – a gourmet kitchen:

Fine dining room:

And custom laundry service – would you like light or heavy starch?

Rudy didn’t get a photo of where they would sleep. Which is just as well, because about then I’m wondering what I encouraged him to get himself into? It looks like something out of the old M*A*S*H* TV show. I can’t imagine him having to work 16 hours a day, in the cold and rain, and then THIS is where he gets to spend his down time? What kind of rest & rejuvenation can he get in an open air, leaky tent??

Fortunately, they found out their ‘home base’ was going to be further south in NJ, in the town of Tom’s River. So they spent the day moving all of their equipment down to the staging area there. And then the good news, they have motel rooms reserved in AC (Atlantic City) for the next few weeks! Yea! A real bed, heat, and a hot shower every night.!! This is what the drive south looked like:

Hopefully when the weather clears tomorrow they can get started working and help restore power to all those poor people who are still without electricity for almost 10 days now.

Convoy

They made it as far as Altoona IA Sat. night. Four more crews were meeting them there from other parts of SD. There are 10 vehicles traveling together in a convoy – line trucks, cranes, bucket trucks, a bobcat (that’s on a trailer – I’d hate to drive a Bobcat that far!!) and I’m not sure what else – those were the ones I could make out in the photos that Rudy sent me Sun. morning just before they hit the road again:

They spent Sun. night in Reynoldsburg OH. I think they drove about 650 miles. Here they are fueling up again this morning in Reynoldsburg:

Plans seem to change minute by minute. I can’t imagine the amount of coordination it takes to get all the people and equipment and supplies in the right places at the right time. Today they are heading to Harrisburg PA, which is apparently a staging area until they are needed in NJ. They’re not sure if they will spend some time there, or continue on to NJ tonight. There is talk that they may be housed in a racetrack or soccer stadium that has 4000 beds set up – a ‘man camp’ Rudy calls it. Time will tell……

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