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Ready to flee should river levees fail
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When the order to evacuate comes today or any time between now and this weekend, Robert Gilley is ready.
So is everybody living at the Two Rivers RV Park, a small and close-knit enclave located on the confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers in rural south Manteca.
“The main road is bleeding,” explained RV park manager Amy Camacho who received word from authorities around noon Wednesday about the potential for evacuation. “If it gets any worse, we’ll have only one hour of emergency notice for evacuation. We’re trying to get everybody out of here if we have to.”
The “main road” is actually a long driveway from Two Rivers Road which dead-ends at the RV park which includes spacious camping facilities closer to the river. It is the only way to get in and out of the park, not counting the levee that hugs it but is closed to the public and is only accessible to emergency and authorized vehicles such as those that are patrolling the areas along the rivers for flood watch.
“We’re pretty much ready. We’re just kind of hanging in there – for now,” said Robert Gilley who moved here four years ago. He is prepared if and when they receive the order to evacuate, he said. That includes calling AAA (American Automobile Association) and making arrangements for them to come and tow his white Mercedes sedan while he drives his pickup.
Camacho said it’s important for everyone to be ready practically at a moment’s notice because “if we do have to go, it’s going to be quick, so we’re just letting everybody know” and be prepared. Some of the residents have already taken their RVs and moved out the night before just to be on the safe side, she said.
Theresa Woolever and daughter Amber said they were “not so worried about the river; we’re just worried about the road.”
They have lived at the park since 2011.
“No, we’re not worried (about evacuating) as you can tell,” said Amber Woolever with a small laugh, gesturing toward the three rambunctious canine pets that they were taking for a walk to the park gate.
“We’re just prepared,” she said.
And if they happen to be marooned where they are, “We got plenty of food. We’re good for two weeks,” said Theresa with a smile.
But if they do need to move out in case of flooding, they are prepared for that too. “We have a place to go,” she said.
The park, which currently has 13 occupants ranging from fancy RVs to simple trailers, is owned by George Turkmaney who also lives at this close-knit community located at the confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin Rivers.
This would not be the first time Two Rivers RV Park is evacuated and closed for an extended period of time. It was under water for months, like much of the south Manteca and areas around the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers during the devastating New Year’s floods of 1997.