Tuesday, June 27, 2017

OMG! We had to Flee from Silent Valley Today

This has been a strange start to the week.  I know I just posted a few days ago, but needed to bring you up to date on what has been happening.  
As I said before, Tony came up to see us at Silent Valley on Sunday. He had worked six hours (as an Uber driver in the San Diego area) before driving the 99 miles to get to where we were.  It was great to see him, even if he was almost unrecognizable.  
You saw the picture of him kayaking with Woody, in my last blog.  Now he has much longer hair..............and it's a lot more gray than it was.  I'm jealous of the gray.  
I thought we could all go for a nice swim at the adult pool later, when it cooled down a bit more, but Tony was just too tired.  We planned to go swimming on Monday instead.  
I also want to include the picture I took of Jim that day.  He was pretending that our cold drink holders were a pair of binoculars.  LOL.  One might find it hard to believe that after 34 years of marriage, he could still surprise or amuse me, but one would be wrong!  There's never a dull moment with Jim around.
Anyway, back to my story...............after lunch on Monday, it was too hot to be outside, so the three of us played Mexican Train.  Later, when it was time to take the dogs outside (around 5 pm) we discovered that there was a nearby brush fire, and the sky above us was filled with smoke!  We called the ranger's station to ask if we were at risk from it.  He said as yet, we were not and that the fire fighters didn't want us all leaving and clogging the road.  We decided we might best leave in the morning to get out of the way of the fire, so instead of going swimming, Jim & Tony took down the screen room and packed up all the outside equipment, while I did likewise inside.  We called the ranger at Wilderness Lakes in Menifee to see if we could get in today.  He said he could get us in, but could only guarantee us for two days.  He said we would probably be able to extend for longer, once we got here.  We called the ranger again before dark and he said we would be safe to stay there through the night.  
This morning we woke to clear blue skies and no smell of smoke in the air.  We called the Silent Valley ranger and he said the evacuation warning had been lifted, so we decided to stay at least one more day.  I called back to the ranger in Menifee, and pushed back our arrival by one day.  After breakfast, Tony left, and we took showers, before going down to the post office and over to Beaumont to take a look for ourselves.  We were horrified to find that the fire was burning up the hillside towards Poppet Flats....and Silent Valley.  The smoke was so thick I could hardly breathe.  We decided we should pack up and get out before the fire got any closer. 
 These are shots Jim took from the WalMart in Beaumont.  I don't know how well you can see the smoke, but you surely could smell it!  We called back to Wilderness Lakes and they said that yes, we could still come down today.  We rushed to pack up...........again, and left there at noon.  I know they were expecting more problems because there were SIX fire trucks in the Silent Valley parking lot across the street from the entrance!  When we got to the top of Poppet Flats Road, to turn onto Highway 243, there was a Riverside Sheriff's car watching over pallets loaded with bottled water and Gatorade, which we believe was there for the fire fighters that they expected would be up there before long.  We said a prayer and headed down the hill, got onto I-10 west and then onto Highway 79 south to come down to Menifee.  Yesterday the fire was raging on BOTH sides of Highway 79, but early reports this morning said that the road was open, so we hoped we could come that way, saving us at least 40 miles, I would guess.  After about ten minutes, we got the where the fire had burned.
 These are views of the burned areas we drove past on our way south to Menifee.  It was very disturbing to see all 

this blackened ground.  I read on my tablet that a car crash had caused this fire.  That is very sad, and we don't know if the people in the accident are OK or not.  It was a relief to know this fire was not arson, as too many brush fires are found to be.  Just a few miles farther south from all of this we got to San Jacinto and Hemet, where you would never have known there was a fire nearby.
Later these areas will all be brown from the arid conditions, but it was nice to see how green they are right now.  We arrived here at Wilderness Lakes about 1:30 pm, and found that the park is very, very full.  We drove around in the area where the 50 amp sites are located.  Since it has been quite hot, we hoped to get a 50 amp site so we could use both of our air conditioners.  We weren't having any luck, so we stopped to unhook the car...........and I drove the car with Jim following me.  As we got to the very back of the park we saw a man in a very large motorhome who was either coming in or leaving.  I rolled down my window to ask and he said he was moving to a longer site, so as he pulled out of this one..........I pulled in with the car!  Jim had to go down the row a bit to turn around and come back to it.  In the meantime, a guy with a 5th wheel tried to move into the site I was holding!  Jim pulled in and the guy said he was going to take the site.  Jim informed him that WE were already IN the site, so he left and found another.  
Jim hooked up the electricity so we could turn on the A/C units, and we took the dogs out for a quick comfort stop.  Then we got busy setting up the site.  It is a smaller site than we would have preferred to have, but we are just very grateful to have found a site, and doubly happy that it has 50 amps.  We won't know until Thursday if we can extend our stay until July 7th, but we ARE away from the smoke and fire, and it is supposed to cool off starting tomorrow.  So at least for now......we are happy campers!  
As I have said before, life is an adventure and we always find it exciting.  After we got here, Jim told me that when he was driving down the hill he was praying to God for a safe trip and that we would be able to find a good site when we got here.  I always drive the car down from Silent Valley and we hook it up to tow at the bottom of the hill.  I told him I was saying the same prayer on the way down too. We NEVER ever doubt the power of prayer, and we are so very grateful that our heavenly Father is always looking out for us.  Praise God, and please pray that no lives will be lost in these wild fires that are occurring in many places, including southern California.   Bye for today, hugs to all.

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