4 July 2008
We have arrived in Santa Barbara, but we don't know how long we'll be here.
As I sit in this very hot house (hot because there is no a/c and we can't open the windows because of the ash in the air), the people around me are packing suitcases and boxes and remain glued to the TV, while the power is still on, waiting to find out if we will have to evacuate.
According to what I've seen on TV tonight, our friends Dick and Gerry have already been evacuated. I tried calling them, but there is no answer at their house and cell phone signals in the area may be out.
Of course there is no internet connection because the router is turned off, so who knows when I will get this posted.
We actually had a fairly uneventful drive down. We left Davis around 1:30 p.m. and except for about one 20-minute stretch of heavy traffic, had a smooth drive down.
Shortly before we hit King City we could see the back side of one of the fires from over by the coast, at Big Sur.
California is on fire. I can't remember how many fires are burning around the state, but hundreds. [morning addendum: over 1700 fires around the state .]
It was clear from King City to Buellton, where we stopped at the famous Pea Soup Anderson's for some of their world famous split pea soup for dinner.
By the time we left Buellton, it was dark and we couldn't really see much until we got to the coast where we could start seeing a slight orange glow ahead of us. The closer we got, the brighter it got. At one point we could actually see flames on the hillside. As of this writing, they guesstimate some 3,000 acres are involved.
It was not long after we got here that the CHP started closing freeway offramps, including the one we had just taken.
In truth, this place doesn't appear to be in the line of any of the fires, unless the wind shifts. I don't think that we will have to evacuate, but nobody is taking any chances.
As for Tom & Joe's annual barbeque, it's iffy. For one thing, they have been unable to do their shopping for food because the power has been out at Costco for the past two nights. Then, even if the fire danger lessens, there is still the smoke and ash in the air. You can't go outside without a mask on. They are advising people to stay indoors all weekend, saying children are especially vulnerable, so I suspect Brianna will not see her first BBQ after all.
But in the meantime it's about 90 degrees in here, I have been awake since 3 a.m. and I forgot to bring lightweight night clothes, so I expect to sweat all night. I hope the police don't come along with bull horns demanding that we leave.
Morning addendum: Joe turned on the router, so I'm able to post this. I slept under a ceiling fan and slept so well, that, except for an hour around 5 a.m., I slept until 9 a.m.
The Dick and Gerry were evacuated (including 65 scrapbooks) but are OK.
We still haven't reached Tom and don't know if the BBQ is going to happen tomorrow. The newspaper advises that people not go out in the air unless they have to, so I know there is no way Brianna will be at the beach tomorrow.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 56 miles