Monday, July 29, 2013


We are doing "just fine" without the water pump. Gallon jugs of water are meeting every need.  Dishes are washed, we are clean and the toilet is flushed, what more can we ask for.                                                    This situation reminds us of our first experiences tent camping with our children. But back then, we had to deal with flies, mosquitoes and June bugs.

John will change the pump just as soon as we reach higher elevation with cooler temperatures. 

This morning's breakfast consisted of home-made banana bread, a going away gift from Jojo's next door neighbor, Sandy.  And to top it off, fresh oranges from the neighbor across the street.  A wonderful, fresh treat.  

In June, while picking up the wood for Jojo and Cathie's pergola, I noticed a huge number of birds flying around the fascia of the Home Depot.  It turns out that Capistrano has nothing over Home depot.  Hundreds of nests were lined, high up near the top of the building. 

                                     Jojo also grows veggies in her back yard.  She decided to let this artichoke blossom.  It produces a stunning blossom.

After a great night's rest and an equally great breakfast, we are packing our backpack with egg salad sandwiches, raw veggies, chips and plenty of water. Then we are heading off to explore Sequoia National Park.  

A fire has been reported in the park and we are hoping that it will not be near us!  Frankly, I have had enough wildfire excitement to last a long, long time.  

Until next time.... God bless you all.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Here we are, about an hour from leaving Jojo's and now the water pump will not run.  In other words, we have no water.  

We have referred to the Tiffin Allegro Bus owner's manual and have followed all directions.  It is not a relay switch, not fuses, etc.  But it is extremely frustrating.  

Right now, we are looking at all the Tiffin literature trying to locate the placement of the water pump.  If not too difficult, John may replace it.  

Tired Man Carrying Buckets Of Water Clipart by Dennis CoxWe still plan to leave today.  We will purchase gallons of water for flushing and drinking that will last until we can find a Tiffin Dealer to either purchase a pump or fix our pump.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013


The Mountain Fire was ninety-two percent contained as of 
2:30 p.m. today.  Twenty seven thousand, five hundred forty one acres were burned.  Most of the fire was on Federal land and has now been turned over to the San Bernardino 
Federal Forest Team with one hundred forty-six individuals tending the fire.  

Forest Service campgrounds, hiking and bike trails remain closed.  Total containment of the fire is expected by tomorrow, Friday.  But, trails will continue to remain closed until further notice.  

Something that Jojo, Cathie and I have noticed is that we were very sensitive to hearing the roar of airplanes overhead, the rotor beats of helicopters and cloud formations.  We experienced just a bit too much sensory stimulation while on the mountain.  Now that we have been home for four days, I find I am back to "normal," whatever that is.

As we get on with our lives, we are preparing to leave Saturday morning.  What little jobs we had on our list for the motorhome will be completed as we progress north.  

We all spent the week prior to the Mountain Fire at Guajome County Park, one of San Diego County's premier parks.  There we polished and waxed half of the motorhome.  The other half was finished at our moochdocking site in front of Jojo's.  

Why only half?  Because we also played a bit!  We toured the Mission San Louis Rey De Francia. Founded in 1798. The Mission is know for it's architecture - a composite of Spanish and Moorish Mexican.   

Known as the "King of the Missions" San Louis Rey Francia is a National Historic Landmark located in Oceanside, California.

During the Mexican-American war the Mission was used as an outpost by the U.S. military

Later it was used as a Franciscan College.  In 1950 the Mission became a seminary and was used for that purpose until 1969.

The first seasons episodes of the TV series "Zorro" were filmed at the Mission.

Today, it is a working Mission. People in the parish donate their time restoring more ongoing projects.  The Mission has a museum, gardens containing the oldest pepper tree in California being planted in 1830.

 The craftsmanship and artistry inside is breathtaking.  Many

The Mission's paintings are beautiful.  Most were too dark to get a good photograph.  But this one of the empty tomb speaks to my heart and my faith in a living savior.  


Until next time....God bless

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Sunday, July 21, 2013

According to The Town Crier, the fire had burned twenty seven thousand, two hundred sixty-five acres.  Thanks to the overnight rain, the wildfire was being tamed being sixty eight percent contained.  

Firefighting personnel was down  to one thousand eight hundred sixty one firefighters.  One DC-10 had been released. There were still eighty seven fire engines,  thirteen helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircraft.

Because of past and forecasted rains through Tuesday, there are now threats of mudslides.  If it is not one thing it is another.  

The Stellar Jay returned for another day of feasting at the refilled bird feeders.  

The Jay and House Finch were joined by resident squirrels who love raiding the bird feeder.  
Al and Judy, you should be able to identify with the problem below!

After thorough cleaning, power washing the deck and cabin, the windows were washed. Curtains, sheets, spreads, everything washable was packed to be brought back to Jojo's home to be washed free of the not so pleasant odor of smoke.

Furniture was returned to its proper location, photos were rehung as well as other decorative cabin accessories.  
What a difference from the pile what was in front of the fireplace. 

The cabin is now ready for the next renters.

If you ever would like a break from your routine, you just want to get away, maybe you would just like to rent the cabin for a weekend or even a week or two.  

Who could resist the Jacuzzi hot tub that we were way too exhausted to enjoy after our showers at the end of each day.

Even though we were in the throws of anxiety, there still remained the tranquility of being high on the mountain, thankfully being surrounded by majestic pine  and other trees.   

Just before we left for home, I captured these shots below of the results of our work outdoors.   We had a nice, clean hillside in front and in back of the cabin.  We also had sore, tired bodies that need to heal from strenuous work as well as our emotions that were stressed by the uncertanity of which direction the wind would push the fire.     

combustibles under fire proof tarps

Another view from the road

Containers of water remained on the deck "just in case." Signs were left in view for firefighters...."just in case."


They are returning home to Idyllwild! 

The number of firefighting personnel has been reduced dramatically from over thirty eight hundred to about eleven hundred.  The cost is estimated at a staggering twenty two million eight hundred thousand dollars!  


When John and I arrived in California, we thought we would have finished our projects at Jojo's by the first of June....the middle of June at the very latest.  But the retrofit of the waterfalls and skimmer and the construction of the Pergola took longer than anticipated thanks to the abnormally high temperatures here in southern California.

July was quickly approaching.  Jojo's birthday is July 8th and we, again, had not celebrated a birthday with her in twenty years, so we delayed our departure once again.  We decided we would leave July 9th.  

BUT!  John had some tasks on this to-do list that he wanted Jojo's help with, soooo, another delay.  

We were moving right along with the motorhome to do list and felt that a departure for last Thursday was reasonable. That is until the Mountain Fire that threatened Idyllwild and Jojo's cabin.  

On the way home Sunday evening, Jojo asked "when do you anticipate you will leave this time?"


God Bless until next time.   



Saturday, July 20, 2013

Another lesson I learned from this fire is the title of this blog. Burning grass produces white smoke and the trees, black smoke.  I am surprised by the information gathered when confronted with a new, though harrowing experience.  

Just last week, I had just been reading a blog written by a Montana resident who had been through a fire just over a year ago. ("Go West" Feral Woman) I used much of the information garnered from her blog to be able to suggest proactive actions for Jojo and Cathie to consider.  

Many situations were much like Feral's. Others were even worse for them. They had livestock and family pets to consider.  And they had to drive their vehicles THROUGH the a grass field fire to safety!  

The tree pruning and shrub removal completed. But the cabin was not out of danger and Jojo wanted to remain until she felt confident that the cabin would be safe. 

In order to keep our hands and minds busy Saturday, we decided to do some "normal" upkeep of the exterior and interior of the cabin.  

Jojo power washed the exterior of the cabin and the deck. What a huge job! The cabin, deck, spindles and railing, all had to be carefully washed.                                                         Since the interior furnishings were in one huge pile, we asked ourselves why not dig in and do a deep clean before returning everything to it's proper place?                                                                                                 Lingering in the back of my mind I was concerned that our actions would be wasted if the cabin burned to the ground.  Keeping our hands and minds occupied as the ash and embers were falling was good therapy. 
As the threat seemed to be lessening, we began to have some visitors. 
This was my first sighting of a Stellar Jay.  What beautiful, huge, bossy bird!  

House Wrens joined the jay at the feeder and the Humming Birds began to arrive.  It felt like, just maybe, things were getting back to normal.

We so appreciated all the bulletins The Town Crier  published numerous times each day.  Between The Town Crier, the General Manager of the Pine Cove Water District, Jerry Holldber, the fire officials at the little market were either Jojo or Cathie went for food each day, we were aware of the fire's progress and what was anticipated.  

The rest of today's photos were not taken by me, but photographers from The Town Crier. I just want you all to see the spirit of the community and the tremendous job that everyone was doing.  

These photos and all the information are taken from the Idyllwild newspaper,The Town Crier.  The information that they published daily was astonishing.

Chris Tota, a full-time resident of Idyllwild had to follow the mandatory evacuation orders.  Wanting to do something positive for the community, he appeared at the Dana Point Harbor marina with his guitar and played for donations to go to the victims of the Idyllwild fire.  He collected $79.00 in the short time he was there.  

Feeding over three thousand fire personnel was a huge task,

In line for food. Photos by J.P. Crumrine

A kitchen in a trailer.  They cook for thousands of firefighters.

Portable sinks for washing hands before eating.

It sure takes many, many people to support a fire campaign.

The fire administration offices.

Until next time,

God bless!  

Monday, July 22, 2013


 Friday - July 19, 2013

I awaken to the smell of smoke drifting through the open door to the north deck.  I would have rather smelled breakfast or coffee.  I love the aroma of brewing coffee but I do not like the taste.  

Walking out to the deck, I see a light covering of fine, white ash and large chunks of dead embers.  I was thankful that they did not ignite the roof or the deck as we slept.  

I have enlarged this photo to show that this ember was hot when it landed in the drive.  

The decomposed granite of the driveway can be seen as tiny white specks in the lower right of the large ember.  God's mercies rained down on Pine Cove right with the hot embers.  

Looking away from the fire, the view is deceiving. It looks so serene and peaceful.  

Yet looking toward I-10 and Banning, California, there is another scene.  

 But the DC-10 is back to drop more fire retardant to delay the fire's progress toward the south ridge.  

Two Air Force reserve C-130's with a capacity of carrying 2,700 pounds of fire retardant.  

Health officials warned of risk of prolonged exposure to smoke and ash.  We were using saline solution and eye allergy drops often to relieve our itchy eyes.  We also were taking decongestants and antihistamines.   Thank goodness we had our wet bandannas.  

The fire has now covered 24,500 acres.  Thirty-three hundred firefighters are now battling the  fire and did slow the fire down overnight.  

The cost of fighting the fire has reached eight and a half million dollars.  Thirty-three hundred firefighters are hard at work.  Ninety-five percent of the fire has been on federal lands, thus far.  

But the fire has developed into two fires.  One on the southern edge and the other closer to Idyllwild and Pine Cove, where we the north.  This northern fire is the one that would like to get us.  At the southern edge Palm Springs was being threatened.  

A voluntary evacuation was issued for Pine Cove.  We elected to stay until a manditory evacuation was declared.  After seeing those embers, we wanted to protect the roof and deck.  

These photos are of the smoke from the fire directly behind the cabin one mountain away.  

Again, you can see the pillar of smoke rising into the white cloud of moisture and ice crystals.  

With about ninety-eight percent of the clearning completed, we were able to follow the guidelines for preparing homes and cabins for fire damage.  

All window coverings had to be removed.  All decor was removed from the walls and furniture was moved to the center of the cabin.  

The cabin has huge windows and doors on three sides, making it extremely difficult to push the furniture away from immediate danger.  

And, firefighters do not want to stumble over furniture to protect a home.  So, we piled high!  What a mess.  

The recommendations were that occupants fill garbage cans and other containers with water and place them around the residence.  We overfilled the hot tub to help provide extra water.  

Every available container that was of any size was filled to the top with water.  

It was also requested that ladders be made available for firefighters use. Jojo placed them where they would be immediately seen.

 One request that Jojo did not feel comfortable with was that they asked that if we evacuated, we leave the cabin unlocked.  

Jojo was concerned about looting, so signs were made giving firefighters permission to break glass if they needed to enter the cabin. 

No bushes around the back!  

The smoke continued to rise and darken a beautiful blue sky.   The concern about a sudden collapse of the cloud continued.  What a disaster that would have been for Pine Valley.  

After a short break, it was back to the fire prevention. 

There were some mighty tall Pines and Live Oak hovering over the house.  At first look, it looked impossible to do anything about them.  Jojo's chain saw was too small to accomplish such a task.  So she did what she could do....she tackled them from the top. (she always a monkey.)  There has never been a task too big for her to attack.  

When she came down from the roof, she was exhausted. Unknowingly, while on the roof, she had some black embers on her hand and had rubbed under her nose giving her a beautiful mustache.  

That is one tired lady!   Did I ever tell you all how proud I am of this daughter of mine?   

After showers and a bite, it was time to tell the moon goodnight and to thank God for another day of safety provided for the firefighters and ourselves.  

The moon was not hidden by smoke and ash this time.  But we were faced with the possibilities of thunderstorms with lightning during the night.  If lightning struck in the forest, there could be another fire for the overworked fighters to attack. 

Good night, God bless!