Well, I think we can say that our stay in California is now ‘complete’ in terms of regional environmental experiences. That means that we’ve experienced the flood of the El Nino in 1998, many earthquakes, and right now we’re experiencing a grass fire burning one mile down the road from us.

It being Independence Day weekend we assumed that a lot of the roaring engines we were hearing (at first) were motorcycles zooming down our road, since there’s a rally in nearby Hollister every year. But then they got closer – a couple different and strange red and white planes and a red and white helicopter with a strange pipe coming off the side. (Note: red and white air vehicles out in the country, even if its July 4th weekend – aren’t here for an ‘air show’.) Got the binoculars…. saw “CDF” on the side of the helicopter. The planes were circling a little ways off south and the helicopter was coming back and forth, back and forth.

Jumped in the car and headed down the road – only a mile later (tom – you’ll know where this is – it’s right past ‘the slide’ area of the road they had to rebuild after the flood) we can see flames licking the hillside on the other side of the road – doesn’t look TOO bad, I suppose – all the officials are there – lots of trucks too.

I suppose I feel SOMEWHAT less worried since last week when we saw a grass fire on the hillside right in Hollister and they were able to put that out rather quickly. Otherwise, I have no direct experience of these kinds of things – having lived mostly in wet climates (and wanting to move to one again – not fond of dry crackly grass and high winds)

John’s gone on a hike to get a little height on the side of one of the mountains here to see what he can see. Will keep you posted. I’ll relax a bit more when the helicopter stops its trips, I think. On the other hand – I REALLY appreciate how good these guys are at their job!

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