“Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition”

With the El Dorado wildfire “knock, knock, knocking at heaven’s door”, I’m thinking about what preparations I should be making, just in case the wind shifts to push the inferno down the valley.

My friends who are staying with us illustrated that when the evacuation order comes, is NOT the time to plan your escape. Even though they had hours, even days to decide what to take, their brains could not function in an orderly way. Maybe it’s due to the fact that nobody actually believes that their home will be destroyed. They cling to the thought that they are leaving “just temporarily” to comply with authorities. John and Donna arrived with their two SUVs, not nearly filled to capacity. By their own admission, they had no idea what they had taken; but they soon had time to think of things they should have brought. Most important: mountain bikes and related gear.

Smokey dawn
Hopeful lilies
Just to confuse the neighbors…
The ash-dusted patio

And so, I began my preparations with a loving pictorial inventory of my yard. My heart ached to think of my 80 year-old China Berry trees being annihilated, along with their inhabitants. My next step is to create a list of things to pack, in order of importance. One may have minutes or hours, so things like pets, computers, and valuable papers need to go first. If time permits, the rest of the list gets checked off. My pop-up camping trailer provides a modicum of security, insuring that I will always have a bed, a stove and a fridge. Call it a security blanket.

11 thoughts on ““Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition”

    1. It’s easy to rationalize that your home is simply a collection of material things that can be replaced; and truly, my dogs and cats would be the top priority. But when I see my guests struggling to organize things like paying their bills, contacting friends, and even managing their anxiety without the aid of their beloved mountain bikes, I’m reminded that there are “things” that are essential to peace of mind.


  1. You are right Judy and this makes me think of the people who had to leave their house s because wars . I hope sincerely those fires do not reach neither your property and nor your mountain.


  2. I was the safety and compliance officer so I lived and breathed mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery strategies. Having a plan is a good first step. Next you need to have at least 2 weeks of clothes, toiletries, medications and cash packed and ready to grab. You should also include the dogs’ vaccination records and any of their medications (like heartworm prevention)…. Plan for the worst and hope for the best.


  3. I wouldn’t have thought of vet records but they would be scooped up along with the contents of my filing cabinet. Covid has pretty well weaned me from most toiletries and we don’t take much in the way of prescription medications. Life grows simpler with age, I think, especially because money isn’t as scarce as it was when we were young.


    1. The fire closest to me is now 93% contained and is burning in the wilderness, not threatening any structures. Of course, that is little consolation to the bears, mountain lions, deer, bobcats, raccoons, squirrels, opossums, birds, and rodents who are either swept away in the flames or survive but without habitat. Neighbors have reported seeing a bear, a mountain lion, and a bobcat only two blocks away from my house, as they are pushed out of the mountains, down the Santa Ana River corridor. I don’t know what they will find to sustain them down here.


      1. I am glad to be reassured about the fires, Judy. I understand too the distress of the animals that had to go away and now have to find their food.
        BTW I watched today some old entries on Xanga and found you are among my early commenters and friends.
        Love ❤


    1. I suspect we could get by with a lot less than we think we can. That said, there are probably trivial things that we would miss desperately if we forgot them in our haste to evacuate. I just got back from a camping trip and found I’d packed far too much food and clothes but really wished I’d packed some tea for those chilly evenings. When it’s 100 degrees out, it’s hard to imagine an evening at elevation.


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