“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.

6 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. 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.


  2. 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.


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