This year on my Desert trek, I wanted to visit a friend in Eagle Point, Oregon. I had met her, a Britisher in her 80’s, in Port Hadlock some years ago. Seems she had some serious operations as of late and needed a little cheering up. So instead of the Coastal or Mountain route, I chose the direct route down the I-5 which is an old ghost from my days a s a trucker. Eagle Point is adjacent to Medford, Or. What I expected was copious rainfall; what I got was freezing weather and no precipitation. I don’t remembrrrr-rr it ever being so cold, in Oregon and Northern California this time of year. ‘Course my car heater ain’t working this year, but I still have my sub-zero sleeping bag and thermo coveralls, and are quite snug all bundled up at night.
My next stop was Weed California. A truckstop where I got a shower, and met a man in a wheel chair with just one leg. It was freezing, and dark, when I realized he had only shorts and a t-shirt on. Said he was trying to get to the South on a bus, and ran out of money. I bought him a sandwich and asked the Ladies in the truckstop if they could help this guy. He would not speak up for himself, so I became his advocate, and the gals got him some help all right. When the fire dept arrived and checked his condition, they immediately took him to the Hospital. I no longer complain about my feet hurting.
Continuing South on I-5, I turned towards the Coast. I wanted to see Clearlake Ca. When I made coffee stop; of which I make many, I met an older fella and his Grandson. The older man had a Korean War Veteran’s hat on. As is my want, I always salute Vets if our eyes should meet. When I asked him how he was doin’, his Grandson intervened and explained that he was not having a good day. The old man stepped towards me in tears and said, “I lost everything. I lived in Paradise City.”
To me, the fires have always been about smoke, and News stories on TV. That is except in’68 when we were told to evacuate our house in the hills of Orange, Calfornia. That was real, and some friends and neighbors lost home in that one. But the next year was worse, when the torrentila rains came. & of my Mom’s friends died in a mudslide in Silverado Canyon. They were told to leave their homes and shelter in the Fire Station. Amud and rock slide took out the Fire Station. There is only a monument there now.