Fires all over San Diego County were spread by wind
The fire was a long distance away, to the east, and, reassured her property was safe, I took a few pictures before turning around and coming back home.
The plume of smoke behind this "castle" high on a hill above Deerhorn Valley Road looked more threatening.
Later in the afternoon, as wind gusts continued to buffet my place and the power blinked off, and then back on, I turned on the TV to see if there was any news about the fire in Potrero. Instead, they had coverage of a terrible, fast-moving fire heading for Ramona, a small town north of me where several cachers live. A mandatory evacuation order had been issued and on the TV there were images of cars, and trucks pulling horse trailers, heading out of Ramona to get out of the path of the flames.
While watching the TV out of the corner of my eye, I maintained my normal routine answering questions in the Forums. The only thing different from my usual at-home pattern was that after each power outage, I had to reconnect the dial-up connection.
Just after dark, I got a phone call from the friend who emailed me earlier in the day.
"I can't get home. They've blocked the road."
At the time of her call, she was trying to get around the roadblock by driving the back way, up my road. I said, "If you can't get through, come here." A short while later, I heard the sound of the diesel engine of her truck.
Because I had not been feeling well for nearly a week, I was not able to completely absorb what she was going through right then as she told me how a police car raced around her around the road, with lights flashing and siren screaming. If she had come up the back way first, she would have made it home, because the officer in that car was the officer who positioned himself to block the road at "Four Corners."
I made up a bed for her on the floor of my living room with my Thermarest mattress and a thick mattress pad to use as a blanket. As we talked and she told me about her day in Fallbrook, her cell phone rang a couple of times. It was her husband who said he couldn't drive home, so he was leaving the truck behind and walking in. The connection cut out a few times and didn't ring again.
We visited for a while, expressing our concern about her husband walking the three miles up Honey Springs Road in the dark, and then two friends who had also been evacuated came by with my friend's dogs they retrieved from their kennel a few hours earlier. A bit later another friend came by to say she was going to the Evacuation Center at Steele Canyon High School. She told us we should also leave . . . and when my power went out, along with my phone line, the decision to leave was easy for my friend. Before she took off down the hill, she helped me pack a few things and load them in my car and her truck.
The things that went into my car first included a plastic tub containing my photographs, all the software disks for my computer, and important papers. My favorite clothes were packed into a large duffle bag, and I packed my camping gear into two backpacks. Another small duffle bag had my "kitchen stuff" including some canned sardines. I filled my large cooler with fruit and other food from my refrigerator along with several containers of ice I always keep in freezer.
The last things to go into the car that night was my laptop. There were very few personal items in the car at that point . . . except for a notebook that contains my Geocoins and the signature items I have collected while caching.
After packing the car with the essentials, I considered the direction of the wind and figured I would be safe staying home, although that night was sure a long one without the reassuring glow of the time on my clock radio to glance at each time I woke up.