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Posts Tagged ‘wildfires’

I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened. (Mark Twain)

In the wee hours of the morning a six-point earthquake hits the Napa Valley; San Francisco responds with some twitches strong enough to sway a skyscraper. Jay and I are on the eleventh floor of a hotel—we sleep through the rocking. We don’t discover what we missed until the next morning at breakfast when the other members of our tour tell us what happened. Many of our fellow travelers wondered if the building was cracking. We haven’t been watching the news, and we don’t plan to follow it; this is our vacation.

However, the wine tasting event, next on the agenda, is canceled. The roads to Sonoma are torn like cheap cardboard. Since I drink un-fermented juice, I’m not as disappointed as some other folk could be. I had planned to celebrate the artistic twist of the vine and the shine of the grape against the sun. Fortunately the wine drinkers have a sense of perspective. They show greater concern for the people affected by the quake. I don’t hear any grumbling.

Our adventure has barely begun. A car fire on the expressway ignites a wildfire that closes a major expressway—the one leading to our next stay.

Our tour director, Craig Cherry, maintains a sense of humor. He and our superb driver, Jeannie Williams, map out another route, hours out of our way.

Then comes strike three, more literal than anyone would like. A rock flies from a truck into the windshield of the bus. Tiny shards fly everywhere. One hits the leg of a front-row passenger. She is too shocked to react. The window crack grows from a small line into a much larger one. The window could shatter at any time.

Jeannie and Craig find a close convenient store large enough for us to wait until a new bus arrives. The wait in ninety-nine-degree Fresno is amazingly short. While our tour guide and bus driver work we build camaraderie: jokes; shared life stories and ice cream; unusual items on the shelves; “Can you believe this gizmo makes popcorn in your car?”

When the remote control to the DVD player is missing batteries, Craig announces, “I’ve got to be on Candid Camera!” We are all old enough to remember the program. Fortunately, someone toward the back of the bus has two double AA’s.

By the time we arrive at our destination we aren’t comfortable. We’re stiff, tired, and a bit dazed. But, chances are that if any one of us are asked if we remember the Globus California  Tour of late August, 2014, we will smile and say, “Oh, yeah!” with a smile the size of the state. Sometimes bad circumstances bring out the best in people. Thanks to Craig for his leadership. A little humor and a lot of patience make all the difference.

(photo taken from the bus of a burned section of forest, fire caused by a lightning strike)

burned forest in California

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