Where There is Smoke There is Fire??

It is fire season all across the country and especially out here in California. Even though the closest wildfire is over a couple hundred miles away up in the Napa Valley. Last week Wednesday, August 19 about midday the smoke from those fires settled in the San Joaquin Valley. So, I guess there can be lots of smoke without actual fire close. The one advantage of the heavy smoke was it did keep the temperatures down. The whole week before the smoke came, the temperatures got up to near 110 every day or higher each day. But once they heavy smoke came; they never broke 100. A matter of fact Wednesday afternoon the temperature actually dropped about 10° from what it was in the morning. I’ve been heading up to Linda’s place in the mountains the last several weekends. Because it’s cooler and the plus side is the smoke wasn’t getting up as high as she is. I took this photo Thursday midday shortly before I headed out.

Linda has had her two granddaughters visiting her since first of August and by the time they leave, they will have been with her for a full month. She has been keeping them busy and, on the weekends, I’ve come to join them. The four of us have been having a great time hanging around the park, picking berries and swimming in the small lake. They are starting to get so used to me being around, that they are referring to me as “Grandpa Rick”. I guess that’s their way of showing they approve of me to being in their grandma’s life. I’m not quite sure yet that Linda’s daughter, “Jessilynn” is quite as willing to take me into the flock yet. But I sure can’t blame her, she’s only has gotten to spend a little time with me. But I’m sure in time I will win her over just like I have her mother (I sure hope so LOL). Here’s a photo of Linda’s beautiful granddaughters Gwen, seven on the left and Angie, six on the right.

We haven’t ventured too far from the campground due to the smoke and heat. But one day we did head into the small town of Miramonte, CA to mail a box of blackberry jam ahead of us, out to New Jersey. “Spoiler alert there,” Linda had planned, “quite some time ago” to fly back to her home state of New Jersey for a couple weeks to visit her son and friends. And since we became an item, she convinced me to come along for part of the time. With all the jam we’ve been making she wanted to bring some along as gifts for family and friends. I suggested getting a flat rate box from the post office and shipping it on ahead. So, we packed up about a dozen jars and sent them on their way. But there’ll be a lot more information in future posts, about this upcoming adventure. Miramonte, is a small unincorporated town, a matter of fact I’m surprised it had a Post Office at all. But right next to the post office was quite the eyecatcher, so we had to go check it out. It was the “Miramonte Social Club”. As Linda put it “The Most Happening Place in Town”. Here’s a photo of my three lovely ladies. Linda, “the big girl” on the left, Angie in the center down front and Gwen on the right side of this photo.

If you look close at the photo you see all kinds of cool, things decorating this old shack. There was an old fiddle that Gwen wanted to pose with.

I think she’s an up-and-coming “Country Star”, don’t you agree?

After having a fun weekend with my three lovely ladies. On Sunday afternoon, it was time for me to head home back in the Valley. As I drove down from the higher elevation and got close to Fresno. The visibility got worse and worse till it was less than 2 miles. It was like driving in the fog, from back home in Wisconsin. But it is harder on the breathing then fog is. Here’s a couple photos of how thick it was once I got back to the park.

Over the next couple of days, it got lighter and lighter and by Wednesday morning. It was hazy but definitely much clearer. As you can tell in these photos.

The wildlife highlight of this week, was that there were quite a few Canadian Geese hanging out all around the lake. I’m not sure if there’s starting to head south or what.

Wednesday morning the Turkey Vultures let me get really close to them on the beach. They never seem to be too afraid of people or anything. I’m sure as long as I keep moving, I will be safe. At least I hope so lol.

It’s only been two weeks since Maxine passed. And I’m always expecting her to be around the corner. And when I’ll wake, I’m tempted to call out her name like I always have, forgetting she’s gone. But it has been really nice having Linda and her two granddaughters around, helping me get through this time. That’s it for this time, “Till Next Time Best Wishes and Safe Travels To All”, Rick



    • That is good 👍 you don’t need it. I have friends who just came through the Black Hills last week and it was good there. But now they’re in the Teton’s and they say that it’s getting worse there.


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