I was awakened very early Monday morning at our home in Healdsburg, CA, to the smell of smoke, like from a bonfire. I thought some kids must be having a campfire near by.
Turns out it was the smoke from the fires raging in the area. We had no internet or cable so were relying neighbors for information on how bad it was getting and whether we should evacuate or not. One said go, another said stay, the fire department doesn't people on roads as they battle the blaze close to Hwy 101.
My usually calm brother texted me to tell me his father-in-law's best friend's parents (aged 100 and 98) had both died overnight in the fires. He texted me a bit later with the warning: GET OUT!
A friend told us he left Healdsburg to go to San Francisco, there was no cell service for a chunk of the ride, and that I should download and save maps with detours before we headed out.
Thank goodness we took his advice.
We decided to leave as the smoke got thicker and more ash was raining down. As we drove south on the 101, we could see a thick grey smoke screen, and firetrucks everywhere. As we took the mandatory detour, people were walking around in a daze in the haze. It was almost like the movie "The Day After:" An eerie grayness and people not sure where to go.
Traffic lights were out but people were driving with grace. We made it to San Francisco fairly quickly and spent time with some good friends talk about what we had seen, friends we has spoken with who live in Sonoma & Napa and were camped out in hotels for an uncertain amount of time.
We were lucky. Our hearts break for those who have lost so much. Our hearts are thankful for the first responders who are still battling the blazes.
Let me explain: In Virgina, most jurisdictions require that every motor vehicle have what is known as a "County Sticker." These are a pain to get off when they are expiring and a pain to put on when the new one comes in the mail.
The top photo is an example of what it is (more-or-less) supposed to look like.
The bottom photo - of a car parked on King Street in Alexandria - is an example of what happens when you are attempting to apply the sticker and your attention wanders.