Desertion Under Fire.....
Back in the day....in the 1820's and 1830's....when railroads first started up, the Duke of Wellington (one of the finest battlefield commanders of all time) weighed in against:
"Railroads will simply allow the working class to move around needlessly......."
Exactly.....give us time off and we start thinking.......
This morning I took SIX dogs for a walk.....my crew of three, and the three evacuation dogs who are staying at our house.....along with the twelve rescue kitties.
People wax poetic about the famous loyalty of dogs to their masters......don't count on it. My ex-pat dogs seem really comfortable.....and I don't think they are going home any time soon. I am all about it.....having six dogs will finally cement my Cachagua citizenship papers.....and completely annoy my rich absentee neighbors.
The guy next door is an early Apple investor. He bought his place for some millions of dollars and never realized we were here....100 feet away....since we never cut down any trees, even the ones that grow through our deck. Also, I was in Italy when escrow closed.....and it wasn't until my boys decided to machine-gun the Oak Ridge Ranch nativity effigies that they even knew we were here. They have offered to buy us out, just to knock down the house and have some peace on the five days a month that they grace us with their presence.
Cachagua is definitely a different mind-set. I have never been prouder to be part of a community.
For example....last night I posted that Peyton was out of beer.....this morning a neighbor dropped some off! This is in a land far away and beyond civilization....and even the California transportation system.
Today, when I was supposed to be posting fire information to this blog.....I ran up the mountain with my escort, Toddie Springs, delivering food and other necessities to the mountain rebels who have ignored the mandatory evac.
Toddie is still facing legal problems for bitch-slapping Sack-of-Shitty for driving insanely and drunkenly through Jensen Camp last year in the middle of the night and nearly killing six dogs and three or four trailers worth of humans. The DA and the useless Sheriff finally realized that Sack-of-Shitty is an escaped felon, drug-dealing.....well, Sack of Shit....and dropped the assault charges. Toddie still faces marijuana and weapons charges, and is still trying to live down a seriously unflattering booking foto and article in the Pine Cone.
One of the famous weapons was a black powder pistol screwed to a plaque, hanging over the fireplace. Another was a .308 deer rifle given to Todd by Jeff Vandervoort, Jr after Jeff's parents' murder-suicide when Toddie took Jeff hunting as a distraction from the shite that is life sometimes.....
At the big Democratic Dinner last month, I was sitting with the Monterey County Weekly reporter, the mayor of PG and a few other notables and the subject of Toddie came up. I allowed as how he got a raw deal....and everyone said: "Well, he had GUNS and MARIJUANA!"
I replied: "Shit....I have guns and marijuana......and so do all my friends and neighbors..... save one!"
Anyway, this morning I booked Toddie as my pilot, and we ran the blockade with the help of the Volunteers with his big flatbed full of beer, cigarettes, veggies, TP, propane......and dog and kitty food.
Our first stop was an old Italian couple with an even older and crazier neighbor with six feral cats. Toilet paper and cat food. We through in some organic blackberries, broccolini and asparagus. The disabled neighbor had a garden overflowing in fresh veggies....so we collected some of that to re-distribute to his various neighbors.
Next stop...the Nason ranch with dog food for Marian and Grandpa Fred. We were able to sneak some blackberries and a porterhouse to Fred past the vigilant Marian. The field next to the Lightning Tree was packed with probably 100 engines and at least a thousand firefighters. The dozer crew had cut a line down Anastasia Canyon, but the hand crews have to go in and clean up and expand the line. On our way out of the ranch we passed by the Little Bear's sweat lodge.....now somewhat collapsed.......the last time I breathed as much smoke as I did this morning.
Next stop.....Peru, or the Ortman version thereof. Propane and Tecate.....and minor corrections to the Stuck Sheriff story. My description of the boys drinking cold ones and smoking fatties was more thematic and stylistic than accurate. There were no cold ones.....no ice. And it wasn't Lyon Springs Road....it was Spaghetti Ridge. And....it was not a cruiser that got stuck, but a full-on 4wd Sheriff's rescue vehicle. The official rescue crew was the Jamesburg 4wd club.....Sage has promised me fotos and the official team logo to post.
The boys also reported that the fire had spilled over at Blue Rock....and was moving towards the San Clemente. The country was tough to deal with....and the Forest Service had pulled troops away from the Nason Ranch to try to deal with the threat. The obvious access point was the gate below "Helen I Love".
At Peru, we were told that Rodrigo.....who lives down the trail at the old Prejean place, had run out of food. Here are the directions we were given: "Go down the drive and flip a bitch.....when you come to the "This Way That Way" sign......go That Way. Sure enough there was a trail intersection. A sign pointed left: "This Way". It pointed right: "That Way".
On the way down Tassajara Road we passed one lookout point. Toddie said: "This is Panzer Point......almost no one knows that."
"Why Panzer? Were there Germans here?"
"No....back in the day there was this dog from a neighbor property. Roddy had to shoot it, and he dumped the body off the road right here. Panzer. A fuckin' deer chasing, cat food eating motherfucker. He got his. Right here."
I turned to Xabi in the back seat: "Are you listening?"
Just after Panzer Point we ran into a whole crew of engines. The Volunteer crew was there.....and some serious CalFire folk. These people had a different vibe.....cleaner engines, slimmer and more fit looking crew. Lots of women.....and seriously organized women. We noticed boxes of flares, and flame-thrower looking things.
This was the back-fire crew. The technicians. There was an aura of respect that was palpable. I don't know crap about firefighting...but there was a vibe even Xabi picked up. The Pros from Dover.
I think that whole backfire thing will work out.
Then on to Peyton and Pauline's......and Sheyne's. Toddie had to back up the driveway to be sure we could ever get out. Peyton was happy to report that last winter he purchased a used 4wd mule from the idiot at Oak Creek ranch (he of the machine-gunned Nativity scene). It seems that when Pauline's mom would come to visit on Christmas and Thanksgiving lately she was having trouble negociating the trail up to the cabin. Peyton....the consummate host....had been transporting her in his wheelbarrow, albeit amply and comfortably padded with cushions and silks......the mule seemed like a good investment. We dropped off steaks, Bugler, good red wine, spuds and veggies....not to mention Foster's..... as apology for not being able to open tonight for Monday Night Dinner.
We still had to deliver ice for Hot Connie....or more specifically for her husband, By. We all agreed that emergencies are relative. If Connie decided that she needed ice....then we should get some to her. By may be an authentic cowboy, heavy equipment operator, hard-core rancher kind of guy.....but if Connie wants ice.....our community would be happier and calmer if she got some. We had Amanda stop at the Chevron....and Toddie made a second trip up the mountain.