Sacramento, California: The news has been filled with information on the fires around the Los Angeles area, but there is another absolute disaster in northern California. The Camp fire has burned a town of 27,000 people, Paradise, to the ground. 27,000 humans were made homeless overnight. Imagine every building in your town incinerated within just a few hours. The fire spread so quickly, many people were not able to escape. The news reports are simply horrifying.
We left a 37-degree Canyonville, Oregon, this morning in fog, but the weather cleared as we drove south, and we enjoyed sunny skies until just after noon, when we began to see smoke to the east of I-5. By the time we were in Redding, we could smell the smoke, and by the time we reached our planned stop for the night at Rolling Hills Casino RV Park in Corning, we were tasting the smoke and questioning our decision to stop… except there is just nowhere between Corning and Sacramento to camp.
Rolling Hills is a huge park, and if you recall, it used to be operated via a parking machine kiosk. You put a credit card into a machine, and a ticket popped out for your dash. Choose any site. No reservations. No worries. These days, you need to check-in at the office, and I think the price has jumped up a bit, but we never make a reservation.
When we approached the check-in desk and asked for a campsite for the night, we were told the campground is only for fire evacuees now. Fire victims can stay at the park at no charge. I thought this was wonderful! The tribe was very generous (though maybe they will one day be reimbursed by FEMA… I don’t know, but what a relief to not have that worry while you deal with losing not only your home, but your entire community. I can’t imagine the grief.
They did laugh though, when I asked for a “smoke free” campsite, and said it felt good to laugh.
So, we continued south, phoning the campground we were planning to visit tomorrow, Cal-Expo, and they fit us in one night early. We drove over two more hours, and the smoke didn’t lift until just north of Sacramento.
It was a long day for My Driver – 400 miles. Maybe 400 miles does not seem like a lot of miles, but if you are driving a 45-foot-long bus, while towing a car (that’s a long load, folks), and do not drive over 60mph, it is a long haul – and in busy Sacramento traffic – can be quite stressful.
Our unexpected early landing in Sacramento left us with an unplanned evening – we are busy tomorrow with Duck friends, and will spend Sunday with family. Isn’t it nice that one of our favorite restaurants in the entire whole wide world is in Sacramento? Oh, yes, you know we went to Biba, and had perfect meals, fantastic service, delicious wines, and just a perfect ending to a very long and smoky day.
My appetizer: Salmone in Agrodolce: Grappa, lemon and rosemary cured King salmon, with a pear and Cipollini onion agrodolce dill aioli.
Pappardelle con sugo di Agnello Brasato: Housemade pappardelle with a braised lamb sugo, porcini mushrooms, roasted peppers and finished with whipped lemon ricotta.
Until my next update, I remain, your Praying-for-Paradise correspondent.
RV Park: Cal-Expo RV Park – at the State Fairgrounds. We are in the back flat gravel area (just a huge parking lot) with 50 amp, full-service, pull-through sites. Not exciting, but very convenient for all the folks who pull horse trailers, etc., for the next-door race track. We are paying $45 per night.