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The New Zealanders

Home for Now

The NZ family arrived safely in southern CA this week. They've been busy preparing their house for sale, entertaining realtors, getting their stuff from the garage unpacked, and then need to start soon to pack for shipping. They'll be here 7/22-27.

Bob finally got his documents for Korea, so may go this week to Chicago for a visa. I'm leaning toward going over with Lyndon in October and spending a few weeks.

The North American Adventist Retired Workers' convention is meeting here this week, from early Thursday to tonight. I've been enjoying the meetings, and seeing old friends; Bob attended some today.

Posted by msj 15:29 Comments (1)

Fire in CA! (Updated 7/12/08, 12:20 PM)

My Brother and his family as well as my cousins living in the Yankee Hill/Concow area - have all been evacuated as of 7/8/2008 due to the Camp Fire (Butte County Complex) jumping the lines

7/12/08, 12:20 PM - Just heard from Art, he and Melody were able to slip past the Fire Crews and get home today and found everything is fine. Steven's home is fine, there was some brush burned on his property, but it didn't harm the structures. Jim has heard from a neighbor that his home & shop also are fine, again some burning around the edges. Looks like the fire that went through Art & Steven's neighborhood was mostly a slow moving brush & grass fire and most of the homes/structures have been saved! Art says there are some badly burned tree's he can see on his neighbor's property. They are still waiting to learn about other friends and relatives, but this is great news - the best possible for us to expect based on what we've been seeing. He expects the hospital to remain closed for several more days, so he and Melody are going around feeding/watering neighbor's chickens etc and looking for ways to help get back to normal...


7/11/08, 1:30 PM - Winds weren't as bad as expected and there isn't much news out of Chico, however the newest map of the fire boundary shows it now covers most of the Granite Ridge Rd area, including Art & Steven's homes. I just got off the phone with Art and they haven't heard anything for sure, it's possible homes survived, but both of their properties are now within the burn area. If he learns anything more, he said he'll call.

In the map, the city of Paradise is the green area on the left. It is separated from Granite Ridge (where Art's place is) by a deep canyon where the west branch of the Feather River flows. The Red area is where the fire is now or has burned. I have drawn in the location of Art's and Steven's properties.



7/10/08, 11:30 AM - The Chico Enterprise Record just updated the fire map, it now shows that the fire has crossed the intersection of Granite Ridge Rd and Jordan Hill Road and appears to be on the west side of Art's property line, the downhill side (Ugh!). I called Art, he hasn't heard anything yet either about whether they are still trying to hold the line there or have had to abandon. The Feather River Hospital is still closed today, so he and Melody are off (on call I suppose). He has registered with the Red Cross. Not as rosy as I'd hoped.


7/10/08, 8:30 AM - Cautious good news - the winds did not pick up last night and the firefighters were able to hold the lines, so at least things didn't seem to get any worse. The news conference this morning specifically mentioned that they were able to hold the line established at Granite Ridge Rd, so Arts & Stevens places are probably still OK. We are not as optimistic about Jim's place however. They have been bringing in additional fire crews from all over - as of this morning, there are 2,886 firefighters working this fire (that's a serious fire! Penny heard some were brought in from as far away as from Delaware!). Maybe they can finally get this fire contained. Hopefully this is the worst of the crises.


7/9/08, 7 PM - Just got off the phone with Art. The most important thing he wants everyone to know is that everyone is fine. Jim's house could very well be lost but no one knows for sure. Art has text messaged the fire crew hunkered down at his house and was told they had a very difficult night, but have kept the fire at bay so far. Winds are forecasted to pick up tonight, so it will be another difficult night. He says the fire has crossed the west branch of the Feather River in spots, but they are holding the line for the most part. The hospital is completely closed, even staff are off, however he and Melody are on call in case somebody bring someone in. Jim's hospital was also evacuated, but he was called in to work in Chico where the patients were transported. Art, Melody, Jim, Jeremy & Amanda have been staying at Jessica's apartment in Chico, but Jeremy and Amanda will be moving in with her relatives shortly. Alice & David are staying with Melody's folks. I think Steven & his family are staying at his apartment south of Sacramento near where he works. It looks really, really bad for property but the people are all fine, which is what's really important anyway.


7/9/08, 10 AM - Haven't heard from Art yet but wanted to let you know the latest per the news media. It looks like the fire is still about 1/2 mile from Art & Stevens places, Jim's is still in the thick of things and about 50 homes have been lost in that area (don't know about his). The fire has not jumped the Feather River into Paradise yet, but they have closed the ER room at the Feather River Hospital, again as a precaution - Staff is still on duty however, so Art and or Melody may be working there today. For the most part, the winds stayed subdued last night which enabled the fire crews to hold the lines. Forecast is for 115 F temperatures today (very bad), it mostly depends on the winds, if they stay down - everybody stands a chance, otherwise more homes will probably be lost.


7/8 11 PM - Fire is now quite close to Art's house. At least 5 homes have been burned in the vacinity of Jim & Alice's home, others spared - not sure the status of theirs. Fire seems to be moving towards Art & Melody's.

Map of Fire

Art and Melody's place is just below the hand shape approaching the green area on the left (Paradise).
Everyone in the family is fine and has other places to stay.

Art & Melody are staying in Chico with Jessica. They were not home last night when the police ordered everyone to get out - but my nephew Jeremy and his girlfriend Amanda were at the house. They were able to get some of the important papers and the pets out with them.

This fire has been a threat for the last couple of weeks, so I imagine most folks had some sort of evacuation plan. Art said he and Melody have been clearing underbrush from their property for the past week or so to try to help.

There is a fire crew stationed on their property that has been using a bulldozer to clear a fire line around it, so they're doing all they can to save Art's place. Art thinks the fire is about 2 miles away, but in that area a fire can cover 2 miles very easily (they live on the top of a ridge, with lots of tree's and brush).

Of course, most folks who live out there have no fire insurance, including Art & Melody - it's kind of a rural, offbeat community and is 'off the grid', so nobody can get mortgages (and probably not insurance either).

All we can do now is wait and hope for the best.

Posted by jl98584 16:28 Archived in USA Tagged events Comments (2)

vacation 2008 part 3

the trip home amidst donder und blitzen

USA | 03.07.08 16 °C / 60 °F

we wanted to take a different way back to seattle, didn't have the time to do the whole cascade loop, so we took hiway 97 to cle elm and roslyn and i 90. it was a lovely road. we stopped at an unassuming produce stand and got cherries, sugar peas and apricots. the hiway wound through the wenatchee national forest most of the time. toward the ens of the cutoff the cle elm we passed several bison in a pasture, the a sign saying "buffalo meat". we took the next turn onto a gravel road. stopped at another sign on a fence with a phone number on it. i called, got the matriarch of the family who said to go on in as her son was there and would be happy to sell us buffalo meat. he was about our age, sold us a couple of steaks and some ground meat. he showed us his skulls, showed us the difference between a 30 month old bull and an older bull. he had a bison head on thewall. it was 11 years old. he said it had been very gentle for most of its life, then suiddenly became violent. it started killing the younger bulls, which they couldn't afford, much as they loved him by then. when they killed him and butchered him, they found a small piece of wire in his stomach which is probably why he changed. they sell the skulls for $200, but he gave me two bison jawbones because it like bones so much.

we went into cle elm, had a chocolate shake from a local drive in. vivian got the shake while i took pix of the wagons across the street. we went through cle elm to roslyn. most of the town was closed that late on a wednesday, probably recovering from a music/arts festival the previous weekend. we went to the bricks to use the restroom. it is washington state's oldest operating saloon. the bar is over 100 years old and the tables and chairs are original, from sears. more stable than the tables in newer places i could name. there is still a spitoon running along the bar, a shallow trough with water running down continuosly.

the worst part of the trip happened shortly after we stopped for gas at snoqualamie summit. as we drove toward home it started to rain. first just spotting, then progessivly harder. by the time we got to issaqua vivian could not really see where her lane was going. no one was going faster then 40 miles a hour. we finally turned off onto lake sammamish parkway and drove to redmond. we took a street that looked like a major arterial. it took us past the microsoft campus to 520 and home.

it stormed all night and is still raining and thindering today. wild weather!

Posted by drque 10:16 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

vacation 2008 part 2


semi-overcast 75 °F

USA | 02.07.08 18 °C / 65 °F

we woke wed morning, got up and i went to the exersize room to work out a bit. v and i met up in the solarium breakfast room for our full breakfast, even made to order omlettes. french toast, hot cereal, bacon, fresh and canned fruit, yogurt, etc, etc etc. while eating we were serenaded by an alpenhorn concert. the guy has been playing 25 or 30 years, "most of my life". he's in his late 60's, i think. he played two sets, each time he played a couple of songs outdoors then a couple of songs indoors.

when we went to visit the nutcracker museum we were saddened to learn it didn't open until 2 pm. while i browsed the nutcracker and tchatchkela store dwnstairs, vivian went out to use the facilities. when he came back the man who runs the museum was picking up the mail. she said something about how it was too bad they didn't open until 2 as we would be gone by then. he said "come on up" and they opened up the museum just for us! we saw an excellent video on nutcrackers and toured the museum. there were nutcrackers from all parts of the world, some dating back thousands, yes i did say thousands of years. there were nutcrackers made of wood, of course, nutcrackers made from bronze, steel and iron, ivory, porcelain, inlaid, as animals, people, in walking sticks, from 1/2 inch tall, it works but can't really crack real nuts, to 6 feet tall, it can crack coconuts. there were nut sized holes in rocks, photos of the oldest found nutcrackers, found in israel with nuts from extinct nut trees. Some of those nuts have been planted and have sprouted. jurassic park!

there were many nutcrackers of the familiar variety, in a multitude of costumes. they are originally from a small part of germany near the czhech border. a few villages made them, still do, and have handed the craft down in the same families. originally they were miners, the industry of the area, then became kings and soldiers. the hats differ in shape between the villages.

when we asked some locals where was the best place to eat, they all said to go to a mexican restaurant. we did and had great food. i loved the sauce so much the waiter gave me a container to take some home with me.

it was oppressively hot. we went back to the car, didn't tour as much as we would have because it was soooo hot.

Posted by drque 10:13 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

2008 vacation trip, part 1

adventures on the way to Leavenworth

semi-overcast 75 °F

we are on vacation this week so we decided to go to leavenworth as neither of us had ever been there. we made reservations at the enzion inn, right downtown. the drive up was lovely, altough they were doing road work at a few places so our progress was slowed a little. when we got to deception falls we decided to stop. there were two trails, a long loop trail of .5 miles and a short one, .2 miles. we took the long one. it was beautiful. i took lots and lots of pix. when we were in view of the parking lot we came to a place where there was a ford in usually shallow water, but because of our huge snowpack this year it was no shallow at all. there were some branches across the water but they were not very stable. we went back the way we had come, took the short loop trail and saw an exceedingly violent falls. itwas impressive!

as we had been following hiway 2 we had seen several bicylists with bright green vests, all the same color. when we got to steven's pass, there were support vehicles parked in the lot, so we knew there was a bike trip of some sort with many riders. as we went down from the pass, we saw some bikes stopped at the side of the road with one of them sitting down holding her head. vivian was thinking of stopping as it looked like someone was not well when i said "stop the car." I went back and asked if she was ok. the other woman said "no". The woman sitting on the ground had fallen and her handlebar had hit her hard in the chest. she was crying and in shock. as they were all heading to leavenworth, we took her and her bike in our car.

they are on a coast to coast bike trip, called sea to sea, to raise money to fight poverty. we delivered her to a nurse at the sea to sea camping area at the leavenworth cascade high school. as she was having pain on breathing or laughing, i just hope she doesn't have a broken rib.

we checked into our hotel, ate dinner at a german restaurant and walked around town. we had dessert at a crepe place, i liked it better than the place we had dinner. we went back to the hotel, listened to the nightly piano concert and read our book club books then went out to the pool. it had started as an overcast, cool day but had ended up quite warm. as we swam we looked up at bats flying overhead catching bugs. good for the bats!

Posted by drque 10:10 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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