|Bluebird of Happiness|
To my city bound friends my new acquisition makes little sense. But if you live on the edge of a national forest in extreme drought you should consider it a survival tool: BUG OUT NECESSITY.
Real estate season is beginning next month and so is fire season. While the flatlanders and out-migrators are looking for their castle in the trees abutting the seemingly lush forest us long term locals are reordering our Must-Go and emergency boxes in case there is a fire. Before moving to the wet side of the mountain I lived a half mile from the front line of the Hondo Fire for 22 days. I had watched the black and red billowing smoke signal its setting of the ground speed record of nine miles in a half hour. That was May. I bought my house in the large meadow with only one tree in November of that year. I thought I was safe.
|Across the street and one of the rare snows this year|
The hills around me are forested, however. I joke I would rather see the trees than live in them. Truth is it would scare me to death to live in them. The few small fires in the neighboring hills have proved I did not get through those 22 days of 1996 unscathed. First was the divorce and then the PTSD. When I could afford it I traded sold the Neon and bought an Astro Van. I told myself it was for the art fair business. I knew it was for evacuation of myself and my pets. When a couple years ago I told myself I could live with an economical Corolla. After all I was getting out of the art fair business and settling into my studio.
This year's extended drought and a total lack of what us locals lovingly call the mud and flood season had me waking up in cold sweats again. The fires in Colorado and the Jemez below us last year have not helped be sleep well. So when I agreed to do a month long gallery show in Trinidad, Colorado I began seeing it as an excuse for another van or a pickup. I kept looking for smallish and economical. Definitely did not want to be in the computerized era after my friend's Jeep Liberty rental got zapped by lightning and immobilized. You do know forest fires start to generate their own weather, don't you? Dry lightning most notably.
My hording of money, combing of all Craig posts, and stalking the couple empty lots that boast cars for sale bore fruit this week with the GMC Sierra SLE pictured above. It is a BIG truck but I live on a dead end road and if I have too I can drive over the stream and through fences to get out of here. And even without the camper shell it will take me, the fur kids, and those emergency and evac boxes. And the camping box from the storage shed. And all my art to Trinidad Main Street Gallery.
It has been too long since I have considered what I can get out of my house given 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or two hour evacuation notice. So with escape parked in the driveway my work in the next couple of weeks is cut out for me. Bug Out preparation will go right along with washing and cleaning my new chariot.
And if the rains come and the forest greens up then it is a way to take me and my dogs and my cameras up to the mountains I love more than I fear.
|Forest Road 76 in wetter years|