Red Flag warning

I apprehensively watched the news last Tuesday morning as fires raged in Los Angeles and San Diego County on the morning of our fall camping trip to our favorite campground (William Heise County Park) in the Cuyamaca Mountains near Julian, CA. I checked on road information with Caltrans Highway Information Network (CHIN) and found that our planned route, Interstate 8, was closed to trucks and high-profile vehicles at Alpine due to a High Wind Advisory. So with no fires near Julian and an open route through Ramona, we made our way towards Julian, where fires last year caused the evacuation of the town.

Every fall, Santa Ana winds sweep dry air across Southern California, raising the fire danger and triggering Red Flag warnings. A Red Flag Warning was in effect on the day we arrived, so we were not surprised to see the “No Open Flames” signs everywhere, including one in each fire ring.


We learned from the San Diego County ranger on duty that the “No Open Flames” here means the obvious no camp fires, charcoal fires, and candles. He said though that gas stoves were o.k., which worked for us as we had already planned on deep frying potatoes, fish and crab cakes…


And the candles were kept inside the trailer…


While our Safari bathed in the light of the full Hunter’s Moon


(Highlights of night images taken here with the Nikon D40 set at the new feature, Auto (Flash off) mode will appear in my next article.)

We thoroughly enjoyed camping here Tuesday through Friday before the weekend crowd arrived. The days were spent waking to the sounds of crows and woodpeckers, taking quiet walks with the dogs (on the park roads, not trails), hiking (without the dogs), and catching up on reading, such as Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Mark Twain, Airstream Life, and Spooky Campfire Tales.


Celebrating the fall harvest season at this campsite will continue in my next article…


  1. says

    Bill, you are getting dangerously good with that new camera. Nice work. I am also living vicariously through YOU now, since we are parked and you are out camping. We’ve got to get over to CA to enjoy the good times soon. Thanks for showing everyone that even in uncertain economic times, we can still enjoy great recreation close to home!

  2. insightout says

    Hmmm, a Nikon D40; very nice results. Lynn and I were in your ‘hood, 24Sept-29Sept, and I regret now that we didn’t take an opportunity to hook-up. Flew in to SD, visited a pal in Chula Vista (home to SoCal-norte Mexicos’ industrious chop shop community) then headed up to Laguna Beach.

    No Airstreams, this was all about cars. We did the Mazda zoom-zoom road up to Rancho Carrillo, side trip to the M-Benz classic car center in Irvine, and a visit to the William Lyon Car collection and estate in SJC. Wonderful trip, too many people, too many cars.

    Maybe in the future, after we recover from the shock, estimated by our holistic psychoculturetherapist to extend into 2Q, 2010, we might reconsider.

    Dr. C.

  3. Bill D. says

    Dr. C — Thanks for your note…

    Yes, it would have been wonderful to hook up as you braved our ‘hood of too many people and cars and feasted on the smörgÃ¥sbord of our colorful, Southern California communities, from Chula Vista chop-shop to the gated Rancho Carrillo community where neighbors wave as they pass each other along its 6-mile driveway, which was once a ranch owned and developed by Leo Carrillo (better known as Cisco kid’s sidekick, Pancho).

    Your potential visit might have prompted me to pick up the uke again.

    But alas, your need to rush up the coast and fight our bumper-to-bumper traffic just to get a look at more cars (albeit, classic Mercedes, such as your own) might lead one to suspect that you also are a victim of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and might benefit from your own prescription of Anafranil, taken with your favorite red house wine during that wonderful pasta dinner with Prego Traditional tomato sauce.

    Looking forward to your recovery and next visit to the area… at least by 2010.