I wake this morning to the smell of smoke.
A strong breeze blows through the open window above my bed. Looking out, I see the hills surrounding the campground are cloaked in a smoky haze. I whisper to the crew, “C’mon, let’s go for our walk.” Once suited up, the crew walks quietly beside me as we pass Dermot’s tent and Larry and Virginia’s fifth wheel.
I look up at Larry’s flag.
A few days ago he affixed a pole to his fifth wheel so he could fly the U.S. flag above his home. He also situated a track light on the bumper so the flag is illuminated at night. It’s a beautiful sight. It also has become our indicator of wind direction, which has become increasingly important to those of us camped here.
Our walk is a short one this morning.
I notice three whitetail deer grazing at the campground gate. Usually there is only one deer. She appears in the field every morning and early evening. I wonder if the fire is causing wildlife to move this way. We pass by a rabbit, not more than four feet from us, camouflaged in the grass. Spike and Bridget don’t notice. So much for the canine heightened sense of smell.
Yesterday morning the smoke was worse.
At least one camper left in a hurry due to a concern for his asthma. Fortunately the wind changed direction within an hour – It does that a lot around here – and the air cleared. That fire, started by a motorhome catching fire from a gas leak, was first reported in the local newspaper as consuming 100 acres. Virginia reported to us yesterday that it is up to 3,000 acres, and three more fires have sprung up.
I intended to visit Mt. Rushmore yesterday.
Instead I give the BLT a thorough cleaning. I invited Dermot to bring his longtime friend, a retired veteran, for a tour, and I want it to look its best. This friend saw the exterior of the BLT on a previous visit to Dermot’s campsite, and has become interested in a Casita for himself. I love showing off my little home! The three of us enjoyed each other’s company all morning.
In the afternoon, I drive the crew over to Cottonwood Lake.
It’s only about two minutes from here. I dangle my feet in the water while Spike soaks and Bridget wades. Later Dermot and I continue our ongoing conversation over several topics, including the life and death of Crazy Horse. Once again I have the good fortune of encountering a kindred spirit in a campground!
Today the crew and I are going to Mt. Rushmore and maybe to the Crazy Horse Memorial, too.
I wonder if our excursion will be affected by the forest fires. The wind is quite strong and roads may be blocked. It will be better for all three of us to leave the campground and ride in the PTV with the windows closed and the air conditioning on.[slideshow]