We picked up the Carson City engine on our way down Hwy 395. I have to admit I love driving down the east side of the Sierras on 395. We were a little late for the prime viewing time for fall colors but it was still beautiful. We made good time with a couple stops for fuel and food. About 10 hours after we started I found myself entering the Los Angeles area. We were headed to the Triangle Complex in Yorba Linda.
There's something pretty nerve wracking about driving down El Cajon pass in the dark, in a 40,000 lb engine, jockeying for position with 18 wheelers and crazy LA drivers (sorry LA drivers, but you know it's true). I think every muscle in my body was tense. And passing a fatal vehicle accident where the body was still on the side of the road covered by a tarp didn't help. Reality check. Even though I deal with accidents and life and death for a living, it never gets easy.
We checked in at base camp at the Irvine Regional Park about 8pm. One thing we brought with us was a change in weather conditions, the winds decided to die down, good for home owners and the firefighting efforts. We were told to check in the morning for an assignment so we headed to a Motel 6 (actually, more like a Motel 5). It was late when we finally bedded down and the alarm went off early to get us back to base camp. We waited half the day for an assignment that would never come. With the decrease in winds, the threat to homes was becoming minimal. We passed the time as firefighters do, eating, sleeping, telling war stories.
Monday night still found us unassigned so we were put up in another hotel close to Disneyland. There were some nice places to eat close to the hotel and some of us chose California Pizza Kitchen. Great food. I had one of the best pasta dishes ever. Highly recommend it.
Early morning light on Mt. Whitney
We finally arrived back in Reno about noon. It was a long way to drive and not fight fire which is tough to do. Our job is to fight fires but the fact that we didn't get to is actually a good thing. The winds died down, the fire came under control and our efforts were not needed. All good things for homeowners in that area.