Wednesday, January 18, 2017

It's Raining, It's Pouring....

It’s been raining in California for the past two weeks.  By rain, I don’t mean a little drizzle, I mean full on pouring; raining cats and dogs; pelting down; bucketing down, whatever you want to call it, there’s been a lot of rain.

Now this is California, the state that has been under drought conditions for as long as I can remember. Every year we are told “save water” and “don’t wash your car or use your hose.”  The lack of any rain whatsoever just creates terrible summer fire conditions and without fail, every summer there is a glut of fires sweeping through mountains and towns.  

Fast forward to 2017 and we have the wettest winter in 20 years.  Northern California is on track to have its wettest winter ever and southern California is expected to tie it’s wettest year ever, which was in 1968-69.

It’s the end of the world, and I mean that quite literally.  California people do not know how to cope with rain and it might as well be acid coming from those clouds (which it possibly might be, but that’s another story entirely).  

Freeway driving is horrendous and quite frankly a little bit scary.  People seem have two speeds, 30 mph and overly cautious (think “Sunday drivers”) or 80 mph while weaving in and out of traffic (passing those 30 mph-ers).  Invariably, they don’t have their headlights on either.  I’m not saying I’m a perfect driver and I’m usually somewhere towards the high middle of those two speeds, but I grew up in England for goodness sake, I should know what I'm doing in the rain.  But last week, even I was driving more carefully.  This is what is looked like…
Notice cars with no lights?
There’s a vicious cycle in California.  The summers are so very hot and bone dry which results in wildfires leaving big open areas of scorched earth with no vegetation.  Then it will rain, usually only a little bit, but always enough create flooding and to turn all the burn areas into mudslides. [I’m beginning to wonder why I still live here].  This year, though has been incredibly bad.  So much so that the famous drive through tree “up north” has fallen down.  

When I heard the news reports that the “Pioneer Cabin” tree was gone, I was a little upset, but only because it was on my bucket list to drive through it, or at least to get a photo.  You know the one I mean, it’s the one you see all the time in adverts for camping holidays in National Forests.  It was also in the opening credits of National Lampoon's Vacation.

The Pioneer Cabin Tree
It now looks like this:

Apparently the storm was just too much for the 3000+ year old tree and it toppled.  [You don’t think it had anything to do with having hardly any roots do you?]  I was gutted that I’d never get a chance to see it, but you know what, even though everyone’s so upset it fell, while doing a bit of research, I realized there’s actually flippin’ loads of them in California.  There’s an area of the Redwoods called “Avenue of the Giants” where you can drive through them all.  I also found this little info flyer-thingy which shows a few of them.  So maybe my bucket list is still intact after all.

What I have realized in the last few weeks though is that I actually miss English weather.  I've really been enjoying the rain as I've had the chance to wear my English raincoat and wellies and use my brolly.  It might have something to do with not having to put up with it every day though.  So I will just enjoy it while I can.

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