Sunday, August 3, 2014

Alive and Well After the Sand Fire Scare

I was thinking; what would it be like to stay in other places close to home.  Saturday, July 26th,  we had the unfortunate opportunity to do just that because the Sand Fire forced us to evacuate Lucinda's Country Inn and send all our guests away to safety.That was a nerve wracking experience. For 2-1/2 days we were on pins and needles awaiting official word about the Sand Fire and its advancement towards Fair Play. Yes, we got tid bits and snippets of information over the TV and radio. The officials in charge were dedicated to getting the Sand Fire under complete control. We finally started to get some real details via the Cal Fire website on Sunday night and Monday morning. We returned to a standing Lucinda's Country Inn on Tuesday, July 29th; just as a precaution we stayed that extra night. The fire was being somewhat controlled until Saturday afternoon when the winds blew it out of control. So we knew it had a potential to do it again because Monday afternoon it was windy.

We returned to see her exactly as we left her. 

Saturday about 6:30pm we got the word the evacuation is for real. By the time we grabbed our photos and a few picture/paintings on the walls that are extremely sentimental, complete tree leaves blacken by the fire and chunks of wood the size of large marbles had fallen all over the property. We knew it was time to get us, our son and grandson the hell out of Fair Play. We thought most folks who evacuated on Friday and earlier than us were taking every room available in the Placerville hotels and motels. I drove up to Pollock Pines to find the two hotels there had NO Vacancies!! Driving further up Highway 50 toward Lake Tahoe, about 25 miles our side of Lake Tahoe, we found Strawberry Lodge. Cindy & I spent one night there a few years ago when we did a ride in the Highway 50 60th Wagon Train. We only slept in the room, there was an evening BBQ with dance and a Chuck Wagon breakfast. We did not have the pleasure of a dining experience.

When we got the last 2 rooms that Saturday I believe the only modernizing Strawberry Lodge ever experienced was adding electricity and plumbing. The rooms were small and the beds, linens and table and chair were from the Great Depression Era. Bad by any standard. The dining room service in the morning was by folks playing Keystone Cops, or chickens with theirs heads cut off. Cindy got our waters and coffees. It was probably the best example of how NOT to run a dining room.

Sunday & Monday nights were a sheer delight. After trying a couple other lodging establishments; both mostly filled with Cal Fire personnel, we were lucky to get the last 2 rooms at the Holiday Inn Express at El Dorado Hills. They upgraded us to their Romantic Suite and another suite. The management worked with many locals who were displaced because of the Sand Fire. Every single employee treated us like royalty. Jenny, the General Manager, even called some of the corporate clientele to ask them to wait a week before returning, so she could have room for the Sand Fire evacuees.Thank you to all Holiday Inn Express employees for your kindness and professionalism.

I write this blog to say I've found a new retreat for Cindy & I. And, it's even closer than Lake Tahoe. The Holiday Inn Express at El Dorado Hills is our new home away from home. So to answer my thought at the beginning, yes there is a great place to stay close to Fair Play. I encourage you too to stay at the Holiday Inn Express and tell 'em Daryl & Cindy of Lucinda's Country Inn sent you.

'Til nixt time....


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