People have asked me if I could have any camera, what would it be. I have always said I have the exact gear I want, a Canon EOS 5D, Mark III. I am very happy with my camera gear. It’s the latest and greatest professional lens, camera body, etc.
So our newest acquisition to help my growing and exceedingly successful photography has been a new camper for our 20 year old truck. We love our truck, and the camper top that has been on it has served us well. But the camper top was starting to show it’s age. So we decided to custom build a new utility body for our truck, and a pop up camper top. The new improved truck would be the latest ‘tool’ in my photography arsenal. We could go out to the rim watch the sun set and rise over our beautiful overlooks and sleep in the bed in the pop up camper, enjoy the comforts of its hot & cold running water, toilet, dining table, etc.
We took a 2 month trip to Washington state in November 2016 to pick up our custom camper… and again for 1 month in July 2017, returning just a month ago, to do some warranty repairs. We spent months customizing the bins, drawers, and cabinets with hand crafted pecan wood organizing touches. It was perfect. With that done, we were ready and prepared to use our new tool, finally ‘retire’, and enjoy our environment.
Well… I guess that just wasn’t meant to be.
On John’s way to fire school he smelled smoke. He got out to look under the hood, which was already all ablaze.
Several off duty fire fighters on their way to fire school stopped to help out. They used 5 fire extinguishers from people’s personal vehicles. People stopped to throw fire extinguishers at him from across the double divided highway he was on.
When the fire got in the cab and became unsafe for passersby, he abandoned trying to save the truck and instead backed everyone away from it. As soon as he saw the tires bubbling and bulging he knew it was unsafe to be around. Just after he hustled people from standing around watching him work and he corralled them away, his large tires with high pressure loads burst and exploded in a fury, blowing pieces of truck at everything in it’s path. He had one fire guy call DPS to have him stop traffic both directions when the gun from inside the truck starting going off and ricocheted off of rocks above his head. Bullet holes could later be seen exiting out the side of the truck doors.
When saving the truck became futile he turned his attention to the side hill that was starting to catch fire and sprayed foam on the live growth to prohibit a wildfire.
By the time DPS and the fire engines got there, a long 35 mimutes later, John was directing traffic on the freeway away from his burning truck (20 years old this year – a gift from his folks). They stopped to ask him where the driver was (John was wearing his Fire dept blues).. they had no idea he was the ‘victim’. John even hooked up the hose to the fire engine to put out the fire for his own truck.
I’ve said it before.. he is my hero.
There’s not much left of her. The fire was fiery hot. It melted the steering column… all that was inside is GONE. On the day after we think of all that is lost. Not only the truck and camper, but little things like all his fire department gear, his fire helmet… his tooth brush… his cowboy hat he has had like, forever… our prescription glasses… our many marked up and commented on maps of our travels… our computer. It can all be bought again. It’s just things after all.
This morning, on the day after, I feel tremendously thankful and relieved that I woke up next to John this morning… and he went in to the fire house to pick up someone’s shift since he did not go to fire school afterall.