You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
After a peaceful night's sleep, and half an hour lying in bed deciding when to arise, one looks out the bedroom window and finds that the world has moved on without him. One had never noticed a thing.
It's now 7:25 a.m., 3 February 2022, and according to the Staunton News Leader this fire broke out a little before 7:00 a.m.
Hordes of fire-fighting machinery thronging our little intersection, and a speedy and efficient job seems to have been done by everyone.
The florist shop is in awful shape, but soon afterward the management found new quarters elsewhere in town, and was able to salvage much of the stock from the workrooms next door before the imminent St Valentine's Day.
Fire engines of various colors, from neighboring districts
N Augusta is for the moment commuterly out of service.
The fire evidently began on the top floor, from electrical sources we're informed, but unfortunately smoke and water damage severely impacted the ballet academy on the left, particularly by damaging a valuable collection of dance costumes. The academy also found an alternative location quite quickly.
Our 'Old Y' condo building, just behind the ladder, was blessedly unaffected, except that embers apparently damaged our new little front door mats. Alas. So the old ones came back up from the basement.
Another problem, though -- not as serious a problem as having been burnt out of your florist shop. But the fire had melted the communications wiring overhead, including our Internet connection! Woe!
Xfinity to the rescue. Very promptly, too; this is only a short time after the fire's been declared seriously out, and the fire fighters have packed up and moved on to the next one.
The pros have come to save us.
Not an easy job, evidently -- they've been at it, unfurling huge coils of new cables and doing whatever they do with them, for most of the day and . . .
. . . into the evening.
A front page photo from the Staunton News Leader of the fire in full roar -- about 25 meters from where we were half-dozing peacefully.
Very sad. But it turned out to be one of those encouraging cases where the community evidently rallied round and helped to minimize the difficulties.
No word yet, to us outsiders, about whether the building will be taken down or refitted for new uses.
Back to the MHP Expressway hiking and biking trail
One of our favorite walking trails within Staunton limits is the satirically named Expressway, one of three at the Montgomery Hall Park. More background about the Park and the walking/mountain biking trail can be seen here and here.
'Caution: Flying Discs'. We're scurrying by one of the fairways of the Kiwanis Disc Golf Course.
Off into the trackless wilderness. Well, not trackless, but wild. Wild-looking, anyway, and mostly wintry dead.
The Expressway is the yellow trail, as seen above. The shorter Yulee Trail is the red one, and the Scout Trail that runs round the northern peripheries of the whole mess is blue-blazed.
We've been led to believe that all of the suffocating vine sort of thing is of the dreaded southern kudzu persuasion.
It's a bit of an off day for some of our party, so we may diminish our expectations somewhat by offloading onto one of the brushy crossovers to the shorter Yulee Trail. We're still deciding.
-- Straggling again?
'Caution: Flying Discs'
(Actually only twice have we run into anyone flinging their frisbees out here; of course, it's the dead of winter.)
-- Mind your head!
-- I did.
A yellow trail-blaze -- we're still okay.
One would hate to be standing here, or tied to a tree or something, when someone flings a cigarette into some of this super-dry brush. This could become a 148-acre fire-bomb.
More fire fodder
The consensus seems to be that it's time to hoist ourselves over to the shorter Yulee Trail and wander back towards the carpark.
Along a (kudzu-free) section of the Yulee Trail and thence to home.
The Montgomery Hall Park walking/mountain biking trails
An instructive accompaniment for aficionados
What's next, then? Soon, some rewarding days on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. But not yet.