As many of you have heard we had two huge wildfires in Lake County this summer. Like so many other places, we’ve been hit by California’s drought in that much of the land in the area hasn’t seen a decent rain in quite a while, which means it’s perfectly conditioned for fire. Well, we got ‘em - two huge wildfires that found their way into remote, hard-to-reach sections of the county. The size and scope of these fires actually made national news with the Rocky Fire and then Jerusalem fire consuming thousands of acres.
As of today the Rocky fire is at 100% containment and the Jerusalem fire is at over 90% contained. These two blazes in remote parts of Lake County accounted for many, many acres of devastation and loss for many individuals. CalFire and the gigantic team of individuals who responded to these blazes really did yeoman's duty on this very remote fire in terrain that was extraordinarily difficult to get to.
For our guests who are wondering about things around here, we are so happy to report that the outstanding job done by the firefighters means that all the things someone might want to visit are open and ready for business. The wineries, roads, boat rental, restaurants, antique shops and more are anxious to see you. This fire has been hard on many sectors of the local economy with people staying away and all the hotel rooms in the area occupied by those working on the fires.
CalFire does an outstanding job of spreading the love to as many local businesses as possible but firefighters are focused on putting out destructive wildfires, not on shopping for antiques or renting boats or wine tasting or doing all the other things you might enjoy while you're here.
So the roads are open, the businesses are ready and we sure hope you choose to be part of helping local businesses keep food on their family's tables by coming up and visiting. We've got some great room deals for you so we sure hope to see you soon. With all the roads open, we are ready for you.
Today things are looking even better and the word is that Highway 20 will be opened today or tomorrow for the full way through, although you should check with CalTrans or CHP if that is part of your journey. We do know that Highway 20 is open from 101 to the intersection with Highway 53 so guests have been arriving through that route.
Yesterday a fire did flare up within walking distance of the Featherbed Railroad and the sheer armada of aircraft that showed up at almost a moment's notice was incredible and impressive to witness. Literally within about a half an hour the fire was literally squashed by these flying firefighting machines along with our wonderful local Northshore Fire Department team with help from an incredible number of others from all over California. If fire trucks excite you, there was every imaginable shape and size of these on this scene with firefighters jumping into action. Bottom line, the fire got squashed in no time.
As of right now the air quality isn't our usual outstanding but we're hoping that it, too, clears up. CalFire is estimating that the Rocky Fire will be 100% contained by Monday at some point which is great news. Obviously this is days away and things can change, but the firefighters are making significant progress.
Something that has really come to our attention here is the sheer volume of people it takes to pull off a fire fighting effort like this. We all recognize the courageous people on the front lines and in the air battling these blazes but we've been fortunate in that CalFire has chosen to house some of their team with us and these people provide infrastructure to the firefighters on the line. Just coordinating all the hotel rooms, food, fuel, trucks, airplanes, people and so much more is a massive task and these people swing into a new area and have all this infrastructure in place in no time flat.
So our hat is off to CalFire, the US Forest Service and our local firefighters as well as all the people from all over who are part of this effort too in every capacity. This has been truly educational and inspirational and, while we hope we only see these people again when they're on vacation, it's incredibly comforting to know that they're there to do a superb job when it's "go" time.
First and foremost, we've had the most incredible outpouring of support and concern. For the Featherbed Railroad, we are pretty far from the fires and there is no discernible threat to this place or any of the neighborhood that we're in. Of course we have friends and neighbors who have been horribly affected by all of this and we are working to do what we can to help them.
For good reason, many of the people who included us in their vacation plans within the next few weeks have canceled those reservations and we can't blame them. At the same time, we've been fortunate in that CalFire has taken over almost the whole resort so we're actually pretty full and we are full of the great men and women who are working on putting out this huge blaze as well as their support team.
At present we are planning to reopen for normal operation on Friday, August 14, although this is predicated on how things with this wildfire go, naturally. We will keep updating this blog as things progress.
The latest news on this is that the fire teams hope to have the fire 100 under control by Monday, August 10.
There is a local campaign where people are putting up red balloons to salute the people working on this fire and we've joined that. So let's hope the balloons come down soon, the fire team gets to go home and no more of our friends and neighbors lose the things that are precious to them.
As you may have heard there are some significant fires in and around Lake County such that, as of this writing, Highways 20 and 16 are closed to through traffic.
We understand that part of the appeal of a journey to see us is the cleanest air in California and also how easy it is to get to us from Sacramento, Chico and points beyond. Since both of these are not true at the moment, we are willing to allow cancellations including same-day cancellations with zero consequence. If you need to cancel we totally understand and it's no problem and we're not going to charge you.
Unfortunately we can only do this if you made your reservations directly through us. If you used a third party like AirBnB, BedAndBreakfast.com, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor.com or anyone other than us we aren't able to alter the cancellation policy simply because it's outside of our control. This is just another reason that booking directly through our website or over the phone is always your best bet.
Below is a map of the fires here in Lake County which is updated constantly. More than anything we hope that all the first responders working this situation come home safely to their families and that our neighbors who are in the affected areas have a home to return to. We know of a few friends for whom that will not be a reality so we're crossing our fingers that there aren't any others.
Thank you for sharing your vacation memories with us and this policy will be in effect until further notice.
If you’ve ever visited a destination and asked someone a simple question about the area and gotten a blank look as your response, you have experienced a problem that many destinations have. Including Lake County. But Lake County now has a solution - the Lake County Certified Tourism Ambassador’s (CTA) Program.
The CTA program is part of a national organization that offers certification as a Certified Tourism Ambassador. Having a tourism destination included in this organization is a lengthy and very, very involved process.
If you enjoy studying trends and habits of people then you’ll know that brides, in particular, are choosing remote locations for destination elopements. While destination honeymoons have long been popular, destination weddings with a few close friends are now equally in vogue. For those looking for a very special place for their very special events, the Featherbed Railroad may be just the ticket.
One a very busy weekend recently we had three very special and different celebrations that demonstrate just how different this incredible place can be, depending on the type of event that you’re looking to host.
Clear Lake's natural beauty has long appealed to people who want to tour the entire shoreline of this ancient water body. From rolling hills to marshes to deer-filled outcroppings where eagles fly to a inactive, but not dormant, volcano a trip around Clear Lake is quite an adventure. And Carl Porter did it all on foot!
Carl set out to see Clear Lake with his own eyes and see it up close and first-hand by walking the entire distance around the Lake. As part of his journey Carl spent a night with us and another with the fine folks over at Vista del Lago in Clearlake.
This past weekend with Lake County Wine Adventure we had a record number of people come through here and it was truly a great time. We also served up almost 7 gallons of chocolate chili and a lot of people asked us just what makes chili collocate chili. We've provide the recipe here for the chocolate chili that so many of you enjoyed.
A vacation can be a breath of fresh air, or at least it should be. When you come to Lake County the American Lung Association certifies that your vacation will be a breath of fresh air as we have the cleanest air in the entire United States.
For 24 years, almost the entire time that the Featherbed Railroad has been here, we’ve had the cleanest air in all of California. Not bad. For the past two years the American Lung Association says our air is the cleanest in the entire united states. Now that’s something to brag about.
How full is Clear Lake?
Clear Lake actually has more water right now than it did at this point last year. Since this ancient treasure relies on runoff and underground springs for its water there hasn’t been as big a problem as the rest of California. There were two big rain storms in the past few months and Clear Lake was the real beneficiary of those.
As a result, Disney Watersports, our favorite boat rental, is doing a brisk business but they still offer special rates to Featherbed Railroad guests. What’s more, we’ve had lots of boats here already as guests know that they can launch for free on our boat ramp and keep the boats safely tied up at night on our pier. Kayak enthusiasts have been thrilled with all the great bird watching and we even have two row boats available for guests. Check out our page about boating in Lake County.
How clear is Clear Lake?
Is Clear Lake stinky? No.
Late in summer the fact that Clear Lake is a shallow lake in a hot climate combines to create plant life, including algae. This algae dies off and gathers along the shoreline of the lake. We have installed a water sprinkler system on the pier so that, when the algae begins to form, we just flick a valve and this sprinkler system mitigates the algae.
Since we’re using lake water we are literally adding nothing to the lake but we are knocking down the algae so our shoreline doesn’t have an algae problem, even in late summer.
We’ve got clean air, a beautiful and fairly full lake and plenty of room for you. It might just be a great time to plan your Lake County getaway and we would be honored to have you here.
A blog about happenings in Lake County.