What Is Orange County?

I’m in Lake Forest, a small suburb within the uber suburb that is Orange County. It is all that’s good and bad with America. It is instant gratification. It is financial meltdown. It is mall shopping and freeway driving. It is green. It is flowering. It is desert. It is filled with water.

While shooting my Cousin Melissa I took some time to pick up a little sense of the scenery.







Live From The OC

The party has moved. Greetings from Orange County. I drove this afternoon from the San Fernando Valley down past Los Angeles, Anaheim and Irvine to Lake Forest.

I am learning to really lean on the GPS. What I’ve found is advance planning is a necessity. The downside is, the GPS demands attention. You can’t look at the road when you’re looking at the GPS.

Use the power wisely, Luke.

As soon as I-5 broke into Orange County, the entire feel of the landscape changed. It was as if a switch had been thrown. This is a land where nothing is old!

This town, Lake Forest, was virtual nothingness 30 years ago. Nothing here is ugly or ramshackle or unplanned.

My cousins live on a man made lake in community of single homes not far from where the El Toro Marine Air Station was. Looking out their back door reminds me more of Disney than a conventional neighborhood.

We to a quick stop for coffee at a gigantic mall. There is both a skating rink and Ferris wheel along with the stores. The mall is mainly uncovered with wide walkways

Everyone is stylishly dressed. Stef would love it here.

More From The California Foxes

Just got this from my Cousin Melissa from Lake Forest in Orange County:

Fire has shifted back toward our house as we could see from increased smoke and ash – containment actually going down – we are back in Newport.

No wind, more support in the air and on the ground, yet the fire is still getting away from them. San Diego remains ferocious. New fire next to the nuclear power plant at San Onofre. They say it is “not threatened” but there are acres of power lines in and out.

With the wind dying and the humidity scheduled to rise, things should improve. However, fires already burning aren’t as impressed with improving conditions as the ones that haven’t yet ignited are.

More From The Firelines

Another note from the burn zone out west. This time it’s from Cousin Michael, in Orange County.

We’re still safe — and we’re also still in Newport Beach, although I did return to Lake Forest tonight to get a few more things, water the plants, and take Max to a Cub Scout meeting.

The fire isn’t burning quite as close as last night, it’s moved further east and south, but gigantic bright orange flames are still visible in the foothills just a few miles away. And because of the wind, and the terrain, and because the fire makes it’s own weather, the fire is almost completely unpredictable. That’s why we took the opportunity to stay overnight a few more miles away.

It didn’t look quite as scary tonight, even though huge pockets of flames were visible in the hills just above us. Maybe one just gets used to it.

For anyone who might be interested in following what’s happening in our area on the national news, the fire is variously called the “Foothill Ranch,” the “Portola Hills,” the “Santiago,” or just the “Orange County” fire. Fortunately, we have very brave fire fighters here.

Melissa grew up in Southern California, but Michael is from New York via everywhere. He’s been in SoCal over 15 years. In Orange County, he’s nearly a native.

These fires seem more insidious than other weather perils. How is it, in 21st century America and even with advanced warning, there’s nothing to do but watch the fire take its toll… and worry you might be next.

Fires And Family

My California cousins live in Lake Forest, CA. It’s an area without a natural lake or forest! Man has taken over where Mother Nature came up short. They both exist now.

Cousins Michael, Melissa and Max have split to the coast tonight. Fire isn’t imminent, but its effects are being felt. Ash covers the neighborhood streets. Acrid smoke fills the skies… and their lungs.

Last night Michael and I chatted on the phone. Looking past the now decommissioned El Toro Marine Air Station, the sky was orange. The fire was within four or five miles of their house.

It must be scary to be so close to something so destructive and at the same time so unpredictable. It’s a different kind of fear than their standard fallback – earthquakes. There’s no anticipation with quakes.

Every place has some natural peril. This is theirs.

I guess at some point I’m going to have to decide if I’m willing to let it be mine.