It was a long week of riding, especially after coming off a really bad cold, but somehow I found the strength to get out on a beautiful Sunday here in the Silicon Valley. Not much to say about the ride except that it is great to see everybody else out there enjoying the bike as much as I do.
However, all that changed as I rode through Palo Alto and noticed a huge cloud of ugly, dark smoke billowing out of a home just down the street. Yikes, something was on fire and it was burning quickly. I rode up and dumped my bike on the front yard and proceeded to assess the situation. Things had gone critical so quickly that nobody had called the Palo Alto Fire Department. I didn't have a phone so one of the neighbors made the call.
In the meantime, I went over to help the wife and her husband get a hose on the source of the fire. It turns out that a huge row of tall bushes between two houses was burning and burning fast. In their hurry to get water on the blaze the couple had hastily pulled and hopelessly kinked their front yard garden hose. We got the hose un-kinked and straightened out and the husband started spraying water on the fire. I ran next door, found a smaller hose and got somebody to turn on the water as I charged into the blaze. Unfortunately, the hose was pretty small in diameter so I couldn't add much water to the effort.
Of course, that didn't stop the burning embers from landing on me, resulting in a small second-degree burn on my right bicep and then the hose snapped in two! So, I abandoned that hose and ran around into the backyard of the neighbors house where another person and I hooked up a second hose. Since I was nursing my wound and finally realizing that nylon and lycra aren't very fire-resistant, I let my new-found friend fight the blaze this time.
About five minutes after it started, we had the fire put out and when the four Palo Alto Fire Department trucks rolled up, the party was over. Luckily, the roof of the two houses were composite and concrete shingles as the embers had ended up over 100 feet from the burning bushes. My cycling clothes and bike were covered in ashes, but that's a bad of courage from where I am sitting.