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Boulder Creek Fire Evacuation Update14 Min Read

Boulder Creek Fire Evacuation Update14 min read


Below are all the email messages I sent to my list starting Tuesday, August, 18 when fire hit Boulder Creek, our home in the Santa Cuz Mountains. I wrote a letter every day, mostly to preserve my sanity!

Monday, August 24. Fire still burning but situation improving. Will post here daily until we are home and safe. Or…

Tuesday, August 18


Yeah, it’s happening. Fire Nearby. 

Evacuating from Home and Office.
of Action Plan Marketing
and Robert Middleton and wife Saroj. 

So, I actually made a video. I was making a video talking about what was happening with the fire a few miles away from us in Central Boulder Creek, (SF Bay Area).

And as I was making the video, the emergency evacuation message rang on my phone. I answered it.

So, you can see my reaction in real-time.

Plus. few thoughts on the election, the Democratic Convention, Day 2 and the Trump situation. If you hate hearing political stuff, feel free to skip this.

Here’s the video:

And… I’m outta here.

Please send good vibes and positive energy in this direction.

We could use all you could spare!!!

Cheers, Robert

Wednesday, August 19



In case you were wondering…

A fire near our town of Boulder Creek forced us to evacuate.

We ended up in a cozy hotel in Monterey, CA, near Carmel by the Sea at 4:00 am.

With our two little fluffy white dogs, Dylan and Meera. And my wife, Saroj.

We coulda used a little time off, but this was a little unexpected. It’s been ultra-hot here with a Thunderstorm on Sunday that sparked the fire.

I packed up all my computer gear and backup drives and as much stuff as we could pack in our cars and we are hoping for the best.

The little town of Boulder Creek hasn’t been touched by a major fire in many a decade. Our preferred disaster is a flood from heavy winter rains.

I think we may have dodged the bullet, as the fire has not reached Central Boulder Creek yet, but we’ll know more tomorrow.

We are living in interesting, exciting, and dangerous times!

Stay Safe, Stay Connected.

Cheers, Robert

P.S. I appreciate you for being on my list and sending messages of support. Really makes a difference to know we are not alone. I will not be responding to individual emails for now.

Thursday, August 20


Above, my new Action Plan Marketing World Headquarters.


Thank you for all your well-wishing messages. I really appreciate it.

Well, after a harrowing first night driving down to Monterey, we contacted a good friend, Judy Pisano, in Santa Cruz who had a spare bedroom for us and we drove back up yesterday and settled in.

She lives in a wonderful cooperative apartment complex with lots of room. And I can set up my “Remote Action Plan World Headquarters” in a spare bedroom (the above pic is actually from the apartment’s common room).

So far, our home in Boulder Creek is safe, but the fire is still raging a few miles away and we can only hope that the firefighters will prevent it from progressing towards the center of town.

We literally live in the woods here, so nothing is certain right now.

But the truth is, nothing is ever certain is it? We cannot know what the future will bring – ever.

The Woody Allen quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans,” is perfect for right now. But he also said, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up!”

So here we are in the moment, our living situation uncertain. All we know is that we are alive, and aware in the here and now. We are showing up and dealing with the situation as it is.

But isn’t that always the case?

I did not have a good day yesterday. I was quite exhausted and somewhat upset. But now, after a good night’s sleep, the obvious truth is that things are perfect exactly the way they are.

The next few days will be an adventure due to uncertain circumstances. But isn’t every day an adventure?

The past several months have been an adventure for most of humanity. And it has been an extraordinarily challenging time for millions of people.

But what has gotten me through these times with energy, a positive attitude, and excitement about my work and my life has simply been the practice of remembering that this moment, right now, is all there is.

Happiness, fulfillment, love, and success don’t exist in the future. They are either here right now or not at all.

So, no matter what happens, even if we end up homeless in a week or two, that will always be true. Ultimately there is no safety in life. But there can still be joy in every moment.

Stay safe. Stay connected.

Cheers, Robert

Friday, August 21


Late yesterday, a convoy of up to 100 fire trucks from Los Angeles made its way to the SF Bay Area. Four or five arrived in Boulder Creek and there they are on our main street. It really felt as if the Calvary had arrived!

But we ain’t out of the woods yet (pun intended)!

The Central Boulder Creek Areas is still safe, as is our home (we assume) but the fire has covered 64,000 acres. And it is still not contained. More than 1,000 fire fighters are battling the blaze.

Big Basin State Park has been decimated. This is the oldest state park in California, established in 1902. Home to some of the most magnificent trees on planet earth.

Working on staying present and aware, but it’s not easy. My mind is turning to “what if” scenarios… “What if we lose our home? What if we can’t find a place to live? What if I run out of underwear?

It’s funny, you know. When we die, we leave all our possessions behind. But in a devastating fire it’s the opposite. We may be left with no possessions while still alive.

How attached we are to all our STUFF! I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the classic George Carlin routine on STUFF. Watch it here. Brilliant.

We left a lot of stuff behind. My two Swiss Army knives, some air force memorabilia from my father, lots of family pictures (the more recent ones are on my computer), a closet full of clothing. My video camera. Ice cream in the fridge.

And I was thinking what it would be like if it was all gone forever…

So, one day at a time in the land of the unknown.

Stay safe. Stay connected.

Cheers, Robert

Saturday, August 22


No Worries

Yesterday I made a run up to my home to pick up some more stuff. Tried again today but was stopped by a police barricade, so we’re in the Endgame. Our house will be saved or it won’t.

(Where are those damn Avengers when you need them?!)

You know all those wise sayings you hear throughout your life? And they really don’t have much of an impact on you. But in a crisis they kick in big time!

For instance, “worrying does nothing to make things better.” So this is the time to remember that and focus on what I can do right now that is productive and useful.

As I was driving back into Santa Cruz from the mountain, I started thinking of the next marketing program I could offer. And I came up with a great idea right there in the car. Really excited about it.

I’ll be working on it over the next week or so and will keep you posted. This is something I have the power to take action on. It’s something that can generate some income. And it’s something that can make a huge difference to a lot of people.

So, no getting sucked into worrying about things I can do nothing about. I can be resourceful. I can be creative. And I can actually have fun!

Thank you so much for your well-wishes and prayers. I’ve gotten a lot of them (from all over the world) and they really lift our spirits.

We sometimes forget how much a word of encouragement can mean during a challenging time, so feel free to say hello.

I’ll keep you posted.

Stay safe. Stay connected.

Cheers, Robert

My wife, Saroj, Meera and Dylan. Safe and sound in Santa Cruz.


Sunday, August 23



That’s Tyrone Clark on the roof of the Boulder Creek Gas Station hosing it down. Yes, he’s wearing a kilt, his everyday garb. One of the things that makes you love Boulder Creek!

Since they closed access to town we don’t have much news, but the town is still holding and the firefighters are making progress, so we have hope that we’ll pull out of this whole.

The above picture and story came from Boulder Creek Neighbors, a Facebook group. And if there ever was a bright light on social media, this is it. Everyone is sharing helpful stuff and resources and encouraging messages. A true reflection of the Boulder Creek Community online.

Living in this community is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. It’s beautiful, low-key, wild, friendly, and, well, REAL.

Our tiny City Center is only two and a half blocks long with mostly wood-frame buildings dating back 100 years or more – to the days when this was a logging town.

We have grocery and health food stores, a pharmacy, gas station, hardware store, pizza, Chinese, and sushi restaurants, antique stores, a vet, dentist and doctor’s offices, a bank… and a heroic volunteer fire department. (Yay!)

What else could you want? A true community!

We sure hope we get to stay here for the rest of our natural lives. Boulder Creek feels more precious than ever before.

Stay safe. Stay connected.

Cheers, Robert

P.S. Keep your messages of encouragement coming. They are really appreciated!

Monday, August 24


Above are just a few of the firefighting heroes who are working day and night to save Boulder Creek.

This is hard and dangerous work. Thank God they are there for us in our hour of need.

You know, we really take for granted our first responders – firefighters, police, paramedics, 911 operators, and anyone else we need in an emergency.

I am extraordinarily grateful to them.

Because of them, our home will probably be saved. It may be a week or so before we get to go back, but instead of charred ruins, we’ll have a place to live.

And what is even more extraordinary is that all the fire departments in our area are volunteers. It really boggles the mind!

I just made a donation to the Boulder Creek Fire Department. I invite you to do so as well if you are so moved:

Or donate to your local fire department. I promise you, they’ll appreciate it!

Stay safe. Stay connected.

Cheers, Robert

Tuesday, August 25


A saying I’ve always liked was, “You are entitled to your own opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

When it comes to this forest fire, facts rule.

On The FB Group, Boulder Creek Neighbors, residents visit to find out what is going on with the fire. We also have opinions, but we are looking for what is actually happening on the ground.

Where is the fire right now? Has the fire reached the town? What homes have been destroyed? Where are the firefighters staying? (And right now, I know my house is safe, which really makes a difference!)

In this time of crisis, we are hungry for the facts, for the truth of the matter. When the facts are misrepresented or distorted, bad things happen. In fact, when it comes to this fire, lives could be lost.

When it comes to anything in life or business, facts are what help us move forward, make good decisions, and persuade people to our point of view.

Yes, even good marketing is fact-based! 

So, in these days of hype and deception (if not outright lying), we need a firm commitment to get the actual facts.

Don’t believe anything anyone tells you without evidence. Not businesses, not politicians, not even FaceBook!

Stay safe. Stay connected.

Cheers, Robert

Wednesday, August 26


The police have been in the news a lot these days. And most of the news has not been favorable. Killing of unarmed black people, armed-to-the-teeth federal troops teargassing demonstrators.

But this view of the police is a very incomplete perspective. 

In Boulder Creek, we’re seeing the police protecting our town from looters day and night. There are about 70 police officers from all over the SF Bay Area who are watching over our community.

The vast majority of police are here to serve and protect. 

Unfortunately, all the negative news gets the most press. Of course, this has always been the case, but it’s not a true reflection of reality.

This morning I watched a video of the Santa Cruz Chief Deputy give an amazingly reassuring report of police activity in the mountains and I was moved by his caring and professional tone.

So, despite a disaster that has resulted in the loss of more than 500 homes, our police are doing their level best to keep things as safe as possible for all of us.

And I celebrate that. 

Stay safe. Stay connected. 

Cheers, Robert

P.S. Yes, our home is safe and I’m now 100% confident that it will not be damaged by the fire. It will still be a week or more before we can return, however. Thankfully, my business hasn’t really been impacted.

Thursday, August 27


It starts when you’re always afraid. You step out of line, the man come and take you away.” – from For What It’s Worth by Stephen Stills.

Fear is real. Very real.

Fear is necessary as it’s a survival instinct that keeps us alive. And when the fire evacuation was announced last week, I definitely felt fear. And that propelled me into action.

But fear as a state of being paralyzes us, makes us avoid risk, and leads to inaction, avoidance, and settling for the status quo.

It kills creativity, innovation, and inspiration. 

What is tragic is that our society, our politics, and even businesses often stoke fear to manipulate us, to shove unpalatable ideas and behaviors down our throats.

“Think this, believe this, do this, don’t do that.” Step out of line and you will be rejected or worse. But it’s often so insidious that we don’t even notice it’s happening.

As self-employed professionals, our first job may be to overcome fear and step out of line to move things forward, make things better, and upset the status quo. This takes real courage.

But if you don’t do it, who will?

Stay safe. Stay connected.

Cheers, Robert

Friday, August 28


To rise like a phoenix from the ashes means to emerge from a catastrophe stronger, smarter, and more powerful.

That’s how this past week has felt. It has opened up new possibilities for my life and my business.

And I will be making a big change, officially starting on Monday.

For 23 years I have written an email newsletter once a week (on Tuesdays) and it’s worked out pretty well for me. But writing daily for the past nine days has been transformational.

So, I am transitioning from a weekly email newsletter to a daily one. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

> I have a lot to share, and once a week has felt limiting for some time.

> Writing shorter, punchier, and pithier is easier both to write (for me) and to read (for my readers).

> Each issue will be about 250 words long which can be read in a minute or less.

> Each newsletter will have a one-word title and I’ll touch on one important topic in each issue.

> I’ll write about attracting clients, of course, but this format will allow me to touch on other topics.

> I’ll be putting more attention on the inner game of marketing and business as well.

> You’ll never get more than one email a day from me (five days a week) and if I’m promoting a program, that email will substitute for the daily newsletter.

> I’ll post the full week of newsletters in one long post each week on my blog.

Thank you for welcoming me into your email box. I won’t abuse that privilege.

Stay safe. Stay Connected.

Cheers, Robert

P.S. As always, I welcome your comments and support. And I’ll keep you notified when I get to move back into the woods!


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