Big Sur Information

Photo by bigsurkate (the bitcoin reference below is not mine. Please don’t click on it. I am trying to rid my site of it)



Nacimiento-Fergusson Ro and South Coast Ridge Road from Prewitt Ridge to Nacimiento are both closed due to road damage until further notice,.


For the most thorough and complete guide to Big Sur on the internet see:

Big Sur Visitor’s Guide


Interactive Highway Map with Mile Markers and slide names is to the right, under “Pages” first one *Big Sur Interactive Maps... if the following link doesn’t work. *Big Sur Interactive Slide Maps will answer any questions you may have about where something is in relation to something else.


(Size for any header photos you may wish to submit it is 760×151 pixels.)



Martin Luther King, Jr.

this is a repeat of what I posted last year.

In his final speech, King addressed a church filled with striking sanitation workers who were protesting their low pay and working conditions. King emphasized the importance of unity and nonviolent protest in the fight for justice, no matter how painful the struggle.

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop… And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

Congressman John Lewis’s powerful words, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime.”

One Hour Delays on Highway 1 suspended

Date:Wednesday, January 12, 2022
District:05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties
Contact:Kevin Drabinski or Jim Shivers
Phone:(805) 549-3138 or (805) 549-3237



SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY – Continued efforts to remove slide material from above the roadway on Highway 1 in northern San Luis Obispo County has progressed to the point that the one-hour delays for travelers which began last week will be suspended.

Beginning Thursday, Jan.13, travelers will encounter one-way reversing traffic control in the immediate vicinity of the Polar Star slide, one mile south of Ragged Pont at Post Mile 71.8 weekdays from 7 am to 5 pm with delays not expected to exceed 15 minutes.

This schedule is anticipated to be in effect until the end of next week.

Message and directional signs will be in place to alert travelers in the area. Please drive safely in this area due to the presence of highway workers.

For traffic updates on other state highways in San Luis Obispo County, travelers may contact Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805-549-3318 or can visit the District 5 website at:

Weds reading: Highway One construction, part 1, by Stan Harlan


It was the spring of 1933 that much activity occurred, in preparation for the construction of Highway One, on our property at Lopez Point. I was going on 6 years of age while Donald was already 8 and Gene was 12. At first, there was much activity by survey crews establishing where the highway was to actually be built. A convict crew then came through with hand tools building a trail on grade with the intended highway location. All of this activity originated from the south where we had already observed the blasting and heavy machinery advancing slowly up the coast for at least a year.

On a number of occasions we had walked down the coast on the Old Coast Trail and observed the techniques being used to create a roadway through some very rough country. Where there were rocky outcrops the convicts were assigned tunnel building for the placement of dynamite and black powder charges. I remember Lime Kiln Point in particular where the whole rock bluff was interlaced with man-sized 3 foot by 5 foot tunnels through the solid rock.

Tunnel construction was done with compressed air operated rock drills which were hand held and connected to a large engine operated air compressor located at the end of the work road with a long set of rubber hoses and steel pipe. The rock drills made holes in the rock approximately an inch and a quarter in diameter and sometimes were made many feet into the rock wall. The rock drill extensions came in different lengths, but they all had a bit or point threaded onto one end and the other end was forged to fit the business end of the rock drill. Some extensions were only 2 feet in length and others were 4 ft., 6 ft. 8 ft., etc. As the holes got deeper a longer drill rod extension was used. The drill rods had a small hole in the center extending their full length so compressed air ejected the rock flakes and dust out of the drilled hole and back into the face of the man holding the rock drill. After a number of holes had been drilled into the rock face of the tunnel the convicts would load them with dynamite and connect the igniters or (caps as we called them) electrically with a long piece of 2 conductor wire (blasting wire as we called it) to a hand operated blasting generator. When all personnel were evacuated from the tunnel a man pushed down hard on the plunger of the blast generator causing an electrical charge to ignite the caps and set off the dynamite charges.

Excavating the resulting rock rubble was done by hand by loading the pieces into a steel buggy that had four wheels riding on steel rail tracks. The loaded buggy was either pushed by hand or pulled with a rope to the tunnel outlet where it was dumped and then returned for another load. As the tunnel was extended the rail tracks were also extended. The convicts doing this kind of work seemed to accept the dangers and the unpleasantness of the job and even became quite proud of their special abilities. Some became true experts at placing the right quantity and type of explosives to accomplish the best result with the greatest efficiency. I was told that convicts on good behavior could have their sentences reduced by one day for each day they put in on projects like this. (Article also appeared in the January edition of the Big Sur Round-up. The Round-up is published monthly and can be sent to you for only $11 per year. Send your check to The Round-up, P.O. Box 234, Big Sur, CA 93920.)

Los Padres begins implementing prescribed fire activities

News Release

For Immediate Release

January 11, 2022      

Media Contact: Andrew Madsen
(805) 895-0841

Twitter: @LosPadresNF

Los Padres begins implementing prescribed fire activities

SOLVANG, Calif.— Los Padres National Forest officials today announced plans to begin implementing their annual prescribed burning operations. When favorable weather conditions are present, specific project locations and dates will be shared on the Forest’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The objectives of the projects are to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire to people and communities, create conditions which offer a safer and more effective wildfire response, foster more resilient ecosystems, and minimize the effects of large wildfires on the landscape.

When implementing these projects, fire managers follow a burn plan that outlines the “prescription” or environmental conditions such as temperature, wind, fuel moisture, ventilation and relative humidity that need to be present before the project begins. When the criteria are met, crews will implement, monitor, and patrol each burn project to ensure it meets the goals and objectives outlined by managers. The prescribed fire program will continue through the winter and spring months as permitted by weather and other environmental factors.

Prescribed fires including both understory and pile burning are intended to reduce the amount of vegetation, such as needles, small plants, brush, and small trees which can carry fire from the forest floor into the treetops. Studies and experience have shown that prescribed fires stimulate the growth of grasses, forbs and shrubs that provide food for deer, mountain quail and other wildlife.

The ignition of all prescribed burns is dependent on the availability of personnel, equipment, and conducive weather conditions. Prescribed burn planning and execution are closely coordinated with the National Weather Service and Air Quality Management Districts to manage smoke production and minimize impacts as much as possible.

When these burns occur, information signs will be posted along adjacent roadways to alert the public to the burn projects and visible smoke in the area.

For questions on the Los Padres National Forest prescribed fire program, please contact Kyle Kinports at (805) 961-5710.. For additional information, please visit the Forest website at

One hour delays at Polar Star Slide continues this week

Date:Monday, January 10, 2022
District:05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties
Contact:Kevin Drabinski or Jim Shivers
Phone:(805) 549-3138 or (805) 549-3237




SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY – Continued efforts to remove slide material from above the roadway on Highway 1 in northern San Luis Obispo County will result in one-hour delays for travelers weekdays during daytime hours from Monday, Jan. 10 through Friday, Jan. 14 with traffic control in the immediate vicinity of the Polar Star slide, one mile south of Ragged Pont at Post Mile 71.8. Travelers will be subject to traffic control with up to one-hour delays from 7 am to 5 pm. The highway will be fully open on weekdays, without traffic control, from 5 pm to 7 am.

On weekends, Highway 1 will be fully open, without traffic control, from Friday at 5 pm until Monday at 7 am.

Crews with specialized equipment will remove remaining slide material from above the roadway. These weekday, one-hour traffic delays, are necessary for crews and equipment to dedicate the maximum amount of daylight hours to these efforts in advance of future weather events.

Message and directional signs will be in place to alert travelers in the area.

For traffic updates on other state highways in San Luis Obispo County, travelers may contact Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805-549-3318 or can visit the District 5 website at:

Bigsurkate’s weather station

This is the inside monitor for my new weather station with ambient. I can also monitor it on my iPhone/iPad when I am away.

The inside temperature is not accurate on this dashboard, and will not be available to me or others via internet. But the rest of it? There is now a link to the right at the very top of the 2021-2022 Weather & Road information — *bigsurkate’s weather station. I will also be including it during fire season so we can check the wind and humidity.

The Big Sur Poet in the English Pork Pie Hat

Some of you may remember Eric Barker, the poet who was once the caretaker for the El Sur Ranch. Others will want to know about him. A reader of my blog sent me this essay he wrote on the poet and it is exquisite. I think you will enjoy this.

When Pico Blanco wears sunset like a lion skin
On his granite shoulders
I have followed her down to the sea
Where gulls and cormorants burn like phoenixes,
The great ocean is possessed by light and sound.

From “Little Sur River” by Eric Barker

Story and photos by David A. Laws

Half an hour’s drive south of my home on the Monterey Peninsula, cliff-hugging California Highway One dips down into a shallow valley carved by the Little Sur River on its twenty-five-mile dash to the ocean from the shoulders of Pico Blanco. Every time I take the wide U-turn across a low concrete bridge that spans the creek, my mind conjures up images of the stocky, gnome-like poet Eric Barker with a halo of white hair protruding from under his battered pork-pie hat.

In his poem “Little Sur River,” Barker captured the essence of her journey from stands of pine and redwood “where smoky sunlight lies tangled in brambles and ferns” through dense riparian groves of alder, cottonwood, and willow to the coast. He knew this spot well, having lived within sound of the surf for more than two years as a caretaker on the El Sur Ranch in the early 1950s.

His line “Sun is not all. Here we drink fog like rain” from the poem “Fog Over Big Sur” acknowledged Barker’s stolid acceptance of damp, foggy, wind-blasted Central California coastal summers in exchange for the freedom and solitude of his simple Big Sur lifestyle.

Eric, 1955. Image Copyright © 2021 Bullock Family Photography LLC. All rights reserved.

Barker was well known in the Big Sur art and literary community that included novelist Henry Miller, sculptors Harry Dick Ross and Gordon Newall, and artists Emile Norman and Emil White. He collaborated with Wynn Bullock on projects that matched the photographer’s expressive black and white images with the poet’s verse. Bullock’s portrait Eric, 1955 depicts him peering through the broken window of a tumble-down shack. Another features him playing chess with the photographer’s daughter. Both pictures appeared in many books and exhibits.

I think you will enjoy reading the rest of this essay and discovering both Eric Barker and David A. Laws.

Democracy was on a respirator

I have struggled on how to recognize that gawd awful horrible day a year ago. It was a day we all learned how fragile our democracy can be. We’ve watched it in other countries but never thought it could happen to us…until it did.

I watched in horror along with two-thirds of the nation. The other third watched in glee. As Terri Kanefield explaines, “Psychologists tell us that 33% of the population is inclined toward Authoritarianism. Stats back this up: Hitler came to power with 33% approval. Huey Long & Joe McCarthy had 30-35% approval.” I held my breath unti a new President was sworn in.

For days, weeks, months, I was glued to the news to see how it all played out. Yesterday US Attorney Garland released his statement about the insurrection investigation.

This is your reminder that Merrick Garland’s investigation of Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and the Unabomber had zero leaks before indictments,100% convictions and no turnovers on appeal. Sometimes you have to have a little faith in the process.

I have faith.