Ho, hum …

Grass & Sunlight, originally uploaded by wind_dancer.

Except for the economic difficulties the state and so many of us face, not much happening on this mountain top, so another photo for my readers. Sunlight and grass, taken in front of Gorda.

Rain expected middle to late next week. I’m sure we are all watching to see how this one shapes up. We certainly need the rain, if we want to avoid a devastating fire season. The Don Harlan school of forecasting is that a relatively dry January typically means a monster of a March. We’ll see if this holds true this year!

Notice to all my creditors – Arnoldbucks

Please consider this notice to all my creditors, that effective February 1, 2009, along with the State of California, who will be paying me with same, I intend to pay my bills with the following currency:


Thanks. And, of course, like the State of California, I will be unable to pay interest on the money I owe you. 



Attorney at Law

And here is part of an article by Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee published 1/30/09 covering my personal pet peeve about California’s budget:

“The fastest growing segment of the state’s deficit-ridden budget, by far, has been its prison system, reflecting severe overcrowding, generous labor contracts and federal court pressure to reform inmate health care.

“Corrections,” an ironic misnomer, has jumped from less than $5 billion a year to more than $10 billion in the last decade, over twice as fast as school spending, the biggest budget item. It now costs about $45,000 a year to feed, clothe and medicate each of the state’s 170,000-plus inmates, or roughly five times what taxpayers spend on a typical public school student. And that doesn’t count what it costs to supervise tens of thousands of parolees.”

Pine Cone article re Big Sur

After the 2nd week of extremely hot and dry conditions in Big Sur, I called Bradford in King City to air my concerns. Last Friday (okay, I admit I only “glanced” at the Pine Cone, and missed this one) Chris Counts of the Carmel Pine Cone submitted this article:

 Ironically, fire danger  returns to Big Sur 


WHILE THE California Department of Transportation is working overtime to reduce the threat of erosion in Big Sur, a meteorologist has a piece of advice for residents worried about mudslides and flash floods. 

“Get a weather radio,” said Tom Evans of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Monterey office. 

With its hillsides stripped bare of erosion- controlling vegetation as a result of recent wildfires, officials are warning Big Sur residents to prepare for mudslides and flash floods in the event of wet weather. 

While a simple electronic device can’t stop an onrushing wall of mud or water, it can potentially warn residents of an impending disaster. 

“It works like a smoke detector,” Evans explained. “It makes a loud noise as a warning.” 

Just last week, NOAA announced the installation of a transmitter at the Post Ranch. From its strategic location, the transmitter will allow the federal agency to communicate emergency bulletins. 

“We were very fortunate to get permission,” Evans said. “They have a nice hill up there for getting information out.” 

Because of Big Sur’s uneven terrain, some residents will be unable to receive the transmitter’s messages. But many, particularly those living atop ridges, will now be able to get an emergency warning. 

An optional antenna is available to improve reception. And while the radios are powered by electricity, they can also run for two days on a pair of AA batteries. 

For anyone interested in buying a weather radio, Peninsula Communications in Salinas is offering First Alert model WX-200 weather radios at cost, $45.60. Or email Dick Ravich at bigsursat@sprynet.com to place an order. 

While residents are being warned to prepare for mudslides, fire season season returned to Big Sur in the middle of January, thanks to last week’s hot, dry weather. It turns out that the Basin Complex Fire, which ignited seven months ago and was fully contained July 27, is still burning. 

The Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade received a report of smoke in the upper 

reaches of Partington Canyon. The fire was in a location which heavily burned last summer, but a small amount of fuel apparently remained. 

Assistant fire chief Martha Karstens said that fire was one of three flare-ups reported in Big Sur last week. 

“I don’t think anybody anticipated such hot weather,” Karstens said. “On Partington Ridge, it was in the 90s.” 

Firefighters know that embers can survive — deep inside a tree, for example — many months after a fire is officially out, and when hot, dry weather returns, the fire can suddenly break out again. Fire danger is still serious. 

While there is nothing residents can do to change the weather, there’s a lot they can do to make their homes safer from wildfires. 

Karstens said this is the perfect time to clear brush around residences, especially in neighborhoods west of Highway 1, which last summer’s fires didn’t reach. 

“Clear, clear, clear,” she suggested. 

While it may have felt like fire season outside, technically it wasn’t. Much of Los Padres National Forest is closed as a result of fire damage, and a temporary ban on fires exists at Pfeiffer Beach. But visitors can still make campfires or use portable barbecues at several campgrounds and picnic areas, including Plaskett Creek and Kirk Creek campgrounds, and Sand Dollar Beach, Mill Creek and Willow Creek day use areas. And south of Prewitt Ridge, the backcountry is still open to hikers, who are allowed to start campfires where designated fire rings exist. 

If not enough rain falls soon, it’s quite possible the U.S. Forest Service will tighten fire restrictions. “We’ve had some internal discussions,” said Mike Kremke, division chief of the Monterey ranger district. “It’s starting to become a concern for us.”

And this just in from a Monterey Hot Shot: “”fire danger its still out there, i did a little test burn in grass today at liggett to see if and how flammible the grasses are after this last rain.. and wow they sure still went up pretty good… i believe the temp. was 64 and the rh was 38 and still burned good”

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest, originally uploaded by wind_dancer.

To change the tone of this blog, after getting things off my chest, I will be uploading a few photos over the next few days. I hope you enjoy.

And for Stan, we are all grateful for all you do with the notifications. Don’t misunderstand me. We just need to work on the accuracy of our reporting — myself included, always. Enjoy the photos over the next few days.

Communication Glitches

I received this as a comment  from Stan Russell, of Santa Cruz, the webmaster of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, on my “Big Sur Mile Marker” post, regarding my post on the information re the Road Closure:

“I passed on the information as it was delivered to me by Susana Cruz at Caltrans. The message was the road was closed. You got the message. You can nitpick about what mile marker if that suits you.  I had to wake up to answer the phone and move the information through. You should at least be thankful rather than condescending towards me.”

First, I am very thankful for your efforts, Stan. I really did not think I was condescending. I just realized, that if I’d gotten the message that it was closed on the south, at “Rocky Creek” I would have questioned the accuracy. You don’t know any better, as you have not lived on the South Coast. So, to you Stan, I say, both privately in an email and here publicly, as that is where you posted your comment:

“Stan, you think my post was condescending? I strive for ACCURACY. I wrote you about the error, and your response was, “Oh, well. The road is closed in any event.” Maybe for you guys on the North Coast, “the road is closed, in any event” is sufficient, but for us on the South Coast, we need to know — can we get to Lucia? Can we get to Gorda? Can we get to N-F Rd? The devil is in the details, and it is tough to get them right, I know. Lord knows, I have not always gotten them right, but I try. And when I fail, I apologize. We are not perfect. We are only as good as our sources, and sometimes they are wrong. We need to check them out, verify, and correct if the information is incorrect. I told you your source was wrong, in a private email, and your response was “oh well. The road is still closed.” Well, that doesn’t cut it, from my perspective.

If you insist on reporting inaccurate information, regardless of the source, then you have to accept responsibility for  that. But your readers deserve to know you don’t check out your information, and in fact, when provided with additional, more accurate information, you don’t correct the original misinformation, but instead tell me, “oh, well.”   

You know “oh, well” doesn’t work down here, and shouldn’t any where else. We need ACCURATE information, and if you pass on inaccurate information, through NO fault of your own, and cannot get behind that fact, whatever the source, that is your problem, not mine. I strive for accurate. I make mistakes, or get inaccurate information, but then, I admit it, correct it, apologize, and strive to do better. You, on the other hand, chose ignore my correction, and to post on my blog that I was “nitpicking” and “condescending.” Nitpicking, yes. I want it accurate.
Condescedning? I did not think my commet was condescending, and I certainly did not mean it that way. I apologize if that is how you perceived it. I am just into ACCURATE. Anyone who is not, I am going to call on it. And if I am not accurate, I welcome corrections. It is not about ego, it is about sharing information that is helpful. If it is not accurate, it is not helpful. 
So, Stan, what can I say? I make mistakes, my sources make mistakes. It happens. I did not mean to be “condescending,” I only meant to provide additional resources to those who care about the details. If you don’t want the phone calls, then refer them to me. I don’t mind.
I hope we can continue to work together to provide information to the coast, accurate information, which helps the South Coast, as well as the North Coast. The details matter to us, down here.”

Big Sur Mile Markers

After Stan sent out an email last night listing the road closure on the south at Rocky Creek, MM 12, when there is no Rocky Creek down here, I realized that most of the North Coasters don’t know the South Coast very well, and particularly all the names of all the previous slide locations like we do.

Jim Kimball, a l-o-n-g time South Coaster, has a mile-marker listing that is more comprehensive than any I have seen. PLUS he knows Gray Slip, Blue Slide and Duck Pond, and where they are, as we all do down here. (How many of us haven’t been caught in one or all?)

He’s put them together with the highway mile markers for a great resource. It has been added to my Winter Conditions, 2008-2009 links to the right as Big Sur Mile Markers. This way, the next time any announcement comes out giving Mile Markers and approximate landmarks, you can check for yourself the accuracy of the relationship between the landmark and the mile markers. It won’t guarantee that the information provided is accurate, as when Richard at Cal-Trans says he is putting the sign at Willow Creek, when he really means Willow Springs, but, it is a start.