Random Big Sur Photo #5 …

Had to work today, on this gorgeous day on the mountain. Weather – clear and beautiful. I have been above the fog, visible all up the coast, and enjoying temperatures in the mid-70’s. Totally blessed.

It has been a while since I uploaded a Random Big Sur photo for you to identify. Here is one:

_CSC4340This one should be an easy one for all you Big Sur afficianados. But I promise, the next ones will be hard!! Okay, where is this?

After 24-hours of polling, the garden photos posting idea has obtain a 95% agreement. I’ll leave the poll up for one more day, to give everyone who wants to vote to chance to do so.(I know some of you avoid the computer on weekends.) Voting closes Monday at 10 pm, PDT, so if you have an opinion, express it.

A note on the polls: they are completely anonymous. I have no idea who voted or how you voted. But thanks to the 20 that have so far!!

Big Sur has stop lights!

I thought that would get your attention! Yes, two. Really. Here is a shot of one. Sorry about the quality, but as many of you know, I broke my camera in Santorini. I feel like my arm has been cut off … so, I’ll be ordering another tomorrow. Like my dogs, I just cannot function without a good, working camera.

Big Sur Stop Lights

And here is a second view. And you thought I was talking about on Highway One? These are at the new Bailey Bridge, which just opened the State Park. Of course, that may be short-lived if our Governor’s bullying tactics survive.


And, just because the gardens of the River Inn are so beautiful, due to the hard work and planning of Connie, here is a shot of those, as well:

_DSC4343Maybe, besides Random Big Sur photos,  I should add some shots of our beautiful gardens? Connie’s garden at River Inn is just one of many.

State Park Closures, an editorial, of sorts

I had planned on posting about my coastal time on Wednesday, but there is panic over California State Park closures. Almost every state park in Big Sur is on the block, according to the SF Chronicle. (See: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/g/a/2009/05/30/stateparks.DTL)

I may be wrong, and I certainly have been before, but the panic I am seeing may be premature. California is facing some tough decisions, it is true, but these proposals are just that. Some state parks will almost certainly have to close, but I am not convinced that all Big Sur Parks will. Those that approach a cost-effective analysis may not have to. Pelican Network is forming a group to go to Sacramento to plead the case for the Big Sur State Park, so if you are interested, please contact Jack at: Rocinante@PelicanNetwork.net

State Parks are not the only ones “on the block.” Those that will suffer the most are seniors, the mentally ill, the disabled, and children. Those who have the least political “clout.” Many will mobilize to save our state parks, our prison guards, our teachers, and others. All have the ability to mobilize members and political influence. Our elderly, mentally ill, disabled, and children do not. Yet, these groups face the biggest impact on services.

Let’s keep things in perspective. Yes, it is important to keep Big Sur viable. Yes, we have suffered, and will suffer even more if our State Parks close, but we are not the only ones. Let’s keep our eye on the broader picture. We cannot continue to function in the bubble we have created. And let’s stop “blaming” our elected officials. They are us. We elected them. We set up the “rules” under which they operate. We need a complete and total overhaul, and it MUST start with each of us.

That smoke you may see or smell…

… is probably coming from Ft. Hunter-Leggett, where fire training exercises are being held. I’ve been watching it since shortly after noon, and it has intensified. Later, it dissipated.  I have just become extremely sensitive. Duh, I wonder why??

The controlled burns over there have gotten out of hand  in the past, but this one does not look like it ever did.

I admit, I never got to the stories and photos from yesterday. They are coming, really. I mean it. Just not tonight.

So much to report, so little time…Big Sur update

Had a great time on the coast today. Saw many, caught up on much, had a few adventures, and made it home … barely. 

Stories tomorrow, and possibly a photo or two, but tonight, a factual report about conditions. Kirk Creek Campground was full at 11 am, but had spaces again this evening. Limekiln is still closed, but rumor has it it will open as soon as possible, but no date. Every empty campsite at the Big Sur State Park had a “Reserved for Tonight” sign. Construction going on on Highway One in three different places: Rain Rocks, near Limekiln; Lucia; and the entrance for the State Park. Delays are minimal at all three places.

Stay tuned for a more detailed analysis tomorrow.

Tidbits on 5/27

Friday, Dakota has to go back to the vet. She has a gaping hole that is not closing up, and a few  stitches that have not been removed. *Sigh* This poor gal has not been outside off a leash in a month now. Poor, sweet Dakota.

Today, I have to go to the Big Sur Post Office to pick up a certified letter for work, so will get to explore the coast once again before it gets too crowded. I’ll report later, and hopefully have a Random Big Sur photo to share.

Medina Cat

Medina Cat, originally uploaded by wind_dancer.

Another Moroccan photograph for your viewing pleasure. I’ve always liked these dark and mysterious b&w photos, with a subject in the light, here a cat. Note the two children way in the back, barely visible.

In a dark alley of the Fes Medina, a cat shines in the light. This Medina is the oldest in Morocco, built in 808. A Medina is the old, walled-in part of a city, present in most of the Moroccan towns.

Memorial Day weekend is passed, and the summer season is in full swing. I found someone had come up after dark, and left shortly after dawn, after camping right smack in front of my gate, building a fire ring in the middle of the road. I guess they were too lazy to clear their own area off the road.

Big Sur State Park update

As promised, Big Sur State Park opened in time for Memorial Day Weekend. On Friday, May 22nd, at approximately 1:30 pm, a ribbon cutting ceremony launched the opening of the Bailey Bridge to a crowd of dignitaries, local residents, and anxious visitors. 90 minutes after the State Park opened, all campsites were filled for the weekend, and by the end of the day, over 1000 reservations were made for this summer.

 Camping reservations began Friday and can be made through Reserve America at www.reserveamerica.com or by calling (800) 444-PARK (444 7275).


On another note, from KION-TV, residents should not be alarmed to witness a low-flying airplane over parts of the west-central California Coast, part of the Los Padres National Forest, and an area east of Greenfield starting around May 22. 

For about two months, an airplane operated under contract to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will be making low-level flights. The survey will cover the cities of Big Sur, Soledad, Greenfield, and numerous other towns in the area with the purpose of collecting and recording geologic measurements. 

This survey is designed to remotely study geologic and hydrologic units that lie below land surface. It is part of an ongoing USGS program to identify features such as changes in rock types, ultimately providing a better understanding of the geology and hydrology of the area.

Library, Casablanca Mosque

Library, Casablanca Mosque, originally uploaded by wind_dancer.

While I am sure it is not a “slow” day in Big Sur, I am staying home, resting up from my vacation and doing some catching up on the thousands of emails, a stack of mail, and sundry other things.

I woke at 3 am without a clue as to where I was. Comes from never staying in one place more than 3 days, and many places for only 1 or 2 days. It took me almost 15 minutes of laying in the pitch black, before I realized I was no longer in Greece!

Our first day in Casablanca, we visited the tallest Mosque in Morocco. The Moroccan art & architecture is a study in symmetry. It is a beautiful country, which I was blessed to see many parts of.

As one can imagine, I have tons and tons of photos to sift through. The bad news is, I dropped my D90 in Santorini, Greece — on concrete. I could only take photos manually, and even then had trouble with focus and exposure.

Big Sur Summer

Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of the summer tourist season in Big Sur. But residents are “spoiled” by the closures experienced this past year. This weekend’s significant influx of visitors, while greatly appreciated, has brought many hospitality workers back to the reality of living and working here — the crowds that keep us alive.

“After a festive ribbon-cutting ceremony, visitors poured in Friday. Every Memorial Day weekend site was sold out in 90 minutes. Another 1,000 reservations have already been booked for the rest of summer,” reported the Monterey Herald.

Several of my visitor-serving friends were on overload on Saturday, dealing with the sudden rise in population here in Big Sur. They had been inundated. Usually, our hospitality industry gets a couple of dry runs before the big opening day, and workers have the opportunity to get ready for the flood of tourists. This could not happen this year, due to closures of the Los Padres National Forest and the State Parks essentially since June of last year. Now, we are on a fast track to catch up with lost revenues and to get used to the large crowds. We got spoiled, and we got lazy, without our visitors.

Welcome back, everyone. Let’s keep this a safe and sane (by Big Sur standards) summer.

(Just flew back last night and I have a lot to catch up on. Being “unplugged” for 16 days was great — no phones, no internet, no news. Will write about my adventures on slow “news” days in the coming weeks. Also looking to post another Random Big Sur Photo for identification soon.)