Photo Contest & Weather

The photo contest for my header photo is closed, and I got flooded with entries last night, so it will take a while to sort through, download all photos, choose ten photos from some absolutely phenomenal photographs I received and get the best up for all of you to vote on. I am in awe at all the talent I have seen this morning. If you missed it this time, don’t worry, I will have another in a couple months, or so. Start watching my “notice” post at the very top of the blog for the announcement.

Because I got so many wonderful photos, after the contest is completed, I will be posting some of the rest of the entries in batches, so you can see the wonderful quality of photos submitted this time – and almost everyone submitting was doing so for the first time. Thank you all for participating. It is one of my favorite things to do with this blog, and there will be many more opportunities to participate.

As you all are aware, it rained Sunday (about 1/4 inch in Big Sur Valley) and rained a bit today, more expected in the am, and then a significant storm this weekend. It is also quite cold up here, so I stocked up on more propane for my propane heater. Unbelievable. Tomorrow is June, for Pete’s sake. One thing is probable, and that is that fire season should be delayed this year.

I hope we do have a summer, at some point. I can’t plant my tomatoes and veggies until it warms up a bit!

Photo Contest & Alder Creek

The photo contest ends tonight at midnight, and I only got SIX entries!! Where is everyone?? Waiting until the last minute? You don’t have to live in Big Sur to submit, the photo just has to have been taken in Big Sur. If you submit more than one, I will pick either the one *I* like best, or the one that fits the format best. Long and narrow is what will work best.

submit to:

By 6 pm tonight, 7 more people have submitted photos – some submitted multiples, which is fine, but I will only post one per person. I will probably have to cull it down to the top 10 if we get more than 15 people submitting, and then it will take me a few days to sort, organize, etc. and then I will put up the final group for my readers to vote on. You will only have a few days to vote, and then I will post the winner. Remember, there is a prize for the winning photo, besides several months of exposure on my header. 😉

And just LOOK at the daily progress. Scroll down for photos of 5/27 and 5/28. Here is one from 5/29, and the daily progress is astounding, isn’t it??

Alder Creek 5/29/11 by Stacey Johnson

Alder Creek, 5/28/11 – Almost There

They are now down to about 60 feet above the highway, and it is looking good! The dirt on the south side is being hauled off for a realignment project on Highway One near Arroyo de la Cruz, I think it is. Here are a few photos from yesterday:

Alder Creek, 5/27/11 by Rock Knocker

Alder Creek, 5/27/11 by Rock Knocker

Alder Creek, 5/27/11 by Rock Knocker

And today, a little bit closer to the roadway:

Alder Creek, 5/28/11 by Rock Knocker

Alder Creek, 5/28/11 by Rock Knocker

Alder Creek, 5/28/11 by Rock Knocker

Alder Creek, 5/28/11 by Rock Knocker

The last update put up by Cal-Trans on Thursday gave a projected opening of mid-June. Based on these photos, that looks very likely – if not before, and if no unforeseen challenges.

Memorial Day Weekend doings in Big Sur

So much going on, it is hard to know where to begin. I try to stay only with non-profits, but HML does such a great job of getting their info out, I usually don’t add to their outreach. Check their site, as they have LOTS going on this weekend! However, send me an email if you know of a non-commercial enterprise you want to promote this week-end.

Our Big Sur Library is having a fund-raiser: May 28, 29 & 30 – Annual “Friends of the Big Sur Library” Book and Bake Sale, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday, May 28, 29 & 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Peruse a huge selection of donated/used books (from all genres) and sample delicious homemade baked goods (for purchase) fresh from the ovens of Big Sur pastry maestros. All proceeds go to supporting the operation of Monterey County’s only free public library in Big Sur. This is a free event. The Big Sur Library is located on Highway 1 at the Ripplewood Resort in Big Sur. (831) 667-2537.

Coastal Geology & Highway One

California Geological Survey issued a series of interesting maps and reports about landslide probabilities throughout our state. Of course, Highway One in Big Sur is covered. This portion of the work of the CGS was prepared for the Highway Management Plan. From time to time, I will share some of what I discover about the geology and construction of Highway One. I hope to continue this series and create a new page where the history of the road can be expanded upon, as I explore and share my discoveries. Where quotes are shared, I will provide a link to the source of the quote.

“Highway 1 was constructed through this geologically diverse landscape in the 1930’s and opened in 1937. Parts of the Highway north of Big Sur follow the Old Coast Road, completed from Monterey to Big Sur by Monterey County in the 1880’s. Construction of the highway involved extensive excavations that utilized steam shovels and blasting. Fill was placed in minor canyons and bridges constructed across major canyons. The highway has a long history of landslides which have both landed on the highway and undermined the road bed. Road closures have been common, with long term closure mainly due to large landslides in years of heavy rainfall.” (

For this first post, take a look at the following. The first is part of the landslide classification key

This second map is a general map of the Alder Creek Area. Though it is hard to read, Alder Creek is right there at the blue “8.”

That was so that you would recognize where Alder Creek is on the landslide map below, also where the “8” is.

Interesting, isn’t it? If you find these maps difficult to read, you can see and download the maps at this site: Geological & Landslide Maps of the Big Sur Coast

Many announcements vie for your attention

Just in the last two days, I have gotten three requests to post information for your perusal, so I am combining them all here. I have photos and other things I need to catch up on, as well as the usual updates, and don’t forget, the PHOTO CONTEST IS HERE!! I’ve only received THREE entries, and Memorial Day is almost here. I will have a prize for the winner, too.

The first in was from the Public Information Office of the USFS Los Padres Forest office in Goleta. The bottom line is they are doing what they can to repair storm damaged roads. The notice starts out like this: “GOLETA, CA… Los Padres National Forest officials today announced that many Forest roads will remain closed to vehicle traffic until the required environmental analyses are completed and road damage can be fully evaluated.

Recognizing the impact these closures have on public recreation, Forest Supervisor Peggy Hernandez addressed the regulatory steps required to re-open storm-damaged roads, and outlined her strategy for accomplishing the work required under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).'” So, now we all know, they are doing their best given the resources, manpower, and regulations under which they labor. (Gotta love the feds, eh?)

The second request is to notify you about a new website which looks at Sam Farr’s bill to create the new Monterey District Management Unit. This was sent anonymously, and the website is maintained anonymously. That should set off some bells in your head – it did in mine. I have never posted requests from anonymous sources in the past, and do not intend to start now. I will keep an individual or organization anonymous, if requested, but if I am not “permitted” to know the source of the information, I certainly cannot support it blindly. I read the entire website, which does have some great links to historical information about the wilderness designation, wildland fire fighting, federal acquisitions of private land, and work force housing, to name just a few, but it was clearly built with a very specific agenda in mind. Some of what is advocated on this website I support. Some, I do not. Fact and opinion are artfully blended together. It is a well thought out site, very professionally done, but which has a very specific agenda about Congressman Farr’s bill, and changes which this anonymous person or persons feel need to be made before it is presented. Some of the language this person or person proposes is unenforceable and bad policy, in my opinion. You can make up your own mind. Google farrsbill and you will probably find it. Remember to sort out fact from opinion here. There is a meeting with Sam Farr on June 18th about Congressman Farr’s proposal, so keep that in mind.

Thirdly, I have been requested by the Ventana Wilderness Alliance to notify everyone about National Trails Day on Saturday, June 4th. Celebrate National Trails Day at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park – Saturday, 4 June 2011. “Volunteer sign in begins at 9 am at Big Sur Station…. Following the trail work, all are invited to a reception at Big Sur Station to celebrate the public unveiling of the Ventana Trails Forever Fund – an endowment held at the Community Foundation for Monterey County to support public trail maintenance across the Ventana and Big Sur region. Enjoy celebratory food and drink while swaying to the sweet tunes of Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us. Reception begins at 3:30pm.”

Okay, those are the requested announcements, but here is another I do without request.

Baseball season has started!! YAY!!

“For more than 30 years, a very colorful and sometimes competitive softball league has provided fun, entertainment and a sense of community for the residents of Big Sur,
California. The rules of the league have been influenced by its unusual “ball park,” which actually features trees in the field of play. The ball park lies on sunny flat alongside the
Big Sur River within the boundaries of Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park. Here, on Monday and Tuesday evenings from the beginning of June through the end of August, a host of
locals and an occassional curious visitor gather to watch teams like the Outlaws, the Dogs and the Burritos renew ancient rivalries …”

Here is the link for the BASEBALL SCHEDULE!

Quite a bit of rain, yesterday, but blue skies today, which will continue through Memorial Day, although temperatures are predicted to be below normal.

Okay, that’s it for now, more when the internet goddess, who is quite tempramental at the moment, allows. Also, with an increase in requests for announcements, I will probably move all such announcements from the front page, back to the announcement page, which seems to happen every summer, as these requests increase.

Alder Creek Update, 5/24/11

Cal-Trans sent out this notice yesterday:

Today’s Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 @ 11 am
District: 5 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San
Benito Counties
Contact: Susana Z. Cruz (Bilingual) or Colin Jones
Phone: (805) 549-3138 or (805) 549-3189


Geologic instability and debris falling on Highway 1 at Alder Creek (Post Mile 7.5), 40 miles south of Big Sur, have closed the roadway completely in both directions to all public, including motorized vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists since April 14. THIS SECTION OF HWY. 1 REMAINS EXTREMELY UNSTABLE SO THE CLEAN-UP OPERATION IS PROCEEDING AT A SLOW BUT STEADY PACE 400-500 FEET ABOVE THE ROADWAY. Heavier equipment was brought to the slide over the weekend to accelerate roadwork on removing slide debris. This type of work is very difficult and challenging and safety is always our top priority. The estimated opening date is tentatively scheduled for mid-June.

All Big Sur and coastal businesses remain OPEN to the public. Motorists traveling to Big Sur from the SOUTH can take Hwy. 101 to the Monterey area, proceed west on Hwy. 68 then south on Hwy. 1 to reach Big Sur.
Another update will be provided as conditions warrant.

Alder Creek #1 by Cal-Trans

Alder Creek #2 by Cal-Trans

First, I was out of town, then, I spent two days with Verizon over my internet service, then yesterday, the cell tower was down, and today service is intermittent. One never realizes how reliant one is on the internet and the cell phone, until it is missing. Hoping for improvement!

WEATHER: Around 2:30 the first drizzles were here on the South Coast. I woke up, and looked around, and could not believe it was going to rain today, but by mid-afternoon, it had clouded up, and now, at 4 pm, it is a nice steady rain. What is this?? I do remember that it rained on graduation at Pacific Valley, one year. Can’t remember which year that was, though. This isn’t going to help with the Alder Creek clean-up.

Passages & Changes

May has brought a lot of changes to many of us. Weather has been unpredictable and unusual all throughout the world. No less here in Big Sur. One week it has been in the high 80s and the next, I must find my long-johns and comforter, again. It can vary from one day to the next, or one week to the next. I have called it the Schizophrenic Spring – having delusions of being winter.

It is also the month I lost two friends of over 20 years – both Big Surians, and both South Coasters. I usually try to avoid announcing these types of passages on the internet, as when I was in Peru, that is how I found out about the loss of one of my dear friend’s husband. I could not breathe when I read about it, and then spent several hundreds of dollars trying to get the details. But these passages are a part of life, and right now, a big part of this coast.

Earlier, Rock Bob finally lost his battle with cancer. Some of you will remember him from his Salmon Creek days. That’s when I first met him 26 years ago. The last 15 years or so of his life, he spent in town with the woman he loved and who loved him. He was a man who lived in the extremes – quietly and well. HIs memorial has had to be postponed until the Alder Creek slide clears, as he has so many friends south of it and an equal number north of it. Right now, Barbara and I have tentatively set it for the Sunday after the Fourth. He and Barbara loved to come down and host a Fourth of July party at Sand Dollar Beach, and we discussed that time for the memorial, but the crowds may be here, friends may be away for a long weekend, and so we have discussed the following weekend. Of course, it all depends on the road. Rock Bob will be with me always, as good friends are.

Today, we lost the Queen of Flowers, Caroline Provost. I first met her when we both worked at Pacific Valley Center in 1989 – she as a waitress, and me in the gift shop. Caroline never aged in the 22 years I have known her – not a year. Her smile lit up the room and her gardens were legendary. She has always been the gracious lady with the big heart. Her death was sudden from an aneurysm she suffered yesterday at home. She was airlifted first to Paso Robles and then to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, where this morning, after a CAT scan, she was pronounced brain dead. Her family was there with her during those final hours. I cannot even imagine what her daughters, Nicole and Michelle, are going through, but they have my thoughts tonight, along with her husband, Jerry, who just recently returned home after his own stroke. It is a passage that will touch me for a long time. I will long see that little dynamo in my mind and my heart.

I have been “offline” for several days due to a “mini-vacation” and then for another two days due to internet trouble, and now I return to share sad news. I debated long and hard about posting this tonight, but I could not go on reporting as if nothing untoward had happened, without mentioning that which has touched most of my Big Sur family today.

I will miss both of you. We all will. Namasté

Internet Gremlins

somehow, my Internet service has been “raptured” I guess. I have acess via my iPhone, but posting this way is a pain, and I have yet to figure out how to upload Photos – IF I can load photos.

Verizon and I spent over an hour on the phone together trying to figure it out. We finally decided I need to take all devices in to a Verizon store, which I will do as soon as possible, and will be back posting in no time.

Where in California is bigsurkate?

Okay, I admit … I occasionally get out of Dodge … even if Dodge is Paradise. I’ll be at the BSVFB Muster, but for a couple days (shush … don’t tell, but I’m having a birthday) I am exploring another area of the state … where am I? Here is clue number 1:


Here is number 2:

And here is another:
Original Bar from 1862

All reports about the Big, Big, Big Sur Fashion Show at the Henry Miller Library last night are that it was superb, spectacular, and lots of fun! Next year, I am really going to try and attend what has fast become an epic event. Tomorrow is the BSVFB Muster at the State Park, and I will be attending that on my way back home tomorrow. See you there!