Condor Christmas

Tonight, there was a special segment on the CBS Evening News on the endangered California Condor. From a low of 20 condors in the early 90’s, thanks to a breeding program at the LA and San Diego zoos, the population is up to 400. Of course, Big Sur was mentioned. Featured was the work by PG&E (supported by our local Blaze Engineering)to bury miles of electrical lines, bring in helicopters to assist. The cost? $4.2 million dollars, the most ever spent to protect an endangered species.

The California Condor, more than any other critter,symbolizes the Big Sur Coast. One more step to ensure its survival.

So, today, I call Condor Christmas. Maybe that shooting star many of us in Big Sur saw this morning at dawn was our reward for bringing this majestic bird back from the brink of extinction.

Merry Christmas

I’m not sure my post re technical difficulties posted or not, but Internet working well, just having trouble getting photos posted, so photo contest entries as soon as I can. In the mean time, I’m going to try to post this Christmas greeting from my iPhone. Hopes this works!


Christmas Caroling in Big Sur

From Lisa Goettel:

Christmas caroling in Big Sur this Sunday night the 18th. Meet at 5:30 at the River Inn if you want to sing with us, or make dinner reservations that night at the River Inn, Fernwood, Nepenthe or Deetjens and let us serenade you. We’ll start at River Inn at 6 and head south. Fa la la la la…

Sounds like fun!

BTW, finally have the internet thing sorted out, and now wordpress is being difficult about uploading photos, yet again! I tried to upload a decorated Christmas tree by Ray of Paso Robles, and while it is in the gallery

Rain & Possible Wind & Photo Contest

Well, I was caught unawares this morning. I had an unexpected cloud burst this morning just after sunrise, and then later, some light rain. I think the total was only about .10 of an inch, but despite seeing the slight chance of scattered sprinkles, for some reason, I thought I was immune. Fat chance! There is also some possibility of increased winds this afternoon/evening, but no evidence of that yet at 3:30 pm.

PHOTO CONTEST: Okay, readers – I have only received FIVE entries from 3 readers and the contest ends tonight at midnight. If you are intimidated by the size of the banner, don’t be. I can crop the winning photo in the best possible way I can so it will fit. Come on

Rain, Condors, and Photo Contest

Big Sur Valley reported 3/4″ of rain. My rain gauge read only .2 of an inch, but it continued this morning until I was up to .4 inches.

We’ve been notified that there will be a special on the CBS News December 17th about the Big Sur Condor Protection Story.

Finally, I only have one (great) header photo submitted so far, and there are only 3 days left in the contest! You guys and gals always wait until the last minute. Remember, this quarter, the prize is a $50 gift certificate to the Big Sur Bakery by Mike Gilson of Big Sur Real Estate. See the notices section directly above this post for details!

Weather Conditions, 12/11/11

7:45 pm – I had a gentle drizzle up here, on and off for the last 5 hours, but nothing really measurable. 15 mins ago, serious rain started, and considering it is 38 degrees outside, if this keeps up, I might get snow.

I have been keeping a close eye on the weather, and reports of a possible storm sometime between Sunday and Wednesday. The reports (and I track Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Bakersfield) have been all over the map about strength and timing. As of 2:00 pm PST here on my mountain, it is looking like it may stay out to sea, and if we do get any showers, it won’t be much. I’ll keep tracking and let everyone know if there is anything significant.

Currently, the outside temperature is a balmy 39 degrees. I’ve got it up to 67 inside. Lucky me. Avis is busy working on her next Pitkin’s Curve/Rain Rocks photos post, and either she or I will get in up in a few days.

Hang “Em” High Part 2

Avis here again with more photos of the GSB bridge & rock shed project on highway 1.

I think in this post not only will I show shots of my trip up in the basket but I will show some on the job shots that give you a little bit of an idea in what it takes to build structures like this.

In this shot I am in the basket looking to the north towards the bridge. See that blue thing on the bridge? That is called a Form Traveler.

This shot was taken when the bridge still had a gap in it from the other side.

So here’s how it basically works. They put the Form Traveler in place. Build the walls and do all the welding and the re-bar work.

Run pipes for cables and such, and when they complete all they need to do, they pour the concrete.


When the concrete is poured and set they sand the surface down. And voila! Another section of the bridge is complete. They move the Form Traveler and start the process all over again.

That was the Readers Digest condensed version of all the steps and work that goes into this job. These guys work an extremely dangerous job. It’s long days of hard ass work. Not to mention they are hanging off the edge of a cliff.

I like this shot. It gives you the perspective of just how on the edge these guys are.

After touring the job site with the supervisor, I have a deep respect for the work they do and how complicated it is to build a bridge & rock shed on a highway that shouldn’t even be here.

On Monday Dec. 5th, they poured the final section in the bridge. It is now one solid piece. Not completed yet, but ladies & gents……..we have a bridge!

I have a few more images to share and will post again in a few days.

Changes coming to bigsurkate

About a year ago, a reader in Fresno informed me of an ad for Treebones on my blog. I couldn’t see it, and John Handy knew nothing of it. Since then, others have noticed ads, as have I.

My blog has become popular, so ads are becoming more and more a part of it. I do not get paid for these ads. In fact, I have to pay MORE to have an ad-free blog through an update. I already pay for storage, and will have to pay for more sometime next year. So, I started questioning how I could get paid for the ads on my blog, and I was just accepted into a new program which will allow that to happen starting next year.

Just prior to being accepted into this program, I was offered the chance to buy My offer of $200 was rejected, so I went to and purchased and Both have now been directed to my blog. Turns out this was a good thing, as I had to have my own domain to be accepted into the wordad program, and yesterday I was! So, starting next year, I will have more ads on my blog, but the money it generates (I imagine quite small) will help me to off-set the cost of the space I must pay for in order to keep this blog going and to archive ALL the old “stuff” I have posted. I hope this will work for all of us, and that the ads are not too intrusive. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about these changes.

Also, in my major push to get some photos up in the last couple of weeks, I managed to use up most of my data allowance for this month, so I will be watching how long I am online until the 22nd, when the next cycle starts.

Also, a new rain gauge found a good, solid place to be which should render accurate readings, and is anchored so it should not be subject to loss due to winds. Also, today, I got my wireless weather station set up. It still needs to be tied off, but absent unexpected winds, it is up and running. With it, not only can I get indoor/outdoor temperature readings, wind speeds (up to 100 mph), barometric pressure, forecasts, and history of maximums and minimums. This, hopefully will allow me to make more accurate weather reports this winter. We are uptown now, boys and girls!

Happy Holidays! I’ll still be here, but a tad less frequently until after the 22nd!

Hang “Em” High

Hi everyone. Avis here.

Last month I was invited by the job Supervisor from the bridge and rock shed construction that is on highway 1 near Limekiln State Park, to take my camera, climb in a basket attached to a crane, and be lifted 172′ into the air and out over the ocean, to get shots of the job site from an angle not many get to see.

It was amazing! I adorned my stylish hard hat and bright orange vest. Was put into a harness that was attached to the basket. In the basket with me was the foreman from the bridge job and at the crane stood the supervisor with the crane operator. Let me tell you…that crane operator was smooth like sweet flowing silk. And, I am told he is one of the best in the state of California. I believe it.

To start off this pictorial I’d like to show you an above the entire job shot image so you can get a grasp of how big this job is. They are building a bridge and a rock shed. The rock shed will be the first ever built in the United States. They are very common in Europe for avalanche and rock slide areas. I have no doubt that when this job is finished it will be a tourist attraction that will rival the Bixby Bridge.

Obviously in the center of the pic is the bridge being built. And the far left stand the columns for the rock shed. The crane  was on a platform on the ocean side of the columns. ( not pictured here)

And here I go…up up up & away…..

I especially like that you can see our shadow in the basket on the mountain.

I like this shot. It gives you the perspective of the height, you see the crane perched on that platform and the view isn’t  bad either.

The view looking south from 172 feet into the air out over the ocean.

I have more shots I will share. Including some of the actual phases of building the bridge and rock shed as the week progresses. That is in between the news Kate needs to report.

The final pour to connect the bridge will take place this Monday Dec. 5th. The bridge won’t be done but it will be all connected.

Hope you enjoyed the shots. More to come very soon!