Report from the frontlines

Wednesday, we left for town – they all have to be an overnighter, unless it is a quickie in King City. That is when we saw the Cal-Portland unannounced convoy with 8 trucks. It has been reported to me by a reliable source that these 8 loaded trucks were not headed to the bridge, so where were they going? Someone sneaking in a private project when there is no oversight? I am curious, and will do what I can to try and find out.

UPDATE ON CAL-PORTLAND: “Hey Kate the Cal Portland company is repairing the area between Paul’s and the bridge. Today they were working on the 2 slips south of Lucia. They dumped about 1/2 of the road base in our lower parking area. I am not sure where the rest of it went. I’m sure some went by Lopez point. Just thought I’d let you know what I’m seeing down here. It is nice to see some of the damage getting worked on, but really scary that it all has to come over naci.”

Thursday, we got caught in the announced convoy.
We got to a very wide turnout on Nacimiento, east of the Pinedorado Campground, with a lot of empty trailers parked on the side of the road. We were greeted by this:


It was only 4:30. The Cal Trans press release seemed to say that passage between 4 and 5 was okay. I was perturbed, but no use, so relaxed with it. We were only the second car to arrive at the road block, and this nice CHP officer, when an hour of waiting concluded, lined us up in the order in which we had arrived. We visited with Robert Willett and Kate Healy, and a few others, but basically just relaxed in the shade.

The convoy was about 18-19 trucks, give or take 1 or 2 as I stopped counting at a dozen, then realized what I was doing and started up again, adding 2 for what I figured I missed. They were transfer trucks. What happens is that the trucks unhook their trailers and leave them by the side of the road, then go dump the load they have. These were probably the same type of “super 10 yards” (which are actually 15 yards, per a trucking friend with Windsor) that we saw by Cal-Portland trucks we saw on Wednesday, but these were Granite and a few private ones. After they dump the truck load, they come back and load the transfer onto the truck, leaving the trailer bed behind. Once they dump the contents of the transfer, the come back and load the transfer on to the trailer bed, hook up and take off.


Quite the operation. I do not know if the Cal-Portland trucks did the same thing, or not, as it was not a Cal Trans sanctioned convoy, and may have been commissioned by a private party. I did find the newly installed East side sign, not too far inside the forest boundary:


And there are always silver linings:

A beautiful room at the Nine Iron on Moonstone Beach:


And here is a better one of Missy:


Dinner at the Sow’s Ear with a friend:


And paratrooper drops on FHL:




Two final items of note, I have been working with a very cooperative county Public Works representative, and will obtain a copy of the latest bi-annual bridge inspection report in about 10 days or so – they are in the middle of moving their office.

Finally, Cal Trans current projected opening dates are, from north to south:

*Pfeiffer Bridge – end of Sept. 2017

*Paul’s Slide – end of July 2017

*Mud Creek – June 2018


16 thoughts on “Report from the frontlines

  1. Great reporting, Kate. I always liked the neighbor “meet-ups” on roads during emergencies, if not the cause. Sometimes, that was the only time we got together. I will be very interested to see what those 8 trucks were about. May never know, eh? Glad you got a little R&R in a nice place.

  2. Kate ­ the end of July for Paul¹s slide? Is that your reality? Easel wants to reopen at end of July, and would like to be able to do that without the Paul¹s slide restrictions . . . .

    Thank you,

    Patrick Sheridan Director of Operations Esalen Institute Big Sur, CA93920


    “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Jaws (1975)

    From: BigSurKate Reply-To: BigSurKate Date: Friday, June 2, 2017 at 12:16 PM To: Patrick Sheridan Subject: [New post] Report from the frontlines bigsurkate posted: “Wednesday, we left for town – they all have to be an overnighter, unless it is a quickie in King City. That is when we saw the Cal-Portland unannounced convoy with 8 trucks. It has been reported to me by a reliable source that these 8 loaded trucks were n”

  3. No, Patrick, that is not MY reality. I do think this is too optimistic, sorry to say, too much water still coming out there, and too much activity up top. This is merely Cal-Trans projection, which has changed many, many times since the closure. I don’t have a projected date. It may be a rush between the bridge and Paul’s Slide. Mud Creek is out of the running after the big slide started on my birthday, May 19th.

  4. Kate,

    Always surprises.

    Does CalFire and other adjoining fed fire crews do similar emergency training exercises hopping out of planes?

  5. As far as I know, the USFS smoke jumpers train out of a training base in Missoula, Montana. It is the largest smoke jumper base in the US. A great movie re this training and base is “Always” with Richard Dreyfus. As to Cal Fire, I am not sure they have a training base. Usually, smoke jumpers are used on forests, and Cal Fire’s SRA (State Responsibility Area) is urban and WUI (wildland/urban interface) which are accessible by road.


  6. I read that last night, Andrew, and it looks like the CCC is not ruling out the possibility of allowing the dumping, given the scope of this one. Now let’s see what the Marine Sanctuary says.


  7. Kate, via CT youtube channel latest update/ release 6/2…

    “New Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge Girders – Caltrans News Flash #133”

  8. This is a question on an resulting side effect of the closures at Big Sur. I’ve heard that a lot more traffic is heading out G16 (CV Road) to meet up with 101, rather than being routed out 68. Is this planned? Or the way their phone maps are directing them. G16 is quite the windy drive….and that road is not always the safest to drive…..any knowledge on this?

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