Car Week Public Meeting with Mary Adams on 7/11/18

How come car “week” is 9 days long? Extra days for set up and clean up? Inquiring minds want to know!

Dear Friends,
The upcoming Car Week (August 18 -26) will bring many visitors and activities to Monterey County. As locals, we balance the positive impacts and excitement with the intermittent frustrations caused by a major international event coming to town.
With the majority of activity set to occur in the Fifth District, I thought it appropriate to host a focused community meeting to help you prepare. In addition to outlining the economic impact to our county, our Car Week Community Meeting will:
  • Overview the comprehensive calendar of planned events;
  • Highlight events permitted by the County of Monterey;
  • Demo Monterey County Connect – your tool for reporting issues and requesting services; and
  • Enable you to ask questions and share your concerns.
Please join me on July 11, 2018 from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. for an informative presentation and lively discussion. We will convene in the Laguan Seca Pavilion, located at 1021 Monterey-Salinas Highway. Representatives from the various organizations involved in readying our community for Car Week will be in attendance.
Mary L. Adams
Monterey County Board of Supervisors
District 5
 Monterey County Courthouse

Tourist Tuesday, 6/26/18

Barcelona, Spain would rather let more refugees into their country than tourists.


“Early last year, around 150,000 people in Barcelona marched to demand that the Spanish government allow more refugees into the country. Shortly afterwards, “Tourists go home, refugees welcome” started appearing on the city’s walls; soon the city was inundated with protestors marching behind the slogans “Barcelona is not for sale” and “We will not be driven out”.

What the Spanish media dubbed turismofobia overtook several European cities last summer, with protests held and measures taken in Venice, Rome, Amsterdam, Florence, Berlin, Lisbon, Palma de Mallorca and elsewhere in Europe against the invasion of visitors. But in contrast to many, as fiercely as Barcelona has pushed back against tourists, it has campaigned to welcome more refugees. When news broke two weeks ago that a rescue ship carrying 629 migrants was adrift in the Mediterranean, mayor Ada Colau was among the first to offer those aboard safe haven.”

For the rest of the article see:

Tourist Tuesday, 5/29/18

Community and Civil Society

Tourism can contribute to preserving your locale—or to degrading it. These links and tools can help your community plan constructively.

These directories are far from complete. Please submit new entries by entering a comment or e-mailing, 50-word maximum.

General Destination Quality and Civic Initiatives Provides a mechanism for residents and visitors to petition about anything affecting the character of the locale, from irresponsible developments to creation of parks or historic districts.

“Choices” The acclaimed 3-minute video (high-resolution version) ironically lays out in two parts the difference between well-stewarded destinations and places that aren’t. A good tone-setter for meetings.

Community Tourism Assessment Handbook An online nine-step guide designed to help determine whether tourism development is right for a given community. Published by the Western Rural Development Center, Montana State University Extension.

Gateway Community Toolkit for towns next door to U.S. national parks.

International Porter Protection Group This grassroots network based in Nepal advocates for better conditions for porters around the world. See the guidelines for recommendations to protect porters at

National Main Street Center This successful U.S. program concentrates on revitalizing downtown areas with an eye to historic preservation and lively commerce.

Overseas Development Institute This British think tank provides a paper on how tourism can be used for poverty alleviation in developing countries.

Tourism Concern A British-based site critiquing tourism impacts on communities and the environment. Provides news, articles, statistics, codes, cross-links to other sites and forums. Rich but roughly organized content.

UNESCO Creative Cities Network offers unparalleled opportunities for cities to draw on peer learning processes and collaborative projects in order to capitalize on their creative assets and use this as a basis for building sustainable development.

These directories are far from complete. Please submit new entries by entering a comment or e-mailing, 50-word maximum.

Saturday Tourists… (4/21/18)

… Came wandering up to my place this morning. A young, polite Chinese couple, clearly in trouble. They had gotten their car stuck in a hole a few miles away. They slept in their car. They had had no food or water. They offered me $200 to take them to the highway. Unfortunately, I was expecting company in an hour – a BSK reader and her husband who had flown in to SFO and were renting a 4×4 Jeep and a place at the bottom of the road from me and who did not know the neighborhood, were coming up. I couldn’t take the couple down.

I offered the use of my phone, but it kept dropping the calls. I drew them a map of where they were, how they needed to go to get out of here. I gave them each a 1/2 gallon of water, bananas, and oranges. I was just sending them on their way, when my son showed up. “Want to make $200??” I asked him. After looking at the photo of their car, he said he could pull them out with his chain, so he loaded them up and took them back to their car. He needs to make his truck payment and works at whatever he can get. Plus, he is just an all-round good guy. Boy did those visitors luck out!

Tourist Tuesdays, 4/10/18

Noon, from a Highlands Neighbor:

”I called Christine Poe around 9:30 and was transferred to her after a short wait. She was very understanding of the frustration we are all experiencing in getting through the Rio Road/Hwy. 1 intersection. I mainly spoke with her regarding the safety issues of having that intersection blocked if there an emergency, the possible impatience of a driver deciding to pass other vehicles, and the lack of well timed traffic lights. She did tell me that engineers were scheduled to be at the site today to discuss the traffic situation and she would add my safety concerns to their discussion. She also suggested having Highway Patrol there to control traffic in person might alleviate the problem. Unfortunately, the CHP site notes that they do not have the man power to do so.”

6:30 am – With the road work at Rio Rd. to last through the summer, this will be the 3d summer in a row where local Big Sur businesses face challenges. Patience will be required, and weekend trips to town will be curtailed. Three big events are scheduled during this construction project: Big Sur Marathon, Sea Otter Classic, and Amgen. The Concours is scheduled for the end of August. Any bets on whether the construction will be finished in time?

I am taking this day off from Tourists and Tourism and enjoying the spring weather and planning for gardening projects. I need grounding and balance.

Monterey County Visitors Bureau Response

Hi Kate

Thanks for sharing this feedback. And I’d also like to thank you for sharing with your followers the list of things we are doing to support responsible tourism in Big Sur ( One of the main points of that list was to illustrate the wide range of ways we are trying to support the businesses in Big Sur and the people they employ – but do so in a way the emphasizes respect for the environment and the people who live in Big Sur.

As much as we are doing to maintain balance, there is always room for more ideas and collaboration. So appreciate your sharing this latest comment. Some feedback on that:

· Bixby Bridge – clearly we know people are going to take pictures. So much of our messaging is designed to encourage people to be safe and smart. To use proper parking/pull-outs and be cautious at all times… We’ve posted such messaging in our social channels, stress this with travelers who come to our Visitor Center and among other things on our website, we have a Dos & Don’ts page for Big Sur on our website that further elaborates on this.
· On the line of copy about “sleep under the stars” – this was vague so we made more specific and refer directly ‘sleep under the stars… at Fernwood Resorts’. This has been updated in our material.
· One of the comments in today’s post ( was whether MCCVB was directing people – on purpose or inadvertently – to private property. We certainly do not do this, in fact, we ask travelers to be respectful specifically of private property. But we’ll look at our messaging to see how we can further emphasize.

Again, we appreciate your sharing the outreach we are doing with your followers as well as receiving critical comments so that we can address. In fact, we’ve gone to great lengths over the years – not just related to the road closure – to ensure we are not ‘disconnected with Big Sur’. But there is always opportunity for more and better connectivity. So please feel free to reach out to me directly anytime with any suggestions.

Given that Big Sur is one of the most iconic and beautiful places on Earth, we know people are going to travel to experience it. The question is how can we make them more respectful tourists – that is a top priority.

Please let me know of any further questions/suggestions/ideas. We’ll take all the collaboration we can get…

Many thanks

Rob O’Keefe

Thanks, Rob for being so receptive. Now, if we could just find ways to get the “on the ground funding” we need for porta potties, trash collection, and patrolling to prevent campfires and illegal camping. Anything you can do in that regard, we would be very appreciative of, because no matter how much educating we try to do, it will not reach probably more than 1/2 the people it needs to reach. Of the 4000 people a day who contact you, how can we know how many don’t bother?

Overuse of Big Sur

Here’s one person’s solution. I grabbed this off of FB:


The first agency/residents meeting will take place later this week. Unfortunately, I have to attend a funeral so will not be able to attend. Representative residents from both the North and South Coast will be in attendance.The meeting venue is small, so I don’t believe it will be open to everyone who is interested, at this juncture. At least we are finally getting some dialogue going after last month’s meeting.

Happy Memorial Day!

Gotta love tourists, especially the clueless. Only had to deal with two on my way down Plaskett.

The first was a pair of surfer dudes. Dead battery. “Do you have jumper cables.” “Yes.” Would you help us?” “Yes.” This has happened before, and inevitably, the ones that need help are the ones who have parked off the road, in a place and way that makes it very difficult to rescue them. Once I finally get close enough, and get my cables, one asks, “which one is positive and which is negative?” ” Red is positive and black is negative.” I reply. “Which one do you connect first, or does it matter?” At this point, I don’t trust them to connect the cables without detailed explanation. Once connected properly, she started right up, and I was on my way, having saved them the extra $150 per mile off road fee tow companies usually charge.

The next was a couple looking for Jade Cove. In what universe does one go uphill, inland away from the ocean to find a cove? “It’s behind you, there.” As I point back the way they came.

Only two, but I stayed hidden from Thursday on.

Fourth of July Weekend has begun

Yes, I know, it is only Tuesday. Yes, I know, we have a 3-day weekend coming up, but based on what I witnessed today, it looks as if the weekend began a bit early.

As of this evening, around 7 pm, Kirk Creek Campground is full. Plaskett was almost full, and I suspect it will be by tomorrow. Frankly, I did not notice the Big Sur State Park. I did not even think to look, it being so early in the week. The other thing I noticed both yesterday and today, is that the gates to Limekiln State Park were open. it will “officially” open on Friday, July 2nd, but I imagine it will be full by then. No camping on the beach, as the bridge is still out, but the campground and redwood trails are open.

Also, the idiots are on the highway. Sorry, but there is no other word for them. The shoulder/pull-out at Rocky Creek was full, so, this car, an obvious idiot, just stopped on the highway. Never mind that there were four cars behind it speeding along at 55 mph. Sudden stops in the middle of the road are just plain idiotic. No one would even THINK of doing that on the freeways, but here? Oh, I know, the view is breath taking. But think about taking that next breath through a tube, or with a respirator, or other medical contraption to keep you alive. Just think. Please. The life you save might be MINE!

I have it on good authority that local patrols in the LPNF, at least here on the South Coast, will be stepped up in anticipation of this crazy weekend. I cannot tell you how grateful I am. I, too, will be out and about, probably several times. With my camera. Do something stupid, and you, too, could end up on my blog – memorialized for an eternity in cyberspace.

Oh, and the other great news? The two fire “rings” I featured in my “How NOT to build a campfire” article, are gone! I love you guys, as much as my dogs! Okay, let’s be real. Almost as much!

But what is a post without a photo? Trouble is, I was too busy trying to get home before dark to unload a fully packed Jeep, while at the same time, trying not to run over any idiots. But my friend Martha Diehl sent me a lovely summer roadside bouquet to brighten my day, and I’m going to pass it on, even though she doesn’t know! (She can flog me later.) Photo coming, when internet allows.

July 4, 2008

July 4, 2008 – I cannot find my notes, and I did not write in my journal for much of July, as I was far too busy, but I started my blog one year ago tomorrow, so some of the story about last Independence Day was reported then. I am recreating the day, based primarily on a memory with holes in it – swiss cheese holes – a moth-eaten sweater. I also have no photographs taken that day, at least that I can find. The road was closed, as previously posted.

When I first got a copy of the 409.5 memo on 7/4, I called OES (Office of Emergency Services), and they had a Commander Teter of the MCSO call me back. When I got no satisfactory explanation about the issuance of the memo, other than it was to “educate” the Big Sur community about the power the MCSO had, I was furious. The MCSO was flexing its muscles and declaring a police-state in Big Sur, and fully intended on arresting who ever got in their way.

It was a holiday. Everything was closed. What could I do? The only places open were newsrooms. Having lived and worked in Monterey County, much of that in the justice system, I knew I needed to go outside of the county. I called the LA Times newsroom and the SF Chronicle newsroom. I posted something on Before my post was removed from surfire2008, Deborah Schoch, a staff reporter from the LA Times called. After speaking with her for some time, I got her phone numbers, and said I’d pass it on to a member of the Curtis family who was not in Big Sur, and if they wanted, they could pass it on to Micah and Ross. This resulted in more phone calls, and more long conversations with Curtis family members and LA Times reporter, Eric Bailey. Only a few days later, he and Deborah Schoch published a 3-page article about the police state in Big Sur. It is still accessible at:,0,3314737.story

This was the start of the battle between Big Sur Locals and the Mike Kanalakis, Sheriff of Monterey County. Kanalakis also made the mistake of taking on Cachagua in Carmel Valley. Both were big mistakes.

Thanks to Jim Kimball for archiving posts from surfire2008 and other sources, we have an excellent record of all that happened on this day last year. It was a busy day, with reports from locals coming in up and down the coast all day long. Let’s not forget what it was like to live in this police state from July 3, 2008 to July 8, 2008, when the road opened to locals and their employees, and July 11, 2008 when the road opened completely.

Go to this link, and scroll down. It is arranged as all blogs tend to be, with the older posts first, or backwards chronology. Just scroll down to July 4th and start reading. It is fascinating: