Tourist Tuesday, 10/16/18

There is a good article re the changes to Point Lobos going on to deal with the issues of overuse in the SJ Merc by Lisa Krieger.


POINT LOBOS – Securing a spot at this famed coastal reserve will soon be like scoring a table at Mario Batali’s hottest new restaurant.

In an attempt to reduce crowds at one of California’s most scenic places, Point LobosState Natural Reserve will soon become the first state park to require visitors to obtain reservations at peak times, following the successful example set by the National Park Service’s Muir Woods parking reservation system last year.

Managers of the preserve, famed for its beautiful vistas and miserable parking, say it’s being loved to death. On weekends, as many as 6,000 people per day may visit – more than four-fold the 1,400 visitors envisioned by park planners three decades ago. Because it’s a reserve, not only a park, it is required to have greater protection.

“There’s a finite amount of coastal prairie and tide pools. It can only sustain so much use,” said Brent Marshall, superintendent of California State Parks Monterey District. A test of the reservation system, described in a section of the State Parks’ new general plan, could be started next year.

For the rest of this article, go to:


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

Traffic Issues are back, 7/3/17

5 pm update – from a follower: “today was ugly, be aware and on the lookout, sobranes, garrapatta, rocky creek & bixby all way overcrowded and people parking in the highway”

Due, at least in part,  to an aggressive campaign by the Monterey Visitors and Convention Bureau, the traffic issues we have been without are back with a vengeance. And this is just since the trail opened to the public on Saturday. Imagine what is coming when Paul’s Slide opens this month.  Fire danger, anyone? What is the plan? Or *IS* there a plan?

At Point Lobos: 11:26 AM 1 [1] 20 VEHS PARKED ILLEGALLY

At Soberanes Point: 12:00 PM 1 [1] 3 VEHS PART 1125 [blocking roadway]

And at Hurricane Point and Bixby Bridge:
8:22 AM 3 [18] A27-022 22 1097 THE AREA [10-97 arrived at scene]

And a friend in town stated that at noon, there was an 8-mile backup of cars on Highway One.

And this was Garapatta yesterday. (Photo by Martha Diehl)




Reminder regarding Overuse and Loving Big Sur to death

Yesterday, I went down the hill. I saw vehicles and campers everywhere, off-road, cutting through fences and installed barriers to get where they wanted to go. And when I came home, most of them were gone, leaving large amounts of tp and trash behind. image

I just want to take this opportunity to remind all that I have created two separate pages, where I am collecting photographs Loving Big Sur to death and data and suggestions on the Overuse of Big Sur Page. I add to both of these several times a week, usually. Some of you are checking these regularly, others seem to have forgotten. The discussion continues and gains momentum on social media sites.  Per readers, these links do not work (and I cannot figure out why – they work for me!) but don’t despair – these same links are up above in the “Info” post and to the right under pages. Those DO work!

CV RD Traffic Nightmare

Many people reported travel times of over an hour this morning. This is the update from Dave Potter’s Office:

“Carmel Valley Road construction traffic update:
We apologize for the extreme wait times today, we have heard reports of 30-60 minutes. We are advising taking alternate routes if possible.

The section of Carmel Valley Road that is being worked on has an average daily traffic (ADT) count of 18,000 vehicles, just the sheer number of cars on the road is impacting wait times. The section of road currently being worked on is too narrow for two-way traffic, currently one-way traffic control with pilot cars is being utilized.

The contractor did have challenges this morning getting traffic control and paving equipment in place which exacerbated the traffic backup.

Traffic control should become more efficient as the project continues. Grinding and paving should be completed by Friday, followed by a couple of weeks to allow the pavement to cure and then striping will take place in April.

Again, we apologize for the extreme daily and thank you for your patience.”

In other news, South Coast Ridge RD. Near apple camp is blocked due to a large tree down. Hopefully the USFS will clear it today.

Don’t make me thread the needle.

You are right, Big Surians. The fu**ers are trying to kill us … And themselves. I have been reading all the horror stories about the traffic and tourists and crazies, so I kept putting off running down to Cambria. Finally wanted fresh veggies, so I went today. Oh, joy …

On the way home, I went to pass the car in front of me, car #1. Legal passing area. Plenty of room and time to get between him and the car in front of him, car #2, before the SB car, car #3, came to us. Well, there would have been, had car #2 not panicked, or decided he did not want me behind him, or whatever the hell his pea brain was thinking. I got along side car #1 when I watched car#2 slam on his brakes and watched the space between the two cars rapidly dwindle. I had no choice but to “thread the needle” that is squeeze between car # 2 heading north and car #3 heading south, as the car behind me had now moved up closer to car #1. I hope someone recorded that … I certainly didn’t have time to.

Yes, they wanted to kill me and themselves … But … Not today.

Traffic Conditions, heading north to town

6:30 pm – as of 15 minutes ago, The CHP website is reporting that NB traffic into Carmel is backed up all the way to Mal Paso Creek, which is the southern boundary for the Carmel Highlands. I have been hearing stories about how bad traffic has been this holiday season, particularly in that direction. Avoid if you can wait.

Memorial Day Week-end started this Morning

It is the opening bell of summer tourist season, and it was nuts out there. I plan to hide out, personally, until Tuesday. Traffic is horrific, the Valley is full … Rooms, restaurants, bars, roads … all full. Even here, on the South Coast, the campgrounds are full. Even the currently divisive STRs (short-term rentals) are reportedly full. We do have a big celebrity wedding in town, bringing international attention, lots of guests, and much media. (I saw 2 stopping traffic this afternoon. Google Napster, Sean Parker, Big Sur Wedding, and you will see what I mean.)

It is weekends like this one that make me glad the USFS hasn’t graded my road. This may be the biggest argument against short-term rentals yet, and one which is not being made. When is it too much? How many is too much? Do we overload our resources when we, potentially, ALL engage in providing ways for more and more people to be here? If we fill every private property with all the visitors it can hold, do we change the nature of Big Sur?

I’ve always thought that Big Sur was able to protect herself. She is so rugged and tough, only those who are like her survive here. But now, we are encouraging more and more people to come here who are not as rugged and tough as she is. How will that impact her? Are we trying to “soften” her? To bend her to our will? If so, will she bend, or will she break? If either, what remains of the Big Sur we know and love?

When I moved to Orange County a century ago, it was all strawberry fields and Orange Groves. It was rural. Then it became the bedroom community of Los Angeles. Then it became Los Angeles. Big Sur will not support the build out that happened down south, there simply isn’t enough private land. BUT, we ARE being squeezed between LA and SF. there will be more and more demand for temporary housing here, i.e. STRs or VRBOs. Each private property owner will be encouraged by peer pressure, neighbors, financial considerations, and general population demographics, to make sure they have those three allowable buildings, and maybe even a few illegal ones.

Businesses are loving the increased level of tourism. I don’t blame them. Lots of revenue. Making money to put away to get through the next rough winter and potential road closures. I get that, and know those challenges. However, I moved here to get away from the kind of madness that puts making money so one can stay here, play here, grow here, or die here, above the insidious encroachment of mankind on Mother Nature. I saw it down south. I see it again here, just taking a slightly different form.

Everyone wants to get away from urban sprawl, traffic, density, at some point, for some period of time, but at what point do our guests start bringing it with them due to the shear numbers? Fortunately, I am still able to remove myself from this influence. I knew we would be squeezed, and my best possible chance of avoiding another Orange County was to move to the Wilderness, on a large tract of land, surrounded by National Forest. In Orange County when I moved to the country with a natural creek only 5 doors down and an orange grove across the street, others wanted to join me, and both were soon gone. So Cal mentality is encroaching. I know. I grew up there. I am watching it happen. I hope It doesn’t. It is my hope that we choose to let Big Sur be who she really is, and not not try to change her by our inadvertence. The unintended consequences of our current actions may come back to bite our children and grandchildren in the ass, not too mention taming a land which has always refused to be tamed. Are we going to be known as the generation who does that? That is certainly not the legacy I want to leave behind.

So Memorial Day is upon us, our numbers have tripled or quadrupled, in some cases, and the pressure of that sudden population explosion has come to my home, the love of my life, Big Sur. bear with me. I’ll get over it, at least by next winter!

Big Sur Marathon Highway closure

Julie Armstrong, Marketing Communications Director
831-625-6226 /

Traffic Delayed On California Highway One
For Big Sur International Marathon

The 28th annual Big Sur International Marathon, a major sporting event on California’s Central Coast, necessitates the temporary closure of California Highway One for a half day on Sunday, April 28. Highway One traffic from north of and throughout the Monterey Peninsula will not be affected.

Thousands of runners and walkers from all 50 states and 35 countries will be heading north on a point-to-point course along Highway One from Big Sur toward the finish line at Rio Road in Carmel. During this time, vehicular traffic will be limited to convoys that travel in CHP-escorted caravans at designated times throughout the morning hours until 1 p.m. when the highway will be re-opened to through traffic.

Southbound traffic along Highway One in Big Sur will be restricted south of the Carmel Highlands beginning at 4 a.m. and northbound traffic will be closed from Big Sur at 6:00 a.m. Highway One will reopen at 1 p.m. For Monterey Peninsula residents and tourists needing to head south, CHP-escorted convoys will leave from the Crossroads Shopping Village at 9:45 a.m. and at 11:40 a.m. For Big Sur residents and travelers from the south, all cars must be north of the Big Sur Post Office by 6:15 a.m. Additional northbound convoys will leave from Pt. Sur at 10:50 a.m. and from Palo Colorado at 12:50 p.m. All times are approximate and subject to delays due to unforeseen circumstances.

Monterey Peninsula spectators wishing to enjoy the excitement of Sunday’s Big Sur Marathon can travel from Highway One onto Carmel Valley Road and south on Carmel Rancho Blvd. to nearby public parking areas. The finish line can be best viewed from the west (ocean) side of Highway One just south of Rio Road. Runners and spectators can also gather in the “Marathon Village” finishers’ area where a variety of participant service tents offering food, massage, medical treatment, awards and more will be located.

The Big Sur Marathon’s JUST RUN! Just Kids 3K taking place on Saturday morning, April 27, will also result in minor short-term street closures and delays in the city of Pacific Grove. The JUST RUN 3K for local school children and their families will take place along Ocean View Blvd. from Lovers Point to the Hopkins Marine Station beginning at 8 a.m. The street and recreation trail will be closed from 6 to 9 a.m. to accommodate the 3,500 children and adults registered for the race. The area surrounding Lovers Point Park will remain closed to vehicle traffic until after the post race festivities conclude at 11 a.m.

For questions on access and travel delays, please contact the Big Sur International Marathon office, 831-625-6226 or

Big Sur Marathon in one week

Just a reminder, the 24th Annual Big Sur International Marathon is a week from today, Sunday, April 26th. Highway One between the Deli/Post Office and Rio Rd. will be closed for the race. There are only 2 caravans going south, starting from Rio Rd. at 8:45 am and again at 11:00 am. There are 3 heading north, starting at 7:20 am at the starting line; 9:50 am at Point Sur; and 11:55 am at Palo Colorado. You can download the entire caravan schedule here: