Fly Me to Garrapata

My brother Chris sent me a link to the above movie that he made. Garrapata is a Californian state park, where he has been taking sunset photos for years now. It is located along the central coast’s Highway 1, between Monterey and Big Sur. It is lovely scenery that he has photographed, this time using a drone. Enjoy!

I have been busy puttering about the house, while Anne does her teacher thing. The A/C guy is doing the annual air conditioner checkout. So far, the only thing that he has found is that the thermostat’s backup batteries needed to be replaced. Although he is making a lot of noise in the basement. I’ve been battling with carpenter bees and have significantly reduced their numbers, if not outright eliminating them. I’ll weather-proof the porch after this next rain passes.

I’m also prepping for our next trip. This will be what has become our annual western road trip. This year, we’re focusing on five states, Colorado, Utah, California, Oregon and Washington. Basically we’ll head due west until we hit the coast and then hang a right. I’ve been making some additional reservations, filling in holes in our itinerary. I’m especially pleased with myself for opting for a room at the Ranch at Death Valley. We were thinking of camping there, but a check on the weather indicated that the expected high temperatures would be 110 °F. I sure hope that their A/C is all checked out and working when we arrive, because otherwise we’ll have to drown our sorrows at the Last Kind Word Saloon. Their site claims that the resort has undergone a renovation. After Death Valley, we’ll head to Monterey, where Chris can show off his drone.

The Blue Wave

The Blue Wave

Tip O’Neill once quipped that all politics is local. That was certainly true around here in yesterday’s election. While much of the nation may have been focused on the special congressional election in Ohio’s 12th district, we here in Saint Louis had plenty of local action to contend ourselves with.

Anne did her election judge thing again, getting up at uh-oh dark thirty (3:30) and working upwards of fifteen hours. Later, I learned that she had to endure that marathon workday schedule without any air-conditioning. There was no way that I was going to get out of bed that early, so that meant that Anne had the car and I had to walk to the polls, in the rain. For an August election, the poll was jumping. I had to wait in line, which has never happened for a summer election. Ours is a heavily Democratic precinct, so I took that as a good sign.

This election was our statewide primary election. Claire McCaskill (D), who is running for reelection for US Senator, was nominated with over 80% of the Democratic ballots (500K votes), while challenger Josh Hawley (R) garnered less than 60% of the Republican ballots (389K votes). Come November, this will be our marquee race. There were 60K more Republican votes cast than Democrat, but Hawley has way more party consolidation to do than McCaskill. There is a lot more campaigning to do here before the November election.

The only other statewide vote was a proposition to make Missouri a right-to-work state. It was resoundingly defeated, by a 2-to-1 margin. Republicans had passed legislation making Missouri a right-to-work state, but labor was able to get enough signatures for this proposition, which put the new law on hold. With this defeat it is hoped that the Republicans won’t next attempt to overrule the will of the people, like they have in the past and pass right-to-work again.

For the rest of the ballot, a Democratic primary win means a win in November. Congressman Lacy Clay easily weathered progressive Cori Bush’s challenge and for the state legislature term limits had given us new choices for both the senate and the house. I picked a winner and a loser, but will be voting for both winners in November. The real action yesterday was at the county level.

Four years ago, Bob McCulloch was reelected to his seventh term as county prosecutor. One week later, Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson by a police officer. McCulloch chose not to prosecute the police officer, exacerbating an already bad situation. Yesterday, Ferguson city councilman Wesley Bell beat McCulloch with 57% of the vote. McCulloch now joins the list of prosecutors who have lost their jobs, because they elected not to prosecute in a black lives matter case: Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and now Michael Brown.

But wait, there is more. Four years ago, Steve Stenger, McCulloch’s handpicked protégé was first elected county executive. After yesterday, Stenger is sitting on a 0.64% lead. If after the counting of absentee and provisional ballots, his lead falls below half-a-percent that will trigger an automatic recount. Stenger’s tenure has been marked with bitter disputes with the county council. His best ally on the council has been my councilman, who also lost his election yesterday. As of today, Stenger is now calling for a truce.

After yesterday, I’m really looking forward to November. Democrats as a party can be both bumbling and messy. We lack the lockstep discipline of the Republicans, but this year we are riled. If the Saint Louis electorate did not forgive or forget wrongs committed four years in the past, it certainly is not going to forgive or forget the daily insults doled out by the Cheeto-in-Chief. 


Carmel Beach

We went to Carmel today. We parked up near the top of the hill that is Carmel and then walked down it to the sea. On our way back up the hill, in a move to breakup the climb, we started zigzagging. We would walk up two blocks and then over a block. It was on one of these zigs that a lady in a car flagged us down. She was lost or at least she couldn’t find her destination. She asked us if we knew where, and then she told us an address on 7th, was. We were on 7th. In fact, we were at the end of 7th. So it was a good bet that the house she was looking for was behind her. I whipped out the phone and typed the address into Google maps. Chris was doing the same, but using Apple maps. Apple was only willing to volunteer an approximate location, while Google seemed more confident. So, we went with that. I showed her where to turn, ending with stopping at the fourth house from the corner at the last turn. As it turns out that’s how it is done in Carmel. They don’t use street numbers. Everyone gets their mail at the post office and if you have to describe where your house is, you count doors from a corner. Many of the buildings have names, like The Sundowner or such, but none of them have street numbers. I wondered what EMS does, but I assume that they just count doors too. 

Point Sur

The View of Point Sur from Point Lobos, 15 Miles Away

Yesterday, the weather was so fine that I could snap the above photo of Point Sur, which was 15 miles away. The sea was so smooth that the only whitecaps were the waves crashing on shore. If the weather was always like this then there would be no reason to build the Point Sur lighthouse. Today, the Pacific Ocean has turned a firehose on California. And they say it never rains in California. I’ve heard this talk before, but girl, let me warn ya. It pours, man, it pours.

Parts of the state are forecasted to get their annual rainfall amount in this storm. It rained all day in Monterey, but further south the rain is expected to be way more intense. I’m glad that we were able to drive down to Nepenthe in Big Sur last weekend, we may not be able to do so again soon, because of mudslides. The hills are already much greener than when we arrived. They should be positively verdant by the time we leave.

In a trip down memory lane is pictured below Mom and me. We are probably about halfway up the seamount that tips Point Sur. It was ’97 then and we were on a tour. The light station had only then recently reopened for tourist and still had major restoration issues to contend with. This lighthouse’s most famous wreck was not a sailing ship, but the airship Macon. The only loss of live was one African-American sailor who swam back to the wreck one too many times.

On the southern side of this mount are the remains of a Cold War SONUS post. In its heyday, my paternal grandfather worked there as an engineer. Today, it looks pretty dilapidated, but it is still government property. Maybe, they are still torturing the whales, but now only remotely.

Jackie and Mark at Point Sur Lighthouse in ’97