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Twelve years ago Paul (Pike) Seeger joined Seger & Strauss. He’s handled a bunch of high-profile pro bono cases and was twice elected President of the National Bar Association.  Pike taught Constitutional Law and Trial Practice at both USC and UCLA law.  He’s filed some big-time lawsuits, made national headlines during the seventies as a litigator, and won class-action consumer and environmental cases on behalf of the California Environmental and Consumer Protection Agency (CEPAC).

Then Pike got the call from his old Stanford law school buddy and ex-coworker, now the United States’ Attorney General, that the President has short-listed Pike as a Supreme Court nominee.

After hanging up that call, with a directive to Pike to ensure there are no skeletons in his closet before the nomination goes public, Pike’s phone rings again.  This caller advises Pike to “decline the nomination.  You must consider the content of file CR-44-139, Southern District of California.”

U.S. v. Anonymous.

Gaviota, A Novel takes us on adventures from Gaviota to one hundred miles south, within the basement archives of the City of Los Angeles’ District Court’s old federal courthouse.  From the file of U.S. v. Anonymous, Pike’s legal secretary, Gladys, translates the old court reporter’s shorthand from Swedish to English.

Erik O’Dowd provides us juicy cityscapes, “A misting rain covered Los Angeles under a low cushion of clouds.  The air was alive with the city’s wet light, slickening its structures.  I hunkered against the mist, walked along mirrored streets to the near-empty parking garage beneath my building.  I was alone in a city of millions.  I drove west, carried along a glistening artery, even more alone in the dark-lit compartment of my car.”

And sweet coastscapes, “The wide porch, where Mom spent most daylight hours, faced sunward, south- and westward toward the Pacific.  Beneath it spread the orchard – lemons and walnuts; and below it a tier of oak-lined fields, through which meandered arroyos carrying rain from the Santa Ynez Mountains to the ocean.  The creeks had formed sloughs and cut gaps in the shale cliffs that marked the westward course of the Gaviota coast.”

That’s it.  No more teasers.  Gaviota is a novel and a mystery, a thriller, but basically, a super good read.  Keywords are:  WWII, concrete, road contracts, Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Gaviota, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, steelhead fishing in the Santa Ynez mountains, family, success, loss, and righting wrongs.

You will be the jury of Gaviota and can only make a decision based on the facts found.

Buy Gaviota, A Novel.

Erik O’Dowd’s website.

More about Gaviota coast.

Always check the CalTrans Road Conditions page before venturing out on California State Route 1 over these next 6 months.

CalTrans Logo for Pitkins Curve & Rain Rocks - SR1 A roadwork project with its own logo, and flyer!

Pitkins Curve and Rain Rocks lie south of Lucia, north of Limekiln.

Pitkins Curve is The Highway 1 spot for road closure during wet winters, yet even during the dry season, the hillside is an intimidating scree of graywacke; hence the name:  Rain Rocks.  Pitkins Curve, Rain Rocks - Location Photo

Most times that I’ve driven through this pass there are cones out to slow cars’ speed and men shoveling shards of sedimentary rock off the roadway.

Years back, during working hours (seemingly year-round), a flag man controlled vehicles one-way at a time. Now, stop signals alternate the north south traffic.

Other times, the men are gone, the stop light is not in use, but the hillscape appears as if bombs went off and I’ve come along just after all the rock broke loose.

Big Sur hosts several points where the hill above the roadcut weakens, falls and closes the Coast Road providing a hemispheric existence for residents. Pitkins Curve – Rain Rocks easily takes Top Honors of Continuous Nuisance.  Asphalt constantly patched and repaved. Always littered with rocks onto the roadbed and stacked at the shoulder.

And why is this, you might ask?

Read the rest of this entry »

Devil's Slide mapMr. Roadshow of the San Jose Mercury News writes about the construction status of Devil’s Slide Tunnel.

“Workers have drilled into and blown away mostly solid rock, which they prefer over soft, crumbling rock because it is easier to blast away neatly. They are tunneling about 15 feet a day, and they are almost two-thirds of the way through the mountain.”

Mr. Roadshow concludes, “When these tunnels are finished at last, we’ll have a lot less to be wary about.”

With regards to no longer driving the drop-down roadbed of the roller coaster ride that Highway 1 currently provides at Devil’s Slide, yes; however, I anticipate traffic to increase north and south along Highway 1 once the tunnels are complete and open.  The coast is somewhat protected from the mass-weekend tourist traffic by the precarious passage of Devil’s Slide.  Once the tunnels open and ease the drive, we will see many more visitors, property values will increase, and the isolation that the community once experienced will vanish, forever.

If you are interested in reading more about this project, visit CalTrans’ District 4 Devil’s Slide Project page.  An excellent chronicle is Eric Rice’s 3-part series on how the project came to be, or purchase Barbara VanderWerf’s book on the history of the route over Montara Mountain.

Oh All Mighty God
Who has given us this earth
and has appointed men to have domination over it.

Who has commanded us to make straight
the highways
to lift up the valleys
and to make the mountains low.

We ask thy blessing
bless these
our nation’s road builders
and their friends.

Author Unknown

source: Taken For A Ride The real story of the auto/oil industry campaign to destroy public transit and push the auto. A Film By: Jim Klein and Martha Olson.


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Days until manuscript completion

Final DraftNovember 30th, 2013
Dot i's and cross t's.