Saturday, April 16, 2011

... About Those California Mudslides!

Over the years I've watched in horror as news reporters covered the dreaded mudslides in California -- houses breaking apart as they rush uncontrollably down great hills onto cars and other houses below.  Giant waves of mud pushing everything in their path. Families losing all their possessions and sometimes the lives of family members. I wondered about what caused the mudslides. 

Being in southern California this month, I've seen some strange building practices.  Houses perched high on hillsides. Those hillsides have been chopped away to give the best view of the awesome scenery. Seems to me to be a pretty bad choice for a location in the long run.  Why would anybody do that? 

Well I just don't know except that Californians seem to be real risk takers.  They drive fast and pass on double-yellow highway lines. Red light violations are rampant and motorcyclists drive between lanes at great speeds.  Bicyclists seem to "dare" automobiles to hit them.  Skateboarders live by a whole different set of rules.

Then there's that whole "earthquake" thing -- another risk Californians seem to take lightly.  Homes are built directly below huge boulders and on stilts atop the cliffs over the ocean shore.  There are "tsunami risk" and "tsunami evacuation route" signs on a good bit of the seashore road. One stretch of coastal highway even displayed a sign that stated, "constantly moving highway -- drive with extreme caution".  I didn't get a picture of the sign, but wish I had.  The road had obviously been patched and repaired many, many times. 

No, I wouldn't want to live or have my family anywhere near the San Andreas Fault. I don't like being anywhere here that has anything overhead -- especially along the freeway with flyovers and underpasses.  This is a beautiful but dangerous part of the country.  It's a great place to visit -- but not in an earthquake.  We keep a constant evacuation plan going.

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