Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | December 1, 2009

What do you love about Palomar?  How about the views?  You see Point Loma out there with the San Diego skyline and islands dotting the Pacific – so close and yet so far away –  up here in the beauty of the Four Seasons! Have a message to go out?  Simply send it my way.   If you don’t see it posted within 24 hours, please reach out to me. Glad to keep the news heading your way about our favorite mountain!  
Bonnie Phelps,  Palomar Mountain News Editor since 1998
and Palomar Mountain Real Estate since the beginning of the Century!
Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | March 21, 2023

Need Sand Bags?

There’s those free sandbags! The snow finally melted enough so you can see the bags to the right of the the big oak in front of the Fire Station. The pile of sand is a few feet away. Guessing some of you neighbors might need to help yourself with this new storm just starting up again. BYO shovel for the sandbags.

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | March 17, 2023

Miracle March Memories from 1991

Many of you remember Karl and Celia Dunscombe. Karl worked at the Observatory for 22 years and Celia was the smiling face at the General Store and Lake Henshaw. They raised their two sons on the mountain and owned that soft A-Frame down Road Marker 24. After the guys sprouted wings and went off to college, Cuca Ranch property was calling at the base of the mountain. So, they built a beautiful home there. Retirement came and they moved near their grandkids in Arkansas.

Celia still subscribes to Palomar Mountain News and saw a post about me being in Missouri. Were were practically next door so had to meet up. A new Costco was built in Missouri last spring. Karl and Celia did a happy dance for their grand opening as it is only 2 1/2 hours from their cabin on a lake! They sometimes cross Bull Shoals on a ferry, which happens to be the last free ferry in the USA! (We thought Palomar was rural). Our Missouri house is right on the way so they picked me up to tag along on their shopping day. That new Costco? It is only 15 minutes down the road. We had so much fun with lunch, our shopping adventures and catching up.

Celia saw my recent post about Miracle March but I stand corrected as it was 32 years ago in 1991.

She the following:

Palomar had snow almost every day for a month.

Karl helped our part-time neighbor Howard Pake because we had a snow “rake”. Howard only came up on weekends to open his ‘hardware store’. The roof was sagging and in danger of collapsing from the heavy snow load. So when it was fresh snow, they raked what they could then got up on ladders to keep it cleaned off between snows. Howard did some shoring up and I understand that roof is still doing just fine.

32 years ago was long before cell phones and internet. One day when the snow was so deep, our dog easily walked over his five foot fence and got lost, I made phone calls to a couple of people in our “neck of the mountain”. I eventually found him by walking around and asking people.  Some kind folks had taken him in their house, but their phone was out so they couldn’t call our phone number on the dog tag.

At times, the snow was coming down so fast that the county road crews couldn’t keep up. They loaded it up in big dump trucks and hauled the snow and dumped on some lookouts along the grades and also to the foot of the mountain by Oak Knoll campground. They couldn’t push it off the road on Crestline anymore because it was piled more than head high on both sides and in some places and only one narrow lane down the middle. No room to pass. Fortunately there weren’t that many full-time people living there then so parking wasn’t as much as an issue as I understand it is now.

From the San Diego Union Tribune archives:

“March 1991 gave birth to the “Miracle March” phrase. California was mired in its fifth year of drought. December, January and February were drier than normal around the state. California needed massive deluges in March to pull out of drought, and it got them. Some key watersheds in Northern California recorded 17 to 18 inches of rain that month.”


Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | March 9, 2023

Biggest snow fall in 30 years!

Driving across Crestline yesterday, I saw Scott Morningstar walking along the road. Gave him a ride down to the Summit. His car is still snowed in and he explained because it is so deep and frozen, it was still going to be awhile to be driving again. He moved to Palomar in 1990 and told of the last BIG storm. It was back in 1993. Scott remembers how trees fell on cabins and cars and blocked roads for weeks.

Visiting with Ray and Sue Carpenter the other day, Ray also remembers that storm vividly. That is when a tree crushed their big trailer.

Well, the same things are happening now. NOAA Weather showed 58 inches for this storm. Of course, the berms and drifts are much higher in places.

The difference in these past 30 years is we have more personal snow plows rolling. Neighbors are helping neighbors carve out parking spaces to get the stranded cars off the roads so propane trucks, trash trucks and crews can get in for tree work and repairs to cabins, decks and driveways.

Glad this only happens every few decades. Hooray for all the helpers!

Do you live in the city and long to come visit the snow? Please be respectful of the “Residents Only” signs on the roads for the neighborhoods. Weekdays are the BEST times to visit the snow. The Summit area at the top of the grade and the State Park are great for snow play. Please only park only on the outside of the white lines so you don’t block the roads. Thank you for your consideration.

Bonnie Phelps, Realtor in the Snow along with the locals

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | March 3, 2023

Like to warm up to some Music tonight?

Who is open to a nice evening with family and friends tonight? The Smith Mountain Boys are playing at Henshaw. Who wants to ride along? Just let me know! Connect on my cell: Bonnie at 760-533-1742

Here is their March schedule:

March 2023 Gigs

Friday, March 3, 2023
4:30pm – 7:30pm
Lake Henshaw Cafe
Santa Ysabel, CA
*dinner reservation encouraged

Saturday, March 11, 2023
6:00pm – 8:30pm
Heroes Wood Fired Pizza
Julian, CA

Saturday, March 25, 2023  –  Steak Night
American Legion Post 853 – Open to the Public
Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday, March 30, 2023
5:00pm – 8:00pm
Lazy H Ranch 
Pauma Valley, CA 
email =
**Reservations recommended by email

We have our CD’s, Cover Stories,  available at each gig for purchase or via our website, If you are local, just send us an email if you want a cd or two,

We are booking private gigs too!  So if you have a wedding, anniversary party, birthday celebrations or any kind of special event that you want music, please feel free to email us at  We’d love to hear from you!

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | February 28, 2023

Plow Guys at State Park and Camp + SDG&E Update

When the plows at the State Park and the Christian Conference Camp both broke down, Jim McCarthy and Don Phelps answered the call for help. There was a group of 80 people at the camp. About 60 people flew in from out of state so were to get on a bus as they had airline flights to catch Sunday afternoon. Plus, there were about 10 vehicles to get out.

After a few hours of not seeing camp cars covered in snow go by, I went down to see how they were doing and make sure the Plow Guys made it down to the camp. Of course I took pix for you and they’d arrived just in time for breakfast. Three days of plowing got the road open enough for the vehicles. The bus with chains could have made it but branches were so low with the weight of the snow and turns were pretty tight. The toughest part getting the bus up might have been trying to get through the tangled traffic jam at the Summit. CHP was wise and kept the huge bus down by Oak Knoll, so the bus folks were shuttled.

So what does that have to do with our power still being out today? A repair was promised for midnight. We saw trucks go by last night about 9pm. This morning Don drove down to chat with the the crew. The outage is up at Boucher Lookout. But that big loop road hadn’t been plowed. SDG&E brought up a D5 cat that worked through the night to open the road so the repair crew could get up there. The cat finished up about 7 am and was sitting there idling. Don asked the operator when our power might be back on and he said, “I’m just the cat crew, you need to talk to the big boss over there. Those guys walk on water!”

According to the Big Boss, power should be on about noon. We are so thankful we didn’t get more promised snow last night and hoping plowing won’t be necessary before the mountain has power again.

Bonnie Phelps, enjoying the Views

See also 20 + inches of snow this week Plus more Snow Tips for You

Looking for work? Job available at Henshaw Café

Snow Info to make your time on Palomar even better

Would you like to subscribe to Palomar Mountain News? You’re invited to search for info and scroll and see the archives since 1998. Simply subscribe at the upper right of PMNews.

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | February 28, 2023

20+ more inches of snow this week? Here are some tips…

With this forecast, I just added up the potential for maybe up to 20 more inches of snow?!? What if we only get half of that? We will still have a lot more snow to deal with.

This afternoon, I was just clicking ‘publish’ to get this message heading your way, when the power went out. So I’ve updated a bit with our generator running. I’m told we’re to have power back about midnight. A couple SDG&E trucks just went by toward the State Park. (THANK YOU!)

My tractor driver has been out plowing and I think we are going to see a lot more situations like this branch blocking a little dirt road. There is so much heavy snow in the trees now. With more weight, and the promise of maybe 75 MPH wind, we could have a lot more branches down as the storm continues. Careful where you park.

Today’s Tip #1 – If you must be out, always have a shovel, a good chain saw and some kitty litter with you. It might help keep you moving. Of course, a couple nights ago when State Park Road was totally blocked by huge branches, it would have taken awhile to open up the road on your own. But, we saw the County Road Heroes pull in to their station, we told them about it, so they turned around and got that tree out of the road quick as can be with their big equipment. Kitty litter? Yes, stuck on slippery ice? Dig out a bit and then sprinkle kitty litter on the ice, works great to get going again. No kitty litter? You can always use your your car floor mats for great traction. They have worked for me but end up pretty muddy!

Tip #2 – I am so spoiled. You might appreciate these foot warmers I slip in my boots. (I don’t get a cut, just sharing info for a couple great products.) You might have them delivered to a friend in the Flatlands or you are welcome to use our address…. those delivery guys know they can always pull in our place. Just message me if you’d like to try it and I’ll give you our info. Several folks have had packages delivered here.

Tip #3 – While you are at it, you might order some of these ice cleats for your boots, too. I’d seen several neighbors walking so confidentially so had to get some for myself- no more slipping on the ice! They have been wonderful!

Tip #4 – If you are up to it, between storms you might consider shoveling as much of your snow as you can off your vehicles, the tops of those travel trailers, sheds, stairs and walk ways. We are looking at below freezing temps and it is so much easier to clean up a bit before the snow is very heavy ice. Remembering back to a heavy snow years ago, several folks up here had their small storage sheds and travel trailer roofs cave in…

Tip #5 – The Big Guys out! That huge loader has done a great job ‘shaving’ the road. I’ve been driving all around with my 4WD today, just fine. We do get new snow tires every year (and might have all of Tip #1 with you).

Tip #6 – When it starts to get dark, I’ve been lighting a few of candles in glass containers, just in case. If the power goes out after dark, the candles are giving plenty of light to do what needs to do be done. Nice ambiance with the view from my desk, so enjoy them during the day, too.

Tip #7 – Be sure to always stock all the fixings for hot chocolate. Oh you know, milk (instead of water!), marshmallows, whipped cream and some cinnamon. Yes, very important. You just never know when neighbors will pop by.

Bonnie Phelps, always thinking up more tips to share!

Real Estate News?

Yes, lots of new listings coming your way when the snow melts!

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | February 23, 2023

Henshaw Café Job Available

Looking for a job? Lake Henshaw Café is hiring! They are in need of a server. It would be a great place to work because their food is so good. Owners, Wendy and Greg have been in the restaurant business for many years. Their menu includes their most popular steaks, ribs, salad, sandwiches and burgers. They also have delicious Mexican food and the best pizza ever! So, you could go home with some nice tips. Text or call Wendy for an interview: 760-6907994

With this big storm coming yesterday we had cabin fever so went to Henshaw Café for lunch. I glanced at my messages. My DIL had commented on a post by mountain neighbor, Terri Sproul mentioning the Café was hiring. Wendy had just brought soup. I asked her to pose for a quick photo. Don started in on his homemade vegetable soup then my bacon burger arrived with yummy onion rings to share:

Wendy’s husband Greg was back in the kitchen making a rib dinner and a meat lover’s pizza to-go. Can’t have too much variety when a big storm is on the way. But, I should have ordered several rib dinners!!! Nathan showed up right after we got home and polished off those ribs pretty fast!

Oh! Next Friday night the Smith Mountain Boys will be playing at Henshaw Café! Hope to meet the new server! Will it be YOU?

Bonnie Phelps, Mountain Realtor with Pizza for Lunch!

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Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | February 21, 2023

Nate Harrison play Wed and Thurs!

How fun is this!!! Can you pull away and take in a play tomorrow or Thursday night? Click to read about how the story of Nate Harrisons life as one of our early homesteaders came to be.

Herbert Hoover High School
4474 El Cajon Blvd. San Diego, CA 92115

School Theater is to the left of the main building, fronting on El Cajon Blvd.

February 22 and 23. 6 pm, $5.00 per seat, it is recommended to arrive early.

Doubt if we’ll make it because of the storm but hoping some of you off-mountain folks can enjoy the show and send us pix and a review!

Bonnie Phelps

Would you like to have the news of your favorite mountain sent right to your Inbox?

Simply subscribe at Palomar Mountain News and you’ll be all set!

Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | February 21, 2023

Have you seen the forecast? 3 to 5 FEET of snow??

Have you seen the forecast? It keeps changing, but teasing us with a lot of snow! You might want to total up the inches predicted now. Wow! At this moment I counted between 3 to 5 feet predicted! Click for a link to Weather Underground, 5th line down and add up the snow flakes. Or NOAA shows even more with totals by the hour.

About every decade, we get a ‘Miracle Snow’. If this prediction is close, you’ll want to be ready.

Here are some tips for residents:

Get your grub in, be prepared for power outages and maybe even a fun game night.

The last couple times we had this much snow, Crestline quickly became a one lane road. Even two feet of snow is a lot for our County Road crew to find a place to put that snow.

Do you have a screen door? I remember our last big snow when a neighbor called. The snow was a good three feet and she couldn’t get out her front door to bring in more firewood. I grabbed some firewood. On my way over, I remembered her laundry room door opened in. So I went to the side of her cabin and shuttled the wood in through that laundry room. So, you might want to prop your screen doors open for other options. Her wood was tarped but so much snow on top. Bring in a LOT of wood for this storm.

Here are a few more Resident Tips:

March of 2006 brought over three feet in one storm. High winds resulted in a lot of tree damage. Several of those broken branches took out power lines one evening, then the next morning or phone lines went dead. One of the cell towers was apparently out also.  New Years 2015 we had 19 inches.

For some, it was a few days of adventure, but for those who relied on electricity, were low on propane, ran out of firewood, got their vehicles very snowed in, found themselves melting snow for water, or had their pipes freeze and break, it was a little taxing. Here are a few suggestions to make it a lot more fun during snow and power outages:

WINTERIZE It is very important to have your cabin or home ready for winter to avoid freezing pipes.  If you are part-time, most folks turn off their water, drain their pipes, leave valves open and then put antifreeze in each sink drain, toilet and toilet tank. I remember walking into a cabin and seeing the frozen toilet on the floor in three pieces.

THUNDERSTORMS IN THE FORECAST?  Best to unplug all appliances including computers, TV’s, refrigerators (12 hours on, 12 hours off) and anything else at risk of frying in a thunderstorm.  Neighbors have lost all of the above leaving them plugged in. 

– You’ll want to make sure you are all set with dry wood that is easy to access. Wish I had options for firewood delivery or pick up. but I don’t. If you find a good option, please pass it on. TIP: Be sure to have your dry wood where you can access it easily with a couple feet of snow on the ground…

PROPANE  Make sure your propane tank is adequate or have some extra tanks as back-up.

 When we may have the slightest chance of a snow, some people have found it wise to back in their vehicle, facing on a public road that is plowed (be sure to not block the side roads). Put your wipers out so they don’t freeze. Keep a shovel in the trunk berm, you can dig out and take off. If it is a dry snow, a broom works great to clear your car.

NEED TO GET OUT TO GO TO WORK? If we really get this much snow, you might consider staying off the mountain until the storm has passed.

WATCH WHERE YOU PARK In addition to parking out on a public road, it is wise to NOT park under oak trees especially.  Heavy, wet snow or ice storms bring down branches and trees that have been known to turn favorite vehicles into pancakes.   

SNOW PLOW BLADES  Several different companies sell snowplow blades that attach to 4 wheel drive vehicles. These could be a great investment for many people during these times when we do get more than the average snow. Go for it! We could sure use more folks up here with their own blades.

GENERATORS   When the power goes out, it nice to be able to have a generator to turn on.

LINES DOWN? Branches across trees? If you know of any other areas where lines or poles aren’t looking like they should, be sure to call or report them – best not to assume that just because some emergency crews were working there clearing branches or trees, the utility companies were contacted. Easy to do on line or call: AT&T or dial 611 SDG&E 1-800-611-SDGE (7343)

PHONE SERVICE OUTAGE  Don’t want to miss calls when phone services goes out occasionally? If you have an AT&T land line you might add “The Message Center”. Your calls are stored on AT&T’s system, you aren’t dependent on power to operate an answering machine, and you can check messages from any phone. I also have “Call Forwarding” to send my calls to my cell or office.  It’s been a life-saver during these big storms.

If the Road is closed to Residents Only, you must have proper ID. In addition to your Palomar address on a driver’s license, weekenders and property owners can show a copy of a tax or electrical bill. You might just keep a copy in the glove compartment of all your vehicles. Also, on snow weekends there is usually a CHP ‘Chain Check’. Sometimes residents in a 4 wheel drive are able to pass without putting chains on but you need to show that you have them.  Click for a great source for chains.

COFFEE, HOT CHOCOLATE or TEA? For those of you out and about, StarStrucks, our free coffee counter is open 24/7.

In Gordon Stewart’s Book, ‘San Diego Back Country 1901’, he writes;   
“Today we would not choose to live as we did; without plumbing and electricity; but a spell without them is worth much. It makes us appreciate what we have”. 
He has a delightful few pages about life on Palomar a hundred plus years ago.  It might be a nice, relaxing option in front of your fireplace. Hope you enjoy every minute! Our SoCal sun will be out again before you know it!

Questions?  Glad to get them answered!

Bonnie Phelps, Realtor ready for Snow fun!


Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | February 11, 2023

Storms a brewin’ for a sweet weekend!

Coming across Crestline, I just had to pull over and take this. Another beautiful sunset from the mountain top. The weatherman keeps changing his mind, but we might have some snow on the way.

Hot chocolate or coffee, whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon ’round a warm fire… stop by and we’ll have one ready for you in a minute!

Hoping you all enjoy your Valentine’s Weekend!

From the Phelps Family to You!

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