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.”



  1. Bonnie, do you mind if I quote from this article on Miracle March?


    David D. Ross Editor The Roadrunner 760-749-1112 (office) 760-638-0552 (cell)

    David Ross has been in the newspaper business for 40 years, both editing and writing.

    “I can handle big news and little news. And if there’s no news, I’ll go out and bite a dog.”


  2. Please let me know why you moved to Missouri and what part you moved to. Thank you for the newsletter on Palomar Mountain. Take care and God Bless – Rich Frisk

  3. I remember when cuca ranch came up for sale. What a great project. Speaking of Rural in MO. we had to ford creeks to get back to the house. A lot of people had squirrel once or twice a week. Reynolds County on the Black River.

  4. Hi Karl / Celia ! hope all is well

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