This year the AMGEN Tour of California is (finally) coming to San Diego County to climb Palomar Mountain. Palomar Mountain is not too far from the Ranch, and the Palomar Volunteer Fire Department has put out the call for volunteers to help the department with whatever might happen as thousands of race fans converge on the mountain. The Ramona Outback Amateur Radio Society and Ramona-CERT is providing volunteers to help with communications for the department. I've spent quite a few hours recently with the fine folks on Palomar Mountain helping to coordinate communications for the event.
Today, we held a pre-race communications exercise as part of the 2009 San Diego County CERT Spring Exercise. Dozens of hams and CERT folks surveyed and characterized communications capabilities on the mountain. What is surprising to many people who don't regularly travel to the back country is that cell phone service is likely to be non-existent. And if you have a need for emergency response, you are likely to be an hour, not minutes, from the nearest hospital. There are many dangerous areas, such as high cliffs, sharp curves, and places where you could have an accident and not be found for some time. By providing extra eyes and ears on the mountain while thousands of fans arrive to witness the Tour of California, we're hoping for an accident-free event.
If you happen to be in the crowd coming to the mountain, prepare to arrive early. There are only two roads which are practical for getting to the top and the highway patrol is planning to monitor them closely. Fortunately, the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department is also sponsoring a bar-b-que, so be sure to stop by and visit.
I look forward to seeing everyone who climbs the mountain, even those arriving in cars. Stop by and visit for a while. And who knows, you might see yourself on Versus!