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I did not realize that the anniversary of John Denvers death was upon us until one of my neighbors was giving me a bad time about my mandolin playing. He told me I should be playing down at the beach today not in my garage. It turns out that on the second Sunday in October there is a group of folks that get together down at the beach to remember John Denver.

For those that don’t know. John Denver crashed his airplane about 150 yards off shore here in Pacific Grove on Oct 12th, 1997. He was flying a Long EZ experimental aircraft that he had just purchased. It was finally determined that his death was caused by pilot distraction. He was in a new aircraft that had the fuel transfer switch in an odd place. Instead of the normal location (for that plane) between the legs the switch was located behind the left shoulder. They believe he had turned in his seat to reach the fuel switch and applied right rudder in the process. The Long EZ is such an agile aircraft he just banked the plane into the water.

Strange to think someone could die over such a simple thing as a switch’s location. But, that’s what appears to have happened.

Every year since his death a group of folks have gathered at Point Pinos and held a tribute to his life. There is a driftwood log that has his name carved in it, sadly there is no other sign here that this is where he passed. It seems that the City of Pacific Grove in it’s normal style determined that they didn’t like the idea of any kind of memorial and so has successfully blocked any type of rememberence. Guess the bribes, I mean “donations”, just went to the wrong folks. Not even a memorial bench, like the others scattered up and down the coastline sporting the names of unknown people who “donated” the proper monies to the local government.


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October 2006
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