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Day 2 On The Road

Your guess is as good as mine; this was on the outskirts of Colusa, a wierded-up VW bus.
I'm in Ashland this morning. After I left Colusa yesterday, I drove north about 3 hours, and went to Stewart Mineral Springs, just northwest of the town of Weed, and lucked into getting the last opening of the day. You soak in the heavily mineralized water, then get in fabulous large wood-fired sauna, then in the cold creek. Mineralized, flushed of toxins,  rejuvenated, I wanted a beer, walked into the one bar in Weed, Papa's Bar (Well, YES!) and voilá, Joe Cocker on the juke box (with good sound system), doing You Can Leave Your Hat On. One good song after another, a lot of Stones. My kinda bar. In giving me change, the bartender included a Native American $1 coin AND stood it on edge on the bar.
Then for dinner to Asian-American Bar-B-Q, recommended by worker at Stewarts Mineral Springs. Bingo! The chef, born in Chicago, grew up in Thailand, barbecuing over wood coals, I got try-tip and rice ($12), with coconut juice,  it was perfect, smoky, juicy, homemade hot sauce (no mass-produced Sriracha), sat at table out on road watching one 18-wheeler after another go by. America!
Tammy Wynette, Stand By Your Man, came on the radio as I headed out for dinner; what a beautiful voice: https://youtu.be/AM-b8P1yj9w And then there's Lyle Lovett doing it: https://youtu.be/eHSjiBxufxc
Drove to Ashland, out to dead end road east of town and slept in the back of truck (my 13-year-old Tacoma 4x4, stick shift, 4 cylinder, 130K mileage, my baby…).
Up this morning, latte and cinnamon roll at Pony Espresso Coffee House in the rather precious town of Ashland. Going to have lunch with bodybuilding legend Bill Pearl and his wife, Judy, then head for Umpqua Hot Springs, then Lew and Krystal's on outer edge of total eclipse zone.
A lotta adventures in just 30 hours away from home!



On The Road Again -- Eclipse-Bound

A great first day on the road. Latte at Toby's barn + morning bun from Bovine Bakery, and thenceward on Hwy. 37, Sears Point Rd. through wetlands/nature preserve; there were maybe 100 egrets standing, flying diving. never seen so many in one place, heading for 505, then interstate 5 northwards.
The freedom of the road, good to get away from the constraints of Marin County. I get that feeling when I enter Nevada, a sense of release, it's wide open, not every square inch analyzed and monetized.
I stopped off in Colusa, to visit my friend from 60 years ago, Jim Davison.
My dad had a rice farm 8 miles west of Colusa, and when I was 12, I helped him build a concrete block house there.  My job, on weekends and holidays, was shoveling sand, gravel, and cement into the concrete mixer).
Later, in teen years, I started hanging out with Colusa kids, complete with girlfriend, Roxana. Jim played piano and we did duets with me on ukulele; it was such a different experience, hanging out with these small town kids, for a city boy.  Population 3,000. We had fun! I worked in Colusa in the summer, bucking hay and driving a truck in the wheat harvest. Plus partying hearty at nights. Alcohol the only drug we knew of.
Yesterday I drove out to see the house. No one was home, but I shot a few photos. It looked as good as it did 70 years ago. When we started it was a barren piece of land.
Above: An almond orchard, with all the nuts on ground, ready to pick up
House my dad and I (plus two masons and one carpenter) built in 1947-48

#humpbackwhales feeding on anchovies in Santa Cruz area. Article in yesterday's Santa Cruz Sentinel

Van Life, Foster Huntington's Brand New Book

Foster Huntington quit his job, where he was working 70-hour weeks for Ralph Lauren in New York City, and took off living on the road, first in a (very) used VW Synchro van, later in a Toyota Tacoma truck with a spiffy fiberglas camper shell. He started The Restless Transplant, a blog that became enormously popular. I remember seeing it years ago and thinking this is my kinda guy.
These days he's living in a treehouse in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington, just northeast of Portland and he has 1 million (!) Instagram followers.

His latest project is this book, and the publishers have printed 35,000 copies. Vans are tremendously popular right now, and this book shows them in all their glory.

https://www.amazon.com/Van-Life-Your-Home-Road/dp/0316556440/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502834221&sr=1-1&keywords=van+life



http://www.arestlesstransplant.com 

Loggers' Jubilee in Morton, Washington Last Weekend

This just came in from Paul Jensen. The event took place in Morton, Washington last weekend. A bunch of photos of loggers, lumberjacks and logging trucks, plus this tough 4x4.

"We went to the 75th Annual Morton Logger's Jubilee…A unique slice of Americana that hasn't changed much since it began…Men with sharp tools, rope, strength and courage…The parade seemed like a stream of postcards from the 50's…"

http://pauljensencustom.blogspot.com/2017/08/morton-loggers-jubilee.html


Otis and My Book on the '60s

On the last leg of my trip to Oregon this week, I had a great visit with Foster Huntington before heading home, saw his incredible new video project, spent the night in his treehouse, and went to the airport yesterday afternoon, delay of flight, dragged into home about midnight, got up this morning, for some reason had a hard time getting going on my book on the '60s. I even thought of dropping the project and going ahead with my book, "The Half-Acre Homestead."
But I did what I advise people to do when they don't know what to do about a project: "Start." Which I did, and it started flowing. I started writing about the Monterey Pop Festival. I was there and thought it was the beginning of a wonderful new world. For me, it wasn't about Jimi Hendrix, or Janis (her first appearance with Big Brother, I believe), or Bryan Jones wandering around in the crowd, but it was about Otis. Good god a-mighty…
He appeared Saturday night. I hardly knew who he was, had certainly never seen him. He was wearing a green suit, was maybe the most beautiful man I'd ever seen, and was an entire other universe of music. I pulled up the Youtube video of him singing I've been Loving You Too Long, and -- I didn't cry, but it sure brought tears to me eyes. For Otis, who's gone, and for the '60s, which never quit materialized the way I thought it would.

Gambrel Roof Home, Corvallis, Oregon


This was in a large field, maybe 2 acres. It looks like it could be fixed up for living. I always look to see if the eaves are sagging in old buildings; if not, it probably means the foundation is OK. There wasn't a "for sale" sign, but if I lived up there, I'd track it down. It could be a great home, with a lot of land for gardening, chickens, a few farm animals.

Floating Homes in Portland

On my way to see Foster Huntington in Washington this morning, crossing the Columbia River on Highway 5, I spotted this floating community.
Some quick Google research:
"The Portland region has more floating homes than Seattle or San Francisco. Hayden Island alone has four moorages for floating homes, including West Hayden Island Moorage, with 57 floating homes, on the far west side, Jantzen Beach Moorage, Inc, the largest with 176 Floating Homes (south of Home Depot), Island Cove Floating Homes with 55 units (just west of Lotus Isle Park), and Tomahawk Island Floating Homes with some 72 community members…
http://www.hayden-island.com/floating-homes/
(I can't get this link to work, so copy and paste in URL.)

One of Our Youngest Fans

Ayla Rose, 16 months, reading the mini book of Small Homes yesterday at the Mother Earth News Faire. She kept turning pages, and then followed me over to the stage where I was about to do a presentation on the book. (She even had the book right side up, i.e., not upside down.)

Small Home in Corvallis, Oregon


A Perfect Barn

This is on the outskirts of Corvallis, Oregon. Barns in this area (the Willamette* Valley) typically have gambrel roofs, as you see here, where the straight lines of a gable roof are raised to provide more room in the loft or 2nd story.

I had a great time at The Mother Earth News Faire, now heading for Portland where I'm doing a TV interview on AM Northwestern Live, KATU-TV, that will appear between 3-4 PM today (Monday), then an appearance at Powell's on Hawthorne in Portland at 7:30 tonight.

* pronounced will-lam-ett, emphasis on middle syllable

Washing Dishes

We wash dishes by hand (in a rectangular Rubbermaid dishpan), rinse and place in this drying rack/storage unit, built maybe 20 years ago by Lew Lewandowski.
When we had goats, I had installed a dishwasher, but found that we practically had to wash the dishes first (so as not to have food particles going into the septic system). Plus it used a lot of water and electricity, so I took it out and we've used this system ever since.
Another feature in this kitchen is a 5-gallon electric water heater right under the sink. While I'm not fond of electrically-heated water, this unit is so small, it's energy-efficient, and we get instant hot water.
We use rubber spatulas to get food off plates, pots, and pans; edible scraps go to chickens, non-edibles (coffee grounds, avocado pits, etc.) go in a stainless step-operated trash can for the compost pile.
After I finish the book on the '60s, I plan to do one titled The Half-Acre Homestead, all that I've learned abut building and raising food over 50 years.
Apropos of nothing here, the Amazon series "Sneaky Pete" is wonderful. Great story, fabulous acting all around.
I'm off for Oregon early tomorrow morning.

Fabian Popovici and Kaitlyn Wright of Vancouver in Muir Beach, Calif. on their way to San Diego on their #harley

My new car


This time I kid you not. 1999 Mercedes E320, 180,000 miles, reportedly 22-29 mpg, $3500 thru complex set of circumstances. Purrs like kitten. We'll see...

I'm Doing 3 Appearances in Oregon in the Next Week

I'm heading up to Oregon (a state I love in its entirety) on Friday. I'll be doing these events:

Saturday, Aug. 5, 10 AM, SMALL HOMES at The Mother Earth News Faire in Albany (70 miles south of Portland on I-5)

Sunday, Aug. 6, 2 PM, 50 YEARS OF NATURAL BUILDING at TMEN Faire
 Schedule: http://www.motherearthnewsfair.com/oregon/schedule/

I heartily recommend the TMEN fairs, They're genuine country fairs, with chickens, goats, dimensional lumber mills, a ton of workshops, great food, good country vibes. There are 2 more coming up, September in Pennsylvania, October in Kansas

Monday Aug. 7, 7:30 PM SMALL HOMES at Powell's on Hawthorne in Portland: http://www.powells.com/locations/powells-books-on-hawthorne/

On Tuesday I'm gonna go hang out with Foster Huntington, surfer, skater, filmmaker, Instagram master at his treehouse/skate bowl complex just over the border in Washington. Back home Wednesday. Then back to Oregon in a week (driving this trip) for the solar eclipse.