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Little Fiberglas Yurt Greenhouse in Big Sur

I've just been catching up with printing out thumbnails of my photos from the last 6 months or so. I print contact sheets of 20 pix on an 8-½ x 11" piece of paper and store them in binders. It's a lot quicker to find something this way, or to browse, than it is to do it on a computer. Hey, hard copy beats digital for a change!
Anyway, I've been discovering a bunch of photos and I'll post them a few at a time.
Here's a tidy little yurt greenhouse I discovered in a sunny garden in Big Sur in June. You can see how it's built.

To Run Or Not To Run

I've been a more or less serious runner for about 25 years — about 3 times a week, 15-20 miles. Not as much as my serious running friends, but nevertheless a commitment. This last year I drifted away from it. I was trying to finish up a much-delayed book, and I basically stopped running.

I didn't feel as well as before. I wasn't getting the endorphins for the brain and the circulation for the body. I didn't have the ravenous appetite. So I started walking a week ago. Last night I went to meet my running friends, a Tuesday night ritual. As of lately I went off on my own, so as not to slow them down. I walked/ran along the ocean (south of Muir Beach), then circled around and came back down a mountain trail back to the beach. I was starting to feel good. By now it was dark, but I could make out the trail and didn't turn on my headlamp. There was a red-tinged sunset mist over the ocean and wisps of fog in the valley. The lights of Muir beach twinkled in the background, making it look like a Mediterranean village. An owl fluttered up off the trail in front of me.

For some reason I started singing songs — loud. I'll See You in My Dreams; Stardust; a bunch of Mills Brothers songs: Paper Doll/Up the Lazy River/Moonlight Bay. No one to hear me. This was fun! Then on to meet the boys in the pub for a pint. A pretty good night. Maybe I'll start running again.

Tiny House: 154 Sq. Ft. on Wheels for $15,000

Here's a solution to the real estate bust as described in an article on CNN.com
Utilities of $15/month. Movable. With what's going on in the housing/rental market, for many people, smaller is better:

Builders of the Pacific Coast Book Tour November-December '08

I''m doing a tour in Nov-Dec: for my new book.
California: Bolinas/Berkeley/Gualala/Arcata/
Oregon: Powell's in Portland
Washington: Seattle
Britsh Columbia: Victoria/Salt Spring Island, Denman Island /Hornby Island/Tofino/Roberts Creek, Vancouver.
Details on: our website
I'm working on a digital slide show with the idea of trying to take people along on my trips, going from south to north, seeing these buildings, meeting these builders, camping out, riding the ferries...I'll try to make it like a movie. Come along and ride shotgun with me...

Beautiful Evening on Beach/Korean Translation of Home Work/John Brodie & Stanford Tailgate Party/Canon PowerShot G10/Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS

Bliss at the Beach
I was walking back from the beach last night when my neighbor Andrew pulled alongside in his car.' Hey Lloyd I love that book (Builders of the Pacific Coast). I gave mine away so can I buy another copy?" "I'll give you one," I said, so he came by the house and I handed him a copy. "I just caught a halibut," he said, and so last night we had halibut about an hour old, cooked in butter and garlic and you know, there's is nothing like FRESH fish. It's really different. Fresh in the markets is going to be a day or two old at best.

I've been spending more and more time at the beach, usually at the end of the day. You can never tell whet it will be like at the shore. Sometimes it will be windy or cold or the combination of tides and light will not be anything special. But sometimes you'll hit it when all the elements are working. Last Friday night was one of those seashore moments. It was exquisite. I'd had the flu and was just starting to feel the spark of life again. I waded in the shallow water to reconnect with life on the planet. It was a pleasant night, and the water was relatively warm. There were maybe 40 people scattered out along the beach. It occurred to me we were all feeling the same thing, experiencing this harmonious blending of the elements. It raised the spirits and soothed the soul.
A couple of recent beach graffiti:

Korean Translation of Home Work
Our book Home Work has just been translated into Korean. They completely redesigned the book, and it's a delight. Some of the photos we had used small, they used large. They cut out about 75% of the text. It's a playful job of page design. Of course, our contract says they will not alter or change anything from the original, but who cares? I wrote and told them we loved it and we're trying to buy 15 copies to give out to the builders.

Stanford Tailgate Party
Last week I went to a tailgate party before a Stanford football game. It was thrown by John Brodie, the great Stanford (and 49er) quarterback and his friends. Brodie had a stroke a few years ago, but is making a steady comeback. There were maybe 50 guys there, most of them jocks. I'm surprised any of them remember me, because the last 2 years of college I spent more time surfing in Santa Cruz than I did hanging around the campus. Plus I'm also the only guy I can think of from Stanford who has long hair (not to mention the earring). I definitely inhabit a different universe from these guys, having left the security of the business world in 1965 for the lifestyle and interests of the next-younger generation. But even though we've taken different paths, I still feel affection for many of these guys. It's fascinating to see how life (and time) has treated us all. It's like time travel.

Misc. notes:
Baja and Mexico: Next year I'm going to take some time off. I thought I was going to do a book on Baja, but things have changed (degraded) so much down there that this project is on hold. My current plan is to explore the coast of mainland Mexico, rather than spend more time in Baja
New Camera: I just got a dynamite little camera, a 14+ megapixel Canon Powershot G-10. Lens is 28-140 mm (about 35-200 mm in old lense terms). If I'm traveling on an airplane and don't want to lug around my huge and heavy Canon EOS 20D, this is a great alternative. It shoots RAW. This has just been out for a few weeks. Check it out on DPReview
GPS for the Truck I finally got a GPS, a Garmin Nuvi 660. Wow! Easy to use, it's phenomenal. I didn't realize that these things show your car tracking along and the street you're on as well as the cross street you're approaching. You watch your car moving along the screen. Think of the satellites continually tracking hundreds of millions of cars with pinpoint accuracy. A voice guides you. If you deviate from the route, it announces: "Recalculating," and gives you an amended route. Kevin Kelly just did a writeup of the cheaper Nuvi 350 on CoolTools

Racing Paddleboards

A writeup I just did for CoolTools:

Paddlboarding is a great way to stay in shape for surfing, to explore the coast, to watch birds, and to cruise around in almost any body of water. Paddleboards, like surfboards, snowboards, skateboards and other devices used for moving through space, have evolved greatly in recent years. For years, Eaton paddleboards were the primary manufacturers of quality racing boards. Lately, Joe Bark has been turning out beautiful stock and custom boards. This summer I bought a slightly used Joe Bark 12' "Surftek" paddleboard in L.A. for $1,000 ("Surftek" is the nickname for lightweight surfboards/paddleboards built with Styrofoam and epoxy resin, rather than the more standard polyurethane foam and polyester resin). The board is feather light (22 lbs.) and lets me skim through the water like a water skeeter. Boards run from 12-19' or so. The 12-footers are the most popular partly because they are the easiest to transport and store. The longer boards are slightly faster in races (there are over 70 races a year in Southern California), but more cumbersome to deal with on land.

12' Surftech Bark Board
Available from The Frog House

To see a full range of boards, including standup boards, see Joe Bark's website

Back to Baja

I first came to the southernmost part of Baja California in 1989 and fell in love with it. The place, the people, the desert, the waves, beaches - the same Pacific Ocean coast I've lived on all my life, just farther south. For about 12 years I came to Baja whenever I could. Some times I'd drive, but most of the time I kept a vehicle in San José del Cabo and would fly in. First a "Baja bug,"a VW bug modified for desert travel; then after it got ruined by being under water twice, a 1983 Toyota 4x4 pickup (the ultimate desert vehicle).

On my first trip there, I met Isidro "Chilon" Amora, who had an inquiring mind and a passion for adventure. We made trip after trip together, to remote arroyos, hidden ranchos, cave paintings, small towns, fiestas. old missions, as well as taco stands, bars, and night clubs. We had plans to do a local newspaper, and in fact did a 1st issue in 1999, but I couldn't find the time to do it on a regular basis. It was called El Correcaminos (The Roadrunner); portions of it are on our website.

I took about a 5-year hiatus from Baja in order to get some books done. When I finished my book on carpenters in Canada, I decided to take a break, and flew in for 5 days. Chilon had been telling me on the phone about the changes, the rapid growth in the Los Cabos area. Well, here's a real case of You Can't Go Home Again. If you're a southern Baja lover and haven't been there for several years, you'll be stunned. San José del Cabo has changed dramatically.. A huge increase in population, you wouldn't believe the traffic, waste disposal and water problems. Costco, WalMart, Home Depot, MacDonalds and the whole catastrophe of fast-food garbage mongers. Among other things, rich Americans have succeeded in blocking Mexicans and not-so-rich gringos from access to miles of beautiful beaches. I won't go on. Here are some photos from a place I still love, in spite of its flaws (I continue to collect way more "content" than I can get into print or electronic form):

Yuca (Rogelio López), proprietor of The Yuca Inn, points to a beautiful new gate at his hotel, built by his brother, artist and welder Jesús.

Posada lives!

Here are photos from the nicely-maintained old cemetery in San José del Cabo:

Giraffe sculptures made of rusty metal. Aren't these fabulous!

I stayed at the Delphin Blanco hotel, which is small, comfortable, and reasonably priced.

It's a block from the beach in Playita, the harbor town a few miles east of San José. Thatched roof cabaña rooms are $55-75 per night and there's a nice lawn, beach chairs, and the sound of waves at night. The owner is Osa Franzen, ably assisted by Romana Flores. Osa provides good guidance on the area for first-time visitors. You can read more about it at http://www.eldelfinblanco.net/, or contact Osa (from the US) at 011-52-624-142-1212.

More to follow on Baja in a few days.

5 Days in the Heat: Trip to San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur Sep/Oct '08

It was 97 degrees and muy humido when I got off the Alaska Airlines flight at 3 PM, at the Los Cabos airport. Got a rental car and took off to visit friends and check out the rampant growth of the past 3-4 years here at the southern tip of Baja. Got right into the water, it's 85 degrees for chrissake. Heaven for a water guy from San Francisco. No wetsuit, it's relaxed, you can swim as long as you like without getting chilled, much less hyperthermed. Here are a few photos:

Surfer at "The Rock," Costa Azul, San José del Cabo

Old house (vertical logs plastered with mud) in Playitas

Baja 4-wheelers are in a class (of toughness) of their own

Fishing boat parked in Playita near the new harbor; looks ready to rock & roll...

High off the ground 4-wheeler with what looks like a fiberglasss shell, parked across from The Roadrunner cafe in San Jose del Cabo

Owner is architect Sergio Guererro Morales