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SunRay's Boom Truck


He uses this to get beams up. It runs great (Chevy 350 motor), but no brakes (only emergency brake, so things can get tricky.

Early Morning Latte and WiFi in Puyallup

Another Puyallup place where you couldn't tell what it was like until you came inside. Score! Anthem Coffee & Tea (210 W. Pioneer Ave.), interior done in recycled wood and corrugated steel roofing, great coffee and a perfect almond/bran muffin combo, fast wifi (so handy for the on-the-road nerd), opens at 5:30 AM (I don't even know a connected place in NYC that opens that early), cool workers and clientele.

Two SunRay Sculptures


Irish Death in Puyallup

In all of the places I've been traveling in the last month, there have been on-tap-beer taverns and/or microbreweries. I hit a good one (Toby's) in Coupeville, Whidbey Island, a not so good one in Anacortes (untogether bartending, crude food), but let me tell you about yesterday, oh yeah:
   I drove south mostly down the backroads from Sedro Woolley to Puyallup in my hot blue Mustang. Farm country. Barns. Highway 9. Bach's Orchestral Suite No 3, then this French station, making me think how elegant and deft and delightful the French are, they really do look at the world differently. Then Joe Cocker, you can leave your hat on…you give me reason to live…
   Got into Puyallup, checked into hotel, went in search of food. I sussed out the old part of town (usually a good bet), set off on foot, looked into several restaurants, then saw the TK Irish Pub (109 S. Meridian). Couldn't see in, so pushed open the door and whoa! The place was packed, vibes good, I sat at bar and ended up with a pint of Irish Death porter, from the nearby Iron Horse Brewery (started a few years ago by two Harley buddies, I was told) and a killer corn beef w. sauerkraut on rye and homemade potato chips. Everyone friendly. Everything a pub should be.

Nicest Compliment Ever

Over one of Bonnie's great dinners in the Bonnie/SunRay kitchen Thursday night, fire burning in the cob fireplace, we were comparing astrological signs. Bonnie asked mine. "Taurus." What date? "April 28th."
Anna, Bonnie's youngest brother Brian's girlfriend, age 20 (who loved the tiny homes book), said to me, "I'm glad you were born." Oh! Hand to heart. It just made me melt.

Update on SunRay Kelley

SunRay rolls on. I spent several hours yesterday walking around SunRay's small village of buildings, marveling at his ongoing energy and creativity (since I was in the vicinity for the Mother Earth News Fair). A few photos (I have a ton more).

Extreme Recycling

DAF 45 Live-in Truck, UK, eBay UK

Time remaining: 6d 15h (08 Jun, 2012, 19:12:43 BST)
Current bid: £1,665.00 (25 bids) Clutton, North Somerset, 10 miles south of Bristol, 10 miles south west of Bath.
"…Cummins turbo diesel 5800cc engine. One of the best commercial diesel engines ever built. I regularly get 25mpg out of it and it sits comfortably at 60mph on the motorway, I've actually taken it off the speedo on one occasion to 85mph just to test it!
•5 speed gearbox.
•Power steering is incredibly precise and light, its actually easier and much nicer to drive than my work Transit van! Good turning circle.
•24ft long.…"
•Reclaimed lumber interior
•No serious rust anywhere.
http://bit.ly/Kk1UGV
Sent us by Avenell Road

Mom's Cafe

Yesterday rainy morning, on my way to SunRay Kelley's and Bonnie's compound near Sedro Woolley, Washington, I'm hungry, and here is Mom's cafe. Who can resist? (I'm a sucker for any cafe that says "Mom's," or "Home Cooking.")
Great breakfast of scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, homemade corn muffin. I ask the cook, "Are you Mom?" "Yes," she says, "but little mama runs this place," motioning toward the young waitress. "Your daughter?" "Yes. I just do what she says." Smiles all around.
Mom is Linda Hanger, daughter is Jess, and she's lovely. Doesn't know it either. Radiant smile, kindness in face, sparkling eyes. There's substance here too, and humor. She's 22 and lives, it turns out, in a tiny home on 22 acres in the hills and practices permaculture. There's something about the 20-year-olds these days. Children of the boomers. A whole new breed. Hope in this battered world.

Handmade Houses: A Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design

This must be the most soulful architecture book Rizzoli has ever published. (Full disclosure: The big timber house called "Hill of the Hawk" (pictured here) that I worked on in the '60s in Big Sur is one of the houses; also the very simple used-material house I built for my family in the same time period.) Richard Olsen has put together a book of real homes, built by architects and non-architects, that is rich in colors and wood and creativity. Check it out in an independent bookstore.
Lew just sent me this link: http://huff.to/JzSIbC

Tiny Home on Wheels For Sale Upstate NY $12K


"…Portable house exterior measures 8.2 feet wide, 13.2 high and 16.2 feet long within the Department of Motor Vehicle Regulations. This dual-axle trailer is inspected and licensed in the state of New York as a utility trailer, with a weight of 7,000 pounds, although the unfinished weight is well under this amount. It went for it’s maiden voyage yesterday for a 30 mile trek at 50 MPH and everything went well as planned.
The siding is new half-inch beveled pine. Installed this week. The pine tongue and groove flooring was salvaged from a 19th century Baptist Church House in West Fulton, NY.…"

Mountain Bike Mounted on Motorcycle

"Here is one of the better autophotos Degfrip has to offer, Ryan Worcester is the man, in this series of photos he shares some of the moments that bicycle riding, and the off beaten path have taken him."
http://bit.ly/NbVJET

For my first encounter with Ratman and his naughty-named website, see: http://bit.ly/LJSoHS

Two Boats

The spiffy sailboat was anchored in Coupeville. The big boat is one of 1000s of boats in drydock in Anacortes, which is a boat wonderland. This morning I'm heading over to SunRay Kelley's place near Cedro Woolley to photograph the latest in his prolific building career, then tomorrow to Puyallup for the Mother Earth News Fair. James Brown now playing in the bakery, Poppa's Got a Brand New Bag. He ain't no drag…

Roadside Photos Yesterday




These guys were just landing a fish (in a lake near the spectacular Deception Pass Bridge). Check out the lines of the boat

Rock and Roll on Country Road in Washington

Above: tidy, tight, trim  building in Coupeville, Washington. I love the colors.
Get into Seattle around 11AM yesterday, go to pick up my Budget economy rental car and get upgraded to a blue Mustang since they are out of economy cars. Vawoom! I head to Mukliteo to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island, since I want to go to Anacortes to check out fishing boats. (I'm looking for an aluminum boat in the 15-17' range that can handle getting out through waves.)
   Pretty soon I'm driving down the road on Whidbey with all 9 of the radio stations preset to R&R and jazz. Brand new road -- nothing like it. Exploring the unexplored, hunting with cameras. The Stones , Thelonius Monk, a — get this  — reggae song in Spanish, within fiddles, on the French (Canadian) station, Da me ague, da me pan, da me fuero, da me amor,  terrific song, but can't find it anywhere…
   I ask a guy on the ferry about a place to get lunch and he recommends Toby's Tavern in Coupeville, a gem of a tiny town on the water. A 70-year-old good-vibes, good-beer, good-food bar looking out on the bay. I have a few (ahem) glasses of inky Black Butte porter (on tap) and local mussels with garlic bread. Visit the local bookstore, get a maple nut (homemade-style) waffle ice cream cone, crank the Mustang back up, crank the radio back up, and make my way to Anacortes. The elephant (of concrete) was just in a field all alone. Kinda perfect. Now it's Thursday morning, and I've sussed out the La Crema Cakes bakery in Anacortes, with an excellent apple turnover and a latte and wi-fi. Right now, Johnny Otis' band on radio doing Willy and the Hand Jive…
I know a cat named Way Out Willie
He's got a cool little chick named Rockin' Millie
He can walk and stroll and Susie Q
And do that crazy hand jive too…

Small (Not Tiny) Homes

"For the past 7 years Smallworks has constructed small, beautiful, affordable and sustainable lane houses in Vancouver, Canada. Working with licensed architects in practice for over 20 years, and exceeding the green building practices for Vancouver's Green Home Program, we offer a variety of pre-approved lane house designs as well as custom built lane houses and small homes"
http://smallworks.ca/

Tiny Homes Now an eBook!

Rick Gordon has produced an in-house state-of-the-art, fixed-layout EPUB version of Tiny Homes, which accurately replicates the design and content of the print version. It is extensively hyperlinked, with zoomable images and text. I have not seen any ebook this complex (1300 photos) in all of the Apple world. We are thrilled with it.

It can be read on an iPad or iPhone that has iOS 5 (or higher) installed and a current version of the iBooks app (available for free from the App Store, if not already installed). Note: This is not a PDF nor an app.

It's available in the Apple iBookstore at http://shltr.net/tinyhomes-ibooks. You can download free sample pages (38 selected pages) to check it out. It is $13.99. If you get the eBook, you can get the print book for a 40% discount.

Recipient of the 2012 Nautilus Silver Award in the category of Green Living.

Dan Wright, Technical Manager for CircularFLO (the software Rick used) in an email to Rick titled "Your masterpiece…," wrote: "(This) is the most impressive Fixed Layout EPUB I have ever seen."

We'd appreciate you spreading the word about this if you can. Blog it or Tweet it or Facebook it. It's really good. I guar-an-tee it.

Japan’s hidden tropical island: Aogashima

Mark Frauenfelder just posted this breathtaking photo on BoingBoing.
"Aogashima ('blue island”) is a tropical, volcanic island in the Phillipine Sea. Despite being over 200 miles away from the country’s capital, Aogashima is governed by Tokyo. In fact, a whole stretch of tropical and sometimes uninhabited islands called the Izu Islands are technically part of Tokyo. Volcanic islands? Not typically what comes to mind when you think of Tokyo. As you might imagine, Aogashima isn’t the most crowded place in the world. As of this year, only about 200 people live on Aogashima. The island only has one post office and one school.…"

Monday Morning Musings

Off the Clock I ran -- well, ambled over -- the Dipsea Trail last week with my running buddies. I started real early. It was the first time in 20 years I've run the (7+) mile course without a certain amount of stress and a definite amount of pain. The upside, of course, is the beauty of the trail and the lore and romance of the race. We all had fine dinners at the Parkside in Stinson Beach (they have a knockout inky black porter on tap), gemütlicheit of all these healthy people.
  I was forced to quit by knees that would no longer take the hard downhills (where I had to make up for being a slow uphill runner). Being forced into racing retirement has huge benefits. Running, if I do now, for the joy of it. Off the clock. No hurry, no need to train, hey, there's a lot of other stuff to do!

Look Where You Want To Go This is what a pro mountain biker told me. Meaning when you're say, going fast downhill in rough terrain, look at where you want your front tire to go, don't look at the immediate foreground. Look ahead and your body will make the adjustments and get you there. Same principle in life. Focus on where you want to go and by golly, you'll usually get there. Athletes know this.

Our Next TWO Books I'm starting on Water and Wheels: Tiny Homes On the Move as soon as I get back from this (my last) PR road trip. I'm going to start the book with mobile units by one guy -- tent, dogsled, umiak, sailboat, birchbark canoes, road van -- all created from scratch by Mark Hansen, a prolific and remarkable builder living on the shores of Lake Superior.
  The second book, due to a flash yesterday, will maybe be on Small Homes, say under 1000 sq.ft. We're starting to collect info, so if you know of unique home in this category, please leave a comment with yr. email address and we'll be in touch. It's either a book like this, or a second tiny homes book. Just have to see what shakes out.

My Last Tiny Homes Roadshow Trip I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Seattle, renting a car, hoping to both go to a somewhat remote hot springs and then to SunRay Kelley's Sedro Woolley compound to photograph his latest works, if time, out to Anacortes, to check out aluminum fishing boats (in the 15' range), then drive to Puyallup to do a slide show at the Mother Earth News Fair at 4 PM on Saturday June 2d, then Sunday to NYC for the annual Book Expo America and a slide show at the v. cool Spoonbill and Sugartown bookstore in Brooklyn, Wed. June 6 at 7 PM. I'm so excited to be going to NYC; it's been a 40-year love affair. When the cab hits 2nd, 3rd avenues my pulse starts racing. Absolutely station central. I'll be blogging up a storm from there.

Tiny Home in Oakland of Recycled Materials- $5K

"The Oakland Tiny House is a 120 square foot dwelling on a trailer chassis in Oakland CA. The house will feature a full kitchen, composting toilet, outdoor shower, sleeping loft custom built in furniture and a fireplace. The siding is reclaimed redwood fensing and flooring is maple re-purposed from an old roller skating rink in Petaluma. total construction costs so far: $5000. Currently under construction, but almost finished!"
http://shltr.net/tinyoakland

Secret NorCal Ocean Cave

NorCal Beach

On the coast last week, I stopped at the Chart House in Montara to have a look. It appears closed. I'd never seen the beach just below it.