Monday, October 22, 2007


I pulled into Ft. Bragg in a hurry to get to the beach and watch the sunset but I needed supplies so I headed to the Down Home market where, even though they were in the midst of closing up they let me grab a few things and even filled up my water bottles for me. I made it out to the beach north of town and made zuchini and red pepper salad as the sun went down. I crashed there that night and then hit the thrift store in Ft. Bragg in the morning before heading down the coast.

I've been debating whether to write about my favorite camping place on the whole coast of California, which is where I went the next day. I'm afraid that if I tell the whole world that it will get ruined so I'll just describe it and you'll have to figure out where it is. The whole stretch of coast from Ft. Bragg to Point Arena is great and this is the only legal campground that's right on the beach at the mouth of a river, which I will not name, but take a look at a map and you'll figure it out.

Everytime I've been there I've had an amazing time, there are only about 7 parking places and they are always empty, maybe one or two other campers. One time I met an old pot farmer named Bobby Jean who poured tequila on the fire and taught me to do the hand jive on top of a picnic table.

This time there was one RV flying tibetan prayer flags and when I woke up the Dude and his friends were parked in another space wearing sweaters and having coffee around the fire.

In the afternoon when I arrived the sun was shining and I did some nude sunbathing and then took some pics of my eBay stuff as the sun was setting.

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It feels weird to be here without making a trip out to the Lost Coast. For those that don't know the Lost Coast is about the most remote place in California, it's 2 hours on a two lane road to get out there and once there, there's nothing but coast and mountains. There used to be a bar called the Hideaway that had karaoke on Fridays but they closed a few years ago. Originally Highway One was supposed to go there and meet up with 101 near Eureka but the King's range proved too difficult to build the road through, so that stretch of coast remained desolate and "lost". Some time I'll tell you about the first time I went out there and got stalked by a weird Christian dude from Oregon. Today I guess I'll just go thrifting in Fortuna instead.

I'm planning to stay at one of my secret beaches on the Mendocino coast tonight down by Westport where I have stayed and camped illegally many times over the years. It sure beats paying $25 to stay at McKerricher beach state park. I love to visit the California sea lions and collect bits of abalone shell there but $25 is way outside my budget so I've only camped there once. Here's a picture from my drive down 299. It was gorgeous and winding and I got tailgaited by a dude flying a confederate flag from his truck. Hmm..I guess I could have pulled over and let him get by but...I didn't.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007


I needed some grease to get me from Redding to Eureka so I just pulled over at a Mexican restaurant on 299 and I am filling all my containers with lovely clean vegetable oil. They were so friendly about letting me have it too, unlike the Pioneer restaurant near Shasta who refused to even let me LOOK at their greasetrap and asked if I was going to sign a waiver if I took their used oil. Uh..okay, never mind, thanks. Then the restaurant in lakewood had a recycling bin full of tell-tale shortening containers. No thanks.

Well, I am taking about 25 gallons while I relax in the sun, listening to Cyril Pahuini.

Then I get to drive a road that's been on my list for a long time. 299 from Redding to Eureka, through Whiskeytown and Hoopa valley. I'll be in SF on Wednesday. See you soon!

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I always stop in Ashland on the way to California. It's the perfect stop after the drive from San Francisco or Portland. There's good food and I get to go to Jackson Wellsprings and relax in the hot tub and sauna after a long day of driving. As long as there are no sunburned white dudes doing native American chants it's a good time. I don't have as much fun when I forget to bring my flip flops though, that's for sure.

Since I'm too cheap to pay the additional $9 for camping at Jackson Wellsprings I always park in town, by the park and use the wireless at The Black Sheep pub. The Black sheep, it should be noted, turns into a small town frat party at nine pm sharp on any night of the week, so now I've learned to just stay in the van and use the wireless from Louie's, a couple of doors down.

One time Blendy and I woke up at the park after a blizzard that closed I-5 and a dog ran alongside the van in the morning, as if trying to tell us to get out and play in the snow. So we did.

I should mention also that Eugene is a great place to stop for food. If you take the 30th Ave exit you can fill up on biodiesel and ethanol at Sequential Biofuels and then keep heading west to Sundance market at 748 E. 24th. They have all kinds of yummy hot and cold organic food and biodegradable take out containers in case you forgot to your own.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Aaah..I'm relaxing in the lap of luxury over here at JW's pad enormous bachelor pad, enjoying some wine and home cooked food. We went to the farmer's market at People's (my favorite) Co-op and got some chantrelles for tomorrow's dinner and chiles for tonight's beans and polenta with tomatillas. I did some errands like replacing the driver's license that was stolen in New Orleans and picking up some artwork from the cute new downtown gallery, Pony Club.

I went for a little bike ride around N. Mississippi before dinner in the chilly fall air, bright leaves falling all around. It made me fall in love with Portland all over again and gave me a dose of housing envy because there are so many beautiful houses around here. I like it.

I made it here from Victoria (350 miles) on about 16 gallons of grease, not counting a side trip to Abbotsford (80 miles RT) so that makes 26 MPG. My estimate has always been about 23 when I'm loaded down like this. Not bad. Now I just need to find some more grease in a town where you can't spit without hitting a greasecar! Wish me luck..

Oh, photos coming soon. I got a new camera but I still don't have a copy of Photoshop. Can anyone help?

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Normally I try to just get through Seattle and it's all day rush hour traffic as quickly and cleanly as possible but today I made a rare exception and stopped to get some food with my old friend, Bob. The sun even came out when I pulled up to his cute little house in West Seattle and broke my antenna on the hedge next to the driveway. After some vegetarian Pho Bob, Val and I went to pick up the antique sink Bob had stolen in Belfast, where it once held dirt and flowers in someone's yard. The wooden crate that Bob packed it in was opened back at home to reveal the karmic consequences.

Before I headed out for Portland Bob and Val sent me in the direction of some biodiesel from Safeway. Nice to know It's there but I filled up before noticing that it costs $3.43 a gallon. I don't know but I'm pretty sure it's cheaper in Portland. I guess I'll know soon.

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I was once again a guest in the lovely home of Ellen and Ralph in east Van. It's always a treat to relax in a safe, quiet neighborhood with plenty of parking. This being Vancouver however, I didn't feel safe enough to sleep in the house. Vancouver is and has almost always been plagued by drugs, unemployment and car break-ins. As Ellen says "They'll break in to your car if there's a big enough cigarette butt!" Knowing this, I've always been hyper vigilant with my vehicle so this is probably the best place to get used to expecting this unexpected like I should have when I was in Montréal.

I got to have dinner with Rob M. but instead of going for tried and true we went to Burnaby for Japanese and got cold agedashi tofu and mushy tuna.

My van is pretty loaded down with fuel and clothing but things are a lot more oganized than last time I was on the road. I made some important improvements like the laminate flooring and curtains and I hesitantly admit that I went to Daiso and I bought some new plastic items like a van sized dish rack. I'm planning to arrive in LA on the 29th to pick Blendy Maguro up at the airport. Only 1280 miles to go!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Woo Hoo!

About a week ago I sent my failed hard drive off to a data recovery service in Vancouver, all the while crossing my fingers that I could recover ANY of my photographs. I received a not-so-encouraging email from my boyfriend saying "Don't bother, my friend says it's IMPOSSIBLE!" And I told him that if there's one thing I've learned from owning my van it's that when things go wrong, EVERYBODY has an opinion. I did my best to ignore Brenndan's friend's naysaying and kept my fingers crossed. Well today dear reader, I have been informed that has recovered ALL of the files from the hard drive that I thought that I had wiped out with a bunch of super powerful magnets. It's going to cost $600, but that's a lot lower than the estimates I had been given earlier. So..with his piece of good news and the sun shining in October in Victoria I feel like celebrating! Or..maybe I should wait until Restart computer calls me back. I had them install a new hard drive and recycled display in my old machine and 12 hours later it began to malfunction. They are supposed to call me back today and let me know if it's working. I guess I'll keep my fingers crossed for now.

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