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Entries in treehugger tour (10)

Saturday
Nov272004

Day 9: San Simeon to San Diego

Be sure to look at the Treehugger Tour Photo Gallery with great captions to enhance these entries.

ed and kelli on the beach in northern california near eureka, a picture for the end of the tourWe awoke in San Simeon to a stormy oceanfront scene. All the rain that I had thought would be with us all through the rest of the trip was had today, nearly every minute of our seven hour drive. San Simeon shouldn't be that long a drive, but the rain was very steady and dense, and the traffic clogged up several points along the way. I drove the whole way today, and we stopped only for the necessary stuff, but also rendezvoused with my buddy/Best Man Mike Thaxton down in Orange County. We didn't chat long, as he got caught in family duties on the holiday weekend, and whatever half-baked plan we had sort of got chucked. Just as well, Kelli was nursing a cold and probably wanted to get home anyway.

The rain was so heavy in places, and the clouds so thick that there was absolutely no demarcation line between ocean and sky. No horizon. Most of the way down, the coastal view we got extended no more than a quarter mile. The gray was continuous, from the rocky shorelines, all the way up and around our heads. It looked like the rocks were actually the edge of the earth.

We stopped at Denny's for the last supper on our little California adventure. For dinner, we had breakfast. Today we didn't eat anything "proper" in the way of breakfast or lunch, so for dinner, we ate breakfast. (In California do things differently.) Upon my return, I got an email (one of about 170—all but about five were spam) from a feller up in the San Luis Obispo area who apparently found a business card I lost on the side of the road or as we pulled up to shoot some pix on the way up. He wrote to tell me he found a lot of good anti-Bush material on my blog, and in the poster pages. He gets the "most unique email of the week" award. Hey, at least he is environmentally conscious. I would have been more so if the wind wasn't so damned strong that day.

And now I return home to the "grind." It isn't really a grind like some know, but it is a routine that sometimes can be a little too similar. This is the first time I have been on a total vacation from life for years, unless you count the week I spent on Halcyon last year (and that wasn't really a total vacation from life, if you know what I mean). Going on this trip, Kelli and I agreed, was good for the soul, but also good for us as a newly married couple. It was a big deal for us to plan and to cooperate enough to get it done without tearing each other's heads off. Actually we were very well behaved, and we got up there and back with nary a messy argument! We both agreed that we felt a lot closer to each other.

But another thing that resonated with us both is how beautiful an environment is in its natural state. We live in San Diego, which is far from a natural place now. And to get to any place that seemed beautiful took about a 200 mile drive. To leave the phony and ugly suburbs was a good thing, but our little house here is wrapped in ring after ring of this shit, reaching out hundreds of miles before we can see a part of our state we don't usually see, but more specifically, land as God intended. We came to nickname our little tour the "treehugger tour" because we really used the time to savor the landscape. It sounds hokey to get excited about this stuff, but really, there is a lot wrong with the way people live now, and a lot of it has to do with a total disconnection from the land we live on. To get out of the "land of the disposable everything" has been a relief for us. At any of the places we saw, we tried to imagine what it must have looked like without all the fast food joints, car dealerships, malls, and parking lots. The simple fact of the matter is, the land is gorgeous and perfect without all that shit, and will never be better in any way with all that shit spread out like vomit. There is majesty in the huge redwoods, and there is art in the wine country, and there is elegance in the rolling hills along most of the 101. The land is perfect as it is. It doesn't need us, we need it. But is such a shame that we are utterly destroying it and calling it "progress." This isn't any new age hippy nonsense. This is stuff that any right thinking open eyed and open minded person should recognize. This is stuff that people around the world already believe and never stopped believing.

So, this trip has been food for thought in a lot of ways. It has given me time to reflect on my marriage, on the future of our way of life, on the oneness of everything. Seeing clouds and fog so thick and gray that they merge the sky and the water is one such example of how things are connected, and how no action exists in a vacuum.

Friday
Nov262004

Day 8: Sonoma to San Simeon

Be sure to look at the Treehugger Tour Photo Gallery with great captions to enhance these entries.

chickens at ashley's place in sonomaChickens at Ashley's placeThe bed we slept on was one of those inflatable mattress thingees that you take on camping trips. Kelli had never used it before, so I guess it was too late to pump it so it was nice and firm. So all night long, I was tossing and swaying, and nearly rolling off the thing on account of it being like jello. The shower in this handmade house was made of stones, sort of like you would expect a stereotypical well to be in an old town. There were a number of these distinctly individualistic touches in this house. The huge window next to the shower stall and toilet was one such departure from the norm. Fortunately there were piles of boulders just outside the window to break up any sight lines. Still, it's a little odd to sit at the toilet with a six foot tall window where you'd expect a wall.

We got up, met a friend of Ashley's, and got overpriced bagels in downtown Sonoma. Then we went to a few shops to kill some time. Sonoma is another town that has a central part loaded with charm, but has been tainted by the suburban slime just steps away. Nonetheless, it is interesting seeing the place, and it does seem to have a certain something we just don't have here. Sonoma was a short stay for us, as we had to get on the road to San Simeon. We had to go through a lot of the wine country, and that was of course beautiful as anything, but once we got on the freeway just outside of Napa, well, you know, it could be any freeway anywhere. Most of the drive down to San Simeon was freeway or somehow sort of anticlimactic in its sameness, not only in its sameness to itself, but everything my world consists of, and which I sought to escape on this trip. Still, once we got to the last stretch of our drive to San Simeon, we were greeted with an amazing full moon and its light falling on the rolling hills. The CA-46 is very serene and uninterupted for about 30 miles and the moon illuminated it all silvery and sweet until we got to San Simeon on the coast.

We stayed at a Motel 6, partially because the price was right, but mainly because it was the one place that had a room, and half off the usual $105 rate at that! We drove over to revisit the little town of Cambria where we got some chow and did window shopping. Window shopping. That is until we happened into this shop with all sorts of cute piggy items. In fact there were so many piggy items it was harder to decide what to buy there than who to vote for for president! I ended up getting a football-sized piggy made out of fake stone. He's cute. I also got a pyramid-shaped windchime with a moocow on one side of the pyramid, a cock on the other, and a piggy on the third. It was beautiful. Each side is a chime—the pyramid is open at the bottom, like a bell.

We left Cambria, a few calories heavier and a few dollars lighter. Went back to the hotel to see some TV and read, and generally soak up the last evening of our honeymoon together.

Thursday
Nov252004

Day 7: Thanksgiving from Ukiah to Sonoma

Be sure to look at the Treehugger Tour Photo Gallery with great captions to enhance these entries.

ed and kelli in a mirror reflection at shambala's main house living roomShambala's lodge living roomThis morning was the best morning. It was cold and gray, drizzly and murky. Shambala's lodge overlooks a valley from partway up a hill, and it was just beautiful. The hilltops were lost in the clouds, everything was green, gold, and red, and it just seemed so right. Kelli and I had the entire place to ourselves, so we got our breakfast of somewhat locally made granola, chemical-free milk, hardboiled eggs, apples, and juice. All this was had while sitting in the dining room that overlooks the entire valley below, the pond, and the road. The dining room had a 180 degree view and was on an upper level, so it was really a great way to start the day. We got ready to leave and ended up talking to the manager again, this time about a lot of things, comparing notes from Sandy Eggo to this utterly gorgeous place. She had brought us a bunch of sources for info on intentional communities, so we have some of that to look over now.

We left for a somewhat shorter drive today toward Santa Rosa and Sonoma. Kelli has a college friend who lives in wine country (with her folks, right between two vinyards, but they aren't in the biz themselves—they got a sliver of land between the two fields). Our drive took us from Shambala through Ukiah where we only passed through. I liked the wine country along the 101 in that area. The weather continued on in the gray sky mode, which made the already idyllic pastoral scenery just too sweet to behold. Once we got to Ashley's in Sonoma, we had a brief time at their house before dinner at her uncle's place down the road. Ashley's dad just got a new iMac and was trying to figure out some stuff, so I endeared myself to him and showed him around the new machine. Their property was about ten times bigger than mine, so they had a modest rural spread, and the house was hand made by Papa. They had a garden and some chickens. I took a liking to the place. Everything was lush and green there, even the rocks!

Our Thanksgiving dinner was at Ashley's uncle's place. I barely know Ashley as it is, though she photographed our wedding in part. Of course, it was interesting being a near total stranger in the home of someone I am only tangentially acquainted with, but then we were guests in her parents home, and guests again at her uncle's home! Anyhow, there were about 15 people at the dinner altogether, and it was just delightful, even if a little wierd, knowing only two people there, and only one of them well. Still, it was a tremendously nice gesture to have us along on Thanksgiving. As of now, Kelli and I still have not had a true Thanksgiving day dinner at home with either of our parents or family. We've been together for three years now, and the first was at church family friends' and the next was split—her with her family in South Carolina and me again at the aforementioned friend's place. So here we are, continuing the trend of having T-giving at other people's houses. If not for this, it might have been at Denny's.

We politely hung out at this strange party then left. I did get a chance to talk like one of the family when the topic of presidential politics came up, so I wasn't totally left out, but it does become a little odd being a total stranger at other people's parties, once the food is eaten and it's time to talk. We got back to Ashley's and I did a little photo card transfer to CD, and called it a night pretty early. I missed my opportunity to jump in the hot tub with three chickeys to talk about peak oil and other happy topics. Oh well.

Wednesday
Nov242004

Day 6: Ferndale to Ukiah

Be sure to look at the Treehugger Tour Photo Gallery with great captions to enhance these entries.

Shambala ranch house looks like a redwood mansion on the hills. beautiful.Shambala Ranch main houseThis morning we were still in Ferndale, and for the few hours we were here, we just milled around the town and looked at shops and generally made Kelli lust for the chance to live here. We went to the town museum where there were some interesting artifacts from their history—everything from farm implements to blacksmithing tools and switchboards for the earliest phone systems in the area. Not bad for a dollar at the door.

Then we left and finally started to head south to Ukiah. It's funny. The distances aren't too great in absolute terms but all our trips seem to go on for a long time. Of course we do stop to get out and look around at a few things, but damn! Anyhow, we took off the freeway at Ukiah and had to go what we thought was going to be an eight mile drive. It turned out to be 18 miles of moderately improved road, all twisty and windy through some steep forested hills. Some double backs were marked as being 10mph and I think one was for 5mph! All this was at night and the fog started to roll in. Our stay for the night was in an extremely out of the way place called Shambala Ranch. It is a place so isolated they are off any power grid, so they have their own solar and generator system for all their electrical. I believe somehow they have internet as well.

Once we got off the spaghetti-like road and found the lodge, we found we were the only ones there for the night, and we only had the manager lady to talk to. Since the facility was so unorthodox by most modern standards, we of course had to ask about this stuff, and that led into a talk about the state of the world, and we even talked peak oil! Traveling in northern California seems to bring out a lot more stated and obvious concern for such matters. I wish we had more time to get chatty along those lines. Anyhow, we were talking about the peak oil problem and that led to talk about intentional communities, which Kelli and I are growing interested in. Eventually we retired to our little tiny cottage and did the newlywed thing and called it a night.

This place was sooo isolated there was literally NO noise. My drumming-induced tinnitus was louder than any ambient noise. There was no road noise and no ocean noise, and at that time of night, no generator noise. It was utterly blissful. I wish I had a week or a lifetime to spend there. Ferndale was quite similar once the town went to sleep, but this was just quiet as can be, except for talking. Silence was a goal for me on this trip. In that regard, most of our places were very nice to be in.

Tuesday
Nov232004

Day 5: Ferndale/Arcata/Johnson Grove

Be sure to look at the Treehugger Tour Photo Gallery with great captions to enhance these entries.

Ferndale main street looking rather like a shot from the early 50s and earlier still into the victorian eraFerndaleThis morning I awoke to Kelli exclaiming, "hey, you got your SKY!!!" She was referring to the cold damp sky I had been anticipating all along. It wasn't meant to last however; it was like this in Ferndale, but much of the rest of the day it was clear. It was actually very Sandy Eggo like with a marine layer that was just like home. In fact, this whole trip has seemed more Sandy Eggo than Sandy Eggo does. Anyhow, we had the little breakfast provided at the inn and then headed out to our great northernmost adventure to see the redwood forests. It was relatively little driving today, but a lot of great scenery.

We had to pass through Eureka and Arcata to get to the forested areas we wanted to see. Eureka had a Costco, so we went there to get some photo memory cards bounced to CD so I could erase some of my ever-filling Smart Media cards—the ones that took a scouring of San Diego electronics stores, since these cards are going out of favor. After Costco, we were on our way. Eureka is sort of a seaside version of Santee or Lakeside. There is a good heart to the place, but it seems to have been bitten by the sprawl bug and is plagued by all the stuff we sought to leave in town. So we didn't stay. Next up on the road was Arcata, which was the main town I wanted to see up here, having been told many stories about the place from the people in SD we know who once lived there, and sometimes still do. Actually on this trip we went past Arcata to first go see the big redwoods.

We went to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove just above Orick. There was a one mile trek that we took, along with the ever-present camera and jerky. Well, what will I be able to say about these trees that hasn't already been said? I only wish we weren't going through things so quickly, but this trip was meant to be a cursory pass through a lot of stuff. Hopefully the trees will be there next year or whenever we get back. Maybe we should have stayed longer—Bush will be president for a few years and maybe there won't be any more forests left. :^( Anyhow, the trees and trail were as silent as can be, with only a few fellow hikers and the roar of distant waves. We didn't run into any bears or ticks as far as we know, so it was just us and trees.

On the way up or back from there we stopped by another beach area and took some great pix of the rocks, the pebbly beach, and each other, as well as a single seal perched up on a rock, just taking in the waves. He let us get pretty close so there are some pix of us with Mr. Seal included. Kelli got a good splash trying to flirt with the waves, and spent the rest of the day with wet everything below her knees!

ed and kelli look on at a rock with one sea lion on it. no other rocks or sea lions. bare beach with lovely gravel sand.Then it was back to Arcata to see the town center some, and check out a bunch of shops. I read a chapter in a book about some hiker who had to cut his forearm and hand off in order to escape a boulder that fell on his hand and kept him pinned alone for a week. He had a video camera which he used to create his memorial for whoever would eventually find him, and also which documented his improvised surgery with a Leatherman tool and other hiking supplies. While in Arcata I picked up a bottle of beer from a shop selling imported brews and wines. The bottle was from the Dirty Dick Pub in London. I have a shirt from there. Now I can drink from a Dirty Dick! And later on, I can show off my Dirty Dick! Anyone wanna come see my Dirty Dick?

Arcata was cute, but we really only spent about two hours there instead of two days, but I got a good feel for the little town. I'm not sure I like the unshaven neo-hippies but I like them more than the neo-cons, so I suppose Arcata is a better place to be.

Then we took off back to Ferndale and got dinner at a pizza joint owned by the son of one of our fellow church members down in Sandy Eggo. Tomorrow we leave Ferndale and start on our way south, stopping a few places, but ultimately on the return part of our trip.

Monday
Nov222004

Day 4: Fort Bragg to Ferndale

Be sure to look at the Treehugger Tour Photo Gallery with great captions to enhance these entries.

close up of the glass and debris on glass beach in fort bragg.Glass shards polished down to near gems on the beach at Fort BraggThis morning we had breakfast in our little cottage by the sea. After a diet of beef jerky, Balance bars, and cookies, it was nice to get in on some real food—Chex cereal! The cottage was nice and cute, and we were joking about moving in there on account of it really being a tiny apartment. The front desk clerk was real nice and suggested a few things to do in the area. We took her up on visiting Glass Beach, which apparently used to be a garbage dump and now is an interesting graveyard for all sorts of items—car parts, industrial junk, and lots of glass, all broken down and smoothed out to pebbles from constant crashing waves. There were car parts fused into rock, and partially exposed and rusted from the waves slowly eating away at the rocks, turning them slowly into sand.

Today started off being coastal driving, along the CA-1 from Ft. Bragg on up to wherever it splits off to the rocky and forested parts. We took lots of pictures all the way along, and stopped into Legett to drive through the Chandelier Tree. Our little PT Cruiser fit perfectly in the space notched out of the tree's massive base. There was a little duck pond and an open field next to the tree where I milled around, the silence of it all being a sheer delight. There were a few more tourist stops, like at the One Log House where in a single piece of redwood lumber, a couple dedicated souls had carved out an entire living space, complete with bedroom, kitchen, bath, and living room. In today's market, the price would be outfuckingrageous.

Near dark we finally got to our destination in the Victorian town of Ferndale. All the weather so far had been perfectly clear. That was a surprise to me, because I had thought that in northern CA in the fall, it would be cold and gray and rainy. Well, drving into the area around Ferndale was the first I saw of that weather that I had been anticipating. We got here at dusk, and it was cloudy and misty, coupled with the fading sunlight. All this over the pastoral fields of cattle (we call them "moocows") and rustic old barns and sheds, and Victorian houses. It was really starting to seem like my vacation as I had seen it in my head.

Ferndale was the place where the movie The Majestic was shot. We saw that movie on our first date on the first of January in 2002, so we were keen to come to a town like the one in the movie. Only when we were looking for places online did we find that this town is where it was shot! We're at the Victorian Inn here, where there is a late 19th century hotel that still looks the part to a remarkable degree (except for the computer here where I am typing from). No TV is good enough for me. In fact, the whole place is funky and old flavored enough that as we took a nap yesterday when we got here, the whole town's power crashed and restarted a couple times, the long outage being for a half hour or so. Total darkness around town, but we were here, struggling to take showers and get ready to go out to dinner.

Oh, dinner...

Ah, the restaurant downstairs was the only place to eat in all the ten blocks of this town. So we went there and got meatloaf and mashed taters and veggies, and a pitcher of beer. Kelli opted for wine, as she usually does, and I got left with the beer. We had this tasty dipping oil and garlic dish for our bread, and well, I dipped and drank too enthusiastically. That bread and oil would have been a big meal with the main course, but I totally went to town on the bread and beer. Oh, on the way out of the restaurant, I was starting to feel pretty messed up. A pitcher in an hour is new even for me! I was just bloated beyond belief from all those carb-y things. But it was ohhhhhhhhhh so yummy. The beer was good, and it would have been better if I had half as much! Then we went back and rather ridiculously tried to act like serious people as we dabbled with exercises from a book we are using as part of our counseling process. Hah!

It was a very long night of gastric distress and garlic breath. The bed was nice though—there were about six pillows and almost as many blankets. Pretty damned posh and would have been a nice night's rest if I hadn't had to get up to go to the bathroom so many times. Oh well.

Sunday
Nov212004

Day 3: Bay Area to Fort Bragg

Be sure to look at the Treehugger Tour Photo Gallery with great captions to enhance these entries.

ed and kelli on the bunker at marin headlands, the sun setting on the west, with their hands nearly perfectly blocking the sun and making a cool silhouette.Marin Headlands at sunset

We left Livermore and headed for the Bay area. Kelli wanted to take me to her alma mater at Mills College, so we went to Oakland first. The campus was empty mainly because it was a Sunday, but also because all the students had the holiday week off. So we had it to ourselves. We saw the book arts building where she did a lot of her work for her major. The rest was a general tour of the place, given that we were on to other things. We took a cursory drive through Oakland city and Berkeley. I've never been to either of those places, but a lot of friends of ours have assocations with the area.

Then we took the bay bridge to San Fran and spent some time spinning around there, aimlessly. We hadn't really intended to see things in any depth on this trip, so just driving along the waterfront and down Lombard had to do. We saw the Presidio and then went to the Golden Gate park and did the obligatory tourist thing, snapping pictures and all. We took a little hike under the bridge at the south side, and wandered around the area, checking out the bunkers. It was late afternoon by then and time to go to the other side where we drove the road around the Marin Headlands, which was utterly gorgeous stuff. The bunkers and natural sights were amazing to behold. We got the ace sunset shot on the westernmost bunker at Point Bonita. Then it was time to scramble to our next night's stay in Fort Bragg.

But on the way we got a cursory pass through Sausalito which appears to be a sweet little place. The rest of the drive was up the 101 and then the 33 mile long highway CA-20. All 33 miles were curves in densely wooded forest, and for us, all of that was at NIGHT. Yay. Some wild riding there. Kelli got to do all of today's drving since somehow I ended up doing the first two days' worth. Our abode for the night was a sweet little oceanside cottage place in Fort Bragg. Dinner was at the North Coast Brewery restaurant. They had this wonderful coppery brew that I had with dinner and also bought a six pack to take home with me. Then we went back and did newlywed activities back at the cottage.

Saturday
Nov202004

Day 2: SLO to Bay Area

Be sure to look at the Treehugger Tour Photo Gallery with great captions to enhance these entries.

Today we woke up safely away from the suburban slime of Southern California. Sort of. San Luis Obispo is a charming little town, especially in its center, but leaving that you still end up among all these familiar franchise names. Our extremely brief pass through the town center was to go to the bank. We ended up talking to the (retired age) parking lot guard for a few minutes. He was extremely nice and told about the town and the area. Then we got on the utterly lovely highway CA-1 from SLO and drove that quite a ways, stopping for some photo ops. That road is all so lovely with its rocky coast and sheer cliffs.

the sign at the entrance to the hamlet of Harmony, CA is painted to look like a green CA state highway sign, but it is chipping in a cool rustic way.Cute little hamlet of Harmony, with nice craft and arts done in the old world styleWe stopped in to the tiny little colonies of Harmony and Cambria for some utterly tourist stops. We departed from the CA-1 road right after dark, at Santa Cruz, having managed to catch a great sunset somewhere along the road. We fumbled our route directions on the way to Kelli's brother's place in Livermore in the east bay area. We got there and had dinner, they talked and I crashed out, tired from the driving, all of which was pretty attention-demanding that day. Tomorrow we actually go see some real shit.

Friday
Nov192004

Day 1: SD to SLO

Be sure to look at the Treehugger Tour Photo Gallery with great captions to enhance these entries.

PT Cruiser for a week and a half was a fun drive for both of us. Stopped by the side of the road on the cliff areas on CA-1.Our coach for the weekI just love that Friday afternoon feeling before a trip. We went to get our rental car today and got a pleasant surprise. The price we found was stupidly low for even the modest car we signed up for. We got in for about $150 for a whole week. When we got to the lot, the dude asked us if we minded getting a PT Cruiser. Hey, not bad. It beats the Dodge Neon we agreed to.

We left today and drove to San Luis Obispo. No big fun in that. LA traffic sucks even at 10pm. We left Sandy Eggo at 6 pm and got to SLO at 12:15 in the morning. Motel 6. Basic but it's oh so nice when you are only gonna sleep for the night. I had a back and neck ache from hell yesterday and today, but opted to drive the entire distance I guess so I would have something else to think about.

Thursday
Nov182004

Honeymoon Time

using an original shot that turned out like crap. made it into a stylized poster that appears like from the 60s or so.Kelli and I are taking off for the entire Thanksgiving week on a driving tour to the Redwood national forest in northern California, and stopping at a number of places in between. This is our delayed honeymoon, so we are taking in a few places with some romantic appeal, but it's low key rural stuff. No fancy Hawaii or Bahamas or French Riviera. Nah, that shit is just too expensive and cliched. Some want to go to the sandy and balmy beach resorts in exotic locales. We chose to go where it rains a lot and is really gray. The beaches are rocky too, when there are any. I guess we'll get some good "indoor time" while we're gone. Hey, for only the second time in years, I will be away from my house and computer. I will probably go through withdrawal syndrome. I don't know when I last went on a real vacation. I believe the last time was a real ill-fated trip to Alaska over New Years Eve (coming into 1995). That trip was something worth forgetting. Man, I really know how to pick my vacation spots: go to cold northern reaches in the wintery months! I like the colder temperatures in general; Kelli has to have a winter coat on when the temps fall below 70, or so it seems. She and I have never really gone out for more than a day trip to the mountains. This promises to be a different experience, considering we've been together almost three years now.

I've never been anywhere further north than San Francisco (on a road tour), and even at San Fran I never saw anything because I was working. No Golden Gate, no Chinatown, nothing but ass ends of hotels and other venues. I've been wanting to see the northern part of the state for a long time. Actually, the Pacific Northwest is a place I like, at least in my imaginings. I have been to Seattle and some outlying areas once and liked it. I like the landscape and the still relatively undisturbed nature of it all. San Diego is total ass compared to that region. San Diego also has too many Republicans too. Kelli and I have entertained the idea of living up in the Oregon/NorCal area. Some friends of ours have regaled us with tales of Arcata, which seems to be interesting for its liberal nature, with people doing funny things like using land and resources wisely, and talking funny about stuff like "community" and "civic involvement" and other weird stuff.