Note: All my posts on the ’60s are gathered under “The ’60s,” above. Being a blog, these posts are in reverse order. If you want to read them from the beginning, scroll down. Chapter 1 is at the bottom, chapter 2 above that, etc.

Gypsy Wagon on Truck by Yogan and Menthe

Two years ago, French carpenters Yogan and Menthe flew to California, carrying a few basic tools, and hitchhiked up the coast from San Francisco to Washington, exchanging their building skills for room and board. It’s poetry with wood.

Are these guys FUN!

More on these extraordinary guys:

L-R, yogan, Menthe, stopping by Shelter’s world headquarters on their way home from their productive trip.


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Val Agnoli’s Sculptural Home

Val is that unusual combination of creative architect and master builder. He can build what he designs!

I shot this picture of his home in 1973. There’s a long interview and about a dozen other pictures of his work in Shelter.

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Nadine – Chuck Berry

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Recorded in 1963, just after Chuck got out of jail. Essence of rock and roll. Johnny Johnson (I would guess) on piano here. Johnny was a big and relatively little-known integral part of Chuck’s success. I saw Johnny in NYC some years ago. I closed my eyes when he was playing and saw shimmering diamonds. And yeah, I was stoned. So?

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Home Sweet Home on Baja Beach

I’ve probably posted this before, but I just ran across it again. 1983 Toyota 4×4, a few years before they had independent suspension for front wheels. The Baja natives preferred it because the front axle was stronger. Air Camping tent, made in Italy; this was before rooftop tents were even known in the USA. Up off the beach, or desert floor, no worry about snakes or scorpions, breezes blew through mosquito netting. I’d drive 12 miles east of San Jose del Cabo, then down an arroyo to beach, then let air out of tires and go another 2 miles on soft sand to a secluded spot where there was surf, fish and a shipwreck. I’d orient the tent so that I faced the water, put up the 12′ by 14′ flea market tarp (anchored by hanging sand bags), and spend 4-5 days in solitude. No need for clothes.

In summer heat, I’d pretty much stay inside the shade from 11 AM to 5 PM; the sunrises and sunsets were exquisite times of day. Go surfing or paddling or swimming, run on beach, wander in desert. The tropical desert in Los Cabos area (just below Tropic of Cancer) is subtle. When you get to know it, you see all kinds of life and beauty therein.

I’d remove all signs of having visited the beach when I left.

Of course, I hear there’s a house there now, and I’ll bet some gringo has blocked beach access.

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1937 Chevy 1½-Ton Flatbed Housetruck for Family of 5

Bob Easton did this drawing based on Joaquin’s input.

In the late ’60s, Joaquin de la Luz traded his 1948 Triumph motorcycle for this vintage Chevy flatbed and converted it into a housetruck. Joaquin, his wife Gypsy, and their three kids lived in it for five years while moving around the country and eventually settling in Yreka, California. It had a woodstove and a sewing machine, in addition to beds for all family members, and was built with scrounged materials. There are about a dozen pictures of the rig in our book Shelter.

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Interior of Geodesic Dome, 1969

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Fisheye of the interior of a plywood and vinyl geodesic dome built by teenage students at Pacific High School in the Santa Cruz mountains, California, in 1969. The window patterns were great, and made for striking photos, but the domes leaked. I’ve always thought that our work at PHS was in the aesthetic realm, not in the practicality of our designs.

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