Late October Trip Up The Coast/Old Growth Sitka Spruce Photo/Son House/Dr. John

I feel like the Volvo that goes 350,000 miles with no major breakdowns, and then kapow! Everything goes at once. I’ve had a bad shoulder I’ve been trying to heal with exercises, therapy, and supplements for a month now. I started running again recently, after an 8 month layoff and my knee was OK until I jumped on my skateboard yesterday and my knee pretty much collapsed. Couldn’t run with the boys, couldn’t even walk yesterday.

This morning I got up at 4 and drove up the coast to hang out with my pal Louie for a few days, using my left foot on the brake. Each time I’d get out of the truck it felt like I had bone-on-bone grinding in my knee. Am I whining?

There was a dense fog in the inland areas. When I got to the ocean at Jenner it cleared. I stopped in to see Pete and Bonnie at Sea Ranch at 8 this morning. The sparseness of Sea Ranch struck me. On this 1000+ acres of coastal development, landscape Laurence Halprin decreed that they leave the fields and trees exactly as is. Minimalist landscaping. It’s such a contrast to the way we live, with our half acre burgeoning with plant life of infinite variety, needing constant attention and unending labor. Pete had this photo on his wall:

Virgin growth Sitka spruce trees in Oregon, early 1900s

Music du Jour: When I left home at 4:30 I put on a Columbia CD by Son House, called Mojo Workin’. It’s strange, getting deeper and deeper into the blues at this late stage of my life. Son House was mentor to Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, AND Robert Johnson. Sheesh! Just a guy and his guitar. This recording was made in the ‘60s, when he’d been rediscovered. Next CD, Mercernary, by Dr. John who is in fine and unique voice, singing his own interpretation of Johnny Mercer songs. Come Rain or Come Shine, That Old Black Magic, it’s great to hear these old pop-ish songs come out in Professor Longhair/New Orleans Funk. If you like Dr. J., you’ll like this. And last, George Thorogood has a solid new R&R album, The Hard Stuff.

I met Louie at 10 for breakfast at Carlini’s in Pt. Arena, which ties in my mind for the best breakfast anywhere, along with Bette’s Diner in Berkeley. Home cooking. After breakfast when we got outside and I was limping heavily, Louie was amused. “Look at you! Ha ha!” My friend Louie. Later he was talking to his ex-wife Donna on the phone and said, “Hey, I’m moving around more than Lloyd.” Ho-ho.

We went down to the harbor and walked out to the end of the pier. Surf was pretty big, 3 guys were out, but seldom getting on a wave. Surfers in Pt. Arena are a tough breed. This is no stinkin’ Southern California. It’s cold, the beach is rock, there are steep cliffs, and there’s a big flat rock out in the surf zone. The ocean was alive, the air was fresh and super-charged.

We came out to Louie’s and played some songs on ukulele and guitar together.

Louie’s house across the river

That night we cooked a wild duck and had it with a bottle of Louie’s Cabernet. A few other pix:

Back of a chair in progress in Louie’s shop

My neighbor Clu and his friend milling 1×6″ boards from a big cypress tree that had just been cut down

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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