Notes From the Pacific Coast Road

In Arcata someone told me the burnouts that hang out in the town square are “trustafarians.” You know, east coast families sending the family screwups to California. You can do anything out west and people will put up with it, sad to say. And the rest of the game seems to be that the trust fund babies hit California and pretend to be poor, or just making it. Yeah, right.

Wordplay in roadside signs:

• “Burning Slash”” (Slash=branches left over in the woods after logging)

• “Wind Gust”

• “Pistol River”

• Coffee shop in Brandon, Oregon: “Brewed Awakenings.” Ever notice how many hair salons have wordplay names, like “Shy Locks?”

It’s always a relief to get out of California. Oregon just feels more relaxed. I had a few days before my Portland event so came along the Oregon Coast. Port Orford is nice, with a unique port where they have a cable-powered trolly for launching boats. Florence is a pretty nice town. Yachats is a little gem of a town, with sparkling ocean air, small cottages, nice little cabins that can be rented + the Green Salmon Bakery and coffee shop with a chef that doesn’t know it, but she’s world class. I haven’t been along this coast for 30+ years and it’s a lot nicer in the non-summer months, when tourists are not out in force. Mile after mile of deserted sandy beaches. Much of the drive is right along the beaches. There are a series of concrete bridges that look art deco. Gas is $1.94/gal. (A friend of mine said recently that gas should be $10/gal., the true cost to the planet.)

I’ve got into the habit of taking small country roads when possible, and always seeking out routes not taken before. Today I was on Hwy 47 coming into Portland, stopping to shoot pictures of little sheds and shacks and barns and a program came on the radio about bands in New Orleans. They played a lot of Fats Domino. If I had to pick one musician who had the biggest impact on me, it’d have to be Fats. I first heard him played by my friend Sherman Welpton when I was 18 (1953), and it was an introduction to Rhythm and Blues and eventually the world of blues. Fats has always made me happy. Today I pulled off the road to eat my takeout smoked turkey sandwich from the Green Salmon Bakery, and was facing a green furrowed pasture hill when on came Blueberry Hill. Up with the volume.

I met my thrill

on Blueberry Hill…

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:

2 Responses to Notes From the Pacific Coast Road

  1. Lloyd, thank you for all these very interesting dispatches from the road, and best wishes for the success of the new book. I plan to buy several copies as gifts.

  2. If you travel through Newport, OR (Nye Beach section), check out Cafe Mundo. I think you'll like it. Don't go there when/if you're in a hurry…it's VERY laid back.

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