Long post from the foggy coast

Visitors from France on Tuesday, before I left on trip. There will be 8 pages on their rustic commune in France in the small homes book. Check out the homemade bike. On their way from LA to Oregon. Kindred spirits seem to abound these days.

Whew! Where to start? I left home early Wednesday and drove up to the Sierras with my son Evan to meet with the star of our tiny homes book, a world champion snowboarder who has built a most incredible house in the wilderness. We had been struggling with the layout — a huge number of great photos — and lo and behold, our builder had done stunning layouts, 10 pages in all, of his creation and its spectacular mountain surroundings. Yes!

This book has its own life. It’s like a living organism right now, changing and assembling itself. We’re just there to help. No kidding. It started slowly, and now it’s roaring along like a locomotive. Stuff is pouring in. We’re already beyond our (224) page count, and it’s obvious this is going to be a series (we’ve got tons of material for another book). It won’t be out until February — such is the reality of our slow production process and the logistics of printing and shipping from overseas.

Then back from the Sierras through the heat of the Sacramento Valley. In Auburn we stopped to shoot photos at a place that sold a variety of Teardrop trailers (popular in the 40s-50s, being rediscovered now). In Fairfield I dropped Evan off at his car, and proceeded westward to the coast. By the time I got to the Russian River, there was a cool freshness in the air, and I drove along the river out to its mouth at Jenner, then headed north in the night along the foggy coast.

Yesterday I went into Gualala with Louie for breakfast at Trinks, a triple threat cafe — excellent lattes, breakfast, and speedy wi-fi. I downloaded a ton of email. Hoo-whee,things are popping right now, on all fronts. Sunday I spent 5 hours getting filmed and interviewed about skateboarding for AOL. It’s for a series of 1-1/2 minute videos they run on their website, called: “You’ve got…” There seems to be a lot of interest suddenly in someone of my, um, age, skating.

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The planets must have been favorable yesterday, because everything was right. Things were popping. The wind came up and blew the fog away and it was warm, but not hot. A guy came into Trinks while I was MacBooking away, and lo and lo and behold again, it’s Joe Bacon, the guy who typeset our book Shelter in 1973. Joe’s a raconteur with 1000 funny stories, and we had a spirited conversation.

In Point Arena I discovered a very low key motorcycle shop. No signs. I looked inside this concrete block building and there were maybe 30 beautiful motorcycles — Harleys, Yamahas, a Norton beauty and I shot photos. Then when I was in the Pt. Arena coffee shop, a cyclist pulled in. He was obviously on the road — I mean on a long trip — and his rig was elegant. His bike and gear were paired down to the essence. I shot lots of photos and interviewed him —  Rick Huffan. He’s on the road about 3 months of the year and talking to him inspires me to keep cutting down the weight when I travel.

I shot photos out at Louie’s of his new shiny sailboat masts (made from local Douglas Firs), the model he’s making of a turn-of-century coastal schooner, a his “Yukon flashlight,” an ingenuous wind-proof lantern made with a coffee can and a candle. I went swimming in the river. It was warmer than I expected, and swam some “laps.” Clean green water, cool on a hot day. Energizer of chi.

Eight of us had dinner in the pub down at the pier. We sat out on the deck looking out at the ocean. It was warm and balmy. Just a goddam good day…

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:

5 Responses to Long post from the foggy coast

  1. some days, all seems to roll on magical rails like a locomotive…
    A pine tree as an Hiroshige print, an incredible bike, beautiful encounters !
    Bonjour à Julie sur la route de l'Oregon
    Two books : yes we want them !


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