On My Way to Santa Cruz

It’s 7 AM and I’m at The Java Beach Cafe on Noriega and The Great Highway in San Francisco. On the western edge of San Francisco — Ocean Beach. Been a while since I was at this cafe and in the interim they’ve fixed it up; tables shaped like 1940s Wakiki surfboards, and the coffee is really good, as is the fresh crumb donut.

   When I come into SF from Marin county, I usually skirt around the northwestern part of the city. A sharp right after the toll gate, thru Army base, along bay, past Palace of the Legion of Honor, then out to the beach on Geary or Lake.

   Then this morning, down Highway One to Santa Cruz, where I’m doing a slide show/book signing at Bookshop Santa Cruz tomorrow at 7:30 PM. 1520 Pacific Avenue. It’s one of the country’s best bookstores. I also get to see 13 months old grandson Maceo, now walking and as well,  playing his own set of conga drums.

   Santa Cruz is my former turf. I spent 3-4 years there on and off in the ’50s, a rare time for surfers in retrospect, before rubber suits. Think four guys out at Steamer Lane on a foggy morning with 8′ surf (don’t get me started). I love going down there, even though it’s over-populated and expensive. It’s still got that slightly SoCal climate and looseness and the beaches are still there, and there’s a good feeling. People play a lot: surfing, skating, biking, paddling, all kinds of activities possible in the warm climate.

   Off I go, making this coastal drive for probably the 300th time, through the fields of mustard and artichokes and brussels sprouts, with waves breaking at dozens of beaches.

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:

4 Responses to On My Way to Santa Cruz

  1. Lloyd, I love the sense of place you communicate in this blog. In my experience, many people on the west coast seem oblivious to the beauty that surrounds them. Certainly, they show no affection for it. In other words, they exemplify Frost's sentiment about Americans generally: "The land was ours before we were the land's." You are one of the few people who seems to happily belong to the land of the California coast, and it is a joy to read.

  2. Hitchhiking into Santa Cruz in the late summer of '72, escaping LA if only for a few days…sweet-talking a cheap-ass room at the St George…1972 and everything it meant. Later loading crates of lettuce outside Salinas for homebound money and getting a ride with the trucker back down to Shaky Town.

    Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it is all about the Desolation Angels.

    Your Blog is like the dream I want to have if it is the last one.

    Off you go…

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