America (4)

Rain in San Francisco, Mellowness in Albuquerque

I took off from San Francisco on a rainy Sunday morning. As soon as I got off the plane in Albuquerque, things felt different. Relaxed. Mellow. Palpable low stress level.

Picked up rental car, punched in address for Canteen Brewhouse, where I had scoped out beforehand there was a local bluegrass band playing at 4PM. Garmin magically delivered me to the pub. Good vibes. Community tables. Got dark porter, alc. content 10%, aged in whisky barrels, had best bratwurst I’ve ever had, homemade mustard, cole slaw, black bean chile, guy next to me at bar was carpenter; we had things in common. Perfect.

The band, Squash Blossom Boys, was good. Occasional 3-part harmony. There’s just something about a local band, a local crowd, relaxed atmosphere…

I took off heading south for Truth or Consequences, a town of hot springs I’d read about, at dusk. Cue Willie: “On the road again…”

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1st Presentation on New Book Small Homes

40-50 people showed up for my talk/slide show Wednesday night at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais. I’m amazed anyone came, it was so cold out. Kindred spirits fer shure.

Us born-and-bred coastal Caifornians are wimps when it comes to weather like this. It was minus 4 degrees F this morning. Sometimes it gets down to -20F, and if the wind is blowing, -40 wind chill factor. When you step outside, the cold attacks you, it’s all you can think of.

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My America

This political nightmare we’ve been going through for some months now may have led me to choosing the subject for my next book,

I’ve been  trying to figure out what to do after Small Homes:

• 50 Years of Natural Building

• A book on my trips

• A book on barns

Some kind of context for the 10,000+ photos I’ve taken over the years.

The idea about a book on the USA popped into my head a few days ago. This would be my version of America. It would start with me riding the rails and hitchhiking from San Francisco to New York in 1965, along with a copy of Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous — seeking enlightenment, if you will, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life — as the cultural revolution of the ’60s-’70s unfolded. (Upon return a month later, I quit my job as an insurance broker and went to work as a builder.)

I would show the America that I love, the people in every state who were kind and friendly and helpful, Pop’s Diner in Page, Arizona; press men at Courier Printing in Kendallville, Indiana; squirrel hunters in Tennessee; the waitress in an Oklahoma diner serving me coconut cream pie with coffee at 2:30 AM; farmers, surfers,  skateboarders, lawyers and bankers (yes–there are some good ones); book lovers, musicians, builders; makers…This just may be the next book. The glass-half-full take on America.

Photo above: on a trip to Nevada, Utah, and Arizona in 1989

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