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Doc Mishler and friends

Doc Mishler last rode the coast road fifteen years ago with the two horses pictured on the right: Chief Free Spirit and Keep The Faith. At that time, Doc trotted from Montana to Washington D.C., by way of California, after surviving a cancer diagnosis and its treatment and reading the book, How Then Shall We Live, a text that weighs the question, “How shall I live, knowing I will die?”

What was then a personal journey to celebrate life after beating a terminal diagnosis is now a ride to raise our awareness of hunger, in particular regard to starving children.  Doc says, “There are children in the world who are so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of food.”

This ride is Doc’s mission. For more information about his church community, please stop him on his way south along Highway 1.

Doc can use a place to board his horses each night, so stop to offer your place when you see him.  Today he’ll depart Pescadero to travel to Santa Cruz, then on to Monterey, and then El Sur Grande, a day’s ride southbound until San Diego, where he will then head east-northeast to D.C.

This post written by Anneliese Agren

Matthew walked bow-legged with quick, northbound jerky strides up the hill above Pescadero State Beach.  His blue nose female kept up alongside, but her grey head hung lowered, shoulders hustling, tongue panting.  Matthew’s back, young and strong, held his yellow backpack upright.  It’s top peeked high above Matthew’s head.  It’s bottom strapped snug around Matthew’s hips.  The dog’s leash dragged on the ground, handless.

“I saw that guy south of Davenport on my way to Santa Cruz on Thursday!” said the passenger in the car driving southbound on the coast road.  “On the way back home, he had reached Swanton.”

The driver regarded Matthew as the car sped past.  The speedometer needle poked 60.  Only a couple state beaches and a eucalyptus grove altered the contours of the coast hills. “If we see him on the return trip, we’ll pick him up.”

After dinner and drinks at Duarte’s the two hopped back in the car and headed north.  On the hill north of Pomponio creek, Matthew and the dog climbed.  No arm outstretched with a thumb up asking for a ride.  Matthew didn’t turn to even look at the oncoming car.

The car slowed over to the shoulder ahead of Matthew and his tired dog.

The passenger looked surprised at the driver, “I can’t believe you’re actually doing this!  Maybe this guy won’t even want a ride?”

“Doubt it,” replied the driver, looking in the rear view mirror.  “He’s running towards us.”

“You’re going to let the dog in here too?” asked the passenger.

“I let our dogs in here.  And one of ours is a Pit.  Why not?”

Slightly winded, Matthew reached the car by traversing the drainage gully along the road’s edge.  The passenger stepped out of the car, onto the paved shoulder, opened the back seat door and introduced himself to Matthew.  The driver waited behind the wheel, brake applied, engine running.  Matthew unclipped the waist strap and slung off his backpack, tossing it to the side of the backseat.  The dog jumped in, tail a little tucked, sniffing the carpet of the car.

Through his bushy black beard and his white evenly-spaced teeth, Matthew broadly smiled and said, “Thank you so much for stopping!”

A Separate Place, text by Charles Jones, photos by Susan FriedmanA friend lent me his copy of A Separate Place, with text by Charles Jones and black-and-white photographs by Susan Friedman.  Printed in 1974 by the Sierra Club with no reprints, A Separate Place describes California’s coastal corridor of San Gregorio to Pescadero and its inland nooks of La Honda and Loma Mar.

This is coastal southern San Mateo County, also known as, The South Coast.

Wallace Stegner writes the blurb on the back of the dust jacket, “A Separate Place is a book that will speak most eloquently to those who know La Honda and the redwood pockets on the Pacific side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.  But it will speak to almost anyone who remembers real places and who resents the plastic nowheres we too often make them into.  Everyone should know a piece of earth as Mr. Jones knows his – historically, scenically, meteorologically, humanly.  Everybody should love one place as much as he loves his.”

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DSCN3336Not often one sees a horseman riding on Highway 1.

Not often, as in, Never.

Almost 100 years ago, J. Smeaton Chase, an Englishman who lived out the second half of his life in California, started from San Gabriel Valley, then rode south to San Diego, to then ride north to Mendocino.

Published in 1913, Chase’s California Coastal TrailsCalifornia Coast Trails by Joseph Smeaton Chase gives the modern reader a view into California’s sparsely populated coastal past.

But now we have Matthew and Hampton, our current equivalent of Chase and Chino (later, Anton, when he traded a tired Chino in Jolon). Matthew and Hampton are traveling the California Coast Trail, aka State Route 1, but their mission is not a horseback tour to see the sights. Matthew and Hampton are riding the coast to raise awareness for the Akha people in northern Thailand who are being displaced by Thailand’s Queen and mistreated by the police. Matthew first learned about the Akha in the early 90s when traveling Thailand. He was disgusted by the treatment of the Akha by their fellow countrymen, the policemen, who take ownership of Akha lands in the name of the Queen of Thailand.

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Busy writing a bichin post.  Please pull-over and sightsee.

Please pull-over and sightsee.

Coast Road Twit

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Flickr Photos

Sandbar forms a month before Summer begins.  @pescaderocreek

Pescadero Marsh

Broken Flood Gate

Fishing at Pescadero Marsh

More Photos

Days until manuscript completion

Final DraftNovember 30th, 2013
Dot i's and cross t's.