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Dude gave me his name, but I didn’t ask his permission to share, so I’ll tell you that dude’s name is “Noah.”  Noah’s hitched rides from Shasta County to the San Mateo County coast.  He has no specific destination.  New Mexico, ultimately, then back home.

“Lightning Fields, New Mexico,” I suggested.  Noah hadn’t heard about Lightning Fields.  I told him about Just John, riding a tricycle, heading south a couple of years ago, and that his plan was to reach the southern end of the Coast Road, then turn east to New Mexico, bound for the Lightning Fields.

“An electrical dude,” observed Noah.  “I’ve been reading about Tesla and his inventions.”

Noah’s traveling south, dependent on hitchhiking to reach the next destination.  “Riding a bike would be better,” says Noah after I tell him about Just John riding his tricycle.  “More independence, travel at one’s own pace, stop wherever and whenever, and, more room to pack more supplies.”

Noah’s belongings fit within a modest-sized backpack, larger than what we slung across our backs when in school, but smaller than an expedition backpack, which may be more suitable for Noah’s coastal trek.  A black canvas shoulder bag holds items requiring frequent use, such as Noah’s bullet-shaped, stainless steel thermos.

Noah’s tanned skin from the past couple weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures contrast to this week’s winter weather of snow at 1,000 foot elevations and hail storms at sea level.  After a long rainy hitch that brought him through Marin County and across the Golden Gate, and a complicated navigation through the drizzly city, Noah got a ride from San Francisco, through Pacifica, around Devil’s Slide, then down the coast and up to Apple Jacks in La Honda.  “I’ve enjoyed two good woodstove fires and really good music in the past 24 hours.”

Atop Noah’s long, brown, sun-kissed curls, sits a green felt hat, with a stubby brim, adequate-enough to provide sun and rain protection.  Noah’s summer-weight, black pin-striped suit is layered underneath by a red tee, and a green wool v-neck sweater, topped by two thick scarves.  Birkenstocks on Noah’s sockless feet display signs of wear at the heels.

Next stop Santa Cruz, then maybe Monterey, unless Noah hitches straight into the Sur.

Keep an eye to the Coast Road for “Noah,” and, if you’re headed to the next town south, maybe offer him a lift.


I’m here, just experiencing the winter doldrums + researching California’s Plein Air artists, learning about Tonalism, and the difference between Southern California Plein Air artists, and the Northern California ones.

Capitalization of “Southern” and “Northern,” entirely intentional.  Keep visiting.  I’ll post again soon.

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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First out on the road, on a weekend morning, Chryslers and Dodges, convertibles
and sedans, rental cars for tourists. Next Gas 33 Miles

Black asphalt, solid yellow double lines, freshly-plowed fields. Umber sandstone
bluffs, black jagged rocks, white foam, and a cold, blue, shimmery-velvet Pacific.
Cabrillo Highway.

On the long straight-aways, seventeen Harley-riding bikers rumble two-abreast.

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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.