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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

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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Hot dog Buns

First day of Summer arrives bittersweet, for it marks the beginning of dwindling hours of daylight, until the solstice reaches its low, its demise, if you will, the blackout which signifies winter’s begin.

First day of Winter, hopeful.  Days getting longer.  First Day of Summer, full of regret over time wasted.

“After 30 years he’s finally listened to us old timers who have been stewards of the land. Cattle create holes around the creeks and ponds. The garter snake and red-legged frog love these holes. Cattle also graze the hillsides and woods, providing a fire danger defense.”

The land itself and the native animals.  Not the horses and the land.  Not the houses, shops and streets of the land, but the very insects which inhabit the land.

You only see flies.  Houseflies.  Occasionally, a butterfly.  An orange and black Monarch.

We have way more than that.  We have miniature, micro-micro, green irridescent little bugs with wings.  They mystify and I am bewitched upon their landing on my arm, or knee.  I watch them, do not brush them away, like I would a common housefly.  I watch them and consider a relationship with them.  They’re as supposed to be here, as am I.

But it’s Summer now.  We’ve rolled past the line.  From now on, treasure every moment you got.  Got with the sunshine.  Got with the hills.  Got with the hawks, quail, and the silly little airplanes from over the hill.  The flight path runs overhead, out in this paradise.  Those sunny calm days that you also love so much, are interrupted by the little airplanes, buzzing overhead.

During these interrupts.  These blights on the landscape, you will make lists of things to complete while in society.  In – Out.  That’s the objective.  Upon that list, you write, “Hot dog Buns.”

It’s Summer.  The bbq should be fired each night.  Out on the coast.  Onshore breeze, warmed by 3 ridges and 2 canyons.  Scents of tall golden grasses, chaparral, sage and creeks.  Reaches you salty.


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Days until manuscript completion

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