*

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© Robert Sommers 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

spar


Clear day at Schwabacher's


I took this shot up in the Tetons. I believe that I was using a Lee split grad filter.
Notice anything strange? The picture is actually upside down, not sure how anyone but the more discerning would ever know.

Base iso, on a sturdy tripod, mirror up, cable release, let her rip, the stuff isn't rocket science.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The young peregrine falcon quickly learns the art of flying and aerodynamics from his father.

Somehow I missed these.

Whippin' post

Phucking Phishers

Some friends of mine got scammed pretty bad on the internet this weekend. It happened to me once and was very painful, not to mention expensive. You feel like a total chump. Luckily my friends caught it just in the nick of time.

I'm neither very technical or very clear on the specifics but it went something like this: They were watching sports on internet television. Something went amiss with the signal so they called Amazon to see about getting it repaired. Unfortunately it turned out to be a spoof Amazon repair site.

They mistakenly gave the scammers their credit card number and granted them the ability to take over the computer to troubleshoot the problem. Within seconds the scammers started cashing Amazon gift cards, hit their Paypal account, caused a host of other misery.

My friends have spent three days cancelling credit cards, doing this, doing that. The scummy spear phishers gained access to their address books, their cell phones, the onslaught was almost unimaginable. Luckily they had Malware Bytes installed and were able to limit the damage.

Never give anyone your credit card number online unless absolutely necessary and you are completely sure of their authenticity. This sort of attack can happen to anybody these dungsuckers are that good. Amazing that some people have nothing better to do than to steal and try to ruin other people's lives.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Steel Rail Blues

Dodged a bullet

Yesterday was a big freakout. Got a mid afternoon call that there was a fire near Rock Mountain headed straight for my house. I left work a little early to deal with things.

Looking past Riverview the smoke clouds from the fire were huge and daunting. Called Pete who could see it from his house and he said there was a lot of air support.

Winds were pretty strong, I feared the worst. Got home, threw my heart medication in my toilet kit, grabbed some socks and underwear, a couple t-shirts and prepared for the worst.

Called all the neighbors to touch base. Julie was prepared to load her horses. The fire was right over the hill from me, right on the other side of Gavilan Mt. Very close as the crow flies. Called the Calfire number and they said it was headed our way, directly towards Red Mountain.

Located the cat cages and put their food and dishes in a bag. Huge number of planes making airdrops but all it would take was a spark flying over the hill in this wind.

Photo: Ken Hennell
The Union Tribune article said that the fire was stopped at 225 acres. We were very lucky. Many people were evacuated.

Got the word around seven that things appeared under control. We were supposed to go to dinner but I was too amped and freaked out to leave. As of this afternoon they are saying 25% contained but I think that is only hotspots.

I just saw that there was a major flare up today but it is well within the fire perimeter.

I have seen too many fires around here already and vividly remember Gavilan Mountain in flames in 1979 and 2007.

Glad this one was so expertly fought and controlled. Big thank you to all the fire people who put their lives on the line for us every day.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

True love travels on a gravel road

7/28/18

I am pretty happy with my slideshow presentation for Santa Fe. Sounds good with the music, over thirty five  forty minutes long. Lots of birds along with some selected landscapes. Michael Loughlin's young daughter watched it and afterwards said,"He really likes birds."

That wasn't too hard to figure out, was it Harper? Glad you liked it!

I showed it on my small MacBook Pro at my Saturday photography breakfast club this morning. People seemed quite pleased as well.

About ten years of condensed material, three hundred eighty seven 424 images. Culled from about two hundred thousand shots on the photo drive.

I did have a photographic realization that I think should be openly stated.

I was printing some images for the show and getting frustrated by their lack of pop and swagger yesterday, at least compared to what I was seeing on my screen.

And the reality is that we are no longer in the world of Matthew Brady, Muybridge and Arbus where a picture looked its best printed and developed on silver or some other photographic paper. In the twenty first century, it is a fact that the best a picture can look is on a backlit monitor of some kind. And it is almost impossible to accurately transcribe that luminosity with two dimensional paper media.

So it can get very frustrating and time consuming trying to make an adequate print these days. Have to goose everything up, which can result in something as cheesy looking as a cheap painted up tart looking for johns in front of the Waldorf Astoria.

Somebody suggested printing on metal which looks even trashier to me, elitist snob that I admittedly am. Should never say never, but won't do it.

*
It was Mike Port's memorial today. Loved how my old friend made it to a hundred years old with a big bang and then said goodbye so soon after.

If you can't get it done in the first hundred you may have not been doing it right. Saw a lot of old friends at the service at the Masonic Cemetery.

Salt of the earth of old Fallbrook. Mike touched a lot of people here. Was a coffee mate for over twenty years, until they took his car away.

Whole town bought clothes from him on credit for decades, he gave so much out of his own pocket.

Boy's Club, Lions Club, Fallbrook High football uniforms and letterman's jackets, his generosity was legendary.

I wrote a blog about Mike's hundredth birthday party last month.

And got this letter in the mail:

Hello Robert,
Thank you for including Mike Port’s birthday pictures, that’s the only place my husband Eddie Mojado, his cousin King Freeman and his friend John Marquez bought their clothes.  John now lives in South Carolina, King owns the grocery store on the Pala Reservation and Eddie lives in Vista.  I will share the picnic pictures with them.  Thanks for the memories….

Carmen Mojado
San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians


I had shot pictures of the San Luis Rey Pow Wow which I sent to Carmen and she had noticed Mike's pictures on the next post. Thank you Carmen.

Several speakers today mentioned Mike giving clothes to Mrs. Banks at Pala every Christmas, his great relationship with the tribe. I have met many latino families in Fallbrook who showed him the same love and respect. Mike was a generous friend to all.

I will always treasure the memory of my friend and lonsman, Marvin "Mike" Port. His obituary can be read here. A life well lived.

*
All my prayers to Stephen, my friend who lives in Redding. He is in Marin, watching his Redding home on his phone which has a live feed. So far it has escaped the fire. Hope that it is ultimately spared. Terrible tragedy with all of the fires, apparently the new normal in these times of year round fires and climate change.

*
I got a letter from my cardiologist's office saying that they were sorry that I no longer wanted to be their patient. Which I never said or intimated. But I guess they either miss me, are trying to separate the wheat from the chaff or perhaps didn't want me to wait until I was sick to see them. Who knows? Pete got the same letter. Will have to cut down on the exercise and eat more butter, find a reason to come in soon. Had to cancel an appointment but never quit.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Otis Rush - You Don't Love Me - Montreux 1986

Art Dealer Diaries

I am pleased to have been invited to sit for an hour long podcast interview with Doctor Mark Sublette of Medicine Man Gallery. The interview will take place in the next few weeks while I am in New Mexico.

Mark is a one time medical doctor, a long time successful art and antique dealer as well as a fiction writer and photographer and we have been friends and colleagues for many years.

I listened to a couple of Mark's previous interviews today, with Terry Schurmeier and David Adler, and they were both interesting and thought provoking. You can access his podcast page with his prior interviews here.

I have no idea what direction the interview will take and am keeping an open mind. Hope I don't embarrass myself. If I can sound half as good as my peers and Mark I will have done alright.

Yesterday when I was young

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Catch and kill

Was reading about the Cohen and Trump how do we pay the playmate tape and had to chuckle. Trump wants to know if they have the customary buy kill arrangement with David Pecker over at American Media, the parent company of the Enquirer?

Cohen says he has talked to Trump Inc. mocher CFO Allan Weisselberg about financing the slush deal. And then Trump gets real interested.

"Financing?"

The man is so cheap he won't even pay the hooker fund in cash. What a scumbag. Strictly from Queens.

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 “That's not a statement to a high tribunal of judges. That's a statement to the phony New York Times.” Donald Trump

The public evisceration of Cohen now officially commences. He spills tonight on Trump's prior knowledge of the Russki Trump Tower meeting. Funny at first it was a meeting about adoption. Trump knew nothing about it. Then he did. Then it turns out he dictated the false memo about the meeting with Sarah Sanders bellowing that any good dad would do the same for his son...and then when confronted with the lying he said, so what, it was the New York Times, not some legal tribunal...In Trumpworld only a sucker tells the truth.

*
I blanched in horror yesterday when a former DHS official said that in his estimation, a third of the immigrant parents who were separated from their children would never see them again. Despicable.

Happy 75th birthday, Michael Jagger.


In Keef's book, he makes the claim that Jagger is the best harp player since Little Walter. I favor the early blues stuff and the Taylor years and while the statement is rather strong, Mick is indeed fabulous and a fantastic harp player. Underrated musician, commanding, an incredible brilliance and a great feel for the music. In a way he has stayed out of the media limelight, did his rock star trip sort of off to the side, very, very well. Kept his sanity. A really smart guy.

I was lucky enough to be at his birthday show in 1972 at the Madison Square Garden. Last night of the three night stand. Forty six years ago today. Thank you Barbara, sister of mine, for taking me. They threw rose petals at Mick that day, the energy was so high. Stevie Wonder sat in on drums. Happy to have been there. One of the greatest concerts I have ever witnessed. The Stones made it okay for white kids in this country to like Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf. As did Mayall, Clapton, Alexis Corner, Peter Green, Rory Gallagher among others. American blues fans owe a lot to them.

By the way, Brian Jones makes this song work. His slide playing and general musicianship was great and his vision really shaped the band in this most important and powerful nascent period.

Feathered Friends And Western Landscapes

I have spent the last couple days creating a slideshow for my upcoming photography exhibition in Santa Fe next month. Almost have it finished.

When John Morris broached the idea of me doing a show of my work at his Objects of Art show, he was figuring on all bird photography but I decided to add some western landscape to the mix.

Hope that is okay. Lots of hummingbirds, egrets and falcons in the group.

I really appreciate John's invitation. Hope that he is happy with the final result. Lot there, almost 400 450 shots.

Dave Blackburn has provided the music tracks for the slideshow and although I am admittedly biased, it looks and sounds really good.

The exhibition will run in a constant loop from a television in my booth. Hope that you can visit the show if you are in the area.

After the show I will probably put the mp4 on YouTube and share it here with the Blast community.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Hallelujah



Hudgins sent this over.

Mel Tormé - Games People Play


Carol Kaye smoking on the bass.

Relativity.

My barber split up with his wife and left town. Last time I heard he was tooling around in his Airstream somewhere in Colorado, playing golf and having fun.

Wasn't the greatest haircutter I ever had but I am not real tied up in my self image and personality goes a long way with me. His haircuts were usually decent and occasionally pretty good. 

I am a sixty year man. I look every day of it. Note the baggy Sommers wrinkles under my eyes. Overweight, everything sore, starting to walk gimpy like an old man, there ain't no hiding it. More scars on me than Freddie Krueger's last victim.

Anyway I need a haircut but haven't found a new person. Leslie cut it not too long ago but doesn't want to make it a normal habit. She actually did a really good job. But as you can see, it is long, round and pretty much chaotic, a nice tangible encapsulation of my life right now.

Lately I have been getting a run of people telling me that I look like somebody else. Sandy from East Brothers was watching an old Leonard Bernstein documentary, I saw him at the gas station yesterday and he said he had totally flashed on me as Lenny.

Pete thought more Gabe Kaplan as Mr. Kotter at breakfast yesterday. I know, I know, all jews look alike.

When I was up in Oregon, I stopped for gas in Corbett (they don't want you pumping your own petrol up there) and the girl attendant thought I looked like Einstein. I happened to be wearing my favorite Einstein shirt that day and another guy walked into the market wearing a different Einstein shirt. What is the probability of that?

I told her that I was a cousin, well relatively speaking. And it is true. But you need to know something about genetics to understand it. Genetic cousinship does not necessarily mean a close familial relationship.

Uncle Albert was a fellow member of the E - M-35 haplogroup. This is a term that refers to our yDNA, your father's father's father, all the way back to Africa.

He belonged to what I think I can refer to as the "parent clan" of Z-830*, which is genetic speak for the last terminal snp or singlenucleotide polymorphism that defines an individual genetic branch.

Our clan left Somalia about 22,400 ybp or years before present and traveled north to Anatolia, the Levant and eventually Europe.

Now your Y chromosome is only one of 23. It has nothing to do with physical attributes or aptitude, it does one thing, it charts your father's father's most distant male relative.

An autosomal test will give you much more information about cousinship and all the remaining stuff.

Jews are what is known as an endogamous population. They tended to marry within the tribe. Z-830 and my L791 cluster remained faithfully so, for good or ill. They call them jewish clusters. There are several of them. And as close as  my Ydna is to Einstein, it is even closer to Napoleon, see here. One small branch over on the tree. The painter Caravaggio was also said to be a member of our group.

I am still the only person in the world that has been tested with my particular genetic signature. The line formed 1052 years ago. Hoping for more company one day, although someone is said to have been anonymously matched in Behar's last research project.

Being endogamous and not so into spreading the seed outside the family it follows that many of us are related. Many of my jewish friends who get tested turn out to be within five degrees of cousinship.

Girl at the gas station wanted to know if I had a high i.q. and was smart? I didn't know what to say. Not Einstein smart, that's for damn sure. Guess I hold my own in the brains department but there is usually only one Poindexter in every family and Albert was freakish. I do have an extraordinary memory but that and $5.25 will currently get you a danish and coffee at Bean and a Bug.

I looked in the mirror this morning with my irascible hairdon't and my baggy eyes and thought, screw Bernstein and Einstein, I see Harpo Marx. There's the real match. Wonder if we are related?

If you are interested in genetic testing I heartily recommend the company I use, Family Tree DNA. Start with the Family Finder test, currently $79.00. If you are rich and we are related, I may be hitting you up for a few bucks.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Hillbilly neighbor


I don't watch much television. Why, when I can watch the always entertaining and continuing saga of Billy, the hillbilly neighbor from hell on Youtube? Seriously, watch at least four or five of these, they are really addictive. There are a whole bunch. I had to subscribe.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Osprey shots






And now a note from our sponsor.

I know that the President is making America great again. 

I know because whenever I write anything slightly political Bradford starts writing me notes repeating Maga Maga Maga like we are at a football game and the mantra is going to lead our home team to victory. 


But I just don't like the way Trump is going about it, all this winning. In fact, honestly, I despise the guy. 


Hope Melania gives him a little Lorena Bobbitt special treatment one night soon when she finally wakes up and figures out where he was sticking the salami while she was knocked up.


Yada yada yada, yes, I hate him just as much as you hated Obama, who I wasn't exactly in love with. But Trump has not done a single thing I like, endorse or respect. I know he is a liar and he also may very well be a highly placed Russian mole. Think Kim Philby or better yet, Bill Haydon.


He has a serial aversion to the truth, he is wreaking havoc on both the environment and the farm belt, his judicial appointees are troglodytes and he is hell bent on alienating every ally we have while sucking up to the meanest strongman dictators on the planet. Every closet racist in the country now thinks he or she has carte blanche to act out on the closest gay or minority without the risk of opprobrium. 


Please Jesus, send us the piss tape, stat.


My buddy Jim stopped by today. I love Jim, used to work with him, he moved out of town a year ago. Last time I talked to him on the phone, the normally centrist Republican was going off about evil George Soros and how great Trump and the stock market were doing. I couldn't even respond because the chasm is just too wide now. He had gone way off the deep end. But I guess if you are making money in an economy there is a lot of stuff that you are willing to let slide by. And I am one of those people that pays attention to this stuff.


Today he told me that I should be happy about Trump, and show a bit of occasional optimism. Just can't do it Jim. Sorry. Hope Mueller can put the screws to him before he completely wrecks my country.


Jimmy Dean



Mel Tillis wrote this, Doc Watson recorded it many times as did many other people. In fact there is a new Owsley recorded Doc cover out. Great recent version out by Della Mae too. I think I dig Jimmy's laconic and laid back voice on this one the best.

Simple machine, Redwoods

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. Archimedes

Coal ash holes

Another giveaway to industry at the expense of the health of the American public. Read more here.

If you think these people give a rat's ass about giving us cancer you are hopelessly naive.

Mendocino Coast


Friday, July 20, 2018

Lord have mercy on your wicked son...

Opening in the redwoods


Zig Zag Wanderer

Oregon bound


I am back from my long road trip to Portland. Unfortunately the show didn't really fire for me, barely made expenses, not figuring cost of goods. But I can't say that I hadn't been warned. I am not going to get into a lot of spleen venting today, don't think you require a full post mortem, do you?

In any case, I made the best out of the excursion anyway. I am just back yesterday afternoon but will try to touch on some high points. I am very happy that I made the trip.

I picked up some paintings on the way up in Santa Barbara and then stopped in Oakland and stayed with Melissa and Gary the first night.

Melissa is of course, the best chef and cook Leslie and I know. She made eggplant parmigiana and polenta. Beurre de baratte from Normandy and good bread. Still like my Belgian butter better.

The next day I drove up to Redding to stay with a friend who had recently lost his wife. Hung out in the pool, visited the Sundial Bridge and took a few pictures. Stephen made some great steaks. Nice to chill and not push it. Smell the roses.


Day three and a relatively uneventful drive led me to Portland. Portland has a reputation as a weird town and it stayed true to form.

Passed a guy under a bridge dancing on the top of his car. Marijuana dispensaries everywhere. I smelled weed practically every place I went. I am no prude but must admit that I am taken a bit aback by our brave new world. I like pot as much as the next guy but it is an occasional indulgence, not my entire life. Read a book, or maybe even a newspaper, learn a little geography, darn a sweater, perhaps even consider getting a new hobby. Weed, weed, weed is a total bore. And all the dabbing and waxing, honestly I find the stuff pretty dangerous, frankly. Far too strong these days, I am worried we are breeding a new zombie race of stoned idiots. I am strictly old school, a joint guy.


I get the entrepreneurial opportunity but is there anything we have to look forward to in this country beyond weed and tattoo shops?

I stayed the first night in a 50's motel on Capitol Hill that had been renovated very nicely. And conveniently located right next to a tawdry looking dispensary. Which I did not visit.

I set up my booth the next day. Uneventful. Sort of a junky show, lots of old signs, knick knacks. I quickly became aware that these folks were not exactly servicing a high end clientele.

Perhaps that collecting culture does not exist in the northwest, or if it did, was well buried. I had heard that the residents were quite cheap and it was borne out in my experience. I had to give it a shot, the summer is long and there are fewer and fewer opportunities extant in my business. Now I know.

Did see a lot of folks I hadn't seen in ages, decades in some cases. Felt like I was back on the old gypsy caravan, I have a lot of respect for those hardy souls who are working it somewhere in the nation every month. Met some folks I knew in their eighties who drove out from Alabama. Now that is a far piece. I am sure that there are lots of wins and losses and that they are better emotionally prepared for defeat than some of us "softer" folks.

My hotel was said to be 1.6 miles from the show. That 1.6 miles took over 26 minutes to drive the first night. Traffic in Portland is excruciating, especially on the 5. When I got to the hotel I quickly became aware that I was in a foreign land. I had to sign a paper attesting that I would not be vaping marijuana in the room. That is a first for me. When they told me to sign the bottom of the page I mentioned that there was no line, they said that I was in Oregon and they were environmentally aware. It would have taken a second piece of paper to create a signature line so I was told to just sign it anywhere.

I helped save a tree. Nice.

I had some real characters set up near me at the show from Montana. Very fun people. Babbs here liked to have a few pops to smooth out the workday. Went to dinner downtown one night at Sue and Dains'. She cooked a pheasant that Dain had shot, cacciatore style. Our chef Sue also made an incredible home made apricot tart with a flaky crust with almond paste filling. So delicious, awesome meal.

I went out on their balcony and discovered that while I had brought my tripod, I had forgot my arca swiss plate. Shit.

This was a serious fail, I would not have my tripod for the trip and a lot of the photography work I had planned on doing would be seriously curtailed. Oh, well. Have to settle for snapshots. Hopefully I won't make that mistake again.

Dain helped me set up my booth and assisted me throughout the show. Wonderful friends those two. Went out one night for a great Japanese meal at Afuri Ramen and dumplings.

Show was a funky blur. One morning I went up to the river to see if I could catcha bird or two. Guy rode up on his bike and asked what I was doing. "Nothing." I said. Nothin? With that lens?


I told him that I liked to shoot birds and raptors and he directed me to a spot a mile down the road where there was an osprey nest he had been checking out with at least two chicks. Told me where to park and walk.

It was cool. Saw five ospreys around this nest, didn't get a great look at the two chicks, a little too high for my vantage.

Ospreys are everywhere on the multitude of rivers in Portland. Will take a while to see what I have captured.


Brad was a cool guy, originally from Montana. He had fallen off a cliff some years ago and was paralyzed for five years. Ballooned up to 475 lbs. He rehabilitated. Now he was walking and has dropped over 250 lbs. Great guy, great story.


After the packout Sunday night I followed Rick's advice and drove out on the old highway to the Vista House at Crown Point on the Columbia River. Visited Multnomah Falls for a quick shot first.

Postcard pretty. Kicked myself again for forgetting my arca swiss plate.
The beautiful jugendstil style structure was designed by Edgar Lazarus and built in 1918. It affords a great view for sunsets. I had a lot of company.


Caught the Venus/Moon conjunction on the way home.

Next morning I decided to make a management decision. Even though my show was less than I hoped for, I could still have a nice trip, with or without my tripod.

I proceeded to head forty six miles north to Longview, Washington and then west to Astoria, Oregon. I would slow play my return.

Fairly close to the coast I saw a sign that said Eagle Preserve. I doubled back. Hot damn.

I stopped at the Twilight Eagle Preserve, named for a famous pair of eagles that returned year after year to the Columbia River.


I saw eagles in the mudflats but they were pretty far away.
Which was okay. Not like they were performing for me. No one signed a contract. I am not desperate for money shots. I enjoy taking it as it comes. I hung out for about forty five minutes and simply felt great to be alive.


Astoria is a cool town. Parked near the Maritime Museum. I stopped at a place that has been cold smoking salmon for about a hundred years and bought a variety of lox, maple wine, basil, pepper and traditional. I had great plans but it didn't last very long.

Stood on the beach and watched the terns fly elegantly overhead. Dangled a few participles.


I watched herons fly over and saw eagles perching on nearby rocks. Just really liked the feel of the place.


I slowly made my way down the Oregon coast. And I mean slowly. Had I made a mistake attempting this? Road was stop and go and quickly stopped being fun. But eventually things cleared up and the cars started moving.


I ended up stopping at a huge number of bays and vista points. It was so awesome I just couldn't drive by and not stop.


Picture postcard pretty, even in the morning fog. The Oregon coast is just really beautiful. And I drove practically every inch of it. And the more I drove, the happier I was to have made the trip. Good for the soul, if nothing else.


I really hadn't spent much time on the Oregon coast since I hitchhiked through in 1974. Those experiences, along with Klamath Falls, were the worst hitchhiking experiences of my life, people trying to run me over on at least five occasions in both Gold Beach and Newport.


People spitting at me and throwing beer cans at me, even shooting rifles over my head once in Klamath Falls. I had a pony tail then and they didn't really take to hippies. Finally rescued by a cop who told me he thought they would kill me and that he had to get me out of there.



Much better now and more beautiful then I remember. I stopped in Bandon mid morning. An interesting rock arch there that I wanted to shoot. A gorgeous locale. Had to put a coat on for the first time in a couple months, California and Portland both suffering under the same intense heat, this place downright chilly.

Classic Oregon flotsam.

And offshore structure.


I walked up the steep stairs three different times to grab lenses. Don't know how I missed it, it was right in front of me.

Blind I guess.

But the air traffic controller turned ranger I had spent five minutes talking to had walked right by her too.

Get back, get back, get back to where you once belong...

A stranded harbor seal pup. Slightly distressed. I found the ranger and walked him over to the poor creature.

The protocol is to leave them until the next tide. Unfortunately that was about eight hours in the future. The ranger brought a wheelbarrow of barricades to surround the seal and give it a safe space.

Up close and personal with my zoom lens. And so damn cute.

Can I tell you that we bonded? Sort of a special moment.


I know that I felt something. You will have to ask the seal if she felt a spark as well. I know that it is very anthropomorphic of me to think that she is necessarily a female, but if I am accused of being in love with a member of the pinniped family at least in my current narrative it is not a gay pinniped. My homophobia is of course reserved for this species.


And sea gulls of course. Seriously, I hope the baby seal eventually got back in the water without much distress.

I took my leave and continued, taking pictures until the early afternoon. I think I stopped in Newport for chowder and the best crab cocktail I have ever eaten. Horseradish blew a piece of my lip off. Waitresses may have been a bit skanky and dentally deficient but you run into that in Oregon. Hit a lot of cool towns. Like Florence a lot. Could probably live there.

Day one ended up holed up at a cheap motel in Coos Bay.

Speaking of teeth, I met some interesting folks this trip. Stephen said I am not supposed to make friends with them, I am supposed to sell to them and he is of course right. But I find people interesting occasionally.

This particular one was a college offensive lineman in the sixties. Logged for years, said the mortality rate in the profession is much higher than Vietnam was. Had a big old gold tooth right up front, white guy.

Ended up salmon fishing, but the farmers shut the taps on the rivers and the fish and business suffered. So he sold his boat. Now he helped his wife sell antiques and junk  Instantly liked this guy. Real people, hard worker. Met a black dude who chastised me for saying african american.

"Well what is it?" I asked nervously. "What would you prefer, colored, black, negro?"

"We're Israelites man. The jews stole it from us. They all from Europe and sh*t."

Was flabbergasted. I sort of hauled off and let him have it verbally. Both barrels. Went into a minor dissertation. Explained how my endogamous genetic E M-34 branch had left Somalia 22,400 years ago and I had proof of same.

He looked at me and said, "I dig, you're dark, look at your curly hair, not talking 'bout you, it's those other ashkenazi cats..."

I gave him a quick jew 101 primer, told him there were plenty of us came from the motherland and he really softened. He came back the next day and sincerely apologized. He said, one race, human race and I heartily concurred.


I continued down the coast, really settling into a groove.  Something pretty around every corner. My only regret is that my wife could not share it with me but I hope that we can make the drive one day together.  Maybe my aesthetic standards are exceptionally low but I saw so many things I found visually interesting and took literally thousands of shots.


I explored the Oregon coastline. Even in the rather harsh midday light, the natural bridges north of Brookings are spectacular.



I stopped for lunch in Brookings, the best crab melt I have ever tasted at the Albatross.





I headed south and was quickly in the redwoods. They are very intoxicating. I was blessed with a heavy fog which caught the suns rays just right.

I lowered the windows and sucked in the beautiful clean air. Redwood habitat is not just redwoods, it is ferns, mushrooms, a whole natural biome. Hope it manages to stick around. Lost one of my redwoods this year and frankly it hurts.

They do not do well with climate change and drought, nourish themselves in a foliar way. May not stick around for the good lord's return.

Some redwood facts: The coastal redwood is the tallest living thing on earth. They lived 160 million years ago in the Jurassic era. Approx. 5% of the world's old growth redwood survive. 95% are in California.

I made my way to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Drove the dusty and tough six miles to Gold Dust Beach and back.

I photographed three Roosevelt Elk herds in the park.

Ranger told me there was a black bear sow and cub around but I never saw them.



I continued down the coast, making various and frequent stops. Damn prostate.

Boogied down to Eureka where I dined on sumptuous duck in cherry sauce with haricort vert at Oberon.  One should not live entirely on crab.

I left Eureka at first light. Not my favorite town, lots of street urchins on the corners, especially near the courthouse, was glad my van was intact. I parked right next to the office so that they could keep an eye on it.

I followed the slower Avenue of the Giants at every opportunity, all the way to Garberville where I bought coffee and a pastry.

At that point my plans had been to bolt home, maybe even cut over to the five at some point to save time.

But it was so beautiful, I had to keep the buzz going. Impetuously, I hooked over to the twisty mountain road that said Ft. Bragg, 49 miles. May have been 49 miles as crows fly but it took a couple hours. But I was loving every second of it. I would drive down the Mendocino coast too, When would I get another chance? No time like the present and all that. Supportive wife, go for it.

I did.


It was a beautiful drive out to the coast.

I hadn't been to Mendocino in decades.

A heavy fog occluded much of the coast.

I chanced upon a sad memorial to a suicide.



I made the company of a pony. After many years of owning and working with horses, I have an exceptional and very credible whinny.


Hard to decide which pictures to share, there were so many gorgeous vistas and experiences. I only wish I had more skill as a photographer and could better convey what I saw with my own eyes.

Hope that you have gotten a taste and if you have not visited, can see it for yourself one day.

Westport, Fort Bragg, Elk, the towns and vistas rolled on by. I was to drive about fourteen hours this day, ending up in Santa Nella.

The road between Ft. Ross and Jenner was treacherous, the fog obscuring what was already a steep and dangerous road.

No choice but to drive right through the fog.


Like one or both of the Baggins said, "I'm back."