coffee (7)

On The Road to Santa Cruz

I had a radio interview to do yesterday, so hit the Cliff House in SF for an Irish Coffee and popovers to start the day, then got rolling on Hwy One, making the coastal SF/SC journey for maybe the 300th time. By the time I got through Half Moon Bay and it was just brussels sprouts, strawberries and arroyos leading down to beaches, I was sailing, getting that exhilaration that comes from moving smoothly through space.

Got into SC, took right on Swift Street, past Haut’s shop, then to Steamer Lane, which was breaking and surprisingly uncrowded. I SO love Santa Cruz, having lived here on and off in the ’50s. The water’s warmer, the waves better, it’s more tranquillo, like it’s 15% LA (Santa Barbara is 70% LA). Like San Francisco, it’s overcrowded and expensive, but its carefree and playful, with soul intact.

When I discoverd surfing at age 18, I rearranged my classes at Stanford so I had no classes on Friday. I took off at noon every Thursday (either on my Harley 45 or hitchhiking) and spent 3-1/2 days of the week in SC. 4 of us rented a cabin on Ocean Ave. for $20 a month.

I can hardly believe it now, but we surfed without wet suits. So stoked were we. SO cold.

There were maybe 20 surfers in town and for some reason they accepted me, didn’t treat me like I was a college jerk. SC then had a population of 25,000 in winter and 75,000 in summer.

Right now am in v. cool new barista shop, Cat and Cloud, on Portola Ave., soon to head back up the coast for a meeting in our office this afternoon, where we’ll be strategizing tour/marketing/blah blah for the new book.

Ike and Tina Turner, Shake a Tail Feather Baby playing right now. What an incredible band! Their CD “Proud Mary”is a great chronological record of this phenomenal band.

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Injury # 163

There’s a line in Hank Williams’s “Why Don’t You make Up Your mind,” where he says “The hide’s gettin’ scace” (pronounced “skayce”), meaning scarce. I don’t know why, but it’s stuck in my mind for years. In the song he’s moaning about difficulties with his girlfriend, but I’ve always thought of the phrase as having to do with the body getting hurt.

My latest was tearing some shoulder muscles last week. No, not again! My body feels so battered from a lifetime of activity. — sports, carpentry, adventures. Thank god I wasn’t the football star I wanted to be. Yet still — operations on both knees, right shoulder, right wrist (carpal tunnel) and the capper, a bad broken arm a year ago–all since turning 70.

OK so I’m whining here, but I’m on an up-note. After moping and gimping around for a week, dreading another operation, visiting the doc, dealing with pain, suddenly it turned a corner. Must have been the red wine in the evenings (plus big doses of Ibuprofen). But all of a sudden I could raise my arm halfway. Yeah! I’m gonna get better. Two things to convey here:

1. You always get better. Pretty much. So no matter how deeply depressed you are when injured, it’s gonna get better if you do the right stuff.

2. Don’t give up. Get right back out there on that bike, surfboard, trail, slope — maybe with more caution and care. Because you’re gonna lose it if you don’t use it.

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Tale of Two Cities

As much as I love NYC and New Yorkers and the ultimate big-city stimulation and delight and inspiration, I get an almost punch in the stomach when I come over the mountain and see the Pacific Ocean. Home! I just barely got back into California mode when I took off for Oregon. Coming down yesterday, everything looked so green, especially compared to parched California.

Portland is as sweet as ever. It’s so mellow for a city. In fact, Oregon and Oregonians are mellow. The Feng Shui of the whole state is right. (When I first came here in the late ’60s a long-haired guy came up to me when I was getting gas and handed me a freshly-rolled joint.) After coffee at Stumptown Roastery yesterday, I headed out to the coast, where it was windy and wild. Miles of sandy beaches, off-shore rocks, and a medium-sized swell.

I decided to head back to McMinnville, followed a curvy rural road west, checked into McMenamin’s Oregon Hotel, a venerable 4-story brick structure built in 1905, then headed out to the Golden Valley Brewery, where they make all 10 or so types of tap beer they serve. The bar (shown here) was salvaged from a hotel that burned down in Portland. The owner, Peter Kircher, has a nearby ranch where he raises vegetables and beef for the brewery; they feed spent barley from brewing to the cattle—nice cycle.

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Notes From Trip Last Week To NYC

(While waiting at the SF airport for a flight to Oregon.)

3 really good places to eat:

-Cookshop, 156 10th Ave (at 26th St.)

-Rosie’s (Mexican), 29 E. 2nd

-Saigon Shack, 114 Macdougal

Great brewpub: Cooper’s 8th Ave. between 18th and 19th

On Monday night I was at W. 4th and W. 11th and it was surprisingly quiet.

“Cheers” in Irish is “”Slainte,” pronounced “schlancha.”

China had a huge presence at Book Expo America. Over 500 people, and their extensive stand seemed to take up 20% of all the space in the hall. They had ongoing, well-attended author appearances.

Good, inexpensive classical Chinese massage, China Tai Ji, 57 W. 8th St, betw. 5th & 6th Aves. Great way to loosen up after a flight.

Citymapper is a free phone app for NYC (and other select cities). You punch in where you want to go, and it gives you directions for walking or public transport, as well as Uber rates. For subways, iTrans NYC is good and costs a few dollars.

Eric Leemon, a TV producer living in the West Village says that NewYorkers are friendly and I agree. Spaces in restaurants and bars are so tight that you sit very close to others and it’s easy to get into conversations. Everyone is helpful if you need directions. Good vibes my whole week there.

The East River Ferry is a great way to get to Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Terminal at East 34th Street on the river. Sure beats the subway on a hot day.

One bartender to another at Cookshop: “I mean, he was off. I don’t know what he was on to be so off.”

When I get to Portland, first stop will be Stumptown Roastery, then Mt. Tabor to skate. Then I’ll head out to the coast.

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Cooper's, A Great Pub

8th Ave, betw. 18th-19th. 28 beers, cider on tap. Good food, ambience. Run by 3 Irish guys. Before leaving, bartender Barry made me a great Irish Coffee and informed me that this drink originated in Ireland after WWII and was not invented in San Francisco at the Buena Vista Cafe by Stanton Delaplane in the ’50s, as SF lore would have it.

This panorama is a bit skewed.

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Candy and the Ship in a Bottle at Aloha-n-Paradise

Yesterday I discovered the espresso hangout in Waimea, called Aloha-n-Paradise, run by the very lively Candy Baar. While waiting for Candy to make my latte, I spotted a dust-covered bottle on a shelf on the porch. It was an exquisite little bamboo house, complete with 2 people and a palm tree impossibly ensconced in a bottle with a rusty cap with a diameter of about 1-1/4 inches. Did they build it inside the bottle, or have it folded so they could slip it in and then pull it erect?

I had to have it. Candy and I agreed on a price and when I get back, it’ll be a star exhibit in the Shelter office.

Coffee is excellent and there’s an art gallery and wi-fi connection.

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