Tiny Homes on the Move Book (130)

Kevin Kelly in Mongolia

“…The wildness is a deception. Scattered in nearly every vista of Mongolia are the round white tents of nomads. We know these tent houses as yurts; they call them ger (pronounced gair). They are the primary home to about 1 million nomads. Today’s nomads retain a lifestyle relatively unchanged from that of their forebears in important ways. Living as I do—in a world teeming with smartphones and Wi-Fi, smart TVs and self-driving cars—it is a remarkable thing to travel among them.

The nomads are herders and typically own about 1,000 animals—mostly sheep and goats, but cows, horses, dogs, camels, and yaks as well. You could think of them as ranchers who move their ranch seasonally. They set up their ger in spring for maximum summer pastures, then they move it again for winter feeding. This movement is not north to south as might be expected, but from lowlands to highlands, or even from open valley in summer to hidden hilly nook in winter to escape the wind, which is more punishing than the cold.…”

-Kevin Kelly

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Basque Shepherd's Trailer

I went to the 65th (!) reunion of my class of 1952, Lowell High School, San Francisco, on Friday. About 80 people out of a class of 250 attended. Even though I’ve taken a different direction (wealth, politics) than most of them, I still love seeing these friends of 70+ years.

It was held at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco, and this wagon was parked out in front. The curved roof, with bed at one end is, I believe, an excellent configuration for a tiny home, far better than the poster boy for tiny homes, the steep gable roof with ladder to loft for sleeping — a bad design, in my opinion, for many reasons. Here you can have drawers under the bed, and the curved roof gives you a feeling of spaciousness, as opposed to the claustrophobia of many tiny home designs.

This is also the basic design for the vardo of the Roma people in Europe.

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Van Life, Foster Huntington's Brand New Book

Foster Huntington quit his job, where he was working 70-hour weeks for Ralph Lauren in New York City, and took off living on the road, first in a (very) used VW Synchro van, later in a Toyota Tacoma truck with a spiffy fiberglas camper shell. He started The Restless Transplant, a blog that became enormously popular. I remember seeing it years ago and thinking this is my kinda guy.

These days he’s living in a treehouse in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington, just northeast of Portland and he has 1 million (!) Instagram followers.

His latest project is this book, and the publishers have printed 35,000 copies. Vans are tremendously popular right now, and this book shows them in all their glory.

https://www.amazon.com/Van-Life-Your-Home-Road/dp/0316556440/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502834221&sr=1-1&keywords=van+life

https://www.arestlesstransplant.com 

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Floating Homes in Portland

On my way to see Foster Huntington in Washington this morning, crossing the Columbia River on Highway 5, I spotted this floating community.

Some quick Google research:

“The Portland region has more floating homes than Seattle or San Francisco. Hayden Island alone has four moorages for floating homes, including West Hayden Island Moorage, with 57 floating homes, on the far west side, Jantzen Beach Moorage, Inc, the largest with 176 Floating Homes (south of Home Depot), Island Cove Floating Homes with 55 units (just west of Lotus Isle Park), and Tomahawk Island Floating Homes with some 72 community members…

https://www.hayden-island.com/floating-homes/

(I can’t get this link to work, so copy and paste in URL.)

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I'm Doing 3 Appearances in Oregon in the Next Week

I’m heading up to Oregon (a state I love in its entirety) on Friday. I’ll be doing these events:

Saturday, Aug. 5, 10 AM, SMALL HOMES at The Mother Earth News Faire in Albany (70 miles south of Portland on I-5)

Sunday, Aug. 6, 2 PM, 50 YEARS OF NATURAL BUILDING at TMEN Faire

 Schedule: https://www.motherearthnewsfair.com/oregon/schedule/

I heartily recommend the TMEN fairs, They’re genuine country fairs, with chickens, goats, dimensional lumber mills, a ton of workshops, great food, good country vibes. There are 2 more coming up, September in Pennsylvania, October in Kansas

Monday Aug. 7, 7:30 PM SMALL HOMES at Powell’s on Hawthorne in Portland: https://www.powells.com/locations/powells-books-on-hawthorne/

On Tuesday I’m gonna go hang out with Foster Huntington, surfer, skater, filmmaker, Instagram master at his treehouse/skate bowl complex just over the border in Washington. Back home Wednesday. Then back to Oregon in a week (driving this trip) for the solar eclipse.

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Total Solar Eclipses, 2017 and 1991

It’s happening on August 21st. I’m heading up to Oregon, with stop-offs at Stewart Mineral Springs near Lake Shasta (also, looking forward to seeing Shasta full for the 1st time in years), then to see legendary bodybuilder and good friend Bill Pearl and his wife Judy in Medford/Ashland area, then to Umpqua hot springs, then somewhere in totality zone for the big event.

Here’s link to where it will be visible in the US:

https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/total-eclipse-of-sun-august-21-2017

I witnessed a total eclipse in Baja in July, 1991, and it was (sorry for the hackneyed phrase, but…) awesome. Never to be forgotten.

My friend Chilón alerted me to it a year before, and I reserved a hotel room in San José del Cabo ($25 pr night). The morning of the eclipse I got up at 6AM, caught the 1st bus into Cabo San Lucas, rented a Honda motorcycle, and drove up the Pacific side towards Todos Santos, took a dirt road out to Playa Margarita, which turned out to be a spectacular miles-long sandy beach. As it was early, I went bodysurfing; there was abundant fool’s gold on the sand and as I swam (no goggles, but water was clear), flecks of gold swirled around me. What a planet!

It turned out there were 6 other people on the beach:

From left: two hair dressers from Denver, Craig and Frank; and 4 young Mexicans from Monterrey: Enrique (in foreground), Marta, Arturo and Juan. Craig and Frank had weed, the kids had a bottle of tequila, and it coalesced into a party.

The boys had eclipse glasses so we took turns watching the moon gradually blot out the sun. The sky turned blue-dark and everything was bathed in a light I’d never seen before. Incrediblé!

We finished the bottle, and then, after 2-3 hours together, our eclipse family took off in different directions, never to see each other again. I swam some more, then returned the motorcycle, went back to San José and had dinner at Le Baguette, a lovely French restaurant in this desert town. I’d call that a perfect day.

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