travel (42)

Bernie Harbert and His Mule Polly's 2,500-mile Voyage Across America

Hi Lloyd and Lew,

I just wanted to let you know that Rocky Mountain PBS premiers the Lost Sea Expedition series January 4th. The series will also stream on Amazon and Vimeo. The story about this tiny wagon voyage across America featured in Tiny Homes (pp. 188–189). I think this info would really interest theshelterblog.com readers.
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Randy's Road Rig

Hi Lloyd,

I ran into Randy in Folsom, CA.  I figured for sure he’d heard of Shelter and Tiny Homes on The Move, but he had not. Randy’s in his late 50’s and found himself in the middle of a late in life divorce and didn’t want tot have to work to own a house.  He’s a metal worker by trade and modified an old utility trailer with the camper shell from his old Dodge pick up into his new home.  It’s pretty cool.  I shared with him your website information too.

Dan Varvais

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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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Fishing Shack in Italy

In 2003, after the Frankfurt Book Fair, I took a RyanAir cheapo flight from Frankfurt to Pescara on the Adriatic coast of Italy. From there I took a train south, then a ferry to Isole Tremiti, an archipelago of islands. I came back to the mainland and drove along the coast and spotted this shack, called a trabucco. Said to have been invented by the Phoenicians, trabucci allowed fishermen to cast nets without being tossed around in boats in rough weather. (Just ran across this in going through old photos.)

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The Passionate Photographer

Just wrote this today for my book on the ’60s (which also includes the years leading up to the ’60s):

I was the Information Services Officer at Sembach Air Base in southern Germany in 1958-1960. In addition to running the base photo lab and editing the base newspaper (The Sembach Jet Gazette), I was in charge of public relations and dealing with the press.

There was a German photographer, Helmut Haak, who photographed troops on American air bases. He contacted me about setting up photo shoots.

I would line up a fighter plane down on our airstrip, and benches for the military personnel, arranged by unit. There might be 30-40 men and women in each photo.

Helmut made a ton of money selling the photos. Practically everyone bought one. He drove a big Mercedes and lived in a small castle overlooking the Mosel River.

We hit it off. One night he invited us, along with my secretary Inge, over for a light supper.

He served white and pink champagne in bottles with his own label. He took us up into a small turret at the top of the castle. As we looked down on the river in the mist, he showed us an exquisite little music box with a moving mechanical bird.

Helmut had a 4-seat Cessna airplane, and he made friends with our base commander (Colonel Simeral, a pilot) by taking him flying. It was a spiffy little plane, and the colonel loved flying it.

One day at the base he took me up. We took off, and were still in the flight pattern when we heard on the radio: “F-86 dogs scrambling,” which meant that at least two of the base’s fighter pilots were taking off in a hurry. Shit!

Helmut was sweating. I was worried. The F-86’s were like rockets with cockpits on top—fast and powerful. Pretty soon, the planes roared past us—phew!—and we came back in.

 Helmut told me that one time, when his girlfriend was sailing back to America from Bremerhaven, he swooped down when the ship was leaving port and dropped a bouquet of flowers for her on the deck.

Before I left Germany and returned to the USA, I got word that he had crashed in the French Alps, not seeing Mont Blanc in the fog. The notice said that he had missed clearing Mont Blanc by 3-4 meters.

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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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