February 27, 2014

Surf Safari

A fall of high pressure systems and the least activity that NOAA has ever recorded in the Pacific finally subsided and the North Pacific came to life in early January.  I packed up my boards, left the Columbia River Gorge and headed south along the east side of the Cascades.   I aimed for Santa Barbara, an area I’ve become fond of during the last two and half years of roaming up and down the coast.  Setting the cruise control at 55, I arrived two days before the first of 5 swells was scheduled to arrive.

For next twenty days, I bounced around the area from Ventura to Goleta. I surfed until my wetsuits gave me rashes in my armpits and behind the knees.  Like so many other surfers on the West Coast,  I had a thirst to fill.  I started the swell with three functional boards and ended with one intact.  These are a some photos from mid January to the beginning of February.

Trevor showing off some finds from the Eastern Sierra.

Stoked on Ryan Lovelace’s rolling house.

Parking lot surfing.

The wood stove in Ryan Lovelace’s Cosmic Collider.

Shred sleds at low tide.

Trevor’s Camper.

Taking a breather.

Cyrus Sutton’s quiver nestled in the back of his camper.

A tried and true set up for camping and getting out there.  A 4×4 pick with a canopy is best bang for your buck in terms of capability and reliability.  I’m partial to Japanese trucks because of their size and proven record.

Tan lines.

Surfboard watch dog.

Cyrus’s camper.

Calling it a day.

Suiting up.

Switching out fins.

Home is certainly where you park it! Ryan’s rolling home will be in the book.  You can pre-order it here.  It ships in a month and a half or so.

Old timers, the same that speak fondly of the days before leashes, will talk about this three week stretch of waves for years to come, most likely even decades.  While the waves were happening, it is hard to acknowledge how good they are.    This was different.

Here are some links,

Woody and The Blue Ox (Vimeo).

January 23, 2014

The Guarantee

“Sir, very fresh food.  Please come.  American?”

I looked forward and kept walking through the crowd in Marrakech’s central square. If I acknowledged them in anyway, they would leave the security of their shop and follow me for thirty feet or so, carrying on about their products, value and track record.   They also tended to hassle a single person less than one walking in pairs so I walked a few strides ahead of Edge, my childhood friend and former roommate in NYC.

“Parlez-vous Francais.  English?  Very good Tajine.  Best in Marrakech.”

I kept walking.

The square was pandemonium.  Swap out tourists and Moroccans with men and women clad in business casual attire and the scene resembled Bryant Park subway station circa 8:30 am on a Tuesday.   The combination of tourists taking photos of snake charmers with iPads and locals getting across town had me confused as to weather I was witnessing a tourist spectacle or a legitimate place of commerce.   Giving a group of middle age women walking around with syringes full of what I later learned was henna, a wide birth I kept on bearing towards a group of restaurants.  Edge was thirty feet behind me.

A group of men,  mostly locals, congregated in a circle.  Pausing, I stood on my tiptoes and looked over the four-deep wall of people to see two early teen boys with their shirts off wearing boxing gloves.  A referee/booky was collecting bets.  I stood and watched while the MC jabbered in a combination of Arabic and French.  This would be a twenty minute commitment, I thought to myself, and continued on.

As I approached the line of restaurants,  a group of salesmen came out and stopped five feet from their last picnic table as if limited by an invisible, electric fence.   My plan was to do a fly by and see which restaurant had the most non-tourist customers and go with that one.    Before I could finish, a man in his early thirties wearing a GAP Athletic T-shirt broke rank and came up to me.

“Guaranteed no diarrhea for the last two years.  Guarantee.  My word.”

I burst out laughing and stopped dead in my tracks.  ”How can you guarantee something like that?”

The man smiled with a look of success.  ”For you sir,  I make very good price.”

Regaining my composure,  I continued you on towards the last row.

Look behind him.

A brass bathtub.

So many dates.

Well Loved.

I’ve been using Adobe Revel to host and share my photos as part of their Ambassador Program.  Take a look at these photos from Morocco and more here.

Fishy.

Edge in Essaouira.

Cat power.

Loc’ dog in the Sahara.

A 400 year old Riad in Fes.

Camo.

4×4′s in Eastern Morocco.

“Your days are numbered”

Fully Loaded.

Hanging tough.

Marrakech.

As far as the eye can see.  Sand.

Threads.

OG BMX BIKE!

Nice marmot.

Essaouira.

Reaching the end of the row,  I stopped and waited for Edge.

“Did one of those dudes say something about no diarrhea for the last two years?”

“Yah…I died laughing.”

“How the fuck do you guarantee that?” I asked,  hoping  to get an answer for the question that the man from the restaurant left unanswered.

“No clue.  Pretty bold claim.”

“Certainly.  Which one of those spots do you want to eat at?”

Here are some more links,

Morocco (Adobe Revel).

December 19, 2013

Coastal Lurking

I pulled off the 101 south shortly after midnight into the small community of Arch Cape.

“I bet if we park in front of an empty house and pop the top, no one will fuck with us.  It’s a Tuesday night and if any one sees us they will just assume we are staying at the house.  Either that or we park on one of the logging roads, but those are mostly gated and the logging trucks get on it early.”

Dozing in and out,  Bryan didn’t respond at first.

“You dead mon?”

“Yess…lets do Jedi mind trick style.  Those logging roads are tough”

“Sounds good to me…”

I rolled down the street in first gear checking the driveways.  Only a few SUV’s populated the driveways of the dozen or so ranch style beach houses.  Picking one on the ocean side of the street,  I pulled into the vacant driveway and turned off the lights but left the engine running.  The motion lights turned on a floodlight that illuminated the driveway but nothing stirred in the house.  The occasional snore emanated from the passenger street.

“Le’s crash, I think  we are Kosher here.”  Opening the driver’s door, I unlatched the pop top and opened the back. Two minutes later and Bryan and I were in my camper setting up our sleeping bags. A light northeast wind tugged at the camper’s canvas pop top as I settled into my sleeping bag.

“I’m setting an alarm for 6:35.”

“Sounds good to me,  we’ll get on it early,” Bryan said switching off the LED ceiling light.

We both were asleep before pillow talk could start.

Caley watching peelers.

Guard dog.

North at sunrise.

Dog walking time.

Trevor’s homemade camper.

Bryan watching the sunrise.

Duly noted.

Lurking

Cold and glassy.

Vanlife parking on the Oregon Coast.

Waiting of the tide to drop.

“The tide needs to drop a lot.”

Making coffee first thing in the morning.

The thick wetsuit shuffle.

Low tide.

Scotty making breakfast.

Check out more photos from this series on Adobe Revel here.

Calling it a day.

Afraid of raising suspicion with construction workers working on houses on the street,  I woke before the alarm went off and laid in the comfort of my sleeping bag.  I dozed.  The propane heater kicked in and the electric fan whirred.  Looking down at the my iPhone, it was 6:30.

“Bryan,  you ready to rumble?”

“Yah.”  Bryan was awake and looking at his phone as well.

“When’s low tide?”

“Ehh let me check….8:41″

“Perfect. lets get the fuck out of my dodge..”

Jumping out of the camper like Spicoli in Fast Times,  I quickly latched the pop top down before hopping in the driver’s seat.  ”We’re home free,” I grinned to myself as we backed up and pulled out of the driveway.  The first suggestion of the sunrise dotted the coastal range to the east as we headed south on the 101.

Here are some more links,

Costal Lurking (Adobe Revel),

Bryan Fox (Tumblr).

October 29, 2013

Farewell to Summer

It always passes quickly. Waking up with the sun at six transitions into seven and then seven thirty. The days shorten on the other end too. Living in your car makes you aware of when the sun rises and sets.  Temperatures retreat below the acceptable level to sleep with just a wool blanket and I grab  a down sleeping bag. Condensation covers the single-pain window of my camper in the mornings.  Parks, that just a few weeks earlier buzzed with tourists in rental Mustangs, empty out. The first fall storms are on the way.  Here are some shots from this summer.

Beach daze in Malibu.

Camping with Jay in the Sierra.

Monsoon season in Arizona.

Options.

Maddie and Trevor in the Los Padres.

Shoe quiver.

Wild flowers.

Shades on shades.

Mexican peelers.

Morning in the Mission.

Stoked Grove in Meiners Oak.

Driftwood Fire.

Bryan, Trevor and Cal having dinner.

Ryan Lovelace working on his 1948 Bus.

Marissa stretching in the morning.

Mount Piños.

Lazy mornings.

Mobile changing room.

Ian Durkin on the West Coast.

Standing tough.

Club Med, Lake Tahoe addition with Tahoe Messi and Ian Durkin.

Collection of roadkill skulls at Lloyd Khan’s house in Bolinas.

Bryan making dinner.

I’m ready for winter.

Here are some more links,

Out of Reception (Tumblr).