The Shelter Blog has been inactive since May, 2019. Too much to do! From this point on, Lloyd’s Blog will have the buildings, vehicles, and home-related posts such as what has previously appeared here. Go to lloydkahn.com.

Camping (12)

Beach Camping in Baja California Sur

Left to right:

  • 1983 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 with 8-foot bed parked at Roosterfish Cove, Destilladeras (several miles farther out on the East Cape from Shipwrecks). This model did not have independent suspension for front wheels; desert rats preferred it because it was tougher.
  • Air Camping tent (made in Italy) on roof. When flap was up, it faced water. Had mosquito netting, mattress, pillow, sheets inside. Ladder holds up cantilevered section. Great for the desert, no worry about snakes, scorpions. I would 4-wheel it out in the desert on my travels in Baja at night, go down into arroyos and sleep. Stealth.
  • 9-foot Haut 3-fin board
  • Yakima Rocket Box on roof, which contained:
    • 10-by-12-foot flea market tarp for shade. There was a solar panel on the Rocket Box that charged up an extra battery. Note sandbags hanging in corners to hold tarp down in wind; no stakes nec.
    • fishing rod

I would fly into San José del Cabo, pick up the truck at my friend Chilon’s house, drive out to an arroyo on a ranch, down to the beach, let air out of tires and go 2 miles or so on the sand to Roosterfish Cove. All alone for days. No clothes nec.

Post a comment (1 comment)

Day Three on the Lost Coast

At end of trip. Note driftwood trekking poles.

Set out at 8 AM after breakfast of granola with hot water and my last hard-boiled egg. Had to cross creek and I wasn’t about to try balancing on slippery log with heavy pack.

My technique: take off shoes, tie laces together, hang around neck, go barefoot across creek with my 2 bespoke driftwood hiking poles, v. carefully; slipping would be a disaster. Got across, dried feet, rebooted, was on my way.

Felt great — it was lucky that the fast-moving hiker the night before had told me how to get up on bluff trail; otherwise would not have seen it and struggled through beach boulders and deep sand.

Whoo! Walking on a trail was a cinch, and this one was lined with flowers. Fortified with almonds, chocolate, and 14-grams-of-protein Power Bar, numerous water stops, I made it through the 2nd high tide zone.

What I learned to do was rest before flat-lining. I stopped for 15 or so minutes, 4-5 times, resting near a creek and once, lying in the shade in a driftwood shack, to regain strength and then pushed on. I ended up walking for 8½ hours until pretty near exhausted, reached Shelter Cove around 5 PM.

Post a comment (1 comment)

Lost Coast Backpack Trip (continued)

There are 2 stretches of coast, each 3-4 miles long that are “inaccessible at high tide.” You are warned that you can die if get caught there. Well, uh, OK.

To begin with, it was harder going than I thought. My pack was really heavy. There was a rock slide upon entering the first part of the northern no-fly high tide zone that had to be clambered over. I hadn’t brought rain gear, either for me or the backpack, because the weather report had said no rain…well, 20% chance of rain the first day … and it started raining. Shit, if it poured I’d be screwed.

I found an opening in the rocks and prepared to duck under when the raindrops stopped. Yo!

Onward, or … upward. I had a moment climbing over the rock slide; I slipped, almost fell backward, and got a shot of adrenaline. I occurred to me if I fell and got hurt, I’d be screwed. No way to get word to the outside world. What had I got myself into? And yeah, grudgingly, being 80+ has taken its toll in strength and agility. In my mind I’m still 18, but that just ain’t the reality with an aging body. The kids that passed me that day seemed so strong and bouncy. God, I used to be like that.

I was a bit spooked, got to the end of the tidal zone and felt too tired to make it around the final point.

I found a ledge above the water, pitched my tent on the rocky ground, hoping I’d be above the high tide that night (I was), spent a restless night. Had to wait a few hours in the morning for the tide to drop so I could get around the point. 5½ hours hiking the 1st day.

After about 3 hours the 2nd day, I basically flat-lined. I was depressed, wiped out, thinking of all the things that could go wrong.

The wind was blowing, sun glaring, I felt almost dizzy, so stopped at Big Creek, a wide canyon with 15′-wide creek, pitched my tent, which took 45 minutes in howling wind, climbed inside and slept for an hour.

When I woke up, two women from Auburn, maybe in their 40s, had pitched their tents 100′ away and we visited. Renee told me she’d had 10 herniated discs, a back operation, and several pieces of titanium implanted and that it had taken her 10 years to recover, and one leg was shorter than the other. And here she was, on this incredibly tough hike. Shit, what kind of wimp was I? This was inspiration.

That night we sat around their campfire and her pal Pica pulled out a plastic lightweight ukulele and sang songs in a quiet sweet voice. Did I play the ukulele. Well, uh yeah-uh, songs from the ’20s, and I played “Five Foot Two,” “Ain’t She Sweet,” and “Jada.” Fun.

I got several hours of good sleep that night, woke up. I’m gonna make it! I lightened my load by burying a pair of running shoes, some extra food, and a spiral notebook in the sand and set off feeling lighter and inspired the next morning.

It’s Saturday morning, I’m at Trinks in Gualala, with a double latte and piece of berry pie with whipped cream for pre-breakfast, now going to get bacon and eggs. I can’t get enough food after the trip; listening to the Georgia Satellites sing “Keep Your Hands To Yourself”:

Rock and roll!

Post a comment

The Lost Coast Beach Walk (part 1)

Just back, now in Gualala. Exhausted. 25 miles of hiking in soft sand and boulder-hopping and high-tide dodging. It was the adventure of my life. On the second day, wasn’t sure I’d make it, but got a rest and pushed through for 8½ hours yesterday. Utterly wild, raw, tough terrain. If something goes wrong out there, there’s now way to get help. I’m so proud.

Had steak, 2 pints IPA at the just-opened brewery in Shelter Cove last night to celebrate, the Big Boy breakfast this morning in Trink’s, my body restocking on depleted reserves. Boy, is it great to be ravenous and burning up whatever food is consumed.

Shot pics of lots of beach shacks.

Sea lions were unexpected: maybe 75 of them snoozing on the sand near the abandoned Punta Gorda lighthouse, hardly mindful of humanoid in their midst.

Will write more soon…

Post a comment

On the Road Again — The Lost Coast

First driftwood photo of trip, near Mattole river yesterday

I took off at 8AM Sunday, driving through Petaluma to get on Hwy 101. The Nicasio lake is full to the brim, the hills a verdant green — both from late rains. The fog of the beach gradually gave way to the sun of inland. Orange splashes of poppies amidst the green … Roadkill — during the day: two skunks (neither smelling), a fox, a raccoon, two deer, today two squirrels; must be spring fever … giant piles of redwood logs in Cloverdale lumberyard … Hwy 101 narrows down to two lanes north of Willits. It’s relaxed, very little traffic, you can make a U-turn in middle of road … it clears the head to get out of the Bay Area where everything by comparison seems congested, every inch spoken for and/or ridiculously high-priced … south fork of the Eel River is turquoise … getting into crackpot roadside territory with rock shops, bears-carved-out-of-chainsaws shops, kind of like the reptile farms that used to be along Hwy 66…

Ended up camping at the Mattole rivermouth, then drove through back roads today to Shelter Cove … tomorrow 8AM, I’m getting a ride back to Mattole, will then backpack along beach 30 miles back to Black Sands Beach near Shelter Cove, hoping to find driftwood beach shacks to photograph … have decided to expand and reprint the driftwood shack book … just had great fish and chips down at Shelter Cove boat ramp…

Post a comment (2 comments)

Bernie Harberts 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 readers of The Shelter Blog.

About the Lost Sea Expedition series

The four-part series is about my 14-month voyage across America in my 21-square-foot mule wagon. I filmed the series with only the gear I carried in my wagon — no chase team, sponsor, or film crew.

One new episode will be aired on Rocky Mountain PBS every Thursday in January. The series will also stream on Amazon and Vimeo.

It would be great if you could let readers of The Shelter Blog know about this series. I think they’d be very interested as it covers tiny homes on the move, off-grid living, and the best way to move a rattlesnake with a buggy whip.

I sure have enjoyed following The Shelter Blog over the years and think this series would really interest your readers.

Have a great New Year!
–Bernie Harberts
PO Box 684
Lenoir, NC 28645

Post a comment

Lloyd's Camping Vehicles, Part 3

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In 1988 I bought a 4-cylinder, 5-speed Tacoma 4×4 with the Xtra cab (meaning a 6′ bed). Then in 2003, I got a new one, same model. The engine is a bit gutless going up long hills, but will run forever.

By this time I knew exactly what I wanted:

A metal camper shell made by Tradesman in Winters, Calif. It opened on all three sides, was way stronger than plastic shells. I bought an aluminum rack from Hauler Racks. It came disassembled via UPS and I bolted it together and mounted it. It rests on the truckbed sides, not on the camper roof.

At Campway’s in Santa Rosa, Calif., I got the inside of the bed sprayed with a waterproof membrane to protect the metal. Also a “carpet kit,” with storage boxes along the sides and sliding middle panels inside the bed.

You can see the pull-out drawer and side storage boxes. I shot this photo on Hornby Island, BC on one of my four trips to Canada shooting photos for Builders of the Pacific Coast. I remember one afternoon collecting oysters way out on a reef (beyond the commercial guys and cooking them for dinner on a beach fire with aluminum-foil-clad potatoes, red wine, AND blackberries with …(ahem)… heavy cream and brown sugar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI never mounted the rooftop tent. I bought a used pull-out canopy which is great for Baja surfing, sets up in a few minutes as opposed to 45 min. for the flea market tarp. On camper roof: Yakima Rocket Box, surfboard rack. I slept inside when it was raining or really cold, otherwise outside.

This is a fantastic setup for desert travel; the 4×4 will get you just about anywhere. A 4×4 van is another option, but costs about twice as much.

I can take the camper shell off (four quick-release clamps) to haul straw, topsoil, gravel, etc.

(Interesting factoid: The Toyota Hi-Lux trucks, beefed-up Tacomas, and mounted with machine guns, were used in the Iran-Iraq war and more recently by Afghani rebels.)

Post a comment (3 comments)

Lloyd's Camping Vehicles, Part 2

Camping setup

1983 Toyota 4×4 Pickup Truck

I bought it used from a builder friend. It didn’t have the “Xtra cab,” so the bed was 8′ long.

Tarp for Shade:  I had a Yakima Rocket Box on racks on the camper roof, with a flea market tarp (12’×14′) folded up inside. The frame was 1″ electrical conduit, with special connectors tightenable with wingscrews. The tarp was aluminized fabric. It was weighted down with canvas bags filled with sand and hung from each corner (ingenious!). Took maybe 45 minutes to set up. I’d place it butting up to the truck bed.

BA-03A-copy-lo-resRoof-Top Tent:  This was the star of the camping show. It folded up to about 4′ by 4′, 20″ thick, with a waterproof cover. At night I’d remove the cover and fold it out. The tent popped up when this was done, and the mattress and bedding were already there. The outer cantilivered side was held up by a telescoping ladder (more ingeniousness). It was real canvas, had a raincover, mosquito net. On beaches, I’d park with the open end facing the water and sunrise. It was luxurious sleeping up there. This unit was called AirCamping and was made in Italy; they’re no longer in business, but there are a number of truck- (or car-) top campers.

Cooking:  I had a sliding drawer in the bed with my cooking stuff. Table made from plywood with ¾” galvanized pipe legs that screwed into the four corners.

Other Stuff:  Surfboard, chairs, ice chest, blah blah…

The Baja locals liked this model because it did NOT have independent suspension in the front. The straight axle could take more of a beating.

Articles, photos of my travels in Baja California Sur here: www.shelterpub.com/_baja/baja.html

To be continued…

Post a comment

Lloyd's Camping Vehicles, Part 1

At my Vancouver presentation of Tiny Homes on the Move, someone asked what kind of camping rig I had. Bearing in mind that most of my camping was in the desert or on beaches in Baja California, I had a VW bug modified for desert travel; then three different trucks, a 1983 4×4 Tacoma (not with the “Xtra Cab”), a 1987 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 with Xtra Cab, finally a 2008 Tacoma with Xtra Cab. I’ll describe these vehicles in that order.

Baja Bug

BA-34-copy-lo-res

I bought this in the early ’90s from a guy who raced cars in the Baja 1000. It was called a pre-runner, so named because it was used to scout out the race in advance. Read More …

Post a comment
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!