Tag Archives: california

I Love the Dirt at the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

One of the many stunning views at the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

My love for dirt started at a young age.

When I was two my parents moved from the paved environment of the Bay Area to the rural lands of Boise, Idaho. An acre of dirt made their eyes grow large, much like a kid at a candy store. Yet unfortunately too much candy can cause a bellyache. Finding the balance between raising a family, working 9 to 5, and managing a plot of dirt was tricky; Something had to give. Luckily the strong bonds that had developed (from what I assume is child birth and breast feeding) could not be broken.
They decided dirt had to go. My family moved into a less “dirt-y” environment: Suburbia.

And despite the move my family still loved dirt. Whenever there was extra money burning in our pockets we spent it on dirt. We became weekend dirt warriors. For as many weekends as possible we eagerly traipsed on dirt for family events & relaxation. The dirt around Stanley, McCall, & Cascade, Idaho became our home away from home.

Even the annual family vacations became dirt-focused. During one of my favorite vacations we explored the dirt between Boise, Idaho & deep British Columbia. There we discovered that Canadians harbor a well-kept secret; their abundance of beautiful dirt.
They call their dirt the Canadian Rockies.

As an adult I still love dirt.

For example, when I was living in Girdwood, Alaska I kept pet worms.  Sometimes people would blindly say, “Your pet worms are more boring than a hibernating turtle.”

My response? “I love dirt.”  Plain & simple.

Here are a couple of links to a few of my favorite dirt adventures:

Yum Yum Colostrum:  A Volunteer Experience at Coonridge Orginic Goat Dairy

Atlanta, Idaho Bicycle Journey

Highwway 26 the Bicycle Tour from Boise, ID to Portland, OR

One of the (many) reasons I live at the Bridge Street Inn is for its bountiful, beautiful dirt. In front of the Inn there’s a white picket fence not to keep in the 2 1/2 kids, control the growing herbs or fence in the dog but to keep out the pavement.

Just three blocks from the BSI are some winding dirt trails that lead to the edge of North America’s western shore.  It’s a great opportunity to see the blooming milk thistle or listen to the birds chirp.

Cambria, California has an amazing section of dirt to explore called the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.  Click on the link to view photos and trail maps:

I Need a Virus to Slow Down

The Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street in Cambria are a never ending source of creative inspiration.

I Need A Virus To Slow Down
 -Inspired by the flowers smack-dab in the middle of Main Street-

To make a road safer
You don’t –

You fuck up the road!

With –
Planter boxes
Grazing deer.

These obstacles
slow a vehicle
down to a safe crawl.

When a relationship
moves too fast,

Sometimes I need
a snotty nose
to slow down
the Lovin’.

A good virus
to produce
Some chunky phlegm
To dribble down the lip.

Something a
condom can’t protect against.

Something to press down upon
the horny brakes.

A pause to make me ask,
“Am I really in love?”

Continue reading

Harold Black Bean Vacations at The Bridge Street Inn

The other day I received an e-mail from Francisco De Lovely inquiring about where he can eat a delicious black bean meal. He writes:

Dear Brandon,

I’m coming to Cambria to vacation with my last two tupperware containers of black beans. I have enjoyed a blissful 6 months with my 25lbs bag of black beans. I named my friend Harold Black Bean. I’ll be arriving at The Bridge Street Inn around dinner time. I’m excited to use your famous cast iron collection to cook up Harold. I also have a special Harold breakfast planned. I’m concerned about the 10:30AM to 5PM lock out. Can you recommend a local favorite restaurant where I might enjoy some of Harold Black Beans relatives?

Thank you,

Francisco and Harold Black Bean

Harold Black Bean likes to go to the beach.

I write back.

Hello Francisco and Harold Black Bean,

Myself and guest, Melissa, recently went on a black bean bonanza. To answer your question we went to lunch at Sebastian’s Store and Cafe located 9.1 miles North of Cambria off of Highway 1 near Hearst Castle. Their black bean burger is EPIC!!!! That evening we made a black bean pizza followed by Heavous Rancheros for breakfast. Hope you enjoy the black bean bonanza photo blog.

See you soon,


I recommend the black bean burger at Sebastian’s General Store & Cafe in Old San Simeon Village

Black bean burgers at Sebastian's are so large that we probably ate all of Harolds' cousins.

The surrounding area around Sebastian’s provides plenty of different places to digest black beans.

Melissa digests her black beans along the coast.

Brandon digests his black beans in a tree.

After digesting the black bean burger Melissa and I are ready for the black bean pizza dinner.   The below black bean pizza is similar to the lentil pizza that appeared in the blog post My Underwear Matches my Pizza.  Here’s a link to view a description of the black bean pizza toppings.  http://bridgestreetinn.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/my-underwear-matches-my-pizza-at-the-bridge-street-inn/

Brandon gets ready to enjoy his second black bean meal.

Melissa and I had to take a break from the black bean.  We didn’t eat black beans till breakfast.  I dreamed of black beans.

huevos rancheros: black beans, scrambled eggs, cheese, tortilla, veggie chorizo, green sauce.

Melissa gets ready to enjoy her 3rd black bean meal in a row.

Here are a couple of nutritional links about Harold Black Bean.

Non Live Food Network Preparation at The Bridge Street Inn

I have never been one to pay a cable provider money so that I can watch a stranger prepare food while I sit in my lazy boy chair. Tonight however I find myself joining the millions of sedentary people who are entertained by food preparation in their home.

For this evenings entertainment the bicycle riding French family took over The Bridge Street Inn kitchen. They had pedaled 52 miles from Big Sur to Cambria. Despite being tired from their long day they perform in the kitchen like a well rehearsed TV cooking show. I am thoroughly entertained by the airy sounds of the French language, the smells of spices simmering in a soup and am drawn into the details of the food adventure they are creating.

I can now join in the water cooler conversation, “No, I didn’t see that episode of Rachel Ray but I did sit down to watch the French Family make squash soup. Oh good cooking question. The 3 women were wearing biker type pants/shorts and the man was wearing regular loose fitting pants.”

What’s chef Rachel Ray wearing? CLICK HERE

The French family are making me laugh

It would have been nice to hear the nutmeg scraping in surround sound

I ask the French Family, "when I press my thumb against this wooden spoon and point it at you, will you stir fast as if you were a TV show?"

The French Family found a bag full artichokes near highway 1

yogurt artichoke dip with thyme, dill, cumin, and celery seed

Already star struck to my surprise the French Family invited me to join them for dinner

The Dear Rabbit show a SUCCESS at The Bridge Street Inn

The community of Cambria and the guests at The Bridge Street Inn enthusiastically turned out for the hour and half show. Here are some of the highlights from concert.





If you are a performer of the arts and think The Bridge Street Inn would be a good venue for your show contact me at bridgestreetinn@yahoo.com.

Fast Food Cambria Style

Boni's Tacos always has bicycle parking

Despite what the Cambria visitor magazine says about fast food. Cambria does have fast food. It’s just fast food Cambria style.

Special thanks to Boni’s Tacos

Special thanks to Amanda Darling for a little video work.

Music by Brandon Follett

Here’s a link to The Bridge Street Inn website so you too can enjoy fast food Cambria style.
<a href=”http://bridgestreetinncambria.com”>http://bridgestreetinncambria.com</a>/

Happy Guests, Dirty Sheets, and Greywater grow delicious Apples at The Bridge Street Inn

Intern Amanda turns home grown apples into delicious apple sauce

At the Bridge Street Inn guest, Fransico De Lovely, longly eyes the apple in his hand.  “These homegrown apples are crisp like your line dried sheets.  Every bite I take makes me pat my belly in joy.  My belly has loved the company of many an apple raised on worm castings, garden compost, the shit from a goat, warm sun rays, and the most pure spring waters.  Never have I tasted an apple quite as delicious as the one I hold in my hand.

I reply, “There are 3 elements missing from the above apple growing ingredients.  They are happy guests,  dirty sheets, and  greywater.

Happy Guest

Clean sheets need a happy guest

The wash machine produces greywater from the dirty sheets

After a happy guest checks out of The Bridge Street Inn by 10:30AM I strip their bed then put the sheets into the wash machine.  When the sheets have gone through the wash cycle the biodegradable soap and dirty water exit.

The greywater flows through pipes that lead to the underground root system of the apple tree.  The now damp clean sheets are line dried and the process starts over again.”

The simple pleasure of folding crisp line dried linens

Fransico De Lovely looks at his clean toe nails and strokes his well trimmed mustache he sighs, “I notice several beds are unoccupied.  Sadly, I’m only dirty enough to dirty one bed per night.  What’s going to happen to her?”  As he points towards the apple tree.

Apple tree growing in the greywater garden

“Friend, cheer up!”  I say,  “The apple tree loves the frosty nights and warm sandal wearing days.  Life at The Bridge Street Inn has a healthy ebb and flow that coincides with the seasons.  As the tourist season slows into the colder months the winter rains replace the greywater system.  Our apple tree has found a balance between what nature and happy guests can provide.”

Happy guests + dirty sheets + greywater + nature = delicious healthy apples

Airstream on the shores of Morro Bay

California Coast: Averaging 2 Miles a Day

2nd California Coast bicycle ride
January to April 2009
Santa Cruz to San Diego to Santa Monica
230 miles

Our first cycling tour of the California coast (October 2008, 575 miles, 24 days), we focused on camping in nature and enjoying a love affair with simplicity. There is nothing more gratifying to know that essentially all a person needs to explore America can be transported by bicycle. Like any relationship, this infatuation matures. These new feelings led us to want more than bicycle love. In relationships with people, this might translate to choosing the company of friends instead of constantly making out.

Instead of experiencing California by rubbing ourselves day after day on a leather bike seat, firmly gripping the handle bars, enjoying the motion of legs pumping up and down, and the wind blowing through our hair as we reach downhill speeds of close to 30 mph, we chose to broaden our bicycle relationship and share our bicycle love with the coastal people.

From Love Apple Farm in Ben Lomond, California, we pedaled 7 downhill miles to Santa Cruz. Through the touring cyclist network, WarmShowers, we met Anne who took us foraging for fruit. In January, Santa Cruz had an abundance of apples and oranges. Anne had as many interesting stories to tell. We would just kick back and eat fruit while petting the dogs. At one point she mentioned her dog ate her dad’s ashes. If I’d had a ouija board, I would have loved to meet him.

foraging for oranges with Anne in Santa Cruz

We met up with Doug whom we’d befriended on our first coastal tour. He took us to his favorite place to play cribbage. It is a beautiful spot that overlooks the Pacific and sunbathing Californians. Doug wasn’t playing his best. I suppose it might have to do with losing part of his finger in a sailing accident the day before in the San Francisco Bay.

sunny afternoon cribbage with Doug in Santa Cruz, whom we met on our 1st California coast bike ride

In Monterey, an evening at Paulo’s consisted of a plethora of ice cream choices, grappa, and Scrabble. Paulo, a native Italian, enjoys the challenge of playing Scrabble in English. Once again, I lost another game. However, I just enjoy the challenge of sitting through a game of Scrabble.

Paolo and his stack of dessert in Monterey

Paolo referred us to his friend, Dave, who does maintenance and decorative metalwork at TreeBones Resort in Big Sur. Dave can take a piece of forgotten metal and turn it into a flower. At TreeBones, he has a metal art studio and his wife, Cinda Lee, has a garden that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. At TreeBones, the owner believes everyone has an inner artist. When the daily chores have been finished, then its time to work on art. Cinda Lee can take a patch of dirt and turn it into fertile soil. The veggies she grows are used in the TreeBones restaurant to feed the guests. Guests are in awe of Dave’s metal work and Cinda’s organic garden. Check out our video of Dave talking about the creative process of making a handrail.

hiking Big Sur with Dave and Cinda Lee

In Cambria, we met Anne Wyatt, owner of the Bridge Street Inn hostel. Motivated to learn about Anne’s sustainability practices as well as the business side of operating a hostel, we arranged to stay for a few days and help out with odd projects. Painting the picket fence and helping Anne’s twin sister, Aimee, with remodel work turned into six weeks of doing laundry, making beds and greeting guests. During this time, we learned about managing a hostel, had neighborhood bonfires, sat at the ocean, and went to a George Harrison party hosted by Dino who managed Dark Horse Records. Check out our video about water conservation at the Bridge Street Inn Hostel. As we packed up our bicycles to start pedaling toward New Mexico, Anne invited us to attend the upcoming Hostelling International national operators meeting in Santa Monica. We postponed New Mexico and hugged the coastline for another month in anticipation of an informative meeting.

fell in love with the hostel host lifestyle and sustainable practices of Anne Wyatt at Bridge Street Inn, Cambria

In San Diego, John Alonge took us to several delicious drinking and eating establishments. We’d first met John at the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, sitting on the front porch exchanging songs, poetry, and stories as the evening sun kissed the Sawtooth Mountains.

The real adventure in San Diego didn’t begin until we met up with John’s partner, Dawn, and good friend, Jim Jenkins, of Jenkins Winery. In his book The Wine Heretic, John elaborates on the idea that anything goes when it comes to wine, especially if the love of wine is what motivates. In a homemade garage still, John took some old wine from Jenkins Winery and distilled it into brandy. Anyone else would have poured it out or given it to the hired help. The Wine Heretic knows how to love all sorts of wine, even the questionable wine. Check out our video about recycling wine with the wine heretic.

From San Diego we ventured into the Inland Empire. My sister had called to ask if we would housesit. After a weekend of walking the dog and watching Cesar Milan, we stayed beyond the call of house sitting to help plant the garden and take an unexpected drive to Napa Valley.

We then headed back to the coast with our bicycles to bum around Carpenteria and Ventura.

The Hostelling International meeting in Santa Monica came at the perfect time during our trip “Bicycling Highway 1 into the Great Beyond.” Our only commitment was to the Coonridge Organic Goat Dairy in New Mexico. Hearing rumors from friends and family in Boise, Idaho that the snow was melting and the inversion had lifted, we began to make tentative plans to head to Boise after visiting the dairy. While at the operators meeting, we met Jaime who happens to be opening a hostel in Girdwood, Alaska. He is looking for a couple to inject some soul and personality into the project. Anyone can manage a hostel, just like anyone can pour a cup of coffee, but not just any coffee establishment can offer a coffee drinker events such as the Valentines for AIDS event hosted by Flying M Coffee House.

So, basically, Jamie would like to give world travelers more than a cheap bunk. He wants his hostel to be a centerpiece of community involvement, music, poetry, art, and education. We were hired to infuse the hostel with unique cultural experiences that only a poet and gardener can give, and possibly a trick dairy goat named Asparagus that can slow dance to Motley Crue’s Without You.

After seven months on the Pacific Coast, we turned inland toward the goat dairy. The baby goats had almost all arrived and we need to be in Alaska in June, so we hopped on the train to New Mexico. We now have been living off the grid for a month. In fact, this blog comes to you via solar power and satellite internet. If you’re in need of a goat story, check out Goat Walking in the Wilds of New Mexico

Coonridge Dairy Goat

Water Conservation at the Bridge Street Inn Hostel


Aimee Wyatt explains the Bridge Street Inn’s approaches to water conservation, including directions on how to make a lid sink.  Check out the Bridge Street Inn Hostel in Cambria, California.