Tag Archives: travel

“Cambria, CA Loves Me, this I Know” a guide and coupon book

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Laughing & learning my way through Cambria. -Robin Riker, actor/writer

“Cambria, CA Loves Me, this I Know” by Brandon Follett

The hilarious former owner of the Bridge Street Inn, Brandon Follett, has brought smiles to Central Coast adventurers through his new Cambria guide and coupon book.  His newest book delivers 48 pages of fun that includes unique coupons ranging from discounts on restaurants to bicycle rentals.  Christina Tobin, Founder and Chair of Free & Equal, says it best, “Whether it’s politics or travel…different points of view create more choices.  Brandon’s perspective will help the reader discover some of Cambria’s best kept secrets.”

“Cambria, CA Loves Me, this I Know,” is more than the typical guide book containing a map with three line descriptions.  As educators have realized, humans do not always learn the same way.  Brandon is aware that not everyone travels the same way.  For example Brandon reveals the best places in Cambria to eat beans through a conversation he has with a character named Francisco and his tupperware of black beans.  Another example of Brandon’s unique style, is how he explains the clean smells of the Cambrian air through the perspective of a nose.    Brandon’s book will have you sniffing the air, taking selfie sexy photos, and drinking wine with a goat named Chet.

“Cambria, CA Loves Me, this I Know,” takes the alternative guide book to a whole new level by including 20 business coupons.  There are 10 coupons from Cambria and 10 coupons from Morro Bay (23 miles south of Cambria on the PCH).  The coupons range from 20% off a pint of beer to rent 1 bicycle and get the 2nd rental free.  There’s a coupon for every type of adventurer who’s excited to experience Cambria and the surrounding area.

“Cambria, CA Loves Me, this I Know,” can be purchased at the following locations: Stolo Family Vineyards, Ragged Point Inn and Resort, Henry Miller Library, Top Dog Coffee Bar, Coalesce Books, Seed & Soul, Bridge Street Inn, Ball & Skein & More, and Cambria Ocean Drifters.  10% of the author’s earnings will go towards the Cambria based nonprofit, Free and Equal Elections, an organization to broaden our electoral choices through education.

To purchase a book “Cambria, CA Love, this I Know”online click on cambrialoveme.com

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5 more Morro Bay coupons and 10 Cambria coupons

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SE Asia Omelet Zine featuring eateries in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos now available

In 2010, Bangkok Books began distributing You Can’t Hide an Elephant in an Omelet as an e-book.  Tara Blackmore from Broken Pencil has this to say about the book:  “What a neat concept this book offers: essays and stories about omelettes and cuisine from around the world. This particular issue offers experiences from Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

Part restaurant review, part tour guide, this book offers pure entertainment in eloquent language that can be enjoyed by just about everyone.

Written like a memoir (the good kind), the book offers a glimpse into foreign food production, consumption and a healthy dose of social interaction and culture shock as well. It’s an objective look at travel and all it entails, offering tips and advice on how to get by. It also gives descriptions of local cuisine that can either repulse you or attract you, so reading it while hungry is a bad idea.

This book is well worth the money. Rich with well-worded descriptions and beautiful photos, this zine will satisfy the reader who has either travel-curiosity or no idea what to make for dinner (which, of course, would be omelettes).”


Click on one of the below links to purchase a copy:

Bangkok Books

Front Cover

Sample Page


Back Cover

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


Baja California by Bus

We decided to take our friend’s advice. Instead of celebrating my 33rd birthday in Tijuana with the company of tequila shots and a U.S. government travel advisory, Amy and I spent my special day on a 26-hour unmagical bus ride. Darkness broke up the monotony of cactus, graffiti, and shacks through the bus window.

As the bus traveled south, it belched out passengers at little towns along the way. Nearing our destination, we noticed a fair-skinned woman with short blonde curls a few rows behind us. Instant conversation. Caroline loves bicycle travel, farming and Aikido. Of course, we were curious, “Where does a person with those interests vacation?”

“A farm in Todos Santos. What brought you to Baja?”

“My parents invited me to join them for a week of swimming pools, booze and guacamole.”

“Oh, you’re going to Cabo San Lucas.” The conversation sputtered out. Amy pulled up her sweater to reveal her Peaceful Belly Farm t-shirt. Like two strangers flashing gang symbols or freemason rings, there was an instant bond. By the time Caroline got off the bus in Todos Santos, we were convinced that checking out her farm in the desert was a must see Baja attraction. We exchanged info and made tentative plans to meet again after the family reunion.

From downtown Cabo San Lucas, we hopped on a private shuttle bus and rode 25 minutes outside of town to an isolated resort carved out of a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Luckily, by the time we met up with my parents and assorted relatives, Amy and I had already indulged in some of our favorite pastimes of swimming in the ocean and walking. At Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort, swimming in the ocean is prohibited and large gasoline powered golf carts, resembling trucks hauling livestock to the feedlot, carry guests around on intricately designed paved paths. Apparently, people enjoy taking a vacation from their legs.

Our first day at the resort, we didn’t partake in the family pastime of booze, guacamole, and poolside lounging. I had worked too hard to blow my travel savings drinking white russians and eating avocado for seven days by the pool. By day two, Amy and I were thirsty, hungry, and ready to be lathered up in sun block. These wants and desires led us into a room crowded with people who fit the 30-something demographic. People in their 30’s must be transitioning from the age of “let’s camp in the sand by the ocean” to “let’s sit at a timeshare and watch tv by the ocean.”

Amy and I were immediately separated from the safety of the group. We sat at a small round table across from a man named Ashley. He first wanted to know how we liked the resort. We thought it was fine. He continued his line of questions. “Do you find simple pebble designs on your bed cute or stupid? Would you rather swim in the ocean or take a water aerobics class taught by a cute young Latino lad? Which do you consider a more authentic Mexican experience: morning shits resulting from drinking Budweiser all night in the luxury of your timeshare or sitting on a street curb eating a taco made at a taco stand with a baby sitting on the cutting board?” Upon hearing our answers, Ashley’s eyebrows would frown. When we told him taco shits seemed like an authentic Mexican experience, he raised his voice in exasperation, “I don’t know where to go from here! You obviously do not value an authentic Mexican timeshare experience. Why are you wasting my time?”

The answer was simple, “We were promised $300 worth of food and drink coupons if we let you try to convince us to buy a timeshare.” We shook Ashley’s hand and thanked him for sharing his time and excellent sales skills with us.

Thus began our week of family bonding. In addition to the overpriced meals and golf cart rides, we enjoyed morning conversations on the timeshare balcony, teaching the resort management how to make the Brandon Follett bean pizza, homemade family dinners and a combined birthday party for my mom and me. The week reemphasized that good company is always more important than the setting, and we left the resort enthusiastically anticipating our next family trip to Cabo.

The family flew home to the States, and we took a bus to Todos Santos to make videos and find Caroline. Todos Santos has a reputation for art, surfing, good food, and being quiet by 10PM. It offers an artistic break from the crowds and commercialization of Cabo, but its economy is still dependent on busloads of day tourists enjoying afternoons of souvenir shopping and eating. The ex-patriots in this town tend to be peso pinchers. They value a beautiful sunset or walk in the countryside more than a margarita or plate of sushi. Until a developer brings Todos Santos into the modern age of tourism with McDonalds, strip clubs, go karts, and box superstores, the buses will park idling and Todos Santos will remain a tourist frontier town.

We met up with Caroline who introduced us to Dominique, owner of La Jardinera organic farm. Although her house was small, Dominique welcomed us to sleep on her porch or in her living room. The house was an hour’s walk from town mostly along a dirt road through the desert. We hitchhiked in the middle of the day. We hitchhiked in the middle of the night. Friendly gringos picked us up every time.

At the farm, we layered compost piles, dug garden beds, and received a brief introduction to biodynamic farming. We slept outside on the porch with the cats and mosquitoes and woke up to a beautiful view of the ocean. As much as we appreciated Caroline and Dominique’s hospitality and fun friends, commitment to making travel videos proved stronger than our love of shoveling cow manure.

Todos Santos videos:
1. Homesick for peanut butter, the next best thing is fish with peanut sauce
2. Learning Spanish can taste good between licks of homemade ice cream
3. Energetic Jill Logan and a personal tour of her art gallery http://www.jilllogan.com
4. Hotel Guluarte supermarket and laundry – after a week in Cabo San Lucas, what traveler doesn’t have a backpack full of stinky clothes? The swimming pool looked murky yellow, but it did have one lounge chair, the perfect place to relax and read The Gringo Gazette while waiting for clean clothes.
5. An overview of Todos Santos

We continued our Baja bus tour to Los Barriles, where we were lured by Craig and Holly Weavers’ description of the beautiful Sea of Cortez and an opportunity to stay at their rental in exchange for PR work. From the house, a short walk down the arroyo leads to a beach. At this time of year, it’s a breezy kiteboarding paradise.

If our kiteboarding video convinces you to schedule a trip to Los Barriles, check out our video of the Weavers’ rental house.

One day we came home to the Weaver Rentals to find a Ford truck parked in the yard. Craig and Holly had e-mailed us that Rasheed would be stopping by to work on the rental. Amy, who has a degree in Ethnic Studies, noticed the Florida plates and remarked, “In all my studies, dating, and travels in Latin America, I have never met a Mexican day laborer who has an Arab name and drives a truck that looks new with Florida plates. This Rasheed will make for an interesting case study.”

Rasheed and Brandon doing pushups

Rasheed shows Brandon a proper push-up

To our disappointment, Rasheed turned out to be just an average Palestinian American, Muslim, ex Army, Iraqi vet, shoots underwater video, soon to be published travel writer who can speak Arabic and was employed in Cuba. Being familiar with the area, Rasheed took us to his favorite French Café in San Jose Del Cabo and introduced us to Ian and Megan who run the local kiteboarding school in Los Barriles. Besides introducing us to the locals and fine French pastries, Rasheed enjoys using the internet. At Caleb’s Café, we would greet the morning with the daily news and a beautiful ocean view.

From Los Barriles we continued north to La Paz to make friends and videos.

La Paz videos:
1. La Fonda restaurant offers traditional Mexican food at reasonable prices, and the owner is happy to explain any of the dishes on the menu. Brandon tries shoemaker soup for breakfast.
2. To truly enjoy Hotel Yeneka, a person must love the dead monkey.
3. Vacation walking on the malecon, the best place in the city to enjoy fresh air and beautiful sunsets.
4. Espiritu Santo Island Tour– A short boat ride from La Paz takes us to a world of interesting rock formations, an abundance of marine wildlife, and an afternoon snorkeling with the sea lions.
5. Considering couchsurfing? Websites like Hospitality Club and CouchSurfing address the needs of travelers who are tired of being part of the tourist machine. This video ventures away from showing people where and how to spend their money. Instead, it encourages travelers to develop friendships and experience local cultures.

Tijuana Bus

The bus ride back to Tijuana was once again very long. Amy and I unfortunately had to sit in the very front of the bus. Anyone who has a phobia of head-on collisions and masked men with guns, I suggest a seat further toward the back.

Heading north, instead of being waved through the checkpoints, the bus stopped every couple of hundred kilometers to men holding American issued assault rifles. They would motion for us to get off the bus and then the search began. While waiting for passengers’ bags to be searched, we stood next to a board with pictures of people who have been caught with drugs at the checkpoint.

In Idaho, if cops took pictures of their drug busts, a traveler would probably see a police officer holding a gun to the head of a zit faced teen wearing a Bob Marley shirt posing by a dime bag or a braless hippie handcuffed on her knees next to a pot plant. The criminals photographed in Baja are in possession of piles and piles of drugs. A Habitat for Humanity volunteer could make a small adobe house out of the drug bricks.

Our last stop in Baja was the Tijuana bus station where we spent our remaining pesos on a Modelo and an omelet.



La Paz, Mexico (video)

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Click here to watch 

La Paz, Mexico is a quiet and colorful city on the Sea of Cortez.


Vacation Walking on La Paz’s Malecon (video)

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Click here to watch

Traveler Brandon enjoys an evening of vacation walking on the malecon in La Paz, Mexico. Along the Sea of Cortez, the malecon is the best place in the city to enjoy fresh air and beautiful sunsets. Every night it fills with locals and tourists. Music thanks to Cuarteto Bio


Staying at Weaver Rentals in Los Barriles, Mexico


This morning while hitchhiking into town, a guy named Mike picked us up.  There was barely enough room for us in the back of his truck next to the kiteboarding gear.  Kiteboarding is definitely the most popular sport in Los Barriles.  Second to Hood River, this seems to be the place to be, if you like wind.

kiteboarding in Los Barriles, Mexico

click to watch kiteboarding video

Since we’re not kiteboarders, how did we end up in the kiteboarding capital of Mexico, staying in a house just a short walk from the beach?

cow in Los Barriles, Mexico

Craig and Holly Weaver, loyal Flying M customers, offered us their vacation rental, El Torote.  

Weaver Rentals El Torote in Los Barriles, Mexico

click to watch video of house


If you’re looking for a picture-perfect escape to the rugged beauty of Baja California, Mexico, and the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez.check out Weaver Rentals.

If you’re looking for the best kiteboarding instructors in Los Barriles, check out Exotikite.


Henry Miller Memorial Library and a Reading From the Tropic of Cancer (video)

click to watch

Henry Miller said he didn’t approve of memorials. Memorials, he said, defeated the purpose of a man’s life. Only by living your own life to the full can you honour the memory of someone. So, is the Henry Miller Memorial Library a memorial trying not to be a memorial. Maybe. The best way to find out is to come here, browse, look at what’s on the walls, listen to the music, have a cup of coffee or tea, sit down by the fire, read for a while, do nothing? Quote from the Henry Miller Memorial Library website. I hope our video captures the above feeling.


Boise, Idaho: Merritt’s Country Cafe (video)

Click here to watch.

Traveler Brandon Follett is delighted to find a greasy cure for homesickness at Merritt’s.


Mendocino Hotel (video)

click here to watch 

Traveler Brandon Follett enjoys internet access by a cozy fireplace in the lobby of the Mendocino Hotel. The beauty of the lobby inspires him to check out room 2