Saturday, April 29, 2017









 As you remember last time...our hero, (that would be me...) had made his escape from the Armageddon-like devastation in Big Sur and was pointing his trusty minivan, Pacifico toward the arizona desert.  After a few brief stops and an overnight stay at a rest area, I reached the Chuckwalla Mountains near the strange little town of Desert Center.  I pulled off on a very sandy dirt road and drove until I found a beautiful, quiet place to camp out.

After a long nap in the warm, dry desert, I stepped outside, pulled out the guitar and played a little blues to nobody but the surrounding rocks ,  and to a very large ( judging by the footprints) cat of some type that I felt sure was napping somewhere in the shade nearby.  Hope he likes the blues... 






     I camped out there for a few days, relaxing from the drive and doing some reorganizing in the van.  On the way out I decided to check out Desert Center.  I usually stop in at the little cafe there, (which is the only thing there that's still in operation, other than the post office.)  I've always been kind of fascinated by the place.  The last remnants of what was once a fairly thriving town.  The cafe was closed this time with a note on the door saying building maintenance was going on, but I had my doubts...I saw no sign of any work being done and the note on the door looked old and faded...sad if it's the end of the line for the was all that was left.  I walked around and took some photos, then headed off toward the Arizona boarder.



 Next stop:  El Dorado Hot Springs....

Friday, April 28, 2017

GOLDEN MORNING by Barry Allen Howard

GOLDEN MORNING by Barry Allen Howard
I haven't written a blog post in quite awhile due to technical difficulties.  Long story and not that interesting so I won't bore you with it.  Anyway, after much work and head-scratching and a moderate amount of swearing, I think I may now be back in Blogger-World!   At least I hope so...if you are reading this then it worked!      So a long overdue update;   Last time I posted my blog I was living in a Microhouse I had built about 18 years ago.  
      I lived there on top of a ridge with a magnificent view of the Big Sur coast and painted my pictures of Big Sur and helped take care of my friend's llamas, alpacas and goats.  I stayed for almost a year and a half and began to miss the freedom of living in my van, so.....from there I moved back into Pacifico, (my beloved minivan) and lived along the cliffs.  My friend Jim let me park below his house on an unused fire road with access to a little shack/bathhouse that I converted to a little painting studio. It was a lovely spot where I could hear the waves at night and the coyotes in the morning.  I would drive down to the cliffs in the mornings, set up my French easel, and sell my paintings out of my micro-van-gallery to the passing tourists.   Life was good...and then came the fire that swept slowly buy surely through Big Sur, filling the air with smoke and ash and driving the tourists away.  It lasted for two months and a thick fog came with it that lasted for 4 or 5 months, and no tourists stopped to admire the view because there wasn't one.  My fortunes were diminishing.  Then came the rains... Lots and lots of rain!  The cliffs became saturated, my studio started growing mold and then came the mudslides.  Highway one began to fall away in places and the cliffs slid down onto the highway in numerous places, closing off all traffic to the south.  Then to the north the bridge started to sag and it was closed, cutting off all access from the north.  Big Sur became an island.  The highway was empty, phone service went out, the power went out, and many of the locals lost their water supply.  There was no way to get rid of trash, people couldn't get propane, gas at the local station began to run low and along the highway it looked like the aftermath of natural disaster.  Tourists staying at the local inns had to be helicoptered out.  There was very little food available.  Deetjen's, ( a much loved historic inn) suffered major damage with redwood trees destroying several buildings and a mudslide that buried several cars.        Eventually the road crews were able to open a lane to the south for a few hours so locals who wanted to get out could make their escape.  I was out of business in Big Sur for the foreseeable future so I headed out and pointed Pacifico toward the desert.  (To be continued).....