Tag Archives: american folklore

Court Tour x Chapter 7

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Chapter 7:
Spirit in the Sky

There was still money in my account, due to successful gambling from the night I was arrested. The first thing I did upon release was buy a pack of smokes. How depressing. Then I hailed the first cab I saw, got in, and asked him to take me to the Motel 8 where my bags were hopefully still being held.

The friendly desk clerk gave me my bags and I was ecstatic. The cab driver patiently waited outside for me as I continuously thanked the mid aged, dark haired woman for holding on to my belongings.

“Where to, sir?” Asked the cab driver.

“The airport, I need to get to the airport and get the fuck out of here.” The man laughed as his eyes found my “compliments of Clark County Detention Center” brown goody bag.

“Ah,” he said with his thick, West African accent, “I see Las Vegas has treated you well.” Both of us hysterically laughed.

“Well,” I coughed and caught my breath, “what happened to me in Vegas won’t be staying here.”

Just let me leave this hell hole! Already I had been to Southwest, Delta, American Airlines, and none of them had any flights that matched my current budget. The bored woman at US airways monotonously told me to try Spirit Airlines. Spirit Airlines?

Spirit matched my budget. The one way flight to Oakland was a mere $75.00. It was now six p.m. and my flight wouldn’t depart until eleven the next morning.

“Please! Just let me leave this place!” I pleaded aloud to the sky. A passer by witnessed this and chuckled, then froze when I gave him the glare that better says “watch it buddy”. His nervous look scanned over the “Merry Fucking Christmas from Metal” shirt that now stuck to my back with grime, and he scurried away like a wet cat.

Now, the waiting game was upon me, a game a I loathe more than most things. Twelve hours still remained before I would even be getting on a flight. To fight the increasing rate of restlessness that was bubbling inside my bones, I picked up my bags, asked a traffic cop where the nearest gas station was, and began walking the two miles to the closest place where a cold beer could be bought.

A tall Canadian man named Rich who was down on his luck crossed my path at McCarren International around eleven that night. Camila and I had spoken for a couple hours, before I met Rich, and cleared the air. She was so understanding and obviously also very upset, but forgiving. Perfect balance, I had found myself thinking. You don’t come across that very often.

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Rich offered to pay for a cab so we could go back to the store in order to obtain more beer. He felt obligated after I shared with him that I had just returned from the two mile hike for but a single brew.

Rich bought an eighteen pack and shortly after he shared his story with me–and what a bummer that was–an older woman, possibly a prostitute, joined us on the bench inside; tucked away behind a post to stay hidden from the check-in counters. She started sucking down beers and feeding Rich and I pills. More Xanax. I’ve always avoided Xanax for the most part in my life, but Xanax was surely the motif in this trip.

Six in the morning is when Rich and I parted ways, but the raspy voiced woman leeched onto me. She just crossed the gate into the terminals right behind me. With no intention of getting on a plane, she told me HER story–something about living in Vegas for twenty years. I had been smashed drunk since midnight, and the Xanax intensified my delirium. All the woman’s life stories were overflowing in my mind and had long flooded away before my brain had a chance to absorb them.

For the remaining time at my gate, I got drunk and played slots, winning a hundred dollars at one point. The old ash tray lady really tried to grip onto me after that. Luckily, I lost it all in a flash and she mingled off somewhere; out of my hair. That was the only time in my life when I was actually happy that I lost money.

Finally, I boarded my plane. Finally, I was going home.

The flight was terrifying. Every second that passed confused me, as it had not been my last. Turbulence was quaking,

the plane kept dropping like a horrible theme park ride, and the engine sounded like it was going to explode. Norman Greenbaum’s one hit wonder, “Spirit in the Sky”

melodically spun in my head as the reality of becoming one taunted my thoughts. To stay about my wits, I sucked down seven dollar mini bottles of wine and eight dollar Jack Daniels shooters. By the time I got off the plane, kissing the stale airport carpet with thanks when I did, my wits were long gone.
This had been some trip. I was just trying to look at all the positive things over the low points of the trip as I entered San Francisco from Oakland on Bart. Now, I would have to go back to Las Vegas. Fuck. Also, there was another court hearing I had to attend in Texas in the next month or so for tomfoolery that had happened some months back.

Like the moon and sun dance during an eclipse, court dates were starting to align, and a Court Tour was brewing. It wasn’t quite there yet, but have faith my friends; my stupidity would complete the cycle in the forthcoming events. The eclipse would become, and Court Tour 2015 would live.

Court Tour x Chapter 5

Chapter 5:
Vacation in the Grand Slammer

 

Why was it so cold? What was this nuisance poking my back and tickling my ass?

Bright white, fluorescent lights pried my eye lids open. Foggy memories from the night before came rushing into my mind’s vision. A scene of people on Las Vegas Boulevard surrounding me, scurrying in madness–our rental car completely mangled–ambulances and arguments with a large nurse–needles in my arm and a concerned woman–an officer maybe? Panic came thumping, and paraded into my chest. Panic. Fear.

When I was arrested, no shirt was on my backm adding yet another white trash display to my police record. The police officer, a shorter built woman with stern shoulders and kind eyes, grabbed the first shirt she could find in the car before they took me to a hospital.

Looking around me now, it was not hard to see where I was. Looking down presented even more of a grim reality. The shirt the officer had grabbed for me was a tie dye shirt that Adam Crew had given to me years ago. On it, there was a cartoon setting of Charles Manson with a machete, Santa Clause’s head in hand, and a swastika on his head. In big black letters it said, “MERRY FUCKING CHRISTMAS FROM METAL.” This shirt had something to do with Fred Gall and someone named Lou. That brought a smile to my lips, but the fact of maybe having to appear in front of a judge in this offensive shirt did not sit well. For about four hours, I silently convulsed. No one was telling me shit and I could only get out of my chair if I raised my hand once an hour. A couple times I laid down, only to be rudely awaken by a baton tapping my head and a voice saying, “Get the fuck up unless you want to be detained.”

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” having to appear in front of a judge in this offensive shirt did not sit well.  “

The only thing that weighed on my mind was Camila. What happened to Camila? For hours I sat in dwelling, wondering “what ifs” and uselessly iterating “I should haves” to myself. At that moment, I could have been in route with home on the horizon, and the love of my life next to me; with that intoxicating smile she had. Instead, I was in Clark County Detention Center, and there was no telling how this could end up.

Eventually, I talked to my Father. He had spoken with Camila. Said she was really worried about me and even tried to visit me. Finally, she gave up and went to the airport where she bought a ticket back to Austin. Now I KNEW holding her in my arms would surely not happen again. That was it, I blew it. That was our last trip together before she had to go back to Brazil. My heart almost imploded with grief. Finally, I curled up inside my Lou Metal shirt like a turtle, fought my sluggish body to stay upright, took some deep breaths and fell back asleep.

Another sixteen hours was spent in that cold hell of a waiting room. Supposedly, some drunken gibberish that flew rampant out of my mouth the night before gave the correctional officers reason to believe that I was a potential 51/50. For almost two days, I ate, slept, and watched the History channel in that ruthless chair. Finally, they got me processed and it was time to go to a cell block.

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Clark County Correctional Facility

Once you start moving through the booking process, you will notice that morale goes up between you and the lucky inmates who have just been selected to go to a cell block. When you get called to go upstairs, or somewhere else, you feel like you have been chosen, knowing that the horrible waiting room is behind you and a bed awaits. The worst part about jail isn’t even the jail aspect, it’s the fucking booking process. The waiting room of justice.

They brought us to another dungeon room for about two hours. Everyone I was in there with said we would be in there for at least nine hours. It was nothing new to them; this had been protocol for their in and out of jail life style. Then, like a prophesy, I was called with two other dudes in the small cell. It was time to go to our beds. Disappointment toiled the remaining fellows as they’re faces sunk and we pranced out like self-proclaimed messiahs.

In a moldy bathroom, I was told to strip, grab my balls, bend over and cough. Then I was given the yellow garments in which Clark County represents.

What did I say? I kept questioning myself this over and over when they brought me to the medic block; a place for the sick, the injured, and the crazy. I wasn’t sick or injured, that was for sure!

Old men and mangled people were my new neighbors. I unfolded my bundle of mattress and blankets and began making myself at home, continuing to therapeutically organize my area.

By the time I got out of the shower, a Nurse Ratched voice called my name over the shorting intercom. The main CO pointed me to where I was being summoned. Curiously, I followed the designated direction and ended up in a little office.

“Here,” the nice woman said handing me a tiny, paper cup. “These are your meds. Knight, right?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I answered.

“Yup, these are yours. Take em’.”

“What are these?”

“Anti-anxiety pills. Do you know what those are?”

“Yeah,” I paused to laugh, “like Xanax.”

“Exactly, this is a weaker Xanax.”

Very interesting, I thought.

My lights shut off the moment my face touched the pillow. It could be a while before I’d be out and this brought a horrible trepidation, but I calmed myself and accepted what cards I had mindlessly dealt myself. I was trapped in this dump, and fighting it was just going make it worst. It felt like poison oak covering my life.

Court Tour x Chapter 3

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Chapter 3: A Big Step Towards Forever

Being the oblivious person that I am, not a clue to how we ended up on Route 66  found it’s way into my cloudy thoughts. The only reason I knew Route 66 even existed was from Bob Dylan’s Route 66 Revisited (1965). I’m not sure if that’s awesome or pathetic.

So we talked, Camila and I, right there under the sign, and a few yards away from the old, famous, white Route 66 brand painted white on the two lane road. It was strange to think that it was painted almost a century ago, in 1926; the road symbol was still quite intact.

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Time froze as we found a median–that median when a couple ends a quarrel by looking past themselves, and into the other person–when reason is met, and through this complete understanding, the couple is not just brought closer to each other, but to themselves as well. It’s when two people who love each other let go of those insecurities, or hard headed non-sensibilities, or lack of reality. It’s when two people who love one another explore that fear of change and really embrace the other person’s differences. It’s that big step towards forever. This magical happening radiated off of our now embraced bodies as the wind squinted our eyes, desert bushes rattled in the distance and a semi truck roared by on the nearby 40 east. We kissed in the middle of Route 66 and held one another; together peering down the never ending two lane road below our feet.

Decisions were made and plans were changed again. Now, we were going to go to Las Vegas for the night. The “plan” was to party and drive to the Grand Canyon early the next morning, but you know how plans can go sometimes; especially ones as outrageous as this one: We would have to sleep one hour at most, drive five or six hours to the Grand Canyon, stand there for ten minutes, then turn around and leave to begin the grueling twelve hour drive back to the Bay Area. Camila had to drive the entire time, because I didn’t have a license. It sounded like madness, but with Camila sailing the ship and me navigating, we could do it.

Finding hotels in Las Vegas was way easier than I had expected. Simply I found some promotion thing on Google and had a one bed suite in the Hotel Riviera within seconds. We drove the same distance from Barstow to Las Vegas BACK on the 40, now going west, and hopped on I-15 East to make our way to the city that never sleeps. Doubts nervously paced back and forth in my head about making it to the Grand Canyon, but I kept them to myself. The last thing I wanted was another fight.

We got off the 562 exit, and the display before us was beyond a shit show. The eight lane free-for-all was a combustion of horns and vehicles merging in a mania of madness. It took about thirty minutes to move thirty feet. Already, I thought Las Vegas was fucked.

After about two hours, between getting parked at the hotel and getting our room, upstairs to the twenty third floor we went. Once settled, we hit a TJ Max on the strip so I could obtain clothes that Camila approved. That’s right, I said it. Clothes that she approved.

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Camila was tired as hell and I couldn’t blame her. She had been non-stop driving; not to mention the maybe ten hours of sleep we had acquired over the past four nights. With her napping on the large Queen bed under it’s satin sheets, I decided to go explore the Casino downstairs and pick up some 7-11 sandwiches with my reeling EBT funds.

I was dazzled by the chaos unfolding everywhere around me in the lobby, until a strange man sidled me; snapping me out of my trance.

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“Hey man,” he said, “There is this AA Convention going on over there. So far, I have seen at least ten people at that convention now sitting at that bar,” he paused, “knocking ’em back.” With this, his finger guided my eyes to a portly man drinking a scotch on the rocks, bar stool shoved up his ass, red faced, jolly, and headed straight for the bottom again.

What a great story that would be to write, came to mind. Who would have an AA meeting in Vegas? Eagerly I investigated this phenomena, but was quickly shut down when the door man asked for some kind of pass. What the fuck! I was an alcoholic! Even the alcoholics have become privileged?! What next? NA after hours parties for VIP ex junkies?

Upstairs in our room, I got ready and started to slowly awake Camila. I knew she was tired, but it was already one in the morning. That didn’t seem to matter, for we were two humans who were known for blowing it, in a city that never stops blowing it.

By the time we hopped in a cab, it was three thirty in the morning. The cabby, unbeknownst to us, worked for a strip club and told us the city was shut down. Camila asked him to bring us to Fremont Street, but he insisted that we don’t waste our time. The strip club was the only place that had anything going on. Wow… and we believed it.

The bouncer wouldn’t let us in at that seedy strip club somewhere off North Las Vegas Boulevard. The bearded walrus said Camila looked too young, and without an ID to show, there was no way she would be allowed entrance. Camila became very upset. We came all this way to not see a single thing. She wanted to see all the famous hotels on the strip, the famous “fuck you Las Vegas sign,” Fremont Street; and here we were getting denied at a scummy strip club! Full of melancholy, we headed back to the hotel to call it a night. It looked like our hotel Casino would have to make due.

A shifty man approached me in the bathroom as I shook the remaining urine free from my bladder. It was now five thirty in the morning and drunken skies had long fallen over my mind; my shirt had already come off once that night in the lobby, and I was rounding for a second display within any moment. The strange man mumbled some incoherent question to me. With donuts-glazed eyes, my head jerked like a chicken in his direction and my penis was sloppily fumbled back to it’s place of dwelling. Xanax. He wanted to sell me Xanax.

Hell, I could always go for a bad time, so I gave him the fourteen dollars he summoned for the little yellow brick bad ideas.

Stumbling out of the bathroom, I noticed Camila coming out of the ladies room. I told her what had just conspired; the strange moment when two men “do business” in a public restroom together. Painted on her face was the same drunken smirk that I had on mine, so we agreed to go back up to the room and party.

A desert sun was beginning to peak above the horizon. Rock ‘n roll was bouncing off the windows, rattling rusty curtains that sought to sheath the seeping sunlight, a glimmer creeping through corners of our trashed hotel room. The last thing I remember was the burning, Alka Seltzer-like, yellow-powdered, black-out brick bombarding my right nostril like a wind storm. My head rose up and darkness swallowed a grainy scene of Camila dancing wildly on the bed. I think it was seven in the morning.

Court Tour x Chapter 1

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Due to many bad decisions made in my past, I was living with my Mother; a woman who I have addressed all my life as Madre. Don’t ask where the term Madre came from. There isn’t a drop of blood in me that derived from a culture in which Mothers were called Madre. I’m an Italian Polish mutt who was slammed into existence on a long ago day in 1989. A day when God got drunk on a beach in Broward County.

To pull back relevancy, I found myself struggling to fall asleep in Madre’s smokey apartment on a November night. Camila was flying in on the following morning, and I had to get my shit together.

On the way to SFO that next morning, in Madre’s baby blue, drop top VW Bug, I was teaming with excitement. I was about to see Camila and go on this awesome, American Vacation, some what unrealistic, trip with her. A child like smile graced my lips as Redwood City flashed by. Twenty minutes later, I met Camila at her gate, and we embraced in a long, much needed hug. It was heaven.

After we got the car at the rental place, a silver Dodge four door, we packed up the car, bid farewell to Madre, and hopped on the anthill-packed 101 South to begin the adventure.

Golden humps soared by in my view. The passing plains looked like marble as the mighty wind and the pounding sun molded them together. Time passed as it does and the GPS annoyingly informed us that it was time to merge onto the 120, a winding mountain road that would coast us through Mariposa, and into Yosemite.

Mariposa is an awesome little town. Camila and I walked into a tucked away gift shop and bought shit. A coaster, a shot glass that said something about being redneck on it, and a magnet. Before departing, we went to a gas station to fill up, and as I smoked by the street, I stood in awe of this town. I could really see myself living here being a black smith. Or maybe a mason, I thought.

The magnificent Sierra Nevada Mountains swallowed us before the sun went down. As the last ray kissed the sky, we pulled off for a moment to inhale the beauty upon us, and stood dumbfounded as the sun vaporized standing peaks into our eyes. It was one of those timeless moments; one I will take with me to my grave.

It was pitch black by the time we made it to the little ranger booth in Yosemite. After some trouble finding our camp site, we unpacked, built a fire, froze our asses off, drank some beer that was beginning to freeze itself, and tried to sleep. We shivered violently in each others arms, waiting for the sun to come back.

Glorious was the sun! It was thirty degrees, but at least the early morning sunlight licked warmth on our faces. The whole camp site around us exploded with life. All that was a solid pitch black the night before was now crawling with people. Families and their dogs, college students, rednecks–they were all there. Camila and I cooked breakfast over a fresh fire and filled our stomachs for the day. The day was already past noon and our plan was to leave Yosemite that night. It was time to get going for Camila could not miss a single sight.

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Camila had this beautiful way of living. It was a little nerve racking at times to be around, but it is one of the things I also loved most about her. She was always trying to pack countless things into a day, utilizing every sliver of every moment in every day. It is so invigorating to be around that kind of energy. A line from a Mort Garson song about Pisces comes to mind, “Careful not to bruise a single second.” Yup, that was Camila.

Half Dome towered to our left as we drove up to a fork in the dirt road, but we decided to go in the opposite direction. Camila wanted to go to Tioga Pass, a beautiful mountain road with powerful valleys of vibrant green trees and crisp blue lakes. I Googled it and the status was: a closed down road due to weather conditions. She didn’t care, she was going to see Tioga Pass, no matter what anyone said.

“I have to go there. I don’t have much time in the states. I have to go back to Brazil. I have to go to see Tioga, Travis,” she said, pronouncing my name as Traves. My heart leaped into a velvet sheet of love when she said my name. Tioga Pass it was.

We never made it to Tioga Pass. Instead, we found a place where cars huddled next to a tunnel. The tunnel was the door way to a middle of no where highway better known as CA-41 towards Fresno. We parked the rental and climbed up into a mountain.

After a short hike uphill, a trail came into play, so curiously we followed the trail. It led us to a clearing on the side of the mountain, and it was just astounding, this place. Off to the right was the giant Half Dome playing with the clouds, and in front of us was an ocean of California Black Oaks, Ponderosa Pines, and spiraling Sequoias crashing into the mountains. A little blanket Camila had been carrying came out and we just laid together and drank cold beer, staring at the wonder ahead.

During the hike back, we decided to stay another night in Yosemite. We molded the original plan into just staying one day in the Sequoia National Forest and not camping there. Camila had to see more of Yosemite, and a mere half day was not enough for that. I agreed. So we gathered food at a little market, headed back to our campsite, built a fire, cooked and tried not to freeze our asses off.

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Illustration by Marlon Baliow

The night got so cold that I had enough. Drunkenly, Camila and I decided to move the tent directly up to the fire, as if to savor off coming heat into our tent. We didn’t have sleeping bags due to our lack of budget, but the ten quilts that were SUPPOSED to suffice were no match for the brutal cold. She fell asleep and the fire’s flames began to wither, so I threw some cardboard in the fire to stoke it up. As I sat next to a slumbering Camila in the entrance of our tent, a fire wall blazed in my face, searing the little facial hair I could grow, and I jumped up, frantically trying to heave the tent away from it’s fiery doom. Part of it caught fire, so a large hole corroded the tent’s flesh. The Toebock move went out the window: purchase camp gear at a Walmart, then return it after using it.

Haggardly, Camila and I awoke the following morning. We had maybe gotten four hours of sleep based on our lack of preparation and below freezing temperatures. After cooking the last of our breakfast, we packed up and rushed off. Camila wanted to get to Tioga Pass.

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This one lane road, known as Tioga Road, slid in and out of the broad, extravagant mountains we found ourselves weaving through. Countless stops were taken to enjoy the enigmatic beauty around us–canyons, hill tops, lakes. A winding river sparkled countless feet below at one of our last stops, and Camila rested under my arm. It was like the first Lord of the Rings movie when Bilbo and Gandalph are chillen, smoking their pipes. Except I was smoking a Fortuna Red, and instead of a burly, grey speckled wizard man, I was there with a drop dead gorgeous Brazilian babe. Way better. No offense Peter Jackson, but take notes.

It was getting dark, and we never made it to Tioga Pass, which was closed anyway. Tioga Road was just as ground breaking to us, so on our way out, the car stopped one more time for one last picture, and then we were off. Our plan was to get a cheap hotel in Visalia that night.

The Dodge rental scurried down the dark, desolate 41 to Fresno. We were about to run out of gas. Luckily, like an angel in the clouds, a dilapidated gas station came forth. A static light illuminated the gas pump from the darkness which cradled the dense night–like a dancer on stage.

It was about midnight when Camila and I got to the little $49.00 a night hotel off of Second Street, somewhere in downtown Visalia. Both of us took much needed showers, drank Bud light, and made love for the very first time. It wasn’t much of a surprise to me that one of the most immeasurable moments in my life would take place in a dim lighted, kind of shitty, middle of no where hotel. It was perfect.

Court Tour x Introduction

Introduction:

In the criminal justice system, this man has met his match countless times based on two separate yet equally important groups. Whiskey and relentlessness. These are his stories. (DUN DUN)

This story, as many have in our time, starts with a woman. In this case, it was a beautiful Brazilian woman who went by the name of Camila. She had stolen my heart almost immediately on a far away night, when the stars aligned on the ceiling of a dingy bar I tended. Since that, we became very close over the phone. Since Camila moved around the States frequently for her international program, phone communication was our only means for communication. Conversations were mostly dictated by the different languages we spoke, causing difficulty in understanding, but love still peaked its head over those broken banks of speech. A river of time had made its path between those rickety banks that one could call a relationship. Where it was going, no one could tell. Maybe in a vast lake somewhere yonder, with shimmering ripples of new life effortlessly frolicking on it’s flawless sky blue surface. Hell, when I found myself at the end times inevitable river, the result was more mystical than any magical, Frodo Baggins shit lake; I can tell you that much. What can I say, though. Life’s a trip.

A visit to Camila in Austin, Texas–where she worked as a nanny for an international program called Au Pair–had taken place three months before our journey begins. On the first night I found myself battling tasers and torture chairs amidst a Williamson County jail house, but that my friends, is another story itself. Nonetheless, it plays a great factor in this tale.

After our amazing time in Texas together, after I was released from jail of course, the voice in my heart grew louder, shouting for Camila’s love. A voice I tried to smother beneath a heart’s sheath, a nasty thing I had crafted around my blood pump over the years. It was becoming apparent to me that Camila and I were meant to be together, and this became evermore so real when her warm heart gave me yet another chance after that magical, yet disastrous, visit to Texas. She invited me on a week long trip; one that her adventuring soul longed for ever since she entered the states from Sao Paulo, at the end of 2013.

She wanted to cram countless hours of driving into a seven day trip. Her plan was to leave San Francisco International Airport in a rental car, drive to Yosemite, stay there for a night and a full day, drive to the Sequoia National Forest right outside of Visalia, camp there for a night and enjoy that for a day. Then she wanted to drive a toiling nine hours to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, camp there one night, enjoy a day there, and then party in the heart of the American Dream–as the late Hunter S. Thompson dubbed it–Las Vegas. Then somehow make it back to San Francisco International to return the car at 1:00 p.m. on that following Monday. It was absurd.

I thought she was crazy for wanting to embark on this radical journey, but as long as I was with her, I would be happy. Her hand in mine would allow happiness to prevail in any unsettling setting. I really thought she was crazy. However, there is one thing I cannot resist. More than a smoking stick that promises death. More than a free bad idea offered at the bar. More than anything at all. I could never resist a woman who was crazier than me.

Austin’s 4th of July Campout

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Our beloved Austin & Michelle

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teepee on the bluff looking east

Friends, Music, and Plenty of Beer
words & photos : Greg Knight

The sun peaked over the horizon as I boarded the plane in route to Seattle. My final destination to be somewhere in the Washington woods, accompanied with friends, music, and plenty ( 3 kegs ) of beer. A great reason to leave home for a few days. Shortly after touching down in Seattle I met with Adam Crew. He guided me through the city and onto the ferry. We laughed about

stories of the night before, and the challenge of making a 7am flight on a Friday morning. The ferry left dock. It was clear and hot. The ferry brought us to the other side of the water into a quaint town which name I can’t recall (Bainbridge Island). We found some shade and waited for a bus to never arrive. An hour later we considered hitchhiking to The Patriot, then made a better decision to grab a beer… Eventually we made it the Patriot and cruised though narrow wooded roads with the windows open cooling us from the day’s weary travels. We made it to Austin’s place ( Kingston, Wa) with plenty of sunlight in the day. Austin and Michelle greeted us both with welcoming hugs. I haven’t seen them in over a year and it quickly felt like no time had past.

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Main Stage &  firepit / photo: Dave Dougherty

Austin had crafted wooden benches and tables around fire pits. A teepee stood over a cliff that Michelle had sewn the night before.  Before arriving I thought I would be roughing it for the next few days. Not true. Austin and Michelle cooked the entire time feeding friends, family and coworkers ( approximately 60 of us ) home cooked meals including a pig roast on Saturday night.

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Hammock camp area / photo: Jana Peterson

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The Frontier Camper Zone / Photo: Crew

For the next few days everyone enjoyed music on the homely constructed stage, a lot of Rainer Lager, and late nights near the fire overlooking the Puget Sound. Through everyone I had the chance to meet there was definitely one conscientious. Though Austin’s dedication to the outdoors and hosting, we were all able to enjoy this amazing place together.

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Enjoying the woodwork collaboration of Josh Orcutt & Austin Iles / Photo: Crew

Toebock x Baker Beach

Video: Ben Ericson
Edit: Adam Crew

Baker Beach, San Francisco, Ca | Photo: Heng

Baker Beach, San Francisco, Ca | Photo: Heng

Story: Travis Knight
Photos: Jenn Heng / Fred Zahina

Baker Beach consists of approximately half of a mile of fancy restaurants, crumbling structures of the past, and the vast, golden blue Pacific Ocean shimmering into distance’s depths. When I used to live in the Sunset District, we would make frequent treks throughout this 800 meter span of beauty, ranging from the Sutro Baths to the Golden Gate Bridge. We’ll start at the Sutro Baths, established on March 14th, 1896 gaining its name from the former mayor of San Francisco, Adolph Sutro. Words be short, the baths consisted of seven large pools basically for wealthy heathens to flaunt their height on the pole that daintily balances upon the scoundrel of classism’s bulky thumb. After closing down due to maintenance issues, it burned down in 1966. The Sutro Baths are now a beautiful labyrinth of ruins, forever withstanding the brutal badgering of the mighty Pacific. It’s a great place to hike, find wildlife, take photos, climb rocks and just soak the magnificence of this tranquil location. Adjacent to the baths is a restaurant called The Cliff House, which is a great place to bring a special lady of your choice. A little pricey, but you’ll definitely get laid. Also you could go across the street to Beach Chalet if you want a bangin’ burger and a beer.
Travis Knight | 180 switch Crook | Baker Beach | Photo: Zahina

Travis Knight | 180 switch Crook | Baker Beach | Photo: Zahina

 

Baker Beach ( to the north) | San Francisco, Ca | photo: Zahina

Baker Beach ( to the north) | San Francisco, Ca | photo: Zahina

Making your way further down this sandy abyss of homes of ancients and the protection of wild and plant life, (such as the Marin Dwarf Flax, an endangered wild flower that freely blooms about the shiny dunes) you will find yourself walking along a scattered wasteland of old military bases.

 

Bobby Dodd | Backside Nosegrind | Baker Beach, S.F CA | photo: Zahina

Bobby Dodd | Backside Nosegrind | Baker Beach, S.F CA | photo: Zahina

 

Plateaus of weathered cement pop up randomly for at least a quarter mile along the coast. Built by Spanish military in 1812, in the year 1997 it was then and now still is administered by the National Park Service. In the midst of these sporadic structures, you can find the Battery Chamberlin. This huge artillery battery was named after Captain Lowell A. Chamberlin who served in the Civil War. When 1976 came about, the location of this beast of a weapon was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Journeying on, you will come across the banks that we are skating in the following video documentation. This spot is super hit or miss. One day you can go there with a twelve pack and skate for hours, another day you might get a hundred fifty dollar ticket from some belligerent, smart ass, water polo playing cop. The latter was the case for us. These swine came in hot, (probably fresh from the academy) giving us false history lessons and ranting about how we were committing a felony. However, the strange man who called the cops was drastically a much larger sight of tomfoolery. This 70 year old clown was sunbathing, wearing a speed-o mind you, in the heaps of glass plastered upon the ground surrounded by some mindless drivel that some teenagers painted on the wall while on the influence of bath salts. I guess we were disturbing his chaotic idea of peace. That day was a miss. Following weeks later when this little edit was filmed, we had to pull some guerrilla type maneuver on a hill across the way where we waited for a motorcycle cop to disperse from the entrance. We skated hours on end, for the fog submerged us from the road. That day turned out to be a hit.

 

Bobby Dodd | Baker Beach, S.F. Ca | Photo: Zahina

Bobby Dodd | Baker Beach, S.F. Ca | Photo: Zahina

Somewhere in the region of Baker Beach, taking place back on May 17th, 1959, an eighteen year old by the name of Albert Kogler Jr. was fatally attacked by a great white shark. The horrible incident was actually the only shark attack on Baker Beach. Also from 1986 to 1990, the northern end of Baker Beach was the original sight for the Burning Man Festival. Sometime in 1990, police allowed people to rage and build the gargantuan, wooden effigy but would not allow them to burn it. Well that kind of fucked that off, so the hippies flew east to wreak havoc in The Black Rock Dessert located in northern Nevada.

Travis Knight / Bobby Dodd / Steve Perdue | Photo: Zahina

Travis Knight / Bobby Dodd / Steve Perdue | Photo: Zahina

In the following video we didn’t get laid at the Cliff House, or battle any sharks, or even dance with any hippies. We just rode our skateboards and had a great time. So if your ever in the Sunset District and don’t know what to do with yourself, (which is usually inevitable) take the expedition through Baker Beach. Adventure patiently awaits, dwelling somberly in the heart of the great Pacific’s murky fog.   -Travis Dylan Knight