Art by Tom Swanson

Recycling It All: There and Back Again

3/6: The sale of 5041 NW Highland Drive was caught up in the machinations of the banking industry.  In 2008, TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program) had bailed out US banks to the tune of $700 billion – enough to make each of the US’s 300 million citizens into millionaires.  Fast forward to 2015 and that same industry has ratcheted down credit and is being picky about loan conditions.  At this point, the sale would proceed on the bank’s schedule and there was no reason for me to stick around.   I’d leave a few things like a family rug or whatnot with friends but, otherwise, if it didn’t fit in my small Subaru then I was interested in keeping it.  A few things were listed for sale on Craigslist and some were basically earmarked for the home’s new owner, Serai. I’d mostly whittled my possessions down to fit with an ethic of letting go the things which didn’t serve me.  It was an ethic I’d had for many years but had gotten away from since my dad had died.

Selling to Serai allowed me to put the property in the hands of a good person who I knew would be a solid neighbor to my old neighbors.  It was the best possible outcome for a process I’d started the previous April when I first listed the place.  Now, provided the bank did it’s job, it would be done.  So I found myself processing the last 8 months.  And what an 8 months it had been.  The 7,000 mile drive to Lago Atitlan and back had left it’s mark and it was mostly excellent.  Later, in Costa Rica, I’d accidentally fallen in love.  That’s not something you can really plan but it’s not something you can resist either.  Now it was time to leave Oregon once more and hopefully return only as a visitor.  So, these things and more occupied my mind occasionally as I ran that night.  A satellite fell from it’s orbit as I began the track’s north-south straightaway.  It happened in perfect view for me and looked like it landed off the Oregon coast.  The moon was nearly full but the colors from the burning space-trash were still very intense.  And the light was so strong that shadows became more crisp in the few seconds that it lasted.  At about that hour a week earlier, I’d just come through the gate at Envision. And only 5 days before I’d in the ocean after Random Rab’s sunrise set.  It seemed like another lifetime.  I feel like I’ve had many lives wrapped up in this one.


Driving down the hill into Crescent Valley,  home since 2008


One of my favorite Mexicans from the journey south

Well-being programs at Breitenbush

Well-being programs at Breitenbush Hotsprings

The office at Breitenbush

The office at Breitenbush. These hotsprings are one of the finest places on the planet imo – a must for anyone travelling the West Coast.  Big trees and hot water.

Chacahua in southern MX

Chacahua in southern MX

These two and Loli from Argentina adopted me in Puerto Escondido and we travelled to the lake in Guatemala

These two and Loli from Argentina adopted me in Puerto Escondido and we travelled to the lake in Guatemala. See the articles on Mariano Padilla to check his murals and story.

In Lago Atitlan, with it's funky, winding alleys and streets.  Loli had just gotten pregnant and as I publish this, her and Mati are celebrating two months with their new child, Kaya Inti

In Lago Atitlan with it’s funky, winding alleys and streets. Loli had just gotten pregnant and as I publish this she and Mati are celebrating two months with their new child, Kaya Inti


Classic dirtbag hippy: Wants everything for free but wants to sell you their dog (that they can’t feed and need to get rid of). I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen people who get a puppy and then set up on a corner with a cardboard sign asking for money to help feed the dog.  Of course, they can afford to get a number for their celphone.  Lago Atitlan is a magnet for poseurs.

Lago Atitlan

Lago Atitlan

3/12:  Today I paid a woman to stick her fingers in my ass and massage my prostate… other parts in there too.  It’s true. But it was actually a high level of bodywork from a physio (or what we refer to as a physical therapist in the US).  Ava Litton PT does ‘internal work’ and I had some deep left hip issues that I wanted to work on.  She has some special training from a french teacher who is expert in internal work and visceral manipulation.  I laughed silently that her teacher was french, not greek.  Anyway, Ava was very cool and we were laughing a lot in this, our second, session.  She’s 50ish, a very attractive and extremely fit yogi, and has a potty mouth that she’s not afraid to use to go along with a very good sense of humor.  Ava keeps it real.  It seemed like she was used to people being uncomfortable about the work and had a bit of dialogue for the patient that I guessed was automatic.  But it was a big old ‘whatever’ for me, so we just talked about what she anatomy, her techniques, and whatever else.  There are so many muscle and parts that can be accessed best from this approach, so I really recommend it as a tune-up to be at your best. I’d broken my tailbone snowboarding a rail and had that worked on.  It all got worked.  Getting a late start from Ava’s at 2pm, I jumped in the car at two after a giving Ava a hug and turned the car for Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  The winter had been so mild that there was barely any snow on the pass.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and did something I do well i.e. cover a lot of ground in a car.  Driving long-distance is a great chance to do some thinking.  A chain restaurant in Boise, Idaho served me some food and was followed a couple of hours later by a shitty motel near a bar playing terrible karaoke.  I opened the door to the room and it smelled like 50 years of shagging and pee.  It was actually cold outside when I lugged the surfboards off the top of my car; I’ll take warmth any day.  A few hours sleep got me charged up before heading for the Armstrong’s.  We had a Casa Zen reunion at their home and played monopoly with his kids, snow covered mountains nearby.  Rick graced me with an interviewlate that night and set me up with a bed for another 3 hours of sleep.  The subaru pulled out at 4am and headed towards Lyons, CO.

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In the hole at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Just right for a guy who was the poster boy of The North Face for many years. It’s here at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort that Rick hucked himself approximately 100′ off Corbet’s Couloir

3/14:  I pulled into brother Mike’s driveway and checked out his little kingdom.  It’s a place fit for an artist: Two houses built into a hillside, enough space for all his tools and art-making supplies, and can be locked up and walked away from if he wants to travel.  Walk up a steep trail behind the house and you look over a nice valley.  The property was a place for peace and inspiration.   I have 4 brothers but Mike is the only one I have much communication with.  The oldest brother is mentally ill and lives in an institution.  There’s another that I email several times a year and might speak with on the phone once a year or so.  I’ve had 2 emails with the brother closest in age to me.  It had been several years since Mike and I had seen each other, so it was good to check-in.  We shot the shit and then tooled around in his van, making our way over to Boulder for a burger.

Mike eventually dropped me at a hotel near DIA.  At about 9pm, I made my way through a series of hotel parking lots on my way to an Italian restaurant; it had been days of low-carb and I was ready to feast.  An older suv steered my way and I knew something was up.  The window was rolled down and the driver leaned across the woman in the passenger seat, quickly spitting his sob-story about being on the way to somewhere in Kansas, and just needing enough gas and that they hadn’t eaten blahblahblah and dude was practically crying.  I was reaching for my pocket before he was done, the decision already made.  I looked him in the eye as I pulled out a 20: “I’m giving you $20.  My karma is clean and I’m doing my part.  If you aren’t telling me the truth, and you spend this on drugs or alcohol or anything but what you said you need, it’s your bad karma”.  I handed the money to the woman as she smiled and he thanked me.  I said bless you and wished them luck as the man reached across the woman to shake my hand. As they rolled away maybe on the search for another person to hit up, I guessed he was saying something like, “that stupid, white motherfucker.  Let’s go get a bottle and a rock”.  That’s not my problem.

3/18: Women should always tell you they have boyfriends right  the start imo.  It can be done tastefully – just a subtle note slipped in early.  A Costa Rican friend offered to take me ziplining and sent in a message later: “Bring some girls”.  Why this guy was asking me to bring women was a slight mystery since he has no problems in that department.  But it prompted me a little and, well, there were two Swedish women – both nice and attractive at the hostel.  They were down to go, so off we went.  Just before leaving I found out that one had a boyfriend.  The status of the other was a mystery.  I broke the news to my friend but he didn’t care and we enjoyed the lines throughly.  Touristy and gimmicky – that’s how I always had thought of ziplines until I got over myself and tried one.  It was a blast.  We had the place to ourselves once we let the main group move on.  My friend was using a drone to film the lines and had worked there, so we took our time.  



Flying the drone via the screen in the goggles

Flying the drone via the screen in the goggles,filming for a new video (old video below)

Catching it

Catching it

3/21: After sushi our group, mainly composed of people from Casa Zen, ran into one of my favorite characters in town.  There were two women standing in the trees at the side of the main road giggling hysterically. Dylan and I pulled off from our group when we recognized them.  They were in the shadows basically but coming out into the light and making a scene.  It took only a second to see how badly wasted they were.  But they were in excellent spirits and we explained to our other friends that we’d break away with these two since one of them was leaving.  The group from the hostel was slightly confused but left us to our own devices.  Gioa’s time in Santa Teresa was coming to a close and she was finishing up strong; she’s a legendary party animal.  The motorcycle she’d bought here had broken down completely and she’d traded it for $100 worth of shitty, seedy, moldy Costa Rican dirtweed.  I ended up smoking weed with them or, as Gioa put it, smoking her motorcycle.  It was the first time since 2008 that I’d intentionally smoked and  I found myself a bit high as we walked down the road.  It had crept up on me by the time I walked into the hostel.  What a change of perspective a little ganja can give you when used occasionally.  A much needed epiphany came through and gave me complete closure on something that needed closing.

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