Greetings From Quirkutopia!

Join us as we bump open the inside door to some corners of Northern California for you with our hips – our hands are full of wine and plates of artisan foods and tickets to cool events.

You already know we are a hotbed of alternative thinking and doing – ok, and growing.  Never mind what you know already! Come on in. Have a glass. Let some worldly locals share their gardens, workshops, restaurants and favorite hangouts. Follow us farm-to-fork and winery-to-coast.

Meet some of our favorite redwood trees, wildcrafted edibles and weird lovable neighbors. Gaze at our favorite ocean  and vineyard views and celebrate with us something silly or profound at one of our local fairs or festivals. See what folks have been creating, re-purposing and making. Get away on a few adventures with us here in Quirkutopia and dig a little deeper in the NorCal Bay Area and beyond.

Feed Stop #2 : Guinda Commons

Inside this deceptively simple exterior lies a palace of food, drink and community. Photograph by Heather Granahan

Inside this deceptively simple exterior lies a palace of food, drink and community. Photograph by Heather Granahan

A recent adventure took us to the big annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival at Full Belly Farm out in lovely Capay Valley in a miniscule town on Hwy 16 called Guinda. Capay Valley is a rural Eden of farms (and a big incongruous casino) located 52 long miles northwest of Sacramento in a sheltered valley that truly feels in the middle of nowhere. It’s a great moto ride destination, especially if you avoid Interstate 80 and trek out through Napa.

After a little volunteering and camping in Full Belly Farm’s park-like almond grove (and cracking a few harvest leftovers on the bumper to accompany our pint jar cocktails), we awoke with a powerful hunger. Photograph by Heather Granahan

After a little volunteering and camping in Full Belly Farm’s park-like almond grove (and cracking a few harvest leftovers on a bumper to accompany our pint jar cocktails), we awoke with a powerful hunger. Photograph by Heather Granahan

You’re on your own for breakfast at Hoes Down, so we hoofed out looking for grub. In the tiny burg of Guinda down the road, we spotted a modest slab porch sporting the sign “Guinda Commons – Food – Drink – Community”. The hand-painted Open sign drew us in. We parked next to their metal shop/barn outside and stepped into what now ranks as one of our favorite places to eat and drink in these known parts. The warm old wood and carved brass-trimmed bar flanked the cozy booths.

Under the old patina of the wood ceiling you park on vintage stools at the shapely carved bar with brass detailing. It made it around the Horn a century ago and now sports banners for football AND futbol over a case of Lori’s famous scones. Photograph by Heather Granahan

Under the old patina of the wood ceiling you park on vintage stools at the shapely carved bar with brass detailing. It made it around the Horn a century ago and now sports banners for football AND futbol over a case of Lori’s famous scones. Photograph by Heather Granahan

Richard and Lori, originally from Oregon, told us how they were visiting a dear friend in the area when they noticed the property for sale including a house, large pecan-shaded back patio, shop and the longtime eatery whose last incarnation had been Ibarra’s Mexican Restaurant. Love at first sight was followed by research by their friend and their consequent purchase and move to Capay Valley.

The sun streamed through simple white curtains onto an eclectic collection of lamps, amusing pig paraphernalia and my tea order. These innocent porcine were only a hint what lay (and stood) waiting in the Commons. Photograph by Heather Granahan

The sun streamed through simple white curtains onto an eclectic collection of lamps, amusing pig paraphernalia and my tea order. These innocent porcine were only a hint what lay (and stood) waiting in the Commons.                                        Photograph by Heather Granahan

It’s the little brassy things in life sometimes. Rest your boots where generations have before you. Photograph by Heather Granahan

It’s the little brassy things in life sometimes. Rest your boots where generations have before you. Photograph by Heather Granahan

Lori and Richard installed new kitchen equipment and a love of Southern style cooking infused with seasonal local supplies from farms round about. This means when we wobbled in foggily for breakfast, our senses were cleared by breakfast offerings including Lori’s biscuits and scones, and Richard’s brined and smoked pork sirloin ham.

Another interesting lamp, local blooms – and some naughty salt and pepper shakers makin’ some bacon. Photograph by Heather Granahan

Another interesting lamp, local blooms – and some naughty salt and pepper shakers makin’ some bacon. Photograph by Heather Granahan

Lawd save me, it was the right season for fried green tomatoes. I ordered some with my eggs, heart in mouth, as I have a disorder that causes deep cravings for fried green tomatoes (and okra – another whole syndrome). It’s about the only fried food I like. Spending a good amount of time in Deep (Fried) South will set your bar and hopes high – and all were surpassed. The buttermilk batter was light and tasty, encasing the tangy juicy tomato slices in golden crispiness – a nice plateful for $4. Breakfasts run only $6 and include your choice of meats, and fried grits, Lori’s giant biscuits or toast.  Their frequent specials feature deals like old fashioned ham and biscuits at 2 for $5 and mimosas for $5.

More frisky pigs. Humor abounds and the food is dead-on seriously great. Photograph by Heather Granahan

More frisky pigs. Humor abounds and the food is dead-on seriously great.  Photograph by Heather Granahan

More reasons to make the pilgrimage to Guinda? Get your bib on: Catfish gumbo; grilled house-smoked ham and swiss on sourdough sandwich; all local organic red & green okra and heirloom tomatoes; garlic smashed sweet potatoes; collard greens and hush puppies; fresh ground pork seasoned with bratwurst spices topped with grilled peppers and onions and swiss cheese;  smoked chicken salad sandwich on wheat with a cup of local-veg gazpacho .

And pies – did I mention Banana Whoopie Pie , Buttermilk Pie with raspberry glaze, Strawberry Pie, Sweet Potato Raisin Pie and Lemon Crumb Pie?

“If you dig on swine, try some of mine!”Oh, Stumpy Pete, say it isn’t so. Photograph by Heather Granahan

“If you dig on swine, try some of mine!”Oh, Stumpy Pete, say it isn’t so.    Photograph by Heather Granahan

Lori and Richard found that it had a long history as a barbeque-based restaurant, and hung some great old pictures of the original denizens. Richard also pointed out a sign from another distant establishment he could not resist hanging (above) as a homage to his dedicated brining and smoking.

While we waited for our order we explored the homey community living room that welcomes all at the end of the dining area. Photograph by Heather Granahan

While we waited for our order we explored the homey community living room that welcomes all at the end of the dining area. Photograph by Heather Granahan

This feed stop serves not only as a community breakfast and BBQ gathering place of the highest order, but also as a thirst parlor, music venue and general gathering spot for the surrounding community.

The Commons has a selection of 42 beers,PBR and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on tap, with the rest ranging from American macro-brews (Bud, Coors Light, Rolling Rock, PBR) to California & Oregon micro/craft breweries (Rogue, Firestone, Mad River, Ninkasi, Lost Coast, Sudwerk & many more). They have four hard ciders and four varieties of Capay Valley Vineyards wine. They’ll serve you a pint or even a quart jar if you’re really thirsty, while you to root for a favorite team with them or catch a local band under the shady pecans out back.

A shady oasis out back waiting for us all to get back out there. Photograph by Heather Granahan

A shady oasis out back waiting for us all to get back out there.                    Photograph courtesy of Guinda Commons

Richard and Lori have begun some community un-traditions like the Rib Throwdown Competition and all-ages Trashy Flick Tuesdays on Tuesday evenings with free popcorn; you might catch a flick like “Gene Autry and the Radio Ranch”. No matter what you come for, you and all your quirky friends will feel welcome and well fed. And we’ll see you there!

A Wilder Business

11/15/2013 Update! Recently expanded Moto Shop featured on NatGeo program “Let It Ride”!

National Geographic Channel has a new entry in the parade of custom motorcycle building shows, “Let It Ride.” It is focused around Zach Ness, the grandson of custom motorcycle king, Oakland-raised Arlen Ness. This young grandson along with his experienced crew builds custom bikes from scratch or with the seed of an old motorcycle. Time will tell how Zach treads in the trendsetting designer boots of his granddad.

In the 6th episode, “I Know What Girls Like”, Zach and crew attempt their first sport bike build (with a beat-up Yamaha base) “on behalf “ of the now 6000-ft Moto Shop, which has elbowed some more space from the building. See Zach banter with Wilder-of-few-words-and-many-wise-looks and the gracious and mirthful Aleks. Some great shots of Moto Shop were squeezed in there and the segment ends with a satisfying cruise at Thunder Hill. Find the episode info here: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/let-it-ride/episodes/i-know-what-girls-like/. Be warned; it also features a segment on creating very…um…feminine makeover on a Harley Dyna.

Arlen Ness is one of the best-known builders in the world of custom motorcycles, and one might argue the king of quirky designs, including his famous painting style. Above is the “Mach Ness”. Photo by Michael Lichter

Arlen Ness is one of the best-known builders in the world of custom motorcycles, and one might argue the king of quirky designs, including his famous painting style. Above is the “Mach Ness”. Photo by Michael Lichter

1/9/2013:

Quirkutopia has spawned many an unusual business idea; brilliance born from the hearts and minds of true Quirks.

Meet Wilder and Alexandra Grippo, both raised in the hills and niches of Sonoma County and having been bitten by the moto bug. They both ride and even race a bit.

Meet Wilder and Aleksandra Grippo, both raised in the hills and niches of Sonoma County and having been bitten by the moto bug. They both ride and even race a bit. Photo courtesy of Moto Shop

Wilder and Aleks have started a business that doesn’t aim to sell you anything, nor do anything much for you. Hey, that’s not good capitalism, you say! Oh, but wait. This hard working and fun-seeking pair instead offer you the chance to learn – to fix your own motorcycle! We recently visited the Moto Shop location in South San Francisco.

The Moto Shop in it's sweet warehouse in South San Francisco.

The Moto Shop in it’s sweet warehouse home in South San Francisco.                           Photo by Heather Granahan

This is a different kind of motorcycle shop – it’s a 4,000 sq.ft. do-it-yourself shop where you can work on your own motorcycle(street, dirt, or scooter), or take a class and learn how to do it yourself. They provide really organized fully equipped workstations with all the tools and resources to help you fix and maintain your moto.

Lots of lifts, light and ventilation make it downright pleasant to work on your moto.        Photo by Heather Granahan

Lots of lifts, light and ventilation make it downright pleasant to work on your moto. No more hard-assing it on the cold ground.                                                                             Photo by Heather Granahan

The space is a lofty old warehouse with industrial trusses and one giant wall covered in street art. They invited a team of local street painters in and the result has authenticity and punch.

Here are a few clients bikes stored against the wall of art – a privilege available with a monthly repair station reservation.

Here are a few clients bikes stored against the wall of art at Moto Shop– a privilege available with a monthly repair station reservation.                                                                                  Photo by Heather Granahan

Alex’s professional graphic arts business adds a visual sensibility to everything Moto Shop.  Photo by Heather Granahan

Aleks’ professional graphic arts business adds a visual sensibility to           everything  Moto Shop.               Photo by Heather Granahan

You reserve the stations by the hour or day for a very reasonable cost. At your fingertips the possibilities are endless: oil change, carb rebuild, exhaust install, tire change, heated grips install, engine swap, chain replacement – you name it, you can do it. 

If you don’t know where to begin, take a hands-on clinic and learn how. There are instructors (both genders, by the way) who can be tapped for one-on-one individual coaching, too.

Getting some one-on-one coaching at Moto Shop.

Getting some one-on-one coaching at Moto ShopPhoto courtesy of Moto Shop

Soon, Wilder and Aleks hope to expand Moto Shops in new locations as the clamor is building from other burgs in ‘topia. South San Fran is actually a cooler neighborhood than some people might think…but we want a Moto Shop in Sonoma County, too!

Wilder’s late dad Bill Grippo was a master saddlemaker and leatherworker and the sign for his old business “Horesepower” hangs in the Moto Shop, seemingly foretelling his son’s interest. His European-born mother is an active artist living in Mexico.

Perhaps growing up under a “Horsepower” sign rubbed off on Wilder in some way…

Perhaps growing up under a “Horsepower” sign rubbed off on Wilder in some way… Photo by Heather Granahan

Just past the Horsepower sign is the Moto Shop lounge area where moto heads kick it with some grub and sometimes  have movie nights – moto-themed, of course. Connect with  Moto Shop on FaceBook ( http://www.facebook.com/BayAreaMotoShop?ref=ts&fref=ts ),  or the web (www.bayareamotoshop.com )  to get in the loop. Or moto your hiney down there, better yet.

How about movie night in the Moto Shop lounge? Or just grab a bite and hang out; it’s riding-boot friendly

How about movie night in the Moto Shop lounge? Or just grab a bite and hang out; it’s riding-boot and dog friendly .        Photo by Heather Granahan

South San Francisco has a cool old downtown neighborhood, a hidden corner of the Bay Area.

South San Francisco has a cool old downtown neighborhood, a hidden corner of the Bay AreaPhoto by Heather Granahan

Take a break from monkey-wrenching and grab a bite at Ed’s Diner in South San Fran.

Take a break from monkey-wrenching and grab a bite at the timeless Ed’s Diner in South San Fran. Photo origins lost in time

Wall-eyed in Barcelona

This jaunty senorita graced an ancient door in an alleyway near our apartment in the L’Eixample district (pronounced “eshampla”) Photo by Heather Granahan

This jaunty senorita graced an ancient door in an alleyway near our apartment in the L’Eixample district (pronounced “eshampla”) Photo by Heather Granahan

Recently we ventured out of the local quirkzone and got an apartment in a Spanish city that made us feel so at home, we nearly emigrated: Barcelona. Barc is the heart of Catalunya (Catalonia),an autonomous community of Spain – officially a nationality and one famous for independent spirit. Catalunya holds the four provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. As I write, Catalunya is roaring for financial independence from the rest of Spain. (Now, can’t we do that here in ‘topia?) Kind of made up of a lot of villages moshed together, Barc is constructed of art and stone, beaches and protests, cava (Spanish champagne, or what I fondly call Girl Beer) and cathedrals, Gaudi and gambas (grilled shrimp), Dali and dallying.

Arteries of scooters and motos pulse by metal café tables full of Manchego cheese-nibbling, Estrella beer-sipping locals.  We’ll share the trove as we dig through it.  Your first taste: a few treasures from the walls. And doors.

The bigger context. While doors are often embellished, walls rarely are. Photo by Heather Granahan

The bigger context. While doors are often embellished, walls rarely are. Photo by Heather Granahan

When they DO paint a wall, they don’t mess around. This squat in L’Exaimple is alive with art very reminiscent of the ofen-imitated animator Blu’s work. See the original: www.blublu.org . Photo by Heather Granahan

When they DO paint a wall, they don’t mess around. This squat in L’Exaimple is alive with art very reminiscent of the often-imitated animator Blu’s work. See the original: http://www.blublu.org .                            Photo by Heather Granahan

Door to her soul; deep in the Barrio Gotico neighborhood this noia (girl, in Catalan, the language of Barcelona) peers from a doorway. She’s in Barcelona's Placa de George Orwell, the Brit who wrote Homage to Catalonia. It’s also known as La Plaça Tripi – the acid “trippy”square – referring to its bohemian reputation. Photo by Heather Granahan

Door to her soul; deep in the Barrio Gotico neighborhood this noia (girl, in Catalan, the language of Barcelona) peers from a doorway. She’s in Barcelona’s Placa de George Orwell, the Brit who wrote ‘Homage to Catalonia’. It’s also known as La Plaça Tripi – the acid “trippy”square – referring to its bohemian reputation. Photo by Heather Granahan

Was this an ancient remodel nightmare (“My liege, you said not which window thou preferred – I ordered one of each!”) – or a recycled material project gone wild? A window sales center? In the middle of a maze of narrow mediaeval streets is this tower of mixed windows, flanking the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia. The church is active and the plaza full of book and craft fairs, children’s theater and the usual ring of café tables. Photo by Heather Granahan

Was this an ancient remodel nightmare (“My liege, you said not which window thou preferred – I ordered one of each!”) – or a recycled material project gone wild? A window sales center? In the middle of a maze of narrow medieval streets is this tower of mixed windows, flanking the active plaza around the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia . Photo by Heather Granahan

Bob is everywhere! A street Picasso indeed. A bus stop in L’Eixample. Photo by Heather Granahan

Bob is everywhere! A street Picasso indeed. A bus stop in L’Eixample. Photo by Heather Granahan

A wall that invites you to sit on it. Gaudi built Park Guell for Barc in 1900-14 and made good use of local tiles. The wall snakes around a bluff that looks out over the city of ancient, modern, and stuff like Gaudi’s; 100 yrs old and still fresh. Photo by Heather Granahan

A wall that invites you to sit on it. Gaudi built Park Guell for Barc in 1900-14 and made good use of local tiles.  Photo by Heather Granahan

Photo by Heather Granahan

The wall snakes around a bluff that looks out over the city of ancient, modern, and stuff like Gaudi’s; 100 yrs old and still fresh.                     Photo by Heather Granahan

Pretty...mysterious.A lovely old frieze, off by a lonely back door behind a cathedral. Photo by Heather Granahan

Pretty…mysterious. And no, I don’t want to know, I’d rather imagine a meaning. A lovely old frieze, off by a lonely back door behind a cathedral. Photo by Heather Granahan

On the wall near Universitat, honoring the ever-alive spirit of independence in Barcelona. Photo by Heather Granahan

Made us miss the Mission in San Francisco: On the wall near Universitat, honoring the ever-alive spirit of independence in Barcelona. Photo by Heather Granahan

Were the ancient Catalonians really tall? Are doors the windows to a house’s soul? This visitor reaches for the knob to no avail. Senorita, there’s a small door right in front of you.    Photo by Heather Granahan

Were the ancient Catalonians really tall? Are doors the windows to a house’s soul? This visitor reaches for the knob to no avail. Senorita, there’s a small door right in front of you. Photo by Heather Granahan

One of Dali's egg-doors to his garden patio,,we"ll be out back having some cava. Back with you in a while. Photo by Heather Granahan

One of Dali’s egg-doors to his garden patio,,we”ll be out back having some cava. Back with you in a while. Photo by Heather Granahan

 

Island Treasures

The Flea Market on Treasure Island, San Fransisco, CA.
Photo by Heather Granahan

Commerce is a great cultural revealer. How and where we spend speaks volumes and eats volumes of our time and thought. Count yourself a Quirk if you ever venture out of the usual ingrained loop of daily activity to do your shopping at the blissful mayhem of one of the over 1100 flea markets in the US.  One of the most interesting locations for a Flea Market is found in the heart of Quirkutopia, on Treasure Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.

Good morning, vendors! Treasure Island is home to the 40’ Bliss Dance statue of a metal mesh woman who dances over the Flea Market in array of orchestrated lights with bridges and the City skyline behind her. Photo by Heather Granahan

We planned to visit the island for a weekend immersed in the swap meet culture of the monthly Treasure Island Flea Market. Imagine our excitement when we found that only vendors are allowed to camp on the island! We purged our odd antiques and grabbed a tent and a bottle of wine and were off. We joined the array of characters setting up in the dawn in front of abandoned military buildings.

Big gal: the 7000 lb gal Bliss Dance has wandered from the Burning Man festival to her home on Treasure Island under the watchful eye of her creator, Marco Cochrane. Photo by Heather Granahan

The market is open! Let the treasure hunting begin.                                 Photo by Heather Granahan.

Market victuals are offered by an array of upscale food trucks – elk and buffalo sausages! Fries with truffle aoli! Lemongrass chicken or veggies! Empenadas! Build-your-own-salads! And yes, burgers and much more.)                           Photo by Heather Granahan

Tasty wine is served by the winery located on the island. It is NorCal, after all.  Photo and subsequent purchasing by Heather Granahan

The market is very dog-friendly for visitors, with a water-and-milkbone station provided. Photo by Heather Granahan

One of the treasures at the Treasure Island Flea Market. The one –footed man seems fated to drive the one-eared donkey.                                   Photo by Heather Granahan

This 1800’s mandolin was sought after by two folks. The Aussie gal ended up purchasing it and handing it to the other would-be-buyer, a mandolin restorer, to fix for her and mail Down Under when he finished. A new adventure for this old instrument.                                     Photo by Heather Granahan

More treasures. That jar filled with cookies would make a nifty gift…          Photo by Heather Granahan                   

Evening, and time for the vendors to get tucked in for the cool evening following a 70%F November day. Photo by Heather Granahan

 The vendors’ choices of bedding reflect the many interesting characters who choose the lifestyle of roving merchandisers. Is this pole askew or is it just the camper? Photo by Heather Granahan

These intrepid vendors opt for the $30 hotel room, sleeping in their rented trailer. Photo by Heather Granahan

By day she reigns over the flea market and by night her multicolored shifting illuminated dance amazes the camping vendors as they sip wine and watch the huge cargo ships slide by. Photo by Heather Granahan

Feed Stop #1 : Rollerville Cafe

The Rollerville Café’s name has nothing to do with skating.
Read on to find out what it really means.                (Photo by Heather Granahan)

The Quirkutopian coast is a motorcyclist’s paradise. Moto enthusiasts enjoy the curving roads with astounding scenery; the fresh scents of the sea, forests and occasional medical cannabis planting.  Small villages offer excellent feed-and-watering stops along the way and the gorgeous riding weather most of the year – especially in the “Secret Summer” that peaks in October.

A recent moto camping weekend had these Quirks searching out breakfast just north of Point Arena. A local sent us to Rollerville Café, perched on the corner where Lighthouse Rd. turns off Highway One towards the famous Point Arena Lighthouse and Museum.

While you wait for your table-cracking load of delicious breakfast at the Rollerville Cafe, have a big ol glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice delivered by this friendly and quick young San Francisco Giants fan. (Photo by Heather Granahan)

Turns out the Rollerville also makes a damn fine lunch (prawn tacos! BLTs and burgers!) and on Friday and Saturdays extend service into dinner and sometimes do a prime rib . Makes us wish we could stay right there – but no go since the spiffy-looking set of cabins on the property run are a private time share. No matter, there is a lovely state campground and even a KOA up the road at Manchester where we slept just fine, thank you.

Popular for huge portions of from-scratch corn-beef hash, biscuits and gravy and the famous Monkey Omelet made with chicken sausage. No, I don’t want to know why it’s named that.                    (Photo by Heather Granahan)

Rollerville has nothing to do with rollerskates; in fact there is nothing close to a skate-able surface for miles around. Rollerville was the name of a small enclave built around a sort of roller-coaster  system for getting milled logs from the mills just inland out to the waiting ships tossing just off the rocky coast.

The flumes. With a rush of water, logs were delivered to a loading platform offshore where the ships picked up the wood. (photo from Mendocino Rail History)

Logs were steadily advanced on barbed rollers from the mill to Rollerville. There they were transferred to a long downhill water ride through wooden chutes – to Flumeville, another loggers station.

A log flume at Brennan Creek in Mendocino County. Some early quirks would ride the flumes for “inspection” and thrills. (photo from Mendocino Rail History)

Thirst Parlor #2 Rocky Flats Lounge

 Rocky Flats Lounge

In the stony reaches at the foot of the Colorado Flatirons, midway between Boulder and Golden, there is a cluster of shacks that house one the quirkier places to quench and dine in the state. We watched for the creaking metal sign and parked the motorcycle near the leaning back gate where the regulars enter.

Watch for the creaky metal sign
Photo by Heather Granahan

Once a place to get payed, now a place to play.
Photo by Heather Granahan

 

Rocky Flats Lounge is a watering hole on the site of a long closed-and-cleaned nuclear weapons plant. It was transformed in 1978 from the former payroll office. Their signature T-shirts urge you to “Get Nuclear Wasted”.

Finery from the Lounge

Another excellent wardrobe choice

The original owner was from Wisconsin and made the place a mecca for all who bleed green and gold; ex-pat cheese-head Packer fans lost in Colorado. He also started importing walleye and perch for still popular Friday night fish fries.

Some die-hard fans of Wisconsin fish dig in on Fish Fry Friday night at Rocky Flats Lounge, watched over by the cheesehead/motorcycle helmet. That about covers the bases.
Photo by Heather Granahan

Yeah, it’s open at night for fun and (Packer) games. But you”ll  miss the view.

The gritty pleasure of the place is in the outdoor facilities: the metal shack of a porch outside where the regulars hang and can watch games on an old TV.

C’mon in the back way, drop your helmets and grab a beer. Dawgs welcome.
Photo by Heather Granahan

Out back, you can gaze across the rocky flowered fields at the Flatirons, prop your feet on an old wire spool and drink a brew or throw a horseshoe.

Doesn’t get much more relaxed. Pull up a chair.
Photo by Heather Granahan

We’ve got your entry for Best Bar View – right here.
Photo by Heather Granahan

Camping happens, and there are a couple RVs that appear pretty ensconced, tucked between some midcentury transportation. Whatever your mode, 2 or 4 wheel, roll on out to Rocky Flats Lounge when you’re in the neighborhood, and get some real bang for your buck.

Camp for a day or two. Play some horseshoes.
Photo by Heather Granahan

Or stay a little longer.
No. Not THAT long.
Photo by Heather Granahan

Pretty sure the Studebaker starts, if you need a ride out. But why leave.
Photo by Heather Granahan

 

The Spore Recovery Of New Orleans

The fernhangers are returning, spore-sourcing the green recovery. The ferns of Nola have been sporely missed indeed.                                                                                                                     Photo by Heather Granahan

Once upon a time there was a city steeped in tropical decadence and modern strife of life, a city wreathed in ferns that literally stitched each old building to the next. The green curls graced all corners of New Orleans alike; the corners where inebriated tourists donated their Sex On The Beach drinks back to the sidewalk, where locals bought their groceries and ones where little kids stayed up too late dancing with taps screwed into their basketball shoes to earn a few bucks. Ferns hung in drooping enormous baskets from the multilayer porches of the weathered old hotels and apartments.

Gettin in the fern spirit…more sources of all things good and ferny.  Photo by Heather Granahan

As many of us quirks who frequent New Orleans regularly have noticed, the city was scoured of its fantastic green fern garnish during Katrina, and as the renewal of the city involves a lot of new paint downtown, the place has looked pretty unusually shiny in parts.

Shiny new paint isn’t stopping these brave fluffy fronds          Photo by Heather Granahan

We are here to report after a visit a couple weeks ago that along with the recovery of the heartbeat of the city, the ferns are slowly but surely finding their way back. More and more folks are hanging back up the huge fern baskets and the re-sporing of Nola has commenced. Witness these determined Nephrolepis exaltata  spotted this trip and smile with us over another tiny recovery step.

Right amongst the relentless street life of New Orleans, the spores march on looking for likely crevices.  Photo by Heather Granahan

The old and the new meet eternally in this truly quirky city. Photo by Heather Granahan

Gracing a doorway as no intended decor could.             Photo by Heather Granahan

Purty in pink. Welcome back, girls.  Photo by Heather Granahan

Pretty as a mess of fried catfish, I say.   Photo by Heather Granahan