Fogheads Rule — plus Capitola

Thanks to KFOG and all the Fogheads who called in during my in-studio interview this morning. It was a great conversation. One of the callers asked about the disgusting food that one often eats on cross-country adventures. I told her to steer clear of home-baked granola (it goes bad quickly, and the nuts rot and become very bitter. Of course, I made 23 pounds of that stuff in advance, and sent it all ahead to myself in supply boxes throughout the trail, meaning that I had to eat that nasty granola for months on end.) Looking forward to Capitola Book Cafe tonight at 7:30 p.m. I will be there early, eating pizza next door, if you want to stop by and say hello.

Pacific Crest Trail/Pacific Coast Trail

I’m getting a lot of questions about the “Pacific Coast Trail” and why the thing is so darned steep if it just follows the western coastline. Actually, there is no such thing as a “Pacific Coast Trail.” (someone correct me if I’m wrong about this.) I think that people are mixing up two major trails — the Pacific Crest Trail, which never comes close to a beach, and mostly stays up high on the mountainous spine of California, Oregon and Washington, and The California Coastal Trail, a network of public trails that spans the entire California coastline and is now about 50 percent finished. If you want climbs, views, bears, snakes and deserts, do the PCT. If you want beaches, shifting sands and crashing waves, walk the CCT.

Capitola and KFOG

I’m very excited about this Thursday’s reading in my former hometown. See information below. As I mentioned before, the Capitola Book Cafe is one of my favorite bookstores on the planet. It’s well-lit and spacious, the staff is whip-smart, the coffee is good, and there’s a silver-colored elephant sculpture on the wall. And, best of all — it even has a movie marquee out front advertising the latest readings. I can’t tell you how many pots of tea I’ve swilled there while working on an earlier version of this thing. Just for the occasion, I have unearthed some scary artifacts, including a couple of Chewbacca-esque photos of myself from the Cascades section of the walk. I will also bring your choice of archival stamps — horned lizard, Opuntia cactus, yucca and rattlesnake — with a brand new “rainbow-colored bloodsucking arthropod” stamp that I acquired just yesterday. Feel free to ask…

Meeting my doppelganger!

This week I had a chance to meet my doppelganger at a reading (his reading, not my reading.) I said, “I just want you to know that every time I go into a book store, people think I’m you.” He agreed that we look very much alike — even though he is actually a few inches taller and has a different color of hair. I agreed to be very polite and careful to everyone from now on so people don’t blame him for my misdeeds. Also, I apologized for leaving his book at home, meaning that he couldn’t sign it for me. “No problem,” he said. “I’ll just sign one of yours.”

High Sierra

I’ve been hearing from a few hikers who have reached Kennedy Meadows and are now getting a bit closer to one of my old haunts, Mammoth Lakes, in the Eastern Sierra. In case you missed this one, here is a story I wrote for the New York Times Escapes section about Mammoth Lakes last year.

Dust off those fanny packs and get out on the trail

It’s great to open up my inbox and see messages from readers who are heading out to hit the trail this week (I’m glad I haven’t scared you off!) In fact, I’ve heard from a bunch of folks who say they are amped to go out into the backcountry and stomp around for a while. By the way, I took a “sneak preview” hike of sorts on a Kentucky section of the 1,800-mile under-construction “Great Eastern Trail,” which parallels and in one section overlaps the Appalachian Trail. I can’t wait to through-hike this thing when it’s all done. It might even end up as America’s newest national scenic trail at some point. Stay tuned to find out more about the “G.E.T.”

“Cactus” — Updated list of readings and appearances

Here is the most updated list, as of today. I will, of course, bring photographs and other materials to share, along with your choice of flora/fauna stamps. It will be great to meet all of you. As you can see, I’ve added some dates, and I’m getting quite a lot of emails because of Salon’s selection of The Cactus Eaters as part of its recommended summer reading list . Their other selections are When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris, The Importance of Music to Girls by Lavinia Greenlaw, and Swish: My QuestTo Become The Gayest Person Ever, by Joel Derfner, and Drunkard: A Hard-Drinking Life by Neil Steinberg. Now I’ll have to read all the books on the list (except, of course, for mine, which I’ve read about 134 times.) And here is that list of interviews and readings: June 11InterviewNational Geographic Weekenda weekly syndicated talk show….

My SF doppelganger

Apparently I bear a striking resemblance to another San Francisco-based author. Twice, I’ve gone into bookstores and have had employees launch into fandom freakouts — “oh my goodness. How fantastic that you would just drop in on us out of the blue. Let me get the manager! Oh, this is such a privilege. Would you like a coffee or something?” And then I’ve had to explain to them, sorry, I’m not that person, and then they slink off into various corners of the store. I’m thinking of shooting the guy an email to see if we can pose for a photo together. Then people will see that we don’t look completely alike. Or maybe I’ll just pretend to be him and try to steal his fans.

My Pacific Northwest sojourn

What an incredible three days. The last time I was up in your area, I arrived on foot and left on the Green Tortoise hippie bus (which all of you should try at least once in your lifetime. It’s crazy.) I started out in Bellingham, where I spoke at Village Books in the historic Fairhaven area. Bellingham is one of those towns that pays tribute to its past without ever looking like a ‘museum town.’ It felt very alive and real to me. Then I drove on to Seattle, where the Secret Garden bookstore and Ballard Branch of the Seattle Public Library organized a fantastic reading night — killer turnout, great questions, and I hope I convinced at least five or six people to try a through-hike on America’s greatest long-distance footpath. Then I rolled on to Portland, which was one of the biggest surprises of all. Of course, I…