Tag Archives: NorCal

In bloom.

Grand Lake42nd StreetNorthbeach

The neon flowers of the bay area are alive and well around every corner. I snap pictures like a tourist and occasionally spot a theme among the many. In this case, Bougainvillea that’s so healthy it’s become an architectural element. Just one of the many reasons I’m proud to call this place home.

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Nice Shot: Oddities

Welcome to the latest and long overdue addition to the Nice Shot series. It’s been a while.

It all started yesterday when I was reading about Tesla and Chevrolet jockeying for the #1 spot in “market value among U.S. automakers” which inspired a quick scroll through the local Craigslist. There I found an unusually high number of abandoned oddities that were most likely launched as an alternative to mainsteam when they were released. Edsel, Packard, International…something like the 50’s versions of a Tesla. Now I’m left wondering how those big batteries will age after being left in a field for sixty years?

International TruckPackardEdsel

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Shop party.

On my way out the door at my previous job in southern Missouri, my buddy Q had one piece of advice.

“Make sure you find out where Roy Brizio’s shop is and see if you can get a tour.”

As things fell into place and we slowly settled in San Francisco, I discovered Brizio’s was roughly 10 minutes from our apartment. Finally, a few weeks back, I made the pilgrimage. While I was there lamenting the old cars I’ve bought and sold over the years, the guy behind the counter mentioned their upcoming annual “shop party.”

I marked the calendar, put the flyer on the fridge and did a little dance around the house. I haven’t really infiltrated the “car scene” out this way yet and I figured this was a pretty good way to meet some like-mined individuals. Even if I didn’t make any friends, it’d be nice to break out of the Prius dominated world of San Francisco proper.

What I found was exactly what I expected. Friendly people. Beautiful machines. And quite a few old guys talking about horsepower and health conditions. It was just what I needed. For those who couldn’t be there, here’s a small collection of random snapshots from the event.

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Nice Shot: Third NorCal Installment

Did some digging around on Craigslist this weekend and found a whole bunch of wonderful oddities. A Hudson, a Studebaker and a 4×4 El Camino to be exact. It seems the universe is giving me all the random junk I need to continue the Nice Shot series.

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Nice Shot: First NorCal Installment

Up early this morning trying to beat the flu, I had an amazing revelation. Coast to coast, north to south, people collect and love old shit. It’s not a Midwest thing. It’s not a Southern thing. It’s an American thing. God bless our yards full of crap and our ability to post them on Craigslist for the world to see. It’s with great enthusiasm that I present to you some of Northern California’s finest vintage steel.

It seems the “Nice Shot” series can continue after all.

'54 Hudson

'61 DeSoto '52 Ford Wagon

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Two geeks and a tree.

Yesterday afternoon we trekked into the wilderness south of San Francisco. The destination was Frosty’s Christmas Tree Farm. My buddy wanted to harvest his own chunk of Christmas cheer and Woody and I are always excited for a car ride.

It was a beautiful afternoon. Fog hung in the valleys between tree-lined, single-lane roads. Following hand-made signs, we eventually found the entrance to Frosty’s. Drive through the gate and a friendly person hands you a saw—from there you’re left to roam the hillside. Some were having picnics. Others set their kids free and smiled while leaning on their BMWs. Families in massive SUVs splattered a little mud on their pearly white 4x4s. Soft San Franciscans in $400 hiking boots made their way through the thicket and felt like they were connecting with nature. All was well.

Us? We had a quick beer and went zigzagging through the shrubs. 30 minutes later, the tree was strapped to the car, Woody was leaving muddy paw prints all over the upholstery and the smell of pine hung thick in the air. It wasn’t until that exact moment that we realized the cut-your-own-Christmas-tree place was probably a cash-only establishment.

We slowly made our way toward the exit. I wasn’t sure how the whole thing would pan out. We approached a small shed where another friendly person was standing by with a bowl of candy canes. We explained the situation.

“No problem guys…just send us a check,” the guy at the exit responded, handing me an envelope with their address stamped on the outside. “Nobody trusts anybody anymore, but we’re not like that. We still trust people…have a good one.”

Suddenly it felt like Christmas. The spirit of the holiday started to shine through. The fact that two well-compensated dudes from the city couldn’t come up with $60 didn’t matter. We were dumb asses for being unprepared for the obvious, but thanks to the genuinely nice people  at the farm we weren’t ridiculed or judged. I was blown away and charmed.

For those of you who celebrate, Merry Christmas. And for those of you who celebrate and want a fresh-cut tree, I’d suggest a trip to Frosty’s. Just do them a favor and hit the ATM before you leave the city.

 

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