California Road Trip – Part 1

Hello Napkin Kin!

I’ve been gone on an epic solo road trip to Berkeley, California and back.  It was 9 days, 3,675 miles and 62 hours in the car.  I took 2.5 days to get there and 3 to get back with 3 and 1/2 days in Berkeley visiting my daughter Chelsea and partner Graham along with my first Grandson, Otis!  

I didn’t post here during the trip because I posted on instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr instead. I figured I would show you the pics in 2-3 posts.


I have done similar trips before where I pushed it to 2 days and even 30 hours straight but I decided to do a little Airbnbing this time around.  Do you know what is? It’s an online room renting service.  I first used it back in 2012 for 4 days in New York City when I spoke at Blog World. I rented a room in a little apartment in the West Village and loved it. So on this trip I not only found rooms on the trip out and back but stayed 4 days in Berkeley at an Airbnb home as well. Chelsea and Graham live in a studio apartment with a newborn so staying with them was NOT going to be happening.

So, here are the pics from the way out + some bonus ones only YOU get to see. Aren’t you special?!


Day One


I was also pulling a trailer full of furniture on the way out.  It was a couple of beds, a dresser and miscellaneous tables for them to put in their little studio space. I started off on Saturday around noon after coaching my running group. I ran 9 miles which I thought wouldn’t be so long a run as to make a long road trip immediately afterward unbearable. I was right, my legs and the drive were fine.  My goal was to get to Albuquerque, New Mexico by 10pm or so.



I wasn’t deep in the heart of Texas, more along the edge, but the Panhandle is about as Texas as it gets.  I loved the simple design of the two stars, one a shadow cutout, the other a window to the sky.  Texas has some of the best tourist info areas, always well designed and interesting.


Texas Information Center, Texas Panhandle




If you are wondering of West Texas is a flat as they say?  Yes, it is.



I hit the New Mexico border at sunset and was able to grab a shot of the sun setting in the Land of Enchantment.



Day Two




The flowers outside my first stop, an Airbnb room in Albuquerque, were amazing – especially after the sun rose and they were brightly lit.



I took off early and as I turned my first corner leaving town I found this rising to greet me as the day dawned.



Later in the day I hit the high desert area of California. The Mojave Desert to be exact. It’s not all one big sand dune, most deserts aren’t actually. But it is arid and stark. But that arid starkness leads to incredible beauty and exquisite design.



This was taken in Boron, California. When I was a kid there was a cleaning product called 24 Mule Team Borax. I always knew it came from here, Boron in the high desert. And now I’ve seen it.



Screen shot 2014-09-16 at 8.55.00 AM


I spent night 2 at a fantastic Airbnb location in Tehachapi, California. It is also in the high desert, at the western edge right before you travel down into the central valley and Bakersfield.  Richard was my host and he was attentive, interesting and engaging.  We talked about our mutual lives (he had lived 40 years in Hawaii as a dive instructor) before I went to bed. 

The house was built by a silent screen star named Thelma after her retirement in the 60s and he had spent the past year doing renovations to the place. It was immaculate.



Day 3




He had an indoor pool that I was able to swim in in the morning. It is solar heated and was fantastic. Yes, that is a rubber ducky in my hand and no, that is not my tail coming out behind me.



My first official stop in California was at the home of Cyndi and Darrell Blaschak in Livermore.  Cyndi is the younger sister of my exwife Kathy.  In addition to furniture for Chelsea I had brought on piece, an old sled bed, for Kathy as well. She had left it with me when she had moved back to California from Tulsa in 2004 or so. And now, 10 years later, I was bringing it back. Unfortunately Kathy lives far north of San Francisco and I wasn’t able to get all the way up there so I dropped it off at Cyndi’s house for safe keeping.  

It was great to see Cyndi and Darrell again.  I started dating Kathy in 1979 when Cyndi was only about 14 years old so I have known her a long time. She is now a mother of 3 as well as an incredibly active athlete.



And then finally I had arrived at my destination, Otis.  Yes, I was going to Berkeley, but I was really going to Otis. He’s only 6 weeks old here. After our introductions Mr. Otis settled down and started to get used to Papa Marty.



Since I still had the trailer attached to the car I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find a parking place at my Airbnb spot nearby. So Chelsea and I hiked the Berkeley Hills for close to a mile to find the spot. On the way Mr. Otis went to his very first library. It was a free library on the street.



Chelsea, Otis and I had dinner at Cafe Gratitude. I chose the ‘I am Humble’ for my dinner but I felt Iwas all those things as I watched my daughter take care of my first Grandson. 



As we walked home the sun fired it’s last rays into the Berkeley sky.  I am blessed.




Tomorrow - Road trip part 2, days 4-6.



What’s Your Appetite for Money? – Wealth #7



Wealth #7 2014

Prosperity Doctrine

In American Christianity, there is a sect that preaches what is known as the ‘Prosperity Doctrine’.  In essence it says simply, God want you to be prosperous and if you obey him properly you will be.  This is actually not a new phenomenon.  At the beginning of Christianity you have Jesus preaching again and again about money and it’s trappings. Why did he preach on that? Because it was a big problem in the society he lived in just as it is now.

What Money Gets You

People want a lot of money because it will give them security.  You can have an alarm system on your house to keep Miss Scarlet from breaking in and hitting you on the head with a candlestick in the library. 

People want a lot of money because it will give them prestige and power.  You can join a Country Club and get your photo in the Society Page of the local paper.

People want a lot of money because they can then purchase fancy things that stimulate their senses. You can buy his and her fragrance producing drones to hover over your side of the bed at night.

When Money Gets You

And that is what Jesus, among other sages past and present, have warned against. It’s not money that is the problem, it’s the constant desire for more of it that is.  And the supposed cure, having enough money, is actually the thing causing the disease since it turns out riches enlarge, rather than satisfy appetites.




Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote is Anonymous



Acquiring Time – Wealth #6


I thought I was done, but I was not. Here’s #6 in the Wealth series


Wealth #6 2014


Time Immemorial

Long, long ago wise men and women in many different parts of the world discovered that obsessing with wealth often backfires.  The person spends his or her days accumulating, all the while not realizing their death is right around the corner.  Even the mightiest and wealthiest can be felled at any moment.  Alexander the Great died after an illness of just a few weeks. He was 32 years old and had just recently finished conquering the known world up to that point.  All that wealth and power didn’t help him against a microbe they now think was the Bird Flu, carried by ravens who were documented as having been acting strangely and dying all around his home in the days and weeks leading up to his death.

Money, Money, Money

So what does that mean? Aren’t we suppose to gather money? Isn’t it important for our well being, our retirement, our health?  I never get the message that we aren’t suppose to have money and prepare. The message I have always received, from Christianity, other religions and secular sources of wisdom, is to be a good steward, always recognizing money, goods, health, jobs, everything, can be taken away in a heartbeat.

This does not make me depressed as it might. It makes me feel at peace because I know I can deal with whatever comes.  It might not be easy, or comfortable or understandable.  But I can get through it because I don’t place my being in the hands of money, I place it in the hands of the universe.


Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Script is from the quote, “It was told to a sage that a certain person had acquired great wealth.  He said, “Has he also acquired the days in which to spend it?”
Author is Solomon Ben Judah Ibn Gabirol, 1021-1069, Spanish poet



Drowning in Wealth – Wealth #5



wealth #5 2014


I was raised in a very wealthy community, Darien, Connecticut, during my Jr. High and High School years. There was a LOT of money around.  One thing I noticed as I was growing up was having that money gave no immunity to family problems.  Yesterday I mentioned that having great wealth can exacerbate problems and having been in that world for a while is how I know it’s true.  

After those teenage years my family’s financial situation balanced out to a much more average middle class existence.  I went off to college and was pretty much on my own.  All the usual things a college age kid goes through, crappy apartments, ramen noodles, part time or full time jobs doing dishes or bussing tables, I did them.  On top of that I got my degrees in Art, simply the BIGGEST money making degree one can get, right? uh huh.

Lowered Expectations, Higher Satisfactions

The result was getting married and raising a family with no where near the money my parents had. Luckily I didn’t obsess about wealth or having a lot of money. But I did have to learn that with my limited income and a growing family I had to be much more frugal with our resources than I initially thought.  I learned a number of great lessons from having to make that adjustment.

  • Doing things your self instead of hiring someone else to do it is satisfying.
  • Giving away a portion of what you make (even when it’s not a lot) to causes and people you believe in and who need help is satisfying.
  • Living life simply without garish and ostentatious displays of wealth and ego is satisfying.
  • Knowing my family and I can make do no matter what is satisfying.

The Lake of Satisfaction

The truth is you don’t drown in money when you have a lot of it. You drown in alcohol or boredom or stress or greed or ego or promiscuity or any number of other things.  And how that happens usually revolves around a desperation to keep ahold of ALL the money.  That leads to an intense level of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

If you can open the gates of the dam and let go of that money that is overflowing  (and more is overflowing than you probably realize) you will be better able to enjoy the lake of Satisfaction instead of drowning in it.



Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote by Muhammed Ibn Zafar Al – Siqilli, 1104 – 1172, Italian Political Theorist


“Wealth is like water. They who do not open a dam to carry off its overflow drown in it.”

The Wretched Rich – Wealth #4


You will have to live with the fact that today is day $4 of our Wealth Series!


Wealth #4 - 2014


Are The Rich Different?

I don’t think they are. I think they just have more ways to get in trouble than the average Joe or Josephine.  Where I might be able to splurge on a new TV I really shouldn’t buy. A wealthy person can splurge on a new mansion full of TVs or if REALLY wealthy, a whole TV station.

Dead Broke

In an interview recently, Hillary Clinton said that when they left the White House they were dead broke.  The reason it turned into a gaffe was that the ‘Clinton’s ‘dead broke’ and the average American’s ‘dead broke’ is vastly different.  They were still able to buy a huge house in a very tony area of the New York suburbs. They both had the ability to lecture for $200,000.00 dollars a pop.  They both had the ability get paid to sit on corporate boards or start foundations that would pay them.  They may have had a cash flow issue, even the biggest and brightest companies and individuals can have that happen, but they were not dead broke.


And that’s what is meant in this quote. It would be wretched to be wealthy but still have a middle class approach to using money but have to live among those who indulge in an ostentatious and garish use of money. Of course all wealthy people aren’t that way.  Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest men in the world and he still lives in the modest house he was born and raised in in Omaha, Nebraska.  That is one of the main reasons he is about as popular of a wealthy person as you will ever find.

OK, I’ll Take the Chance

The last few ‘wealth’ posts I did last week got responses where the contributor said something like, “Yes, it could be a problem being wealthy, but I think I would take the chance.”  Me too.  I would be willing to try being super wealthy, running the wretched risk.  But I would always want to remember that whatever I am not, good and bad, will only be increased with great wealth.  

It’s a good reason to practice the good and put away the bad as often as possible….just in case the wealth comes in!



Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote by Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 – 1946, American-born British essayist and critic.


“The wretchedness of being rich is that you have to live among rich people”