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December 14th, 2011

For the past week or so I’ve been in Fort Bragg and Mendocino, doing a series of book events arranged by an amazing woman named Ruth Sparks, who should really be our next president.  She’s the one who drove that crowd into a great store called Cheshire books, pictured here. That’s me, looking uncharacteristically slim, silhouetted in the window.

Munyin and I drove up, with a stop in Berkeley to see our friends Morgan and Suzanna and eat too much at their house.  Then we drove the approximately 8,000 miles of Highway 128, which twists and twists and twists through the world’s most spectacular old-growth redwood forest, to connect 101 with the Coast.

I was ecstatic at the beauty and Munyin was trying to keep her breakfast in the past tense.  She gets carsick in a driveway, and Highway 128 is really out of the question for the motion-sick.  I dropped her for some recovery time at the spectacular hotel Ruth had arranged for us and sprinted for Cheshire books, where I nattered and rambled about writing.

I think I said, “And one more thing” at least 245 times during the talk.

One of the views from our hotel.

The next day, I did a presentation on THE QUEEN OF PATPONG for the members of Ruth’s book club, as well as some visitors who hadn’t gotten enough of me at Cheshire Books.  Ruth took a room at Viraporn Thai Restaurant, and actually hand-made mango and sticky rice for dessert.  I did the Power Point thing about the path to Bangkok for the women who work in the bars and got some great questions.

Me, before eating too much at Viraporn.

Later that day, I talked to a clamoring audience of three at the Fort Bragg Public Library, about how one finishes a novel, if one is dumb enough to start one.  Then Ruth and her husband, Joe, and Munyin and I went to a very nice restaurant and ate too much.

On the next day, I did a presentation, with visuals, about Bangkok to the Rotary Club, which intends to hold its 2012 World Meeting there.  I revised the presentation originally created for BREATHING WATER, pulled out references to the book, and added info about the current political situation and the recent floods.  No one walked out, so I guess it worked.

And that night, Ruth and Joe took Munyin and me to the amazingly beautiful Fort Bragg Botanical Gardens, which were all lighted up for the holidays.   Here are Joe, Ruth, and Munyin in front of one of the lighted displays.

The next day, Ruth and I did ten minutes on local television.  And after eating too much that night, Mun and I turned around to head South again.  The entire time we were there, people offered Munyin ideas for preventing motion sickness on the drive out, and here she is, leaving the room and looking like someone whose middle name is Incognito.

Medicated Munyin

What you can’t see is that she’s taken motion-sickness pills, is wearing an acupressure bracelet to prevent motion sickness, has a slice of fresh ginger tucked into her lower lip, and has inserted a single ear plug.  She also kept her eyes on the yellow line all the way out, and never even hiccupped.   Now all we have to do is figure out which remedy worked.

I want to say thank you to all the wonderful people of Fort Bragg and Mendocino, and especially to Ruth and Joe Sparks.  I can’t wait to go back up.  And I am now officially on a diet.

9 Responses to “Back Home”

  1. Ruth Sparks Says:

    What a treat it was to have Tim Hallinan visit Fort Bragg, out here on the edge of the world. Tim talks as well as he writes–we were dazzled by his impromptu wisdom and commentary. It was a privilege to get to know both Tim and Munyin.

    Devoted Fans, Ruth and Joe Sparks

  2. EverettK Says:

    But… did they have any decent restaurants? Did you go hungry?

    I agree, northern California’s redwood forests are truly one of the great places on earth. But then, I’m a forests-kind-of-guy, so what else would I think?

    You should have spent another week and driven up into Oregon. I’d have broken your fast and treated you to lunch or dinner or both. 🙂

  3. Pat Browning Says:

    Sounds like a spectacular trip. I hope you sold a trillion books. Great photos, by the way. Thanks for sharing.

    While you were dancing the fandango with your fans I was locked in a life-or-death struggle with Google. I now have a new e-addy and a new blog URL. Some faceless hacker somewhere in this world caused me untold grief.

    Whine, whine —

    Pat Browning

  4. Sharai Says:

    How can I entice you to appear at our Georgetown, CA library? It’s not quite as nice as Fort Bragg’s but our librarians are cuter and I can promise you at least seven in the audience – GUARANTEED!

  5. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    I’m glad you had a great time, and all those wonderful meals. I can really relate to Munyin’s car sickness. California roads really test your fortitude. I find it helps when I’m driving, although I drove Highway One south from Mendocino because I wanted to see Fort Ross, and I found myself driving very carefully. Just like Big Sur, only colder. This is not a good time of year to start a diet, you know.

  6. Mike Schimmer Says:

    I mistook Fort Bragg for the Army installation in North Carolina, which implied a trip to the East Coast. Bad luck for me, but glad it was a good trip. Kudos to Ruth Sparks for orchestrating a smash event. Perhaps she’d like to run for Governor?

  7. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, everyone — Have been going through a lot of catch-up (611 unanswered e-mails? A book I didn’t even think about while I was up there?) and I’ve let this slide. Sorry about that.

    Mike, When I looked up travel directions to Fort Bragg, my first reaction was, HOW many thousand miles? Turns out to be a beautiful drive. And I’d put Ruth directly into the White House.

    Lil, it was wonderful. I would have taken Hwy 1, too, but we had a date in Berkeley and didn’t want to miss it. This is a GREAT time of year to start a diet if you don’t want to be five pounds heavier when you finally do start it.

    Sharai, I would appear in bunny costume at Walmart if asked. I’m going to Ashland, Oregon, in May — maybe we can arrange a stop going up or coming back down.

    Pat, it really doesn’t seem fair that while I was being wined and dined, you were being whined and dimed-out by Google. Life really does suck at times. But let’s hope your 2012 (did I really just write that?) is sensational.

    Everett, they have some great restaurants, great bakeries, and great food in general, which is one reason I’m now on a diet. I’ll be in Ashland in May, so maybe we can meet up then. I should be smaller around the equator then, too.

    Ruth — you and Joe are the best.

  8. EverettK Says:

    Ashland is BARELY in Oregon, but let me know your schedule, and I might be able to arrange a trip. My wife’s sister lives in Klamath Falls (also barely in Oregon, just further east), so I might be able to con… er… convince, that is, my wife to a long car trip. 🙂

  9. Ruth Sparks Says:

    Still dancing the Fandango here in Fort Bragg with the “buzz” on-going telling tall tales of Tim’s charm, wit and conquests (every one of the FIVE people at the Library!!)And lots of enthusiasm about his Mendocino Rotary talk and praise that it was “the BEST meeting ever!” of the 15 year old Book Group. The Great Thai food helped but it was definitely the Great commentary about The Queen of Patpong from Tim that made it BEST! Every Poke book should have available the kind of Reader’s Guide questions that Tim discussed!!
    So, Hello Everett K, Pat, Sharai, Lil and Mike. Are we all driving to Ashland May 11 to hear Tim or elsewhere?? Where next, Tim? Thanks!! Ruth & Joe

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