To launch a TV talk show of adventures on Channel 17, Van Stein and I journeyed by car to The Un-findable Town: Bolinas, an eccentric coastal community forty-five minutes north of San Francisco.
Al Capone summered there to keep an eye on booze imports by boat from Canada during Prohibition.
Grace Slick still resides in the old Jefferson Airplane house.
It is also where the Novelist Richard Brautigan, famous for Trout Fishing in America, killed himself.
In the 1960s, a bunch of hippies moved into Bolinas from San Francisco.
Five decades later, the town is theirs, or so they believe—and they don’t like strangers. (So much for peace and love).
Many years of too much LSD and other substances fueled a paranoia resulting in the Bolinas Border Patrol, a local militia that removes all road signs pointing the way to their enclave.
We found it anyway, even though a half-dozen natives tried to obstruct our entry with their motor vehicles by making U-turns and driving backwards.
The only lodging in town belongs to Smiley’s Schooner Saloon, which is also the only saloon in town.
We nailed two rooms. No bells, no whistles—forget about room service.
About two in the morning, Van Stein set up an easel outside.
A few minutes after he started to paint, high winds caused the power to blow.
The artist watched in horror as drunken locals messed with the electrical transformer, causing it to spray an array of sparks at the old wooden motel structure out back.
But whatever they did worked. The lights came back on, allowing Van Stein to finish his painting.