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Posts From Chris Bateman

Eco-Friendly ELF Enchants

Eco-Friendly ELF Enchants

Rollin Winslow’s ride looks like the result of a cross-breeding experiment involving a bike, a tricycle, a vintage VW Beetle and maybe a golf cart.

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Bateman in SF Chronicle: Battle over pot intensifies in Calaveras County

Bateman in SF Chronicle: Battle over pot intensifies in Calaveras County

Best known for gold, jumping frogs and, more recently, tasty Zinfandels, this rural county (population 45,000), is a battleground in California’s marijuana wars.

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A juror’s take on service after 70

A juror’s take on service after 70

I never thought I’d actually be on a jury. For decades I was dismissed repeatedly by lawyers who would rather have an ebola carrier on their juries than a wiseacre, know-it-all journalist.

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Lee Stetson: Channeling John Muir

Lee Stetson: Channeling John Muir

Yosemite National Park owes its protected status to Scotland native John Muir’s advocacy in the late 1800s. The Sierra Club founder died more than a century ago but continues to inspire thanks in part to a 76-year-old actor.

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Rolling low and slow across the real America

Rolling low and slow across the real America

By Chris Bateman Amtrak’s Texas Eagle is on the outskirts of San Marcos, getting gas. It isn’t a scheduled stop. “But our locomotive is low on diesel and now we’re waiting for a tanker truck,” the conductor tells us over

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Peggy Morris: Gift of a Lifetime

Peggy Morris: Gift of a Lifetime

Three years ago, a stranger gave Peggy Morris a gift she can never repay. Her gratitude is heartfelt – and she has the medals to prove it.

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Sonora, Jamestown, Moccasin: Future border towns in State of Jefferson?

Sonora, Jamestown, Moccasin: Future border towns in State of Jefferson?

“So where do you live?” “Well, we’re down at the bottom of the panhandle,” answers a Sonoran. “Right on the California border.” Where you might find a wall. Or an international customs station. Or at least a sign welcoming you

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A shopping trip to die for

A shopping trip to die for

Buying one isn’t like shopping for a fridge or a big-screen TV – although it will be yours far longer than even the most reliable appliance.

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Help for Homeowners Facing Costly Tree Removal

TMAP will remove drought-stricken pines and cedars that could fall on or bring fire to the doorsteps of Tuolumne County homes. Eligible are older or disabled homeowners whose trees won’t be removed by county or PG&E programs and who can’t afford to pay for the work.

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Life in the Mother Lode, Translated for Flatlanders

Life in the Mother Lode, Translated for Flatlanders

This article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 10, 2017, and is reprinted here with permission. Link to the Chronicle story directly here: http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Welcome-to-Republican-California-a-land-unknown-10848826.php Welcome to Republican California, a land unknown to city dwellers By Chris Bateman You don’t

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Revamping city slogan: Dumb idea or more than a dumb idea?

Revamping city slogan: Dumb idea or more than a dumb idea?

After a Vision Sonora subcommittee revealed that early lead contenders for the new slogan were “A Small Town” and “More Than a Small Town,” I decided to get more informed fast.

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Lions Club to Help Homeowners Remove Dead Trees

Lions Club to Help Homeowners Remove Dead Trees

More than 29 million trees have died statewide. Tens of millions more are at risk in what Gov. Jerry Brown labeled “the worst epidemic of tree mortality in modern history.”

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Writer exits comfort zone to bare his soles and more

Writer exits comfort zone to bare his soles and more

A writer sheds his clothes and lives to tell about it.

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New Zealand cycle trek finale: Family tale to be continued

New Zealand cycle trek finale: Family tale to be continued

A dad looks back on time well spent.

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 12: All aboard for farewell climb over Alps

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 12: All aboard for farewell climb over Alps

Bateman’s Blog After 10 days of cycling on New Zealand’s South Island, Ben and I make the obvious decision: to do it again. But not on heavy touring bikes laden with gear. We’re not about to pedal up the same

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 11: You won’t believe what’s left hanging

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 11: You won’t believe what’s left hanging

Bateman’s Blog Wed., Feb. 10: Wanaka to Queenstown Distance: 50 miles Elevation gain: 25 feet After more than 40 years in journalism, you’d think my instincts would be better. Yet today I pedal right past a bra fence with nary a glance.

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 10: Riders find themselves up Kaka Creek

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 10: Riders find themselves up Kaka Creek

Our intrepid cyclists find themselves up a few creeks.

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Tommy Johnson: Spring Training

Tommy Johnson: Spring Training

As anyone who knows him can attest, Tommy Johnson’s a good talker. And when it comes to railroads, he knows what he’s talking about.

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Working Late: Attorney Cyril Ash, 91

Working Late: Attorney Cyril Ash, 91

With more than 65 years in the courtroom, Cyril Ash is one of California’s oldest practicing attorneys. For this 91-year-old Calaveras County resident, retirement has simply never held as much appeal as the law.

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 9: Nation’s ‘darkest, bloodiest secret’ revealed

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 9: Nation’s ‘darkest, bloodiest secret’ revealed

Bateman’s Blog Journalist Chris Bateman, 69, and son Ben continue their 500-mile ride across New Zealand, from Christchurch to Queenstown. Haast (Pop. 279) to Makarora (Pop. Much smaller than Haast) Distance: 107 kilometers. Net elevation gain: 1,052 feet  The elevation line

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 8: Comfort food powers pedalers through Southern Alps

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 8: Comfort food powers pedalers through Southern Alps

The cyclists we have met don’t care how long or short our ride is. They are helpful without fail, giving us tips on the roads, cafés and water sources ahead – along with plenty of encouragement.

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 7: Okarito to Fox Glacier

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 7: Okarito to Fox Glacier

Bateman’s Blog Journalist Chris Bateman, 69, and son Ben, 28, continue their 500-mile ride across New Zealand, from Christchurch to Queenstown. Okarito (Pop. 30) to Fox Glacier (Pop. 375) Distance: 51 kilometers.  Net elevation gain: 640 feet    We played tourist today,

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 6: The terrible trouble with possums

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 6: The terrible trouble with possums

Once we got to Okarito we found it had no restaurant and no store. And we had nothing left to eat in our panniers.

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 5: New saddle eases ride to Hari Hari

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 5: New saddle eases ride to Hari Hari

Here I am, riding through some of the most beautiful country on earth, and all I’m thinking about is how much my butt hurts.

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 4: Dodging kea and low-geared trucks

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 4: Dodging kea and low-geared trucks

Journalist Chris Bateman and son Ben make a white-knuckled descent from Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika.

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 3: In search of the mighty moa

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 3: In search of the mighty moa

Journalist Chris Bateman and son Ben make a nine-hour climb from Springfield to Arthur’s Pass.

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 2: Land of sheep, paintball and doughnuts

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 2: Land of sheep, paintball and doughnuts

Journalist Chris Bateman and son Ben journey from Christchurch to Springfield, enjoying the scenery and pie along the way.

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New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 1: Father and son embark on adventure

New Zealand cycle trek, Chapter 1: Father and son embark on adventure

A father-son cycling duo reprises a 2008 trek across the U.S., this time on New Zealand’s South Island.

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Facing the Butte Fire’s Terrible Toll

Facing the Butte Fire’s Terrible Toll

“We lost more than a house,” says Mary Anderson. “We had 37 years of our lives in that home.”

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A Grateful Nod to Those Who Sling the Slime

A Grateful Nod to Those Who Sling the Slime

When it comes to great neighbors, it’s tough to top the Columbia Air Attack Base.

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Ode to a beater truck

Ode to a beater truck

It happened in a Sonora parking lot. The Subaru’s driver obviously didn’t see my truck, because her Outback was heading for it full tilt – in reverse. By the time I hit the horn, it was too late. The SUV

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Water district puts rate hike on spin cycle

Water district puts rate hike on spin cycle

Say your girlfriend has leaned over backwards to please: For months she’s cooked your dinners, cleaned your house and put up with your quirky, irksome friends without a complaint. Yet you know your relationship is on borrowed time and that

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A Wild and Scenic Love Story

A Wild and Scenic Love Story

At 76, Don Potter and Marilyn McEwen are the oldest paddlers ever to complete the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. But their love story runs much deeper – back to a chance meeting in childhood, fishing poles in hand.

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Artist Profile: Rich Miller, Photographer

Artist Profile: Rich Miller, Photographer

“When you’re doing what you love, it’s not really a job,” says photographer Rich Miller.

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Artist Profile: Andy Enzi and Jeff Rapetti, Chainsaw Carvers

Artist Profile: Andy Enzi and Jeff Rapetti, Chainsaw Carvers

Growing up in the Mother Lode, Andy Enzi and Jeff Rapetti didn’t give art much thought. Yet today both are sculptors who make a living off their work.

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This air traveler’s emotional baggage won’t fit under the seat

This air traveler’s emotional baggage won’t fit under the seat

Can air travel make you cranky? Apparently so.

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Welcome, Swashbucklers, to the Realm of Legends and Lies

Welcome, Swashbucklers, to the Realm of Legends and Lies

For a while I was worried that no one would enter our Friends and Neighbors’ Tales of Adventure contest. After all, haven’t all the great adventures been taken?

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Record-Setting Streakers Top 13,000 Days

The Florida runner who inspired Carl DePolo, Robert “Raven” Kraft, 63, is still at it, having run eight miles a day for more than 14,500 consecutive days – nearly 40 years, according to the United States Running Streak Association. He’s

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Time for parched foothills to seek divine intervention?

Time for parched foothills to seek divine intervention?

  Now that we’ve gone O-for-January and not much better for February, maybe it’s time to rethink T.Y. Atkins’ proposal. Summerville Elementary School’s principal went before the Tuolumne Utility District Board last June and suggested that prayer just might be

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Bladdergate: Hetch Hetchy, media shame the wrong guy

Bladdergate: Hetch Hetchy, media shame the wrong guy

A Hetch Hetchy water planner got in big trouble at tiny Priest Reservoir last week. One of Martin Sanchez’s fellow San Francisco employees blew the whistle on him, filing an anonymous complaint with Hetchy higher-ups.  His conduct—reportedly repeated several times—was

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The skeptic’s guide to man hugs

The skeptic’s guide to man hugs

You lead with your right hand, ready to bid farewell to a fellow guest at your neighbor’s dinner with a firm shake. Then you look up, and the guy is advancing with both arms wide open. Yeah, you met him

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Scrooge McGrouch trash-talks Christmas

Scrooge McGrouch trash-talks Christmas

Now that it’s three weeks in our collective rear view mirror, is it OK to talk about the holiday season yet? I mean talk bad about it. Written evidence perhaps to the contrary, I’m no Scrooge. But I do have a

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In Part 2, Scrooge McGrouch embraces the holiday spirit

In Part 2, Scrooge McGrouch embraces the holiday spirit

As promised – and so you won’t think I’m a cheerless, scowling Scrooge all the time – below is my brief list of things I actually liked about last Christmas. Dorothea’s Christmas: First a confession: Back in ’93, in one of

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A victory for all hen lovers (except roosters)

A victory for all hen lovers (except roosters)

“Let them have chickens,” read a headline heralding the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors’ decision to allow backyard poultry on about 17,000 residential parcels.  “Unless they’re roosters,” the head should have continued, because Foghorn Leghorn and his noisy, randy ilk

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Proper incentives could speed Groveland’s search for new doc

Proper incentives could speed Groveland’s search for new doc

What will it take to lure a doctor to Groveland? That’s the question facing Sonora Regional Medical Center, which for months has been looking without success for a physician to open a full-time practice in the small (Pop. 601) Sierra foothill

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Battle of the backwoods barons

Battle of the backwoods barons

Are you a backwoods baron? Take this quiz to find out.

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Aiming for perfection? It’s much easier than you think

Aiming for perfection? It’s much easier than you think

Let’s talk perfection. A few years ago, it was pretty simple: In bowling, a perfect game was a 300 – 12 strikes in a row.  In pitching, it was 27 outs in a row – no hits, no walks, no

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A training guide for first-timers

A training guide for first-timers

Something went wrong with the dining car north of Eugene. “A mechanical problem,” said the steward. “We should have it repaired in Portland and be ready to serve you dinner.” But they didn’t, and instead we Amtrak passengers got take-out

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Confessions of an Uninformed Voter

I USED TO know everything about politics and elections. Friends would ask me how obscure state propositions would affect their pocketbooks and which cemetery district candidate would best take care of Aunt Mabel’s grave. But after 38 years on the

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Ken Brunges: Guardian of the Tree

Ken Brunges: Guardian of the Tree

It may not actually be “the oldest thing that God has wrought,” as a nearby monument proclaims. But for Ken Brunges, the Bennett Juniper is an honored elder worthy of respect – 26 years’ worth and counting.

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