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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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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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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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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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Cubs clobber curse (but if I’m dreaming, don’t wake me)

Cubs clobber curse (but if I’m dreaming, don’t wake me)

So what do I do now? Over the decades I became practiced, even skilled at chronicling the epic failures of the Cubs. As a longtime fan raised in the Chicago area, I had lived through decades of futility, heartbreak and

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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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The Terminally Practical Person’s Guide to Choosing a Lifelong Pet

The Terminally Practical Person’s Guide to Choosing a Lifelong Pet

We ask a lot of questions before bringing a pet into the family.

Will our new pal get along with the kids? With our other animals? What does he eat? Will he shed, scratch or howl? But as we age, another question occurs: Is the darn thing going to outlive me?

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Rose Bowl dinner? Plate of humility with a side of excuses

Rose Bowl dinner? Plate of humility with a side of excuses

On the plus side, on January 1 I kicked one more item off my bucket list: Go to Pasadena and see my alma mater play in the Rose Bowl. On the minus, my actual bucket-list item was “See my alma

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Discount Love Affair is One for the Ages

Discount Love Affair is One for the Ages

He used to sneer at senior discounts. Now he can’t get enough of them.

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Thanksgiving IQ test: Ranking turkeys’ so-called brainpower

Thanksgiving IQ test: Ranking turkeys’ so-called brainpower

Yes, but how intelligent are they? It’s a fair question, but one that went unanswered in my lengthy discourse on wild turkeys last week. With Thanksgiving looming and humankind traditionally disinclined to eat animals that rate higher on the IQ

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Slow? No problem! Join the crowd at April 20th Old Mill Run

Slow? No problem! Join the crowd at April 20th Old Mill Run

Running was my religion 30 years ago, and I went to church a lot. Once I put in 150 days without missing a run. At my obsession’s peak, I’d log 70 miles a week, pounding pavement in rain, wind and

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Tuolumne County’s Road to Nowhere: Hang ‘Em High Way?

Tuolumne County’s Road to Nowhere: Hang ‘Em High Way?

“It doesn’t exactly roll off your tongue.” So said one critic when the Tuolumne County staff in November suggested naming a short road leading to the new Law and Justice Center site “Justice Center Drive.” County supervisors delayed their decision

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Want to Have the Last Word? Write Your Own Obituary

Want to Have the Last Word? Write Your Own Obituary

I’m having trouble getting started. “Give me a snappy lead,” my editors have urged for years. “Your first sentence should yank the reader right into the story.” But when that story is your own obituary, coming up with that clever,

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A Confessed Carnivore Survives His Salad Days

A Confessed Carnivore Survives His Salad Days

“Burger Bash” screamed the banner in front of Sonora’s Perko’s restaurant. The new McDonald’s at Standard suddenly doubled the Tuolumne County availability of Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese (750 calories before you get to the XXL fries and the two-gallon

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Wildfire Safety: How Advance Planning Can Help You Survive

Wildfire Safety: How Advance Planning Can Help You Survive

Summer heat puts the pastoral foothills under constant threat. Experts offer tips on protecting life and property when flames advance.

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Advice to the List-Less: Dream Big, Aim Low

Advice to the List-Less: Dream Big, Aim Low

I began to get the question as soon as I turned 65: “What’s on your bucket list?” Life expectancy tables say I have less than two decades left before I shuffle off. So friends are wondering whether I want to

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