Keep your eye on the wall . . . it’s growing!

Photo: Maria Teresa Fernandez

Kimball Taylor and Bill Clinton’s wall. Photo: Maria Teresa Fernandez

Photo: Maria Teresa Fernandez

A Migrant. Photo: Maria Teresa Fernandez

Photo: Maria Teresa Fernandez

La Migra. Photo: Maria Teresa Fernandez

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The Coyote’s Bicycle is a finalist for the California Book Awards!

I can’t say what an honor it is to see The Coyote’s Bicycle nominated as a finalist for the California Book Awards, one of oldest and most prestigious awards in the country, and the first to recognize the talent of my hero, John Steinbeck. Many thanks to the Commonwealth Club of California.

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The Paperback Gets Its Proppers

Screen Shot 2017-01-12 at 1.16.16 PMScreen Shot 2017-01-12 at 11.54.18 AMWorld Literature Today calls The Coyote’s Bicycle “a landmark work.”

Lit Reactor says it “makes every reader feel affected by the plight of human trafficking.”

The paper back release finds a #1 in Latin America slot on Amazon.

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Photos from the reporting of “The Coyote’s Bicycle” #1

For most of my career, I’ve written for publications that are dominated by photography. While writing The Coyote’s Bicycle, I wanted to recreate the rarified worlds I’d discovered, in words only. I realize this can be a futile task, because we are such visual creatures. And in the end, it’s fun to see images of people and places behind the story. So I’ve decided to start publishing shots from the years of research it took to get this tale. I think people who’ve read the book will get more out of them, but hopefully the unique atmosphere of our southern border finds wider interest:

The phenomenon of thousands of care tires that wash across the Tijuana River, from Mexico into the United States, first brought me to the Tijuana River Valley.

The phenomenon of thousands of car tires that wash across the Tijuana River, from Mexico into the United States, first brought me to the Tijuana River Valley. The interesting thing about this migration is, these aren’t Mexican tires at all, but tires bought new and used by Americans. That is Los Laureles Canyon, Mexico, in the background. These are tires that came to rest in the U.S.

The Tijuana River Valley abuts the Pacific Ocean, where one broad beach is divided by the U.S. and Mexico. This fact causes all manner of strange things to wash up. (That's the bullring of Playas de Tijuana in the background. To the right of the frame can be found Tijuana Sloughs, the little-known birthplace of big-wave surfing.)

The Tijuana River Valley abuts the Pacific Ocean, where one broad beach is divided by the U.S. and Mexico. This fact causes all manner of strange things to wash up. (That’s the bullring of Playas de Tijuana in the background. To the right of the frame can be found Tijuana Sloughs, the little-known birthplace of big-wave surfing.)

This is the fence built under President Clinton's "Operation Gatekeeper" in the 1990s. It is constructed of temporary runway panels used in foreign conflicts. Migrants who cross over, under and through this boundary often etch their names and the date into the steel.

This is the fence built under President Clinton’s “Operation Gatekeeper” in the 1990s. It is constructed of temporary runway panels used in foreign conflicts. Migrants who cross over, under and through this boundary often etch their names and the date into the steel.

The Secure Fence Act of 2007 mandated multiple walls, fences and roads to be built next to the old one, which you can see to the right of Tijuana's International Road.

The Secure Fence Act of 2007 mandated multiple walls, fences and roads to be built next to the old one, which you can see to the right of Tijuana’s International Road.

The walls and fences are joined by Border Patrol agents in trucks, jeeps and on quads. Technology like drones, infrared cameras, laser trip-wires, and seismic sensors also aid to enforcement of the boundary.

The walls and fences are joined by Border Patrol agents in trucks, jeeps and on quads, who monitor everything that moves. Technology like drones, infrared cameras, laser trip-wires, and seismic sensors also aid to enforcement of the boundary.

So, you can see how I found it strange when I went to report on car tires, but discovered that locals were actually swamped with bicycles, bikes that were being used to cross the most fortified five-mile stretch of our 2000-mile border.

So, you can see how I found it strange when I went to report on car tires, but discovered that locals were actually swamped with bicycles, bikes that were being used to cross the most fortified five-mile stretch of our 2000-mile border.

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And these ownerless bikes were piling up . . .

. . . day after day.

. . . day after day.

The people who rode the bikes were nowhere to be seen.

The people who rode the bikes were nowhere to be seen.

But that doesn't mean, that they weren't watching . . .

But that doesn’t mean, that they weren’t watching . . .

 

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Learning “Me Like’em You” in Papua New Guinea

Last April, I traveled to Papua New Guinea to profile the work of Medevac pilot Mark Palm and his family. In an area with few permanent roads, great distances and lots of water, the Palms help patients from remote villages get to medical care. During the trip, tribal tensions ran high, revealing what’s at stake.

When someone in this riverside village requires medical attention, an aid worker must run for thirty minutes and then climb a tree before he can find cell phone reception. Hopefully, Medevac pilot Mark Palm can be found at the other end of the line. Photo Chachi

When someone in this riverside village requires medical attention, an aid worker must run for thirty minutes and then climb a tree before he can find cell phone reception. Hopefully, Medevac pilot Mark Palm can be found at the other end of the line. Photo Chachi

 

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The Big Dirty

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-11-44-18-amWest Coast cities do way too little to treat or effectively manage street runoff caused by average winter storms. As one source put it, we basically use the same technology for managing runoff that the Romans did: pipes and ditches that get polluted water to the ocean as fast as possible. This means gas, oil, heavy metals, insecticides, pesticides, viruses, and bacteria from animal and human waste are making their way to our beaches unabated. According to the Los Angeles Times, even super-bugs normally associated with hospitals are making their way into the system. Ocean use and tourism are some of the biggest economic drivers in the state of California. But swimmers and surfers are getting sick, some are even dying. As I found in my research, there are relatively cheap and effective infrastructure solutions that cities could put in place right now. The question is: why accept the current the 72 hour ban on ocean use after a storm? Why not work towards an ocean environment that is healthy most of the time? Read more about in my Surfer magazine article “Contagion Present.”

 

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Coyote Excerpt on Vice Media’s Motherboard

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 11.52.46 AMClick the image above to link to the excerpt

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Q&A with the Union-Tribune

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/feb/21/kimball-taylor-coyotes-bicycle-interview/

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/feb/21/kimball-taylor-coyotes-bicycle-interview/

 

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The Coyote’s Bicycle in Hardcover

Picture 6

Available at Powells, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and wherever fine books are sold.

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Surfing Central Africa

A few months ago I traveled with crazy Basque surfer Kepa Acero and Californian Dane Gudauskas to surf the central African coast. Thanks to the hard work of conservationists like Mike Fey, in parts of Gabon, primal forest still laps up on white sand beaches. Elephants and hippos walk on the sand, and at times, the land seems more wild than the sea. Surfer magazine made a short clip about the trip:

 

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