THE LOST COAST

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California’s Lost Coast stretches from Fort Bragg north to Eureka. It is the most remote coastal area in the state where mountains seem to rise from the sea leaving only wild, narrow strips of beach. Steep terrain and a hundred inches of rain each year made building major roads too much of a challenge. A handful of hardy, independent residents claim land ownership and many live ‘off the grid’ with private water wells and solar, wind, or no electricity.

Three bored men have made a sport of robbing and humiliating tourists. They find Lost Coast visitors camping on isolated beaches and, at the point of a sawed-off shotgun, take everything the visitors possess except their underwear. With no phones and no vehicle keys, victims must hike to a road and wait for help. They report the robbery and leave the area embarrassed and angry.

Private Investigator Dan Ballantine and his dog, Penny, leave his fifth-wheel trailer and his new truck at the Shelter Cove R V Park and ride his dual purpose motorcycle on a Tuesday morning exploration. When they return from a walk on an empty beach at Mattole Point, Dan becomes the robbers’ latest victim. The men take his motorcycle, his money, his clothes, and his Smith & Wesson revolver.

Dan and Penny walk a mile down the beach and ask a surf fisherman for help. He gives them a ride.

The robbers made a mistake. Dan has a spare pistol, the time to search for them, and the motto: Don’t be a victim.

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