Backing up a bit

I actually started (and, in a sense, finished) this road trip back in June, when I took a short vacation at Long Beach.  Living in Vancouver doesn’t put me on the west coast proper, so I thought it would be more correct to film my timelapse movie starting and ending at Tofino.  It also served as a road test for my new timelapse recording technique.

But more importantly, Long Beach is where I began.  In 1971, my parents were living with a small group of hippies in Schooner Cove, which is just south of Tofino.  My parents had built themselves a tree house out of driftwood, and that’s where I was conceived.  I went back to try and find my spawn point.

Schooner Cove is still somewhat isloated.  There is no road and no established trail going there anymore; you have to walk on the beach, and high tide cuts off access so you have to be careful about timing.

There is no sign of former habitation; the houses that were there were removed, and everything else is overgrown.  I believe I did locate the old trail head that led to my parents’ treehouse though – the house would have been a short walk in here, just to the left of the stream:

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And here is the view of Schooner Cove looking south from this point:

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Beautiful.  No sign of life.  Just the sound of the wind and the waves.  I could totally see camping out here.

See that rock just left of center?  My father crashed his Morris Minor there.  He was driving home across the beach when a wave swamped the car, and he wasn’t able to extricate it.  He had to abandon it, and the waves tore it apart.  When I was young (12, I think) my mother brought me back here and there was still a lump of rust there that would have been the engine block.  No sign of it this visit though – if anything remains, it was under five feet of sand.

I love Long Beach, but my memories of it are recent – a few from that visit when I was 12, and most from visits in the last few years.  My parents left the area before I was born – living on a boat north of Sechelt for a while, then around the time of my birth living in Vancouver.  I was born at St. Paul’s hospital downtown Vancouver, where by a sad coincidence my friend Erik Torstensson was treated just before he passed away a couple of years ago.

 

Coming back toward Vancouver, I passed through Coombs, home of the unjustifiably world-famous “place with the goats on the roof”.  It’s just a tourist gift shop with that one gimmick, but I lived there for a while.  I think it was related to the Long Beach visit when I was 12.  A friend of the family had offered my mother a job staffing a booth at the tourist mall going up next to the goat place.  Here’s what it looks like now:

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It wasn’t as well developed back then though – still early days, with just wood boardwalks on mud.  Anyway, we lived in a camping trailer next to the goat place while this business tried to take flight, and I was bored out of my mind.  Thankfully there was an arcade here at the time, and I spent much time playing Trojan (still have the first-level music memorized), but money was extremely tight and I really had to beg for that occasional quarter.  I was really glad I had brought a few of my favorite comics with me.

After a month, things didn’t seem to be picking up and no money was coming in, so we bailed out.  It kind of soured our relationship with that family for a while, but before we left we stayed with them for a a few days and I got to play with their Coleco Adam (only time I ever got my paws on one) and that was also the first time I got to play the excellent Pitfall II on the Atari VCS – spent many hours on that game.

 

And here’s the result of a little program I cooked up to correlate my GPS track with my iTunes recently played list, and mark up my travel maps with the music I was listening to at the time:

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