End of 3-week Northwest Coast Trip

On Saturday (this is Tuesday), I spent the night at architect John Raabe’s house on Whidbey Island, Washington. John runs a unique website offering home building plans inexpensively, and has a great builders’ forum:


The next morning I caught a ferry to the mainland. They had a cop with dog sniffing under all the cars waiting to get on the ferry, looking for explosives. Ah me! I drove through to Seattle (Mt. Rainier is magnificent, it dominates the landscape in that part of the world) and then down to Medford Oregon, slept a few hours in the truck and then dropped in on my friends Bill and Judy Pearl at 5:30 AM in their gym, where I knew they’d be. We had breakfast and then yesterday I headed south. It was HOT. I stopped in Redding, and trespassed on an upscale trailer park land to get access to the swiftly-flowing Sacramento river, jumped in, and it was ice water! Talk about refreshing. Then about two hours later, I detoured off Hwy 5 to the town of Colusa, where I’d lived off and on as a teenager, found the old swimming beach and swam in water that was about 20 degrees warmer. Then decided to come back to Louie’s place on the way home, finish off this blogging from the trip, show Louie some of the pix, and start trying to figure out to do with this ton of wonderful material I’ve amassed. For one thing, there is a whole new level up building in the northwest. It was like stepping on another planet.

Did I mention the last builder I met, Bruce Atkey? Bruce is a big strong surfer dude/builder who lives in a little cabin overlooking one of the northwest coasts lesser-known surf breaks and has built cabins and houses on remote sites along the west coast of Vancouver Island (north of Tofino), felling and splitting all the wood on-site. 40 miles by boat to get there.) He’s also building a steel sailboat from scratch, almost finished (maybe 35′ or so). To see and photograph Bruce’s work and Lloyd House’s place (also reachable only by boat), Bruce offered to take me in his speedboat out of Tofino if I would pay for gas. Would I! We’ll either do it this fall or next spring. There could be a book on just these northwest coast builders.Hmmmmm….

Then there is the art work of Chief Tony Hunt. What a book this would make. I’m going to visit Tony on my next trip to Vancouver and talk about the reality of such a book. His art still has the awesome power of the coast’s native people. And how about this: Tony recently built a “long house” for the Salish and Ontario people in Ft. Rupert, Vancouver Island with carved corner posts of logs 4-1/2 feet wide, 22 feet high. The building is 80′ by 120′ and seats 1300 people.

Well, that’s it f-f-f-f-folks. Over and out from Louie’s this sunny afternoon. I’m gonna go jump in the local river.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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