Northwest Coast Trip Epilog

It’s a sunny summer morning here in Louie’s shop, and I’m looking through my notebooks from the trip for a few out-of-sequence trip notes and thoughts, before heading south for home. I’m homesick! (However I plan a brief stop-off to skateboard at Sea Ranch, where thanks to a sympatico friend who lives there, I now have a pass to be on the grounds.)

Three Quotes (I ran across while on this trip)

“Creativity is the ability to go from failure to failure with undiminished enthusiasm.”

-Winston Churchill

(This resonates with me!)

“Genius is the ability to observe something until it reveals its nature.” – Sir Isaac Newton

(When I read Lloyd House the Churchill quote, he snorted and muttered something not complimentary about Churchill and recited the above Newton quote, and it’s a perfect guideline for his work, where he has found say a piece of unique wood on the beach and has studied it until it reveals to him how to use it in a building.

“Well building hath three conditions:

• Commodity

• Firmness

• Delight”

-Sir Henry Wooten

(This from John Raabe. “Commodity” in the sense of “commodious,” “firmness” meaning well-built, and — delight, yes!

Migration South to North

People can sell their home in say Santa Barbara or the Bay Area for big bucks and move north and buy a nice house and have a lot of $$ left over. It’s happening in all the great little towns up the coast. Home prices are rising. Ferndale is a pretty little town just south of Eureka, most of the buildings Victorian, set in a dairy farming valley. I like Ft. Bragg, it’s still a working town, unlike Mendocino, which I think is disgusting in its precocious sell-out to tourism. There are special towns all over the country (also islands) that are typically first found by artists, then discovered by the gen’l public and prices escalate. There were a lot of places discovered by hippies in the ’70s that were cheap back then and spiralling out of sight now.

This is Not the Bay Area

Had a beer in a The Ice Bar, a biker bar in Vancouver, WA. A huge Harley-man sitting at the stool next to me had the scarf-on-head and a biker coat that had decals on the back, one of which was a confederate flag, with the message: “Try burning this flag, asshole.”

Three-dot Journalism

I got to Pt. Townsend, Oregon on a rainy morning. Had been there before, but hadn’t looked around. It’s been getting the typical tourist treatment and influx of out-of-staters for some time now, but it’s a big place and a thriving seaport and there are still lots of workers and true sea people there…In his last email before I left on this trip, Godfrey said he hoped my trip north would be “fraught with adventure.”…On this trip I slept in my truck or at friends’ houses 8 nights, otherwise I stayed in motels. I’ve sort of had it with B&B’s; I don’t really want a room filled with antiques. I prefer a characterless clean motel room (with wi-fi preferably)…There’s nothing like going down a road you’ve never been on before. I’m hunting, scanning the landscape for barns, houses, anything of graphic interest. In shooting buildings I try to show them at their best, from the most complimentary angle. It takes a lot of stalking…Builder Tom Larsen wonders why no one has built a house with baled newspapers, like straw bales. He says they won’t burn.Hmmmm…

Sweet Home

I love the places I visited on this trip. Victoria is a spectacular, clean, uncrowded, mellow city, the Gulf Islands are beautiful and peaceful and fertile, the people in B.C. are wonderful, and yes I do like the excitement of travel and seeing new places and meeting new people BUT on the way home when I headed out of the hot Sacramento Valley to Boonville and started the climb over the mountains to Pt. Arena and the ocean, something kicked in: home turf. Boy, I’m excited to be back.

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:

One Response to Northwest Coast Trip Epilog

  1. Lloyd:

    Thanks for stopping by up here in quiet little Langley, WA. I have a couple of quotes for you…

    "Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true." – Robert Brault.

    "Reality is whatever refuses to go away when I stop believing in it." – Phillip K. Dick.

    (PS – this is a nice little blogging program. Easy to read, clean, easy to leave comments. Did you guys write this or is it available?)

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