Hawks & Prior. I was here for two nights, hoping to run into some other vandwellers… this is right by Strathcona Park, there’s usually one or two camper vans parked there overnight. The vans were there but I didn’t see anyone when I got up.
This is also right beside Strathcona Community Gardens. There’s not a whole lot going on in the gardens yet, but at the back behind all the plots full of scraggly dead stuff from last fall I found the apple tree collection: 12 rows with 8 different varieties in each row, almost a hundred different kinds of apples! Worth a visit even if just for the cool names.
I wasn’t expecting my trip to the island to be relevant to the blog at all, but of course life’s full of surprises. First I spent three days at my mom’s, helping out around the house and eating super-yummy food, catching up with Victoria peeps in between times. Then spent a night at a friend’s house in Victoria, followed by a train trip to Nanaimo to spend a day or two with my cutie-pie. Except I wasn’t in Nanaimo ten minutes before she whisked me off to another part of the island entirely to meet a true nomad, Hitchhike Mike. Mike has been travelling and living outside for over two and a half decades, collecting stories and ideas and friends, and I don’t think I’ve met anyone happier. He’s a driftwood artist: he’s spent years hand-splitting cedar logs that he finds on the beach and building them into forest homes for himself. Currently he’s living in a cabin with “real glass windows”, building miles of enchanted trails and playthings on the unbelievably beautiful property that it’s a part of. He was incredibly warm and welcoming to Leona and I, invited us to stay the night and took us on a tour the next morning. He showed us his ‘amphitheater’ staircase, another staircase that forced you to place your feet in funny places like a dance instructor, a huge fishnet hammock/trampoline, a fifty-foot hollow tree stump that he built rungs inside to climb up the middle, and many swings, benches and lookouts designed to help appreciate the incredible rocky coastline. Unforgettable.
Have you ever noticed when you’re introduced to something you’ve never seen before you start seeing it everywhere?
I’m sure they’ve always been around, but those big american vans from the seventies— you know, they have tall fibreglass roof extensions with little windows in them, and a lot of them seem to be growing algae— well all of a sudden they’re everywhere. And here’s the really weird thing: I think… I think… I think I’m starting to think they’re beautiful!!!
Anyway the reason I bring it up is, it finally occurred to me those are not peoples’ daily commuter vehicles: people live in them. Which means there are other vandwellers, maybe lots of them.
So now I have another goal for this project: to start meeting these people, to find the secret vandwelling society and become a member, and start going to their parties! I’ll keep you posted.
Unless of course the initiation involves a vow of secrecy, in which case you may never hear from me again…