California 1987

Pacific coast odyssey

1987 is our second year of cohabitation. After a year in a modern condo by city hall we end up on the main floor of an old bungalow in the Oakridge neighbourhood. Moving in late April, we plant a garden in the tiny backyard, acquire two cats, Radha & Sita, celebrate our one year anniversary in the new place and plan a trip south to California.

In September we put our camping gear into the trunk of the Honda Prelude, cross the border at Peace Arch, drive south through Washington, turn right at the Columbia River, and follow the river to the Pacific coast. Through Oregon and California, we drive all the way to San Diego. Looking for adventure, we park the car and take a bus across the border, arriving in Tijuana in time for a cerveza and fish taco lunch.

Along the way, we spend time at Canon Beach, Sonoma Valley wine country, San Francisco, Disneyland, and San Diego.

We have lovely fall weather. The campgrounds are mostly empty. We run on long, wide beaches devoid of others. Just us and the gulls. Coffee back at the campground. A hot shower.

In San Francisco we camp across the bay in the hills above Oakland, in a pine forest. A basic campground. One other tenter.

In Orange County we end up in an urban campground across the street from Disneyland. It’s crowded and noisy, but functional.

On the way home we take an inland route to Yosemite National Park. It’s the park Ansel Adams made famous with his photos of the grey granite mountains.

We take many photographs, some better than others. We’re budding photographers and our cameras are pretty basic, but we have fun making memories.

Scanning them all these years later, I’m amazed the digital quality is as good as it is. They started as transparencies mounted on cardboard, called slides. Ectachrome, Kodachrome. We bought a projector and loaded the slides into round trays with 140 slots. A large portable screen allowed for summer evenings on the patio watching travel slides. Like being at a drive-in theatre.

The slide trays are long retired to the back of a basement closet at the cottage. Digital technology has rendered the trays and the projector obsolete. So the the memories live on, here in a travel blog, of all things. From completely manual SLRs to a website. Over 30 years of change. Photography, the world, Craig & I. All transformed by time.

The California trip is our first holiday together after India. A small car and a tent. BCAA maps and guides. Cats left behind with the basement tenant’s parents, who are visiting from Sask. In the photos we look like we are having a good time.


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