Category Archives: VW Vans

Gone Fishin’

Yesterday we closed the office here at Nathanguitars, due to various pressing issues:

  1. the Westy had to go in for a new water pump ($600)
  2. we needed new material for our ongoing series of watercolour sketches (see sketch below)
  3. my son and I went fishing (no luck)
  4.  there was nothing else to do (???)
    sketch #1 - June 27/16

    sketch #1 – June 27/16

    Today is more of the same, only I don’t know yet just what that will be precisely. However, directly after breakfast we began a short series of poems typed on index cards:

    1-Document (12)


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Filed under Fishing, Poetry, Sketching, Typewriters, VW Vans

Haiku Sketchbook June 17

Mt Fuji painted

Hokusai, thirty six times

Me, BC Leg three

not hokusai #1

9 am: not hokusai #1

not hokusai #2

10 am: not hokusai #2

not hokusai #3

11 am: not hokusai #3


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On Tour Sketchbook

We just did the fairly annual week of the Juan de Fuca Festival in Port Angeles, followed by a few days off camping.

Leroy Bell

Leroy Bell

The festival was great this year; we saw many amazing acts, like Leroy Bell here, an amazing songwriter and singer.

wide beaches here

wide beaches

Then we headed off to the wild Pacific coast to camp.

did I mention you can drive on this beach?

did I mention you can drive on this beach?

June is never particularly warm around here, but we lucked out for a few days with lots of sunshine. I swam in Lake Quinault, which was freezing cold, but after a while I just went numb to it and it was wonderful.

Lake Quinalt

Lake Quinault

There weren’t any good typewriters in the few antique shops I found, but there was an interesting old LC Smith on display in Olympic Stationers in P.A.

LC Smith with right hand return lever

LC Smith with right hand return lever

When it isn’t raining the beaches are wonderful.

famous weird tree

famous weird tree at Kalaloch

interesting heap of debris

interesting heap of debris



We always love to see restored vintage camp trailers like this one, an old Shasta.

Shasta trailer

Shasta trailer

Saw a lovely butterfly, too.


I regret not doing more sketching, but with driving, cooking & eating, sleeping late and general laziness I only had time for a few watercolours.

village scene

village scene

windmills from the beach

windmills from the beach

closed but rumoured to be going to open again this year

closed but rumoured to be going to open again this year

Coho ferry arrives to bring us home

Coho ferry arrives to bring us home

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Filed under Painting, Photography, Sketching, Travel, Typewriters, VW Vans, Wildlife

New Olympic Event – Speed Touring

from the sketchbook

from the sketchbook

Before the Olympic Games came the Olympic Mountains. The latter occupy a large peninsula up in the top northwest corner of the USA, aka the bottom southwest corner of Canada. A simple twist of history and the Canada US border might now be the Columbia River, and the State of Washington – the Province of Olympia, or something. But nevertheless, we love the place, even though it costs $81 just to get there. Lat weekend, plus a few vacation days, we did a quick circle tour of the Salish Sea. That name has been given to the great inland waters that divide and unite us up here/down here as the case may be. On and surrounding that sea can be found the great cities of Vancouver and Seattle, as well as many smaller ones, and innumerable towns and villages.

Victoria to Langley, Washington - the long way

Victoria to Langley, Washington – the long way

We began our tour by being refused room on the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, this on a Thursday. Where did all those tourists come from? So we toured clockwise, leaving via the BC Ferries route over to the US Border crossing on the mainland. When we arrived we saw that all Canada bound traffic was being turned back. Had the refugee/illegal immigrant/future brother-in-law crisis reached the great north/south west? No, it seems there was a gas leak.

Langley - county fairgrounds

Langley – county fairgrounds

First stop in the US was Langley, Whidbey Island – where the annual Djangofest was getting underway. We love this town, it is hip but unpretentious, has cheap and pleasant camping available, a lively arts scene, great food, numerous coffee shops (and no *bucks), and world class pizza, not mention world class NW microbrew. We are in the golden age of beer, thank Dog I lived to drink it.

We had breakfast here:

cafe in Langley

cafe in Langley

One night there, complete with concert and fifteen minutes of jamming, then across Puget Sound by ferry (love these boats) to Port Townsend – yet another great little town full of history. They were having film festival – outdoors! A giant inflatable screen and hay bales occupied one block of the downtown core.

outdoor cinema

outdoor cinema

Washington State ferry boat - Salish

Washington State ferry boat – Salish

Whidbey-Pt Townsend ferry

Whidbey-Pt Townsend ferry

On the street, Port Townsend:

a pay phone - how civilized

a pay phone – how civilized

How can I resist this one?

Corona folding typewriter in stationary shop - Pt Townsend

Corona folding typewriter in stationary shop – Pt Townsend

Not for sale..but I did buy an old Eversharp fountain pen, with 14k gold nib, at a consignment/antique/art/clothing/furniture/jewelry/carpet shop.

old Eversharp pen

old Eversharp pen – filled with ‘Herbin Larmes de Cassis’¬† ink it writes like a hot damn

Next stop Port Angeles, where they were having a beer festival. I know this just sounds too fantastic to be true, but it is true. However, we had our own mini beer festival courtesy of Safeway, and retired to the National Park to camp. With only five days we had to keep moving.

Langley to Kalaloch Campground on the coast

Langley to Kalaloch Campground on the coast

doggy in shop window - Pt Angeles

doggy in shop window – Pt Angeles

Next scheduled stop was to be the Olympic Hot Springs, up the Elwha River valley, but alas the road was closed for repairs. So we went to the Sol Duc Hot Springs instead. These are your tourist type hot baths, basically concrete tubs full of bored looking folks and always some Russians. (Russians – what’s the story?) Not that we mind them, we just prefer to hike two miles and bath privately naked in the wilderness (or at Harbin – see previous post). Warmed and relaxed to the point of narcolepsy, we had to return to the highway (US101) to camp, since the campground at Sol Duc was full – of course! But in this way we turned adversity to opportunity and discovered yet another gem in the way of Fairholme Campground on Lake Crescent.

dock - Lake Crescent

dock – Lake Crescent

There we watched the super moon rise over Lake Crescent, an awesome site indeed.

super moon over Lake Crescent

super moon over Lake Crescent

Next day we went west and south out to the big wet called the Pacific Ocean, where we camped on the shore and listened to the lullaby of thundering surf. All this time we were enjoying blue skies and sunshine, incredibly.

fellow VW bus on the road Hwy 101

fellow VW bus on the road: Hwy 101. Honest pollution!

Then the sea, the endless sea.

Pacific beach logs

Pacific beach logs

cliffs at Kalaloch

cliffs at Kalaloch

The trip ended the next day but not before we had a great breakfast in Forks (Vampireville, USA) at one of those perfect little restaurants which we pray for constantly when hungry. Why is it so difficult to cook one egg perfectly? Who knows, but one cook in Forks sure can do. Then we were back in Port Angeles and on the Coho ferry home to Victoria.

crazy tree on ocean cliff

crazy tree on ocean cliff

Stellar's Jay - camp robber

Stellar’s Jay – camp robber


for typerati only..seen on safari:

1-IMGP3141 2-IMGP3103 3-IMGP3101 4-IMGP3100


Filed under Photography, Sketching, Thrift shop finds, Travel, Typewriters, VW Vans

No Going Back

Gathering my sketching gear for our upcoming fall camping trip I had to search the house for a certain watercolour notebook to stuff into my sketching bag, along with the paint box, the folding stool, and a few brushes. After discovering the book under a pile of junk I opened it to find a panoramic sketch I made while traveling in California last October. We were on our way home from a trip to Napa Valley (for the beer) when we diverted to Harbin Hot Springs for one night. Considering Harbin was a clothing optional hot spring, no pictures were allowed. Fair enough, I satisfied my artistic impulses with a sketch. Sorry, it’s merely the interior of the reading room, but it reminds me of the calm and peaceful atmosphere of the place. Sadly, Harbin Hot Springs is no more, having been totally destroyed last week by a raging forest fire. This upcoming trip will take us into the Olympic Mountains, where we’ll hike in to a series of hot springs high in the hills of the National Park. No pool, no showers, no admission but the effort to hike two miles there and back. I’m so grateful we live next to a rain forest.

Harbin Hot Springs - Reading Room 2014

Harbin Hot Springs – Reading Room 2014

Another sketch from the same book reminded me of drinking some very fine wine in Napa, and some excellent sketches that hang on the walls of the Sterling Winery, including this version of a Picasso (my sketch). In case you’re wondering, Harbin Hot Springs was not like this.

picasso by me

picasso by me

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On the Road


Harris Beach, Oregon coast

Summer behind us here, with two weeks vacation to spend we set off on Highway 101, down the Pacific Coast, bound for California. Like all trips, this one was a perfect opportunity to do some sketching and scour the thrift and antique shops for cool stuff (typewriters and old cameras). 101 is a marvelous road, full of stupefying vistas, interesting towns and endless campgrounds.

After 2 weeks of browsing, it was on the last day of the trip that I discovered two typewriters that I could afford. The poem was typed on the one in the picture. The typewriter came with the previous owner’s name on it. A Google search revealed that she died over 10 years ago, but her husband only died last year. So I surmise that the typewriter was disposed of by estate sale, hence ending up in an antique mall.

My first trip down 101 was about 25 years ago, and I thought it wasn’t very interesting. At the time I was fresh from the east coast and had been hoping to see a lot of quaint east coast villages. Now, many trips along the route behind me, I see it differently – an amazingly interesting and varied route. I can hardly imagine that there is another single highway of its length that offers so many beautiful landscapes and scenes as this one does. However, I have heard tell that US Highway 20, which happens to start at the intersection with 101 in Newport, Oregon, is a likely competitor. One day…1-sk004


Manzanita trees, Napa


Skytram at Sterling Wines


Typewriter from Astoria, Oregon



Filed under Painting, Poetry, Thrift shop finds, Travel, Typewriters, Uncategorized, VW Vans

The “Car” Issue

my father in his 1974 Mercedes

my father in his 1974 Mercedes

cars 1

1990 Baby Benz

1990 Baby Benz: car #12

cars 2

1980 VW Westfalia

1980 VW Westfalia

cars 3

1990 Mazda Miata - the first production year

1990 Mazda Miata – the first production year

cars 4

have fun in your 1973 MGB

have fun in your 1973 MGB

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Going Overseas

My father used to call Europe “overseas”. He also called the frig the “icebox”. This past weekend we went overseas with our icebox. Amazing how little things change. We took a ferry across the Strait of Juan de Fuca (the sea) in our camper van, carrying with us a cooler, which is in fact a box full of ice. We were not in Europe but in this case Europe came to us, or to Langley, Washington that is.

Among the assembled talent were numerous European musicians doing their bit to keep the spirit of the “gypsy jazz” genre alive. Although it is a sad state of affairs that here in “America” (north) we can only muster a few hundred diehard fans to come and see the best festival of its kind outside of Europe, perhaps that is a blessing in disguise. Tickets are plentiful, and the venues are small enough to actually see the performers well enough to talk to them. Try that in a giant arena at the next rock festival you go to. Despite the fact that in 10 years since I first attended Djangofest NW the ticket price has risen from $20 to $65, the price of a rock concert has gone up beyond all comprehension.

McCartney charges $180 now for the privilege of watching him from a half mile away on a giant screen. In their heyday the Beatles charged about $10 a seat. Nostalgia is not worth $170. I’d like to see all the old billionaire rock stars go on tour and charge nothing as a payback for the fortunes they’ve made off the millions of fans over the years. I’d also like to hear an intelligent debate from politicians. And while we’re at it, I’d like to find some really well preserved old typewriters for sale.

Well – some dreams do come true if only partly – you will see here that I had part of my wish this past weekend. While out for a walk we passed a store in Port Angeles that had the machines shown below in the window, not for sale but only on display. This saved me the agony of not being able to buy them had they been for sale, as it might have been hard to choose which to leave behind. Right around the corner from there was a favourite pub of ours where we quaffed some excellent micro-brewed beer while I felt a pleasant contentment to have bagged some good pictures.

ticket prices then and now

Harris No. 4

Smith Premier 10

Oliver 9

Royal 5


Filed under Guitars, Photography, Typewriters, VW Vans

Eatons, a Silver Seiko & Djangofest

Eaton Viking Silver Seiko with salt shaker and empty beer bottle

this bit looks like a Hermes Baby

tilting carriage rail – like Hermes!

top view

Me & Dorado at Djangofest 2006






Filed under Guitars, Typewriters, VW Vans

I’ll Take The Blue One


Filed under Typewriters, VW Vans