Going Up! Ocasta Gets Ready

Westport sits on a spit of land at the south end of Grays Harbor, Washington. The town is surrounded by water on three sides making it a prime target when “the big one” hit.

It’s now taken as a given that the question isn’t “if,” but “when” the Cascadia Subduction Zone will trigger a major earthquake and tsunami.

Given that September is Disaster Preparedness Month, we took to the road to check out how Ocasta became the most prepared district on the coast.

Dr. Paula Akerlund is the Superintendent of the Ocasta School District. The just-completed elementary school is the home of the only “vertical evacuation” structure in North America. Voters passed a $13.8 million bond a few years ago.

With the help of structural engineers and architects came plans for the new school that can provide shelter for 2,000 people for as long as two weeks. That’s more than enough to keep students safe. With a population of just over 2,000, it’s even enough to house the entire community. A new school year in the new building begins September 7.

The median household income in Westport, WA averages just over $30,000 a year, well below the state average of $58,000. After two failed attempts at passing a school bond, voters approved a $13.8 million levy to replace the aging elementary school.

The groundbreaking featured school kids using clam guns instead of the ceremonial shovel. The plan is to pay off the bond over 20 years.

Other districts are not moving as quickly as Westport. Seaside, OR schools are also at risk to be affected by an earthquake-triggered tsunami. High school students there are concerned enough to start their own fundraising effort to build a new facility.

Seaside student have taken their concerns to the Oregon Legislature. The Oregon School Board Association says they “listened with enthusiasm, complimenting the students for the work done on this important issue and offering to assist with any needed legislation in the next … session.”

Say “Alialujah” To Trailers and Cellos

Sou'wester Line artAlialujah Choir at theSou’wester Lodge
Location: Beach Access Road (38th Place), P.O. Box 102, Seaview, WA 98644

The Alialujah Choir is a rotating collection of collaborators including the Portland Cello Project, but it’s core is the trio of Adam Shearer and Alia Farah of Wienland, and Adam Selzer (Norfolk & Wester) founder of the Type Foundry Recording Studio in Portland.

The Sou’wester’s blog page says:

Alialujah Choir

The group was founded after coming together to create a song for OPB’s Live Wire! Radio Show’s “Dearly Departed” benefit album. The band has gone on to record its debut album released  by Jealous Butcher Records and garner international awards for the video and song, ‘A House, A Home,’ directed by Mark Smith.

They’ve only played publicly ten times in three years so this is a very cool deal.

Making the weekend even more unique, it’s a “Spartan Only Rally;” yes, it’s the first time Spartan owners have held a rally exclusively for this brand of trailers. Spartans were built by the Spartan Aircraft Company from 1946 to 1960.

Spartan trailer

Organizers had hoped to bring the first Spartan to ever roll off the assembly line, “The Silver Queen.” Late word from Don Denning, who’s leading the rally, is that the Queen won’t make it to this gathering.

You can see these vintage trailers up close Saturday from 10 to 4. Look for the “Open” signs.

Music and lectures are free at The Sou’Wester Lodge in Seaview, Washington.

Contact Don Denning, rally coordinator, by email at spartanrally@live.com

An avid vintage trailer enthusiast, Don owns two Spartans and has a deep appreciation for the history, design, and overall first rate quality of these trailer-coaches.

To reserve a room or a trailer at The Sou’Wester:
The Sou’Wester Lodge
3728 J Place
Seaview WA, 98644

Summer Market In Ilwaco Washington

The produce is fresh from the farm and the salmon chowder was really good, too. They ran out of garlic bread but that was OK. And you can’t beat the setting.
If you haven’t been yet, get all the information on our Events page.

Legos & Single Malt Scotch & the Ilwaco Railway & Navigation Company

The 125th anniversary of the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company.

See the latest exhibit at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco.

What makes it a top pick? You can trick your kids into getting jazzed about history! Bring them for the Legos, stay for the geeky Northwest history! Can’t beat that.

When I first moved to the coast, I was lured in part by the fine single-malt scotch list at the Shelburne Inn. Haven’t been there for a while, but for historical research purposes, this is the weekend. The Shelburne Inn was one of the main stopping points for the railroad. Even today, the Shelburne makes a great refueling stop.

The first run from Ilwaco to Long Beach was July 19, 1888.

Clamshell Railroad mapYou can learn a lot more about this little railroad that, most of the time, could. Read The Railroad That Ran by the Tide: Ilwaco Railroad and Navigation Co. of the State of Washington by Raymond J. Feagans.

The reason we say it’s the railroad that could, most of the time, is that it had the nickname “Irregular, Rambling and Never-Get-There Railroad.”

Another great source for history buffs is also called “The Railroad That Ran By The Tide” by Peter Marsh. Read an excerpt here:

It was in 1930 that the “Clamshell Railroad” went out of business, leaving just a few reminders of the part it played in the history of the lower Columbia. The story of this unique train service began back in 1865, when the propeller steamboat U.S.Grant began regular service to Bakers Bay.

Richard & The Modernistics Aren’t A Band

Teardrop trailer

We asked for your stories about Camping on the Coast, wanting to know if anybody had experience traveling in, or building, teardrop trailers.

You told us about the Trask River Teardrop Trailer Gathering near Tillamook, Oregon.

As the stories rolled in, we headed to Salem to tour a Teardrop manufacturer. That video will be posted soon along with other messages from squidknot.com readers.

Richard Baize sent us his story, an example of how the tiny trailer introduced him to a tribe of outdoor enthusiasts where new friendships began. Thanks Richard for this fun and inspiring tale. Any failures in storytelling are mine, not his, the result of late-night editing.

See you in Tillamook!

R Baize Teardrops

Richard supplied the photo taken near Mount Shasta.
Check the size of the Teardrops as compared to the big-rig parked behind them.

Back in the fall of 2008, my wife Cindy and I made the decision to look for a teardrop trailer.
We’d raised two girls, which meant that we’d participated in the group campout, family weekends, and team travel that parenthood entails.
Although they were great fun, the prep work involved a ton of time and effort.

The girls are out of the house now, but we still wanted to go outdoors and recharge in what my wife called the “Big Trees.” The answer came in a small, adorable package out of the days of the Greatest Generation, the teardrop trailer.

Retro tear strong horizontal copyI was drifting though the listings on Craiglist in March of 2009 and read “For Sale, partially completed Teardrop Trailer, $300.” I nearly wrenched my arm out of the socket reaching for the phone. Patrick, the fellow on the other end of the line, filled me in. He’d gotten plans off the internet from a company called Kuffel Creek. They’d been easy to follow. He’d made simple modifications and had attached the sides after they were trimmed to the traditional teardrop shape.

About that time, his wife walked into his shop on their vineyard near Phoenix, Oregon and announced they were having twins. “Right then,” Patrick told me, “I decided that a tiny trailer made no sense.”

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I drove home with the trailer and commenced to work. The plans were extremely well-written and included a list of materials and providers. Through this list, I met Grant Whipp, who had been building and providing parts and advice for builders of Teardrops for over a quarter of a century. Like every single person who has come into my life through this delightful hobby, Grant and his partner Kay have become true friends.

Retro tear 4 square with pop effec tBy June our tiny trailer, called “Cubby” by its designers, was ready for its first camping trip. When night fell near the shores of Howard Prairie Lake, we dropped the rear galley hatch, slid inside the cozy interior, and closed the doors for the night. Since the teardrop is carefully sealed and well-insulated, the night chill stayed outside and the noises of nearby campers faded into peaceful slumber–free from critters, rocks, and rain.

The first Gathering for our little Cubbie was at Applegate Lake. However, there was a problem lurking in the glow of the campfires.  Since I’d completed Cubby, I’d been without a project. Seeing all the great trailers at the Gathering made me think the Cubby was a great little trailer, with the key word being “little.” I wanted more, I needed…more.

Teardrops BookEnter the Modernistic. Along the way I’d found a lovely little book by Douglas Keister, “Teardrops and Tiny Travel Trailers.” It had photos of all kinds of trailers: teardrops, “canned hams,” and the Modernistic. With a profile similar to the cross-section of an aircraft wing, the Modernistic had the shape I dreamed about–the one I wanted to build next.

I started getting information from Grant and others on the www.tnttt.com forum during the fall of 2011. Grant had the ability to trace the profiles of several types of traditional trailers and the Mod was one of them. I ordered a tracing from him and when it arrived, I unrolled it onto our really long dining room table. It was round and swoopy just like I though it would be.

–Richard Baize as told to squidknot.com

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