Fast forward to the 70s. We moved to California in 1964 and did a lot of camping in the mountains and near the beach. We lived about an hour inland so getting away was very necessary. I feel lucky that I had parents that loved the outdoors and we used to camp in tents or tent trailers doing all the cooking on a stove outside the tent. There was another family we often went camping with and they had a lot of kids so there was never a dull moment. Entertainment was hiking, sailing, skiing, playing in the water or building sandcastles in the sand. When we learned how to ski in the early 70s, we would even camp out in our tricked out Ford Econoline van that my dad fixed up with cabinets, a bed, shelves and a cool 8 track tape deck that would be blasting Eagles, Creedence, Jethro Tull, America or Santana. We would drive to Snow Summit or Mammoth at night and the three of us would sleep in the van and wake up slope side and go skiing for the day or the weekend. We would camp throughout California, back then you could just pack up and go on a whim.
Since most of my relatives lived in Holland, my parents took me there often when I was young. And we always went camping some where in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Greece. My grandpa had a tiny little Fiat that my mom and I would borrow and load up the camping gear. We always had the smallest tent and everything was stored outside of it.
When we camped near the beach, I was always mesmerized by the breaking waves. I would watch the surfers carrying their boards, waxing them up and then dancing on the waves. I wanted that lifestyle. I thought it fit me. Hanging out at the beach, sun bleached hair, sunburned nose that was always raw. I met a lifeguard who took me under his wing and taught me about surfing and playing guitar.
One day, my mom came home with a huge longboard that she had bought at a yard sale for a dollar. The fin was loose, but I didn’t know any better. It was my first surfboard. My dad some how tied it to the roof of our van and off we went. The fin eventually broke off but I still tried to ride it like that. The board kept drifting in different directions. My friend in high school said he could make a short board out of it and I believed him. Too bad I let him destroy it. It might have been worth something today. I ended up buying a real short board from another friend in high school and before you knew it, my girlfriend and I were ditching school to go to the beach.
|Camping with my grandparents in France. We called this car the "Ugly Duckling"|
|Camping in Europe. Our tent is the tiny one.|
|Possibly my first camera|
|My first surfboard|
|Fishing with my grandpa|
|My mom skiing at Snow Summit with our red van in the background.|
|Camping at Carpinteria State Beach|
|Lifeguard Denny showing us a few tunes on the guitar|
|There was never a dull moment! Roasting marshmallows with the "Swanies"|
|70s surf chick|