Friday, June 26, 2009

"There's a 100 million stories in the sand"!

Interesting image! The tide was going down on Long Beach, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, when we came upon what appeared to be the inverted frame of an automobile - three rusted and fused wheels, looking resigned to their resting place. Wasn't it Lionel Ritchie who sang, "There's a hundred million stories in the sand". Uh huh. Must have been a good story here. What were they thinking about - the owners of the car I mean?! Driving on the beach?!

OK, to be perfectly honest, driving on the beach does have a certain nostalgic appeal (to the imagination) - patrolling the endless, sun-drenched beach in a cool-looking Mark Harmon "240-Robert" rescue vehicle - saving lives, performing heroic rescues, returning "high fives". All, of course, to the sounds of the Beach Boys and other assorted surfin' music all day long! Sounds good to me!

Remember the "hundred million stories"? Come to think of it, we did get to perform a minor "rescue" up in the Queen Charlottes some years ago. Camping on the beach in Naikoon Provincial Park, on the northeast part of Graham Island, we had taken our Nautiraid expedition kayak and bicycles with us. As is often the case in that area, high winds and waves, en route from Alaska, demanded caution. It clearly was not a day for responsible family paddling. No worries. Plan "B" was to bike along North Beach (what were we thinking about?) to Rose Point, where, according to Haida storytelling, time began.

Above the tide line, the sand was soft and we ended up pushing our bikes until we were too exhausted to go any further - still a good number of kilometres from our planned destination. On the hard-packed sand however, made smooth and firm by the incoming tide, my son and I couldn't resist playing "tag" with the surf. The bikes never really did recover! No surprise there but the words "I told you so" - were never actually spoken. Smile.

Anyway, we ended up turning back which was, as it turned out, quite fortuitous for the young man we encountered frantically trying to dig his father's car out of the beach - as the tide was coming up. You see, the car was impressively mired in the sand below the tide line. "Beach Patrol" to the rescue - us! Yes!

Knowing a little bit about digging vehicles out of mud and snow, having had several years experience with our '77 Jeep CJ-7 on logging roads and seismic trails around Grande Cache, Alberta, we knew just what to do. One at a time, we jacked up each wheel, placing drift wood boards under the tires to give them a solid footing. We then created a little "road" with whatever solid beach material we could find. Yup, worked great. Drove right out and off the beach, much to the immense relief of our young friend!

The only thing missing was some loud, rockin', surfin' music to celebrate the triumphant egress from the beach and the escape from the incoming tide! It's wonderful how a serendipitous discovery on a beach can make so vivid again those memories of years gone by. So...that leaves at least 99 million more "stories in the sand". Thoughts?


Quote from "One World", sung by Lionel Ritchie.


  1. "240-Robert"?! Haven't heard that one for about thirty years! Hey, you must be older than I figured!

    John C.

  2. Yeah right, John - we're the SAME age!!! It was those long, cold, dark, winter nights up north in those days - TV had a certain appeal. Besides, Harmon and his buddy's "mountain" jackets were just out at MEC - of course you're too "young" to remember. We called ours our "240-Robert" jackets for years! Thanks for checkin' in!

  3. I could certainly hear the music on the beach - it is quite amazing how cues that will bring back a story or a feeling or a smell or a song. Thanks for sharing one of your "stories in the sand".


  4. Thanks M. I think that the world should be filled with street-mounted speakers...playing whatever music inpires! For me, as I'm sure for most, the selections would change as per our changing moods and fancies.

  5. When I was about 10 spending the weekend at Long Beach (back then you could drive and camp on the beach) a car got stuck in the sand and yes sank...maybe just maybe this is all that remains of that car. LOL

  6. I wonder...could well be. The Pesuta wreck, up in the Queen Charlottes, looks pretty much the same today as it did when we investigated it in 1987. Even in winter storms, the auto frame on Long Beach isn't going to go far! Good story, Anon.