Friday, September 05, 2014

Eamon's Bungalow Camp Reborn

Eamon's Camp looks like it should have been in a Pixar movie, but instead it barely made it into an 80s music video. Now it has a second lease on life.

If you are into 1980s Canadian pop, then maybe you know about Corey Hart. If you were a big fan, maybe you know about Corey's video for the 1986 song "I Am By Your Side", which featured some really poor lip-syncing, as well as several famous landmarks in Southern Alberta, including the hoodoos, the Rocky Mountains, and Eamon's Bungalow Camp. At about the 3-minute mark of the video he gets a motorcycle to go visit his girlfriend. The motorcycle is parked in front of Eamon's, which had been a popular rest stop between Calgary and Banff from the early 1950s until the mid-1960s (until the TransCanada Highway was built). I won't blame you if you can't bear to watch to the 3-minute mark, because I could barely do it myself. However, my efforts were rewarded by a rousing scene near the end of him high on an oil derrick with a guitar, while all the roughnecks cheered him on. In my mind, the video tries to show us what it would look like if Cool Hand Luke turned into Maverick from Top Gun and moved to Drumheller.

Honestly, I had never seen the Corey Hart video until now (although it hit #18 on US Billboard), but I had heard about it because it is always mentioned in connection with the history of Eamon's Camp, which we pass all the time now that we live just up the hill from the place. Bypassed by the fancy big highway, it was getting pretty sad and rundown -- just like Radiator Springs in the Pixar movie "Cars". Originally, named "Eamon's Bungalow Camp", the "Bungalow" part was too faded to read anymore, and the land where the bungalows had stood had been sold off to build a church and to park school buses. The service station building was still standing, but it was fenced in and as an overflow lot for the Honda dealership a few kms away.

Eventually, the city began work to build a new stop for the C-Train, which would use the Eamon's site. They restored the sign to its original glory (including the neon tubes and the milkshake thing on top) and used it as a bus shelter, which was a stroke of genius. At the last minute before the building was to be torn down, the city elected to remove it and keep it for possible restoration and leasing in the corner of the parking lot. So far, there have been no businesses interested in taking up the lease, so all we have is the sign for now. I think I should open a Menchie's down there, but I imagine it's a terrible idea. I just like eating frozen yogurt.

There was an open house the weekend before the station opened, and we got to go take a ride on the train for free, plus we could go sit in the engineer's cabin of a stationary train on the platform. Scott was off at a series of birthday parties, so Katie had to be brave enough to do it alone. There were lots of games and activities for kids to do, but without her wingman, she wasn't interested in trying anything. She'll do anything if she sees Scott do it first.

It's kind of like the Corey Hart video. That girl wasn't ready to quit her job in the sweatshop until she saw Corey/Luke/Maverick do it first. But eventually, she needs to let Goose go and take these broken wings and learn to fly again, etc.

Thanks Corey. You will always be #18 in our hearts.

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