The plan is to go camping this weekend; good ol’ American car camping. We’re leaving Portland around 4pm Friday and want to arrive at a campsite before dark to get set up. We don’t have a reservation. Are we crazy, or will we find it easy to find a spot on Friday about 6pm?
Last weekend we stocked up on supplies at the store formerly known as G.I. Joes. Camping supplies haven’t changed much since I was a kid, though lanterns now apparently take batteries, rather than kerosene, and from what I’ve been told you have to bring your own firewood to the woods with you, which seems a little like carrying coal to Newcastle.
One of the campsites we’re looking at is Henry Rierson Spruce Run Campground in Clatsop County, which doesn’t take reservations [And which ended up as our choice!]
I haven’t been camping for at least a decade, so I’m out of the loop on how crowded nearby campsites get. The weather isn’t looking spectacular, but apparently this Saturday is Free Camping Day in Oregon State Parks.
What are our chances?
Some other folks are asking similar questions as the camping season arrives:
- An Oregon Camping Quiz – Portland Metblogs
- Tell Terry where to camp – The Oregonian
Camping…shudder… Where will you sleep? You don’t say if you’re dragging a camper along or just planning on pitching a tent? Why do otherwise rational human beings want to spend their days off living in the woods? Think of that soft cozy bed and steaming hot shower you have at home. A home which rain, bugs and critters cannot penetrate.
XUP – I had a blast camping as a kid, but then I didn’t care about staying clean and my old bones weren’t old yet. This will be my first camping trip as an adult. We’re bringing beer!
I *hope* I don’t agree with you after this weekend.
Nick C says
I went to Beverly Beach near Newport a couple of weeks ago, with a reservation. It was the weekend that it got godawful hot here in the valley.
Much to my surprise, there were spots available both nights at the campground. Not many, but they were there.
One thing you’ll have going for you is the Grand Floral Parade Saturday — that’s a lot of people who won’t be camping Friday night.
Why not just make a reservation?
Giving up the convenience of shelter, hot showers and cooking appliances while camping makes everything more intense. When you eat, it’s the best food you’ve ever eaten. When you are (finally) able to shower, it’s the best shower you’ve ever had.
Camping is like having someone kick you in the shins over and over. When the kicking stops, it’s soooo nice.
Nick C says
Yes, Heather, even when you’re using the hot showers at Oregon’s finer state parks.
I forgot to mention, Dave – whatever you do, bring insect repellant and use it religiously. I spent the week after camping nursing about two dozen bug bites on my pincushions — er, legs.
Nick C – Thanks for the comments. The campsite we have in mind, Spruce Run, doesn’t take reservations. But for future camping plans I’m sure we’ll take advantage of that option. Oh, I dig your blog!
Heather – Or like tickling?
First time camping as an adult? Oh boy. Can’t wait to hear the reviews. I took my daughter camping once because it seemed like a thing every parent needs to do for their child. She hated it, thank god. She doesn’t even like cottaging. She’s a hotel girl all the way. I’m truly blessed.
I’m with you Dave. I haven’t camped in a while, except Burning Man, but for some reason it doesn’t feel like it counts.
XUP – Yeah, I expect to get at least one blog post out of the adventure. I don’t know what cottaging is. Is it Canadian for “renting a yurt“?
VF – Yeah, I don’t think Burning Man counts, since it’s not a camping trip per se, but rather an “experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.” Well according to Wikipedia at least.
I went camping last year with the boys. In Nevada. 95 degrees, no trees. A windstorm blew through in the afternoon and knocked over everything, bending tent poles, etc. When I found a tick in my son’s belly button the next morning I decided we weren’t staying another night. How did our dad do it?
A yurt! Bwah ha ha. No, cottaging – going to the cottage. Surely ya’ll have cottages in the US? Homes (rustic to luxurious) away from the city, usually on a lake or river where one spends one’s summer vacation OR if you own it, you go up every weekend in the summer OR if it’s luxurious and winterized you go up in the winter too. I say “up” because cottages are usually in the north for some reason. The yucky part is that they usually have no city sewer and water systems, so operate on wells and cisterns and there are always lots of bugs.
Yet another use for duct tape: sealing belly button while camping. I will be sure to do that this weekend.
Steve – No trees, windstorms, ticks, 95 degrees? I can’t wait to visit y’all in Nevada!
XUP – Ah, we call them cabins here 😉
Heather – No comment.