Nouveau camping

Newport

We’re at the Oregon coast in a campground just south of Newport. The Casita (we needa name for her—ideas?) is serving us well. Cozy and warm at night, and filled with light and air during the day. There’s room for a week’s worth of clothes and all the food and cooking paraphernalia we need. It’s nice to have a space to call our own, even if it’s only 17 feet long.

The laptop is here too, our primary source of communication and entertainment, along with the iPod, books and Sudoku. We downloaded the last five episodes of Lost, season 1 (don’t tell us what happens!) so when all else fails we go there.

On the beach

Despite being in “a campground” I wouldn’t say we’re camping. The sites where tents and pickup campers formerly sat are now simply parking places for all kinds of RVs, from tent-trailers to monolithic busses. Tomorrow—Saturday—is the annual Oregon Beach Cleanup, and the reservation signs hanging on the brown metal posts indicate this 200+ space park will be close to full. A walk through the park at dusk shows that tents are few—rarities in a sea of fiberglass and metal.

Campfires are still popular, though, and children and dogs and bikes are ubiquitous as ever. There are good trails to the beach, 1/4 mile away, and on Saturday hundreds of people will be dragging big white SOLV (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism) bags andand poking through the dunes looking for litter. This is a great effort and we honor the folks who come year after year to stoop and gather. This is environmentalism at its most immediate and effective.

But it’s hard to see some of these monster “rigs” and not wonder about the low mileage and resulting pollution they produce, the over consumerism they represent, and the barriers to nature they can’t help but create. It’s one thing to sleep in a tent and hear the rain at night and the bird calls in the morning. It’s quite another to sit inside a portable house with all the conveniences—even luxuries: washer-dryers, gas fireplaces, even marble tubs—or so we hear.

The campground

Whatever you call this motorized migration (and I include our Casita in that), it’s everywhere. And I don’t think it’s going away soon, because—like it or not—it’s fun.

I'm sure Mr. Gore is crying.