Just before leaving Portland, I got to know our RV park hosts a bit. Tom and Rita, along with Rosie, spend their summers here tending to the needs of the parks’ guest. They were headed south for the winter in a couple of weeks with a few stops in between. They have been full-timing for the past 8 years and see no need to change their lifestyle. Now on to the Lazy Daze get together.
Of course, the way things always seem to work out, The day we left Portland for the coast, the big cool-off began. The temps that were in the mid 90’s, today are mid 70’s. It is all a big relief though and we are glad for the cooler weather. It’s actually perfect for the coast. We spent most of the day getting to Tillamook where we planned to overnight before arriving at Nehalem Bay State Park. We found a kind of crummy RV park in town, next to the highway, but decided to stay since it was just for the night. I found this trailer parked near us. You can often tell who is full-timming by how they adorn their rigs. This one had the look.
Before the ice cream, we motored up the Cape Meares Lighthouse. This squat little lighthouse is the shortest on the Oregon coast and was decommissioned in the 60’s. It lay dormant, unused and seemingly unwanted for many years. Unwanted, that is, until in 2010 it was severely vandalized by a couple of youths using rifles. They shot out the windows and damaged the Fresnel lens which came from France in the 1800’s. They were apprehended, and though they did over $500,000 in damage, they ended up being on the hook for $100,000 and some prison time. It was enough to get the restoration started and the work continues today with much help from volunteers and gift shop sales (we purchased a couple of pairs of lighthouse socks).
Mary was told by someone she met about the amazing ice cream at the Tillamook cheese factory. “Look at the cheese, but get the ice cream”, was the advice she was given. And yes we did. Mary went with the Caramel Butter Pecan with the Udderly Chocolate, while I opted for the Tillamook Mudslide and Cinnamon Cream. All very very good, but we are definitely not following doctors orders with our food choices of late.
The next day we arrived at Nehalem Bay. It was pretty cool to see so many other Lazy Daze’s in one place. Usually we see very few on our trips. There were 30 rigs altogether and the Wagonmaster for the northwest group, Pete Reed, was among the first to greet us.
We spent the rest of the day introducing ourselves and checking out the other rigs. Dinner that night was a “heavy finger food” pot luck. The following words were uttered after every meal thereafter, “Oh God, I’m so full”. After dinner, we were asked to stand and say a little about ourselves. This was a really nice touch because it gave others a way of learning a bit about us. Everyone was so friendly and offered lots of advice. There were a number of other Californians in the group. Some confided to us that they thought this group was way more fun the the Northern Californian group.
After breakfast the next morning, Mary and I headed out to Cannon Beach. Cannon is known for it’s big rock that juts out of the beach. It was pretty overcast, but sun did break through from time to time. We had a nice stroll down the beach and shot some images of the iconic rock. Not the best light for this place, but as a first look kind of experience, it was nice and we did manage some good shots.
Dinner that night was a BBQ chicken and corn extravaganza. Larry and Donna Kriegshauser put this together. Larry built an amazing grill that seemed to hold at least 20 chickens. They were done to perfection and had the best smoked flavor I have ever tasted.
After the feed, just as there was last night, Pete held an auction of donated items from the membership. There was everything from handmade coasters (we bought some of those) to potatoes (yes, we bought some of those too). It was pretty hilarious the way Pete was able to auction off multiples of the same object. He kept everyone guessing.
We passed on the breakfast the next morning, opting to save our appetite for the hamburger and hot dog lunch. Half pound burgers and really good hot dogs (I had to have one of each). Afterward, Mary had to prepare our contribution for the final dinner that evening, and this gave me the opportunity to meet up with and photograph one of the couples we’d met earlier.
I was a little disappointed that there were no full-time RV’er at this gathering, but meeting Mary Ann and Debra really made up for that. They are one of the few same-sex couples I’ve met on the road and I wanted to include them in my Life on Wheels project. They invited me in to their 36′ diesel pusher for a really nice chat, and allowed me to photograph them with their 3 Jack Russell’s. At one time they did own a Lazy Daze and worried that if they bought something else, they would be excluded from the group. It was one of the rules after all, but I think it is a wonderful testament to the openness of this group and the warm feelings everyone had toward Mary Ann and Debra, that the group agreed they could stay as part of the group. I think that these groups, like all groups really, are just excuses to get like minded people together. Who really cares after that. It’s all about community and I am heartened to see these folks embrace that.
The ladies are quite a story themselves. Mary Ann has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community. She has written about her experience of being forced to resign her U.S. Army Reserve commission in 1987. This is well before the time of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”. Debra is a spark plug of enthusiasm and it is easy to see why any group would want them included. These are two cool chicks! I’m really pleased to have gotten to know them a bit.
We had a wonderful experience with the Northwest Lazy Dazer’s. I hope to join up with them again on another trip. I think we will probably not actually join the group just yet. We most likely will be traveling elsewhere for the next year or so, but this was really a fun get together and would recommend it to other Lazy Dazer’s if they are in the area.