From the Blog

Tank Full Of Gas, Chapter 14, Part 2: The Last Post On Camping (For Now)

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A few incredulous people have asked me why I enjoy camping. I’m an adult. Why forsake all the comforts of home? Why sleep outside in the cold? Why use restrooms where there are bugs that could bite your butt? Why the hassle of setting up and striking camp? I think all of those inconveniences are part of the allure. It intensifies everything. It’s the best feeling in the world to snuggle down into your sleeping bag on a cold night.  Taking your first hot shower after two or three days in the woods becomes the best shower you’ve ever had. A pork chop cooked on a campfire is the best pork chop of your life. Even just washing your hands with soap and warm water becomes a treat. Everything is more intense.

And to be away from all the usual distractions: computer, internet, endless projects, obligations and events, and instead, sit in front of a camp fire, and watch the flames blacken and crack logs of wood into glowing coals, I can actually sit and hear myself think. Nothing relaxes me like a couple of days in the woods.

As I’ve mentioned, one of the things I love about camping is cooking on the campfire. I like the fateful, Russian roulette aspect of cooking in a fire pit. We have it down to a science. But it is still a science that could go horribly, inedibly wrong. We’ve been lucky so far.


If we were smart, perhaps we would do all of this ahead of time. In this case, we spent our first night away in a hotel. It didn’t make sense to load up the cooler at home. We got to the coast and did our groceries there. And we did all our prep as we cooked. I actually don’t mind food with a few pine needles in it, and bird crap is good for you.


Here’s garlic and balsamic vinegar going on the tomatoes, onions and zucchini. See, here is where I did plan ahead, by mixing garlic and vinegar in a little tub before leaving. But it popped open in the heat of my car and leaked out. My car now smells like salad on hot days.


Then you wrap the veggies up into a foil duck. I call them ducks because they have handles by which to turn them over. And you throw them on the fire. There’s really no way to know when something is done. You just have to wing it.


We cooked our whole dinner this way. Potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes, and salmon.


Gor-fricken-met. I could eat this meal everyday. If only we could light campfires in our apartment.

We ate, cleaned up, watched the fire burn down, and took showers before hitting the hay. The second night was quieter since there were less middle-of-the-night RV arrivals. And for some reason, my own snoring didn’t wake me up. I did not just admit to snoring on the Internet.

Sunday we decided to head home at a leisurely pace. We struck camp, and loaded up the car. We headed north on 101.  It didn’t take long for us to reach Heceta Head Lighthouse. Wow. Why had I never heard of this place?


The Oregon Coast does not quit, yo.


We took a walk up from the beach to the Keeper’s House and the lighthouse.



Again, we could not have hoped for better weather. We walked the path up to the lighthouse and thought of how different it would be in a furious winter storm. The Keeper’s House is now a bed and breakfast. Dave is already looking into making reservations.

We continued driving north on 101 and made notes on other campgrounds near the coast. I don’t know when we might be able to make it that far south again in only a two day weekend. But we saw more than a few places that looked worth it. I’d like to spend more time in the little village of Yachats. Or maybe buy a vacation cabin. You know, when I’m fabulously wealthy. One day. Sigh. We’ll stick with the tent for now.

We stopped in Newport for lunch. I’ve had a couple people tell me to stop in Newport. So we did. But after all the fabulous nature and small, quaint towns we had seen over the weekend, the touristy area of Newport was teeming with tacky shops, not-so-great chowder and wall-to-wall humanity. It sort of stunned us back into civilization. However, I was impressed with how pretty is it. And I can’t get over how clean the water looks.


And the amazing sunny weather made the sea lions haul out and sun themselves under the piers. Look at this happy guy.


I hear you, man.


Look at that water!  Have you ever taken the jungle cruise at Disneyland?  They dye the water to look like this.

In hindsight, it would have been good to continue driving up the coast.  But we just wanted to get home.  We turned east to meet up with I5.  We got back on Sunday with a day off to spare.  I spent the whole day showering and sleeping in my nice, soft bed.

Camping is great.

Oh, and by the way, this is the 300th post on this blog.  Wahoo, 300 posts!

Chapter Fourteen: Camping On The Coast, Part 1, Part 1.5, Part 2
Chapter Thirteen: The Gorge, Stonehenge, Hood River, Mt Hood
Chapter Twelve: The Oregon Coast
Chapter Eleven: Oregon Wine Country (hic)
Chapter Ten: Astoria, Oregon
Chapter Nine: Panther Creek Campground, WA
Chapter Eight, Green Canyon Campground, Mt Hood, Oregon
Chapter Seven, Spruce Run Campground, Coast Range, Oregon
Chapter Six, Bend, Oregon
Chapter Five, Seattle, Washington
Chapter Four, Mt Saint Helens, Washington
Chapter Three, The Gorge and Hood River, Oregon
Chapter Two, The North Coast and Astoria, Oregon
Chapter One, Waipi’o Valley, Big Island, Hawaii


  1. Meredith says

    Very nice! You could do cooking magazines, how to eat in the wild… with foil ducks and vinegar. Because those are so… prominent in the wild. Looks really good!! And seals!! I love seals!!!

  2. Trying to explain the allure of camping is like trying to explain why beer tastes good.

  3. Love the road trips!Great photos and writing. Are you open to suggestions so i can “go” to places vicariously, sort of like “the roommate” but in a far far away room. since you like Volcanoes, what about Crater Late and Newberry Crater. Great camping, great driving!

    PS: i see a book in your future.

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