Have you read The Joys of Indoor Plumbing? You might want to read that first.
Following a fine night’s sleep I awake feeling a bit like a princess in my fabulous room. I, once again, pop in my shower and head down for breakfast which is served at 9:00am. Everyone in the house is there except one couple. Marv, the owner, goes on up to wake them (hmmm, I guess breakfast is required) and, before long, eight of us are seated at the table. Marv, one of the owners, is the front-of-house man and Marv’s wife, Laurie, works behind the scenes. Marv also loves to cook and, besides the homemade jams, mango/strawberry juice, spinach soufflé with raspberry chipotle sauce and cinnamon walnut bread, there are about five more things that I feel it necessary to eat every last bite of as to not insult our hosts (yeh, that’s it).
During breakfast Marv tells us about the various activities available to do in the area. There’s the Sea Lion Cave, climbing or riding a buggy on the sand dunes, touring the lighthouse and countless other options. I decide to walk through town and visit some of the quaint and quirky shops there. After buying a purse and some gifts, I make a call to Sand Dunes Frontier, an adventure sand dunes touring company Marv has recommended.
Within an hour, I arrive at Sand Dunes Frontier and head to the public restroom to change my clothes as I’m told I’ll get sand in all my nooks and crannies. Oh yay, again! There will be no exfoliation facials required after this trip. In just a few minutes I’m strapped into a four person dune buggy for a Sand Rail Tour with Mike and Mary Joe and Bob, our guide. Bob tells us it’s his first day on the job which, I think, he finds humorous. This would be a good time to let you in on my fear. I like adventure. In fact, from time to time, I’ve been called an adrenaline addict. Olympic bobsled run? Done that. Ultra lighting? Let’s fly! White water rafting? Take me to the river (ha!). Skydiving? Twice! Driving or riding in a vehicle up or down steep hills? Scares me to death, and I avoid it at all costs. I have no idea why. I think that might have been the cause of my death in a previous life. In the interest of letting you know if it’s worth doing, I’m biting the bullet (or at least a bunch of sand).
We begin by driving down a dirt road behind Frontier and before you know it, we’re staring up at a 300 foot sand dune. This is where Bob starts having fun. Suddenly we’re flying up the dune. Once at the top, Bob stops the car so that we’re looking down. . . straight down. Bob exits the car and points out the ocean, the pine islands and other sites and tells us that the dunes are currently at about 300 feet but, by the end of the summer, the winds will cause them to grow to about 600 feet. I could really start to appreciate the beauty if only I weren’t concerned about, you know, dying at any moment. Bob takes some photos for us and gets back in the car. I recheck my four-point harness, say a prayer and grab on to Mary Jo’s leg. From there we fly all around the dunes; sometimes straight up, sometimes traveling parallel along the side and sometimes doing a u-shaped up and down (that’s the scariest).
Throughout the trip, I tell Bob I love him (hey, he’s keeping me alive) and grab Mary Jo’s leg so hard I’m sure I’ve bruised it. I might have screamed once or twice (or perhaps, throughout most of the ride). While my eyes are protected due to the goggles provided by Frontier, I eat a lot of sand during this trip and discover the benefits of ear exfoliation. I’ve kept an eye on my watch and I prayed for the thirty minutes to go by fast. Yes, while thirty minutes may seem like a short amount of time, imagine thirty minutes on an out of control roller-coaster and you’ll understand a little bit better.
Upon returning to headquarters, I change my clothes again, thank Bob, apologize to Mary Jo for her bruised leg, and head off. I’ve decided to spend the night at the Willamettans Family Nudist Resort in Springfield, Oregon (also known as The Willies, I kid you not).
I arrive at about 5:30pm and pick up the phone at the entrance in order to get through the gate (we don’t want any riff-raff in here). As I enter the office and meet Deidra who has arranged a tour with John, the president of the board here at the Willamettans (yes, there’s a board). He takes me around on a golf cart to the swimming pool, the rec. center and the Full Moon Saloon. Along the way I see people in various stages of dress (or undress) greeting each other, as the “snow birds” are just returning for the summer.
Before long, we return to the office where I ask Deidra some questions (she, by the way, is fully clothed). Deidra is the only full-time paid employee (there’s also a part-time one) as the residents take care of the place and volunteer in the community. I ask if she ever goes nude. Deidra was never a nudist before she worked there and still doesn’t consider herself one. She wishes she had gone nude early on as, if she does it now, she feels like it will be big news in the community, so she recommends that, if I choose to experience it fully, I join in right away. Still, there is no pressure to remove my clothes as it is certainly not a requirement. Deidra has stayed late for my arrival in order to greet me and help me feel at ease. She is also nice enough to provide me with a towel as it’s required you carry one with you if you choose to go nude as, well, there’s that whole sitting factor.
After chatting for a bit, Deidra provides the key to the Gatehouse, which is attached to the office and will be my room for the night. I enter and feel very much like I’m staying in my grandmother’s house. It has that would panel smell with a sliding plastic shower door. The towels are actually the same towels my family had when I was growing up in the 70’s.
Next – I’ll tell you about my evening sharing wine with the residents and my morning being Naked and Afraid.