Okay, so the original quote is about Iowa, but there WAS a VW bus in that movie! But seriously, Oregon has been really good to us so far! The drive down the coast from Lincoln City to Florence was absolutely amazing. The volcanic rocks jutting out into the surf, huge pine forests, and barking seals make for some epic scenery. Saturday we made the drive down and were looking for a place to camp near the beach. The first few campsites we came across were closed for the season. We pulled off onto a wayside right on the beach and thought we might camp there for the night, but eventually decided we would go just a little further and see what we could find.
The next campsite we pulled into was Washburne State Park. The campsite host gave us a big smile as we drove in and said, “Oh look, another one with the group!” Tom and I sort of stared at each other and then asked her, “What group?” She informed us that there was a big group of Westfalias at the campsite that weekend for a meet-up!! We had found the promised land!
We drove through camp and saw Westy after Westy, many doubled up in campsites, all colors and models - from bay-window buses to Vanagons to Eurovans. Site after site, people came out and welcomed us and laughed at how we had stumbled upon such a group. It turns out this was a weekend campout for the Wet Westies VW group - for VW owners in the greater Pacific Northwest. Everyone let us know that we were more than welcome to join the party and the pot-luck was starting in an hour! We quickly set up camp and threw together a dish to share. Our campsite-mate was Tortuga, a moss-green bay-window bus owned by Allison and her boyfriend, John.
The pot-luck was like nothing I have ever seen. These people are serious about their food - and cooking it in their VWs! This was no beans-and-rice shindig. There was beef bourguigone cooked over the campfire in a dutch oven; fresh, local oysters smoked at the campsite; mushrooms collected from the surrounding forest; polenta with manchengo cheese; and a huckleberry cobbler with berries picked that afternoon. Y. U. M. There was even Jerry, a former wine shop owner, who always carries no fewer than three dozen bottles of red wine in his Vanagon. We met Beverly, the matriarch of the Wet Westies, a woman in her 80s who has been traveling in her bus since 1996 when she retired.
After dinner and socializing, Jon and Brandon broke out the smudge pot. No, this is not drug paraphernalia. A smudge pot is used in vineyards and orchards to warm the trees when there is threat of frost. It’s like a huge kiln/jet engine that runs off of vegetable oil. Jon and Brandon found one on a Westy camping trip and enjoy blowing things up with it. It was really neat and toasty warm to gather around.
We learned a ton from everyone - from where to store our paper towels to the fact that the fridge really does work! It was wonderful to meet such a friendly and supportive group of fellow Westy enthusiasts. We are forever grateful to now have help on the road if we ever need it!