On January 25/26 of 2002, several intrepid WetWestians from different areas of the Pacific Northwest braved the elements to gather in what is becoming a winter tradition for the group, the UnSuperbowl Campout at Nehalem State Park, OR. A total of 21 parties showed up, composed of 33 adults, 1 teenager, 4 small boys, 12 dogs and 1 cat. Following is Kathleen's (host) report: "Around noon on Friday, after stocking up on junk food and fuel, Margaret in her rodeobus and I in my Vanagon Westy headed out the Sunset Highway from Southwest Portland. We dealt with some headwind, but experienced no significant weather until hitting heavy, nonsticking snow in our faces near the rest stop. Only after we reached Highway 53 did it get interesting. Mountain snow followed by heavy rains and snowmelt had created broiling, silty streams rushing everywhere. This twisty, narrow road through clearcuts appeared ready to break off and wash away at every turn. At one stretch I could see an oncoming pair of log trucks approaching a lake that covered the entire road. I braked to a near stop, allowing the trucks to have their way before we forded gingerly. About 2 p.m. we arrived at the campground in bright sunlight to find most of our reserved sites to be flooded from the heavy rains. What to do? Peggy, the volunteer camp host, advised me to use whatever sites we could safely occupy, reservations or not (it was midwinter, after all, and nobody else had booked a reservation). I invited Peggy to our potluck. I claimed a relatively dry spot and then found Susan and Bev inside the Meeting Hall, which Susan had transformed into the ideal sewing studio. Bright fabric lay across abutted tables mid-room, as Susan bent over her machine facing a window to the foraging deer. Susan was stitching new curtains for Bev's van. The curtains are a melange of sunset and moonrise painted in warm, intense strokes. They serve as Bev's consolation for being unable to visit the desert Southwest this winter. Besides her curtain stitching, Susan cut and pieced her newest quilt of squares representing various buses and bus trips. This is to be bordered by squares donated by WetWesties friends. I reviewed my roster of expected participants and waited, knowing that most would not arrive until dark. Leon and Mary arrived while it was still light. I noticed some mysterious timbers lashed to the roof of Woodstock the bus. When I found their campsite, I discovered Leon in the process of erecting a large teepee over the fire ring. I'm not really sure how he accomplished this. Claire the dog was of no help, having not yet mastered the necessary circus elephant skills. Humo the cat supervised. Eventually other buses began rolling in. As the large puddles subsided, the campers were able to cluster into the sites nearest the Meeting Hall. Harald & Nancy surprised us by arriving a day early. We worried about those who were expected on Friday but didn't show, including Gerard, Julianna, and Robert. Julianna and family arrived on Saturday, having spent Friday in Portland rather than drive over stormy 26 at night. Gerard and friend Toi arrived Saturday night in time for the potluck. They had spent Friday night in Portland after his EV water pump failed. They managed an emergency repair at dealer Ray Reece's on Saturday before proceeding. Robert sent his regrets via Bev's Pocketmail. Randy and Mary Zimmerman, who came all the way from Silverdale, Washington, arrived Friday night but turned around on Saturday morning to deal with a failing Vanagon water pump. The sewing circle was joined Friday evening by Leon, who was completing floor pieces for the teepee. By Saturday there would be four sewing machines lined up in the Meeting Hall, but, alas, unforeseen events prevented both Margaret and Julianna from putting theirs to work. Saturday was marred by Bev's Big Slip, resulting in her hurting her back and ankle. After ministrations by Sallye and much conferring, Susan and Margaret drove Bev in her own custom Vanagon ambulance to the Tillamook hospital for x-rays. There the medics confirmed what Bev had suspected, that she had broken the ankle bone on her accelerator foot! Outfitted with a temporary cast but leery of crutches on wet, uneven ground, she made her grand entrance at the potluck in a chair borne by a half-dozen men. On Sunday afternoon Stephanie drove Bev and van to Bev's Sherwood apartment, with husband Jeremy following in their green bus. Over the weekend Mother Nature tossed us her entire bag of tricks, including sunshine, stiff southwest winds, rain, sleet, snow, bright moonlight, and hail--lots of hail. There is no way to describe the sensation of sitting on the portapot at night inside one's Westy with hail pelting the roof. The hardiest adults, children and dogs traversed the dune to the wind-blasted beach, where the rough, high tides had thrown up all sorts of stuff. Some of us walked the less windy bike trail to the bay, encountering deep puddles and a downed pine tree in our path. The bay was a brown, swirling murk, with not even a bird in sight. Snow fell quietly around me during my solitary walk there. Many drove to points of interest in the surrounding area--Yani & son Marcelo to the air museum, Pete & Sallye to nearby Cart'M Recycling, where they found necessities like books and a warm jacket. Susan and Margaret hit Blue Heron Cheese and a quilt shop. Anita walked all the way to Manzanita and back during a dry spell. Some spent time tucked inside their campers with a book, others snug in the teepee. Whatever the weather of the moment, there were always guys poking their heads into each other's engine compartments. Contrary to my expectations, no large conventions occurred inside the Meeting Hall--not until Saturday night, that is. The potluck was huge. What an amazing array of food this crew managed to provide! There were introductions all around. Leon & Mary invited everyone to the interactive dessert of s'mores in the teepee. A warm rumble of food and friendship filled the room. I left the potluck to discover a serene, moonlit campground, and I took a walk. There was no wind, no rain, no hail, only cool reflections of everything bright. You already have read of our trips back home, and so I'll leave it there. _____________________ Kathleen Piper UnSuperbowl Wagenmeister Portland, Oregon '91 Westfalia, "Westy Le Bleu" "
See the WetWesties' Yahoogroups page for more photos of this event.