Car + Yurt - Bag = "Camping"

comments: 71


So, for a long time after I moved west, I'd have this kind of conversation:

Someone: "Blah de blah camping de blah."
Me: "Ooops, I'm sorry, I was spacing out. Did you say you were going camping this weekend?"
Someone: "No. Just car camping."
Me: [Blank stare.]

For the longest time, I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. If you don't know either, car camping is like where you drive your car to your campsite and pull out your tent and your cooler and your lawn chair. It's like Sunshine-Family camping. "Camping" is like with a backpack, energy bars, a mummy bag, skills, a GPS.

Alicia-camping is one step beyond car camping. It's not exactly camping the Amy way, but she is my inspiration for outdoor living. Alicia-camping involves real pillows and a lamp. Last week, I was informed that we were going camping for the night of our anniversary in a yurt. I was excited and a little nervous about this — you know I do love my TiVo, and my ice-making refrigerator, and central air, and also I am a wimp — but I thought it would be okay since I knew the thing had a concrete floor, camp cots, electricity, and water. We packed up the cooler, the camp stove, the dog, the bedding, and my little overnight bag (contact solution and case, face soap, glasses, pajamas, clothes, washcloth, etc. — I was going to be very prepared) and headed out "to the country," and the yurt.




At 9 p.m., the sun was going down and we were getting tired, ready to build a fire and make S'mores. I went into the yurt to change into my cozies and . . . discovered I'd forgotten my overnight bag and had nothing but the clothes on my back and the contacts on my eyeballs (and my natural 20/400 vision). Insert horrified gasp here. Insert me looking around wildly for someone to blame and finding . . . no one but myself. Well, I tried to blame Andy but that didn't seem right. Waaaahhhh! I shouted my frustration through the hole in the ceiling.

So, "yurt camping" without your bag sort of raises the degree of difficulty to "camping" camping don't you think? Not that I feel the need to convince you. I stink at camping. Utterly stink at it. No argument.

I wish I could say I slept well, but I really didn't. I didn't actually sleep at all. The yurt was filled with mosquitoes, and no amount of bug spray deterred them. That really sucked. I was doused in bug spray, and still, they hounded me relentlessly. With my contacts out and no glasses (which were at home in overnight bag), my eyesight was so bad I couldn't see them and was left incessantly smacking at thin air. Andy Paulson, the man who can sleep anywhere and through anything, snored soundly for seven hours. I smacked at my ears with jealousy, trying to stop the buzzing. Around 5 a.m. it started to rain, and then the mosquitoes really started coming in. So we all went outside. It was better out there, even in the rain, and Andy had plans for coffee, sausage, and pancakes on the camp stove.


We huddled around our little fire at dawn, under my huge umbrella, drinking the steaming elixir. I cheered up. It was delish. So were the pancakes and sausage. You can buy a little jug of Bisquik powder, add water, shake it up, and pour 'em out. Brilliant. The birds came out and played on the lawn in the quiet morning. The dog dug a hole under the back of my chair and settled in.


We were the only people there, and that was romantic. In our deserted village of yurts, we sat for hours and watched the island wake up under its big, gray sky. 


New-puppy negotiations might have come to a close. . . . I don't think we're getting a puppy right now [insert collective sob]. We're gonna stick with Miss Beautiful Wonderful over here for now. I don't think it's the right time for a pup, as much as I personally want to play with one, right this very minute, even. Well, there's still time to change minds, but for now — we've put the kibosh on the Lizzie-Lemon idea. I can't tell if Audrey looks worried that we are getting a puppy or that we aren't. Those eyebrows. This dog should be a writer, I tell you.


Thank you for all the kind anniversary wishes. There was something sweet and funny about being out in the bright, sparkling, drizzle, just the two of us, talking talking talking, nowhere to be, nothing to do but hang (and slap at mosquitoes). Hours passed. We played croquet. We talked about the past and the future. That's all I really want out of life, really. I just like hanging out together. The rain kind of came and went. That isn't a metaphor, I'm just saying. With him, it's Sunshine Family, no matter what the weather.


Lovely, Alicia. The pictures are so pretty. After you told me about these yurts I emailed right away but haven't heard from the guy yet. I hope we can go for our 10th too.

Oh you had me feeling all nostalgic about camping and yurts, right up to the mosquitos. Then I remembered there's a reason I stay at home.

I used to go camping with friends. They all had tents and sleeping bags, but I decided to go Laurence of Arabia in the back of my pickup truck. I covered the bed with a ten-foot cabana and I slept back there on an air mattress with quilts and candles. I brought linen and china and crystal glassware and had big plans to buy sisal rugs and tapestry chairs for my tent, since the tent was much wider than my truck bed. It was a fantastic setup and I loved it.

Mostly I got laughted at but I had a luxurious time. Up until the mosquitos.

What a very delightful sentiment - you just enjoy hanging out together. And without the odd plastic joints and bushy hair but with the same love as displayed by the Sunshine Family and their eternal grins.

You two are fabulous and so is the dog.

We went camping for our first anniversary on a lake in November during the first cold snap of the year. I was about 3 months pregnant, hormonal, freezing and everywhere I sat near the fire, the smoke would blow back in my face. I swore never again. I am not a camper.

Yurt camping is the best! We went for the first time this year when we drove down the Pacific highway 1 - Treebones Resort is just amazing!! I don't think I would be able to go back to regular camping without a comfy bed and gas fire!!

Am I the only one who thinks this looks like a shoot out of Elle Decor or Traveler? Sheesh. Camping -- no matter what kind -- never looked so good.

Amy in Tillamook says: July 23, 2007 at 11:51 AM

Beautiful photos. You are more brave than I. Camping being a foreign concept to my B&B mind. Check out this link (it's camping to me!)

HeidiAnn says: July 23, 2007 at 12:07 PM

Alicia, I love your stories and your pictures. You do make it sound sort of wonderful even with the mosquitoes and lack of sleep! I'm sure it is true that with the right person or people even a less-than-stellar scenario can be really rather nice. I have such fond memories of camping as a child- this was the only type of vacation my family could afford, and we girls loved it. (At least that is how I remember it!) My sister and I used to camp together, too, and we had fun. I can relate to your experience, though. Camping out is no longer for me, I am the worst of The Light Sleepers, and also an insomniac, so I've just gotta be as comfortable as I possibly can in order to get ANY sleep at all. As always - lovin' reading your blog!!

A hotel without room service is camping to me. Your pictures are beautiful though - *almost* makes me want to try it.

i saw an episode of room service where they built a yurt. it was very similar to yours, but it had a roof, windows and doors! i can relate to going without your glasses - ugh! it sounds like it turned out to be a very nice anniversary even without your creature comforts.

penny willoughby says: July 23, 2007 at 12:27 PM

It sounded more like the Woodsies than the Sunshine Family...They lived in a log, oh, they were squirrels... Love your blog

That sounds like!! I'm going to add this to my "things to do someday" list. Even the mosquitoes won't deter me, considering that's about how bad it is on our porch every single day. Not that I'm trying to actually sleep on the porch, mind you, but still.

I love both your and Amy's camping style!

Sorry yours was a bit distracting with mosquito's and such but it sounds and LOOKS like a really wonderful romantic weekend.

I've always adored yurts, but didn't know such places like this existed....perhaps mosquito neeting over the opening next time??

I love both your and Amy's camping style!

Sorry yours was a bit distracting with mosquito's and such but it sounds and LOOKS like a really wonderful romantic weekend.

I've always adored yurts, but didn't know such places like this existed....perhaps mosquito neeting over the opening next time??

Eek! I am not a camper, either, and discovered this as a Girl Scout. I am glad you found a way to make lemons of lemonade, and am sorry to hear we won't be seeing Lizzie Lemon just now...maybe someday, though?

Great story. This was all sounding very romantic and the pictures were so pretty, I thought, hmm, I could do that--until the mosquitos and the forgotten bag. Horrors! Redeemed by pancakes and coffee.

you know, I'd never been camping in my life until sept 2004, when the darling boy and I spent a night beside Mountain Lake on Orcas Island, WA. We were up in the islands, but the place we were staying was all booked for one night of our trip, so we jumped islands and made camp.

Ours was more rustic, but for a first-time trip, I think it was good. He mistakenly opened a $60 bottle of wine (it was dark!) and we had no glasses, so there we were: roasting peaches and andouille sausages over our fire, and passing the wine bottle back and forth, getting giddy and throwing rocks at the raccoons that were trying to party crash.

It rained for us, too, but we just watched it sizzle on the dying coals.

The photos are beautiful! I just love your blog...


Ah, but Sunshine Family camping would come with a pottery and a spinning wheel as well as a tandem bicycle. When you said that, it warmed up my chilly heart.

I envy your camping experience. Sadly, the husband doesn't like camping and has decided that the roughest he will go is a hotel with basic cable. No matter how hard I try to entice him with smores or pudgie pies, he won't budge. Glad you had fun!

As I was reading about the Yurt I was thinking, 'this is wonderful, the kind of camping Scott and I could compromise on.' He's for roughing it with a tent and a club to bring in dinner and I'm for a nice lodge with room service in a heavily wooded area. The yurt looked so cool, until you mentioned the mosquitoes. Oh, no, no. I do not think so. At least the day was saved by pancakes and sausage. They always make me happy.
Happy Anniversary and may next year be just as fun and adventurous but with less mosquitoes.

You both are so, so sweet (and sweet to each other). It's just another reason why I love your blog- the beautiful hand-mades and general Posieishness are wonderful, but the radiating kindness that is always part of the backdrop is something really special, too. Happy anniversary to you both.

hurt'n for yurt'n
(minus the mosquitos)

Alicia, you can make anything look cozy-comfy. And what's this about yurts? I have never heard of such a thing and I'd call myself a camper, not regularly, but I can do and I enjoy it enough. It sounds awesome though. I'll have to Google more on this.

BTW I'm in Portland this whole week and happy to have been able to visit again so soon (I was here a couple months back). I love this city!

I'm sure the Yurt anniversary will live forever in your mind. When the two of you grow old, you will chuckle and remember this anniversary like no other.
Sweet indeed..
Jill 00

Perfect, I tell ya!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.