Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beach Camping

In one of my first posts I wrote briefly about my family's camping trips to the beach. We bought a travel trailer when I was quite young and our favorite trips were, of course, to the beach! This picture was taken in the dining area of our first trailer in June 1956, shortly before my fifth birthday. 

One of our favorite places for years was Hobson Park in Ventura County, California. Located about eight miles north of the city of Ventura, Hobson is a very small campground with about thirty campsites. There is no room for it to grow, but there are now homes located to the north. Most everything I remember as a child is hard to recognize now, but Hobson does not fall into this category. Sure, the road is now paved and I understand they have RV hook-ups, but the size and charm is still present. This is Hobson as it looks today:

And this is an aerial shot:

We knew everyone who camped there and became one big family. Those friendships carried on for many years and the memories are among my favorites. You can see from the pictures above that Hobson had a very rocky coastline. We scrambled over those rocks with no fear and when the tide was low we were rewarded with amazing tide pools! We'd find baby octopuses and let them slither on our arms, we'd stick our toes in anemones and scream when their tentacles wrapped around us. We found starfish and crabs, and tried in vain to catch the little fish that would dart in and out of the rocks. We cut our feet on barnacles and slipped on algae, but this didn't slow us down and we never grew bored with exploring our hidden treasures.

Back at camp, the adults relaxed, worked on their tans and planned the next party:

One of the annual favorites was the Hard Times Party. They dressed in old clothes — reminiscent of the Depression Era, so on the left  in this picture from 1963 we have what must have been a flapper style dress worn by the older women of that generation and on the right we have a classic hobo look. In the middle is my mom wearing a potato sack dress! Now Hawaii did not become a state until 1959, but my mom went for the tropical look to dress up her sack, adding leis around her ankle and leg, shell jewelry, a light pink wig, and flip flops to complete her ensemble. Don't ask me why — this is my mom's interpretation of hard times. She was a hoot and everyone loved her.

Here are the ladies in color. My mom is wearing her favorite outfit here — a bathing suit, but then mom had the figure for it along with great legs!

The parties at Hobson always included a pot luck dinner. While the women cooked, the men put all the tables together end-to-end, started the campfire for the fish, clams and mussels, and the feast ensued. We ate, we danced, we laughed, we sang and we enjoyed the camaraderie of good friends.

I still love camping at the beach, but I have gone from a trailer back to a tent. Keep your trailers and RV's, I love tent camping! Here is a pic of my campsite at McGrath Beach in Ventura taken in 1995. I don't rough it by any stretch of the imagination! I have a three room tent and an expresso maker for the fire pit. I camp where there are showers and I don't do hot dogs and hamburgers! Food tastes better cooked over a campfire after a day at the beach and I'm all about the food! In the future I'll share with you my recipe and technique for a clambake, it is what I always serve the first night after setting up camp.

So, there you have a brief look at forty years of beach camping for me from 1956–1995. The last time I was at McGrath was 1999, now I live in Florida and the camping is different here. I've camped at Fort DeSoto, but there are still lots of beaches to explore.

1 Thoughtful Comments:

Roberta said...

Love these beach camping photos! Your mom was a beauty and I love her burlap sack outfit!

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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