Thursday, July 17, 2014

Staying free by the sea

"So," you might ask, "where exactly did you boondock while you were in Lincoln City?"

I would answer, "At the Chinook Winds Casino."

Like nearly all tribal casinos, Chinook Winds welcomes RVers and has a designated parking area (shaded red on the photo). Unlike most tribal casinos, there's no check-in and (at the time I'm writing this) no limit to how long you can stay. Best of all, it's a short stroll to the beach.

Being a semi-reclusive van dweller, not a highly social RVer, I like to have some space around me. And I don't like generators or idling diesel engines. So, even though there were dozens of RVs, I managed to find a decent spot the first night (number 1 on the photo). But I ran some errands and did some sightseeing. When I got back, that spot was blocked. So I moved to spot 2. I lost that spot the next day and moved to spot 3.

Now it was the weekend and the joint was packed with RVs. And generators. And barking dogs. I had to move for my peace of mind.

Being a mere van, I figured I could actually park pretty much wherever I wanted, and just blend in. I just needed a regular parking space, not ten of them. So I moved way over to spot 4. It turned out perfect. Quiet, only three or four cars on that row, and short walks to the casino restrooms and to Safeway. It was farther to the beach, but, hey, it's exercise. I stayed four days in that part of the parking lot.

If you want to stay free on the Oregon coast—for a night, or for several weeks—Chinook Winds is a pretty sweet spot. Just don't abuse a good thing.

UPDATE: Starting June 2015, Chinook Winds stopped allowing overnight camping. Day use only. Bummer.

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