Palm Trees in southern Florida

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Another Free Camp Area Goes Away

Bastendorff Beach in 2017
A couple of years back we came across a small chunk of BLM land on the ocean, not far from Coos Bay Oregon. It was a place you could hang out for a few days at the beach, listen to, and smell, the ocean. It was free to stay there.

We came back to see if there was any room. And there was a lot of room. Probably because of all the signs that said "No Overnight Parking or Camping" with a few "Day Use Only" signs mixed in, just in case you weren't sure.

I do understand. This was a nice place and it's not too far from things. I'm imagining that some people started homesteading in the area, and it was noticed and dealt with. A squeaky wheel may get greased or they may just toss the cart.

There is a County Park & state park in the vicinity, it's not like there are no options.

There are more RVs out in the U.S. these days;  boomers who retired, people who found some aspect of vanlife appealing and those moving to a van-car-tent simply because it gives them a roof over their head.  If you look on YouTube, FaceBook and the other 'modern' means of (controlled) discourse in our world there are a lot of people looking at this form of being a nomad.

Bob Wells and his CheapRVliving has a yearly rendezvous (the RTR, the rubber tramp rendezvous) that has grown huge since he started using YouTube. I'm talking about thousands of people who show up to visit, meet like-minded folks & learn how to get free rent. 

Overview of some of the RTR in January 2018
IMO it worked well when it was a just a few people, but when thousands and thousands get together it's noticed. When society notices someone trying to do something out of the norm it gets dealt with. Marking Bastendorff beach as "No Overnight Parking" was one result of it being noticed.

There are still places where you can camp for free in the West, just not at Bastendorff Beach anymore.


  1. I have noticed this event a lot in the last two years and I travel about 2 months each twice a year is all nowadays. The number of homesteaders has really gone up it seems to me. The homesteaders by and large have sloppy camps and leave lots of trash around to soil the area.

  2. Thanks for the update. We stayed there in 2017. At that time camping was limited to one day in 14. I guess people were still abusing the privilege. There had been problems over the last five or so years - a guy shooting at cars in the lot and a murder that was never solved.

  3. It does sadden me to see things restricted.
    More people in the world equals more use and those who don't care about the rules for whatever reason grow in number with everything else.

  4. I have been following Bob Wells for years now and I have noticed how his annual event has grown.

    I believe the vagabonds that try to take advantage of the system probably have never heard of him or even have access to the Internet. There is always a rotten apple in the bunch that ruins it for the rest of us.

    Who knows how long Walmart will remain a viable option.

  5. I thought of Bob Wells as just an example of the growth, there are many that don't deal with cheaprvliving.