I had the tricky task of planning a New Year’s trip with my lesbian partner, my nine-year-old son, and his father. Who would have guessed a nudist retreat was the perfect fit?
It’s not like we went looking for the naked place. I just wanted my family to be safe on New Year’s Eve 1999. Some thought the world would end. Some feared the Y2K computer virus shutting down global computer systems. Some just wanted the giant party Prince had promised in his overplayed song. Personally, I feared people going nuts amidst expectations like those, so I suggested that our family go camping — away from the city.
Around October, my partner Katie and I took a weekend RV ride to scout the right camping spot for the New Year’s trip, which would include the two of us, my nine-year-old son Caleb, his dad, Richard, and our friend Joni.
From San Diego, we headed east. First, we stayed at a big RV park in the Coachella Valley. It had beautiful desert landscaping and four big pools. We were the youngest people there by about thirty years. They were nice folks, and it didn’t feel like the right place for our family celebration. The next day, we drove by Salton Sea, a natural Dead Sea-like phenomenon that fascinated me as a child, but by 1999, something wasn’t right. Dead fish littered the beaches and the whole town stunk. I scoured a free camping magazine for more options.
“What about this?” I read aloud. “De Anza Springs is one of the largest clothing-optional resorts in North America.” I said it with my announcer voice, for comic effect, because I couldn’t imagine that Katie would go. She was not known for adventure and while she’d been to clothing-optional women’s festivals, I couldn’t imagine my lesbian separatist lover consenting to even one evening including naked men.
“Not a bad idea,” she said with great nonchalance. I stared incredulously from the passenger seat.
“Really, you want to stop there tonight?” I interrupted myself. “Wait. Why do you want to stop there tonight?”
Simply put, Katie is sensitive. That is, she can only stand cotton next to her skin. She wears cotton; she sleeps nude in cotton sheets. And she thought being naked in a temperate climate sounded, well, comfortable.
“Well, alrighty then!” I declared, always interested in visiting a new alternative community. I’d been to nudist camps and events on a few occasions, but as we drove, my enthusiasm increased.
“If this place is great, just think of it!” I gushed. “It’s perfect for New Year’s Eve! They’ll have some kind of party for families, and even if there are kooky millennium people, they’ll be relatively harmless.”
Original publication 28 October, 2015
Posted on NatCorn 12th February 2021
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