After studying nudists, or rather while studying nudists, I went to find Naturists. They were much easier to find. While I had had to contact the American Sunbathers Club (Niow the American Nude Recreation Club) in Kissimee Florida for information on the whereabouts of Nudist Clubs, naturists were right around the corner, literally and figuritivrly.
So I just followed the rumors, expecting them to fizzle out as leads. The first naturist area was rumored to be a beach on Sauvies Island just north of Portland on the Willamette River. A woman I had worked with said they often sailed past the nude beach, while sailing the Willammette River, slowly on an outing.
I have ridden my bicycle on Sauvie’s Island often, picked peaches and come to the Pumpkin Patch in the fall. So I knew about the island. I crossed the bridge to the Island, followed the road back under the bridge. and on southward, past the Pumpkin Patch until it looped back in a northerly direction. Continuing a few miles more to the junction away from the main road and on north I soon came to the Clothing Optional signs indicating the nude beach.
As with the Restful Haven Nudist Club (Now Mountaindale Nude Recreation Club) I was amazed that a clothes free site was right under my nose with easy public access. Seek and ye shall find.
So I parked in the parking area and walked across the road to the beach, stripped and walked the length of the beach which faced the Willammettte (not a river to swim in).
For the first time I saw gay men posturing and trolling for other men on the beach. Very good looking male bodies on display was a sight quite different from the family oriented nudist clubs. But there were families here too, enjoying the sunny day on the sand.
Since there were no clothes free beaches that I knew if on the Oregon Coast, the Willammette and Columbia rivers (Rooster Rock East of Portland) provided beach access much closer to the city. It wa a safe, outdoor, sunbathing area and there were maybe a hundred people (on a week day) happy to have found a place to be naked outdoors by the river on a beach, with not a lot of games like volleyball, but good for walking or laying in the sun.
It should be said here that as a redhead I was a ‘shade bather’ rather than a sunbather.
I saw similar clothing optional beaches at Rooster Rock and on an island in the Willamette between Eugene and Soringfield, with sunbathers a mix of gay men and straight folks.
Mountain hot springs in the Oregon Cascades were also good sites for warm pools and sunbathing areas. On several visits to Cougar Hot Springs east of Eugene/Springfield, just off the Mackenzie River Hiway near the community of Mackenzie Bridge, i observed/participated in activities in the nude along with local regular users of the hot springs pools.
Upon interviewing the president of the Oregon Naturists, I found the he liked the fact that their clothes free experiences did not require owning land, paying membership fees and having lots of smokers around you. After talking to his neighbors explaining his lifestyle, he was free to be clothes free in his own backyard where we conducted this interview clothes free.
I discussed naturists with members of nudist clubs later and they said they also liked naturist experiences where possible. Many had come to nudism via naturist experiences, especially skinny dipping. But most wanted a year round protected/private experience and so joined a nudist club..