Paso Robles resident Chuck Heasley (not his real last name) has a dream. He wants to play volleyball, drink lemonade, sit in the shade, and socialize with his friends... naked. But the problem is, he says, there aren't any nudist parks near San Luis Obispo.
Sure, there's Pirate's Cove, the secluded clothing-optional beach near Avila, and there's a topless beach near San Simeon. But Heasley wants to completely enjoy the breeze and the sun - somewhere with a snack bar and a bathroom.
"I tried Pirate's Cove, but I didn't like climbing down the hill and I didn't like the salt water and there were no amenities," Heasley said. "And where are you going to take a leak? Out in the ocean? So everyone swims in your urine? I'm sorry. I'm not a clean freak, but there are certain things. And that's what I'm saying: There are no amenities."
Okay, fair enough, but aren't there any nudist parks close by?
According to a brochure put out by the American Association for Nude Recreation, the closest nudist park is probably the Lupin Naturalist Club in Los Gatos. Hardly worth the trek for someone like Heasley, who says when he's home he wears only his birthday suit.
"On a free beach (like Pirates Cove) I don't see you being able to do a Nudestock, which is a music festival. I don't see you being able to do a Bare Buns Fun Run. On a free beach you don't have ADA-accessible things. I would like to see an ADA-accessible park."
Heasley first got turned on to the world of nudism when he was in his 20s while visiting a friend in Santa Barbara. When he went home to Seattle he quickly joined up with other nudists and joined a club, Fraternity Snoqualmie. Later he would eventually run the Issaquah, Wash. nudist park Forestia, which is why he says all he needs is an investor who wants to make money. Heasley can do the managing and make sure the park is a safe environment.
"When I was helping run the park in Seattle we joined the Chamber of Commerce; we got our phone number changed to 392-NUDE. We did street fairs. We had art shows, motorcycle shows, car shows, The Nudestock, the Bare Buns Fun Runs. This community here could support such a beast."
It's true - Heasley is actually a member of a nude motorcycling club. He said riding his motorcycle nude is not something he does that much anymore; in fact, he says he did it once just to get the certificate. But Heasley misses the social aspect to a nudist park. Sure, he can bare it all at home, but what about partying?
Heasley adds that safety is a key element to a nudist park. Members are screened, guards make sure no one is sneaking in, and cameras are a major faux pas. Heasley says this makes an enjoyable and comfortable atmosphere for all the guests, especially women.
Is the nudist population so strong hereabouts that an actual nudist park could be profitable? Heasley, of course, insists that it is.
"If we had a motel, a hotel, and trailer hook-ups, you're going to get the Europeans," said Heasley. "You're going to get the people from Washington. Yes, bring in the tourist dollars. We could, we can support one. I just don't have the money."
So basically what Heasley needs is a wealthy nudist.
"I want a place to go that's safe to be naked. I'd love to make money off of it, I'd love to have my 1,800 acres out here in A.G. where I could have a nude dude ranch where you can have horses and stuff and you can have the trails that anybody can run, or walk, or wheel on... raised flowerbeds for the handicapped so they can actually smell the flowers."
Perhaps Heasley's dream will someday come true, but with the ever-inflating cost of real estate, time is of the essence. And Heasley says having a lot of property is essential. "The ideal situation would of course have access to water; a swimming pool. You need 200-plus acres, so in the middle of the park you can have your park, and the surrounding area you have a privacy garden."
But even if Heasley's park never takes off, he'll be acting naturally.
"Nudism is way for me of enjoying myself," he said. "I hate wearing clothes; absolutely detest it."
Staff Writer John Peabody can be reached