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Read On: The cost of staying in a yurt

April 26, 2014|By Ray Richmond

Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to leave Burbank or Glendale. Once you’re outside those city limits, all bets are off. People behave in odd and confounding ways. It’s a jungle out there, baby! Always remember that.

Let me begin here by first acknowledging that what I’m about to describe qualifies as a middle-class white guy issue. It’s trivial in the grand scheme of daily existence. But still.

It was a couple of weeks ago that my wife, Jill, and I ditched town and drove up the coast to picturesque Big Sur for a long-planned, five-night trip. Months before, we had booked time in the heralded Treebones Resort, where people like us who aren’t so great at roughing it can go “glamping.” That, of course, stands for “glamorous camping,” which is what we would be doing while sleeping in a yurt.

What is a yurt, you’re asking? It’s a surprisingly spacious, circular fabric structure with wood lattice frames, in this case with a bed and a sink and a glass-enclosed, fire-bearing heater. Very cozy. It’s not the cheapest way to camp — $255 a night plus tax — but you get to feel almost like you’re communing with nature.


And the views of the Pacific Ocean? Breathtaking.

Everything was nice and yurty until our fourth day, when Jill decided that the area atop the heater would make a dandy place to dry her wet bathing suit. The unit melted part of the suit, which adhered to the thick glass enclosing the flame.

A threatening letter from the resort left on our bed by housekeeping the next day told us that there would be charges for “damage” to the heater. So much for getting my mellow on. I instantly flew into litigation/paper-trail mode, taking pictures of the heater and demanding to speak with the resort owner — a nice fellow named John Handy, who runs Treebones with his wife and kids.

Jill and I explained to him that we were able to take the edge of a dull knife and fairly easily scrape off much of the melted suit remnants, particularly after reheating the glass. Mr. Handy assured us, “Don’t worry, it’s $1,000 to replace the special glass, but I’m sure we’ll be able to clean it up for no more than $100.”

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