by Michael Boyink / firstname.lastname@example.org
“I’m sorry, we’re full,” they said.
“Yea, for the holiday.”
Ugh. We’d forgotten.
On long drives we’d often find a truck stop to overnight in. After a couple nights of that we’d book a proper campsite so we could fill what was empty and empty what was full.
But not in advance. We booked while driving. We’d look at the clock and the map. We’d choose a city an hour down the road, find the RV parks, then pick up the phone.
Usually this worked.
Except for holiday weekends.
We spent one Memorial Day in a Walmart parking lot, cooking a frozen pizza and watching a movie on a laptop.
Because we’d forgotten.
This Fourth of July looked headed in a similar direction.
We had just said goodbye to friends in Oregon. We’d spent the day driving the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, headed east. After seven hours on the road, we were ready to stop down for a night or two.
Forgetting it was the 3rd of July.
MsBoyink was on the phone with a campground in Pasco, Washington.
“I’m sorry, we’re full,” they said. “For the holiday.”
Then: “maybe try the hockey arena?”
Sure enough, Franklin County (which Pasco resides in) has a hockey arena, which is part of a bigger event facility.
Which has an RV park attached.
And they had openings.
We booked a site, and drove the rest of the way there.
Entering the RV park, we noticed a baseball stadium next door.
It was Gesa Stadium, home of the Tri-city Dust Devils, a minor-league baseball team.
Who happened to be playing a home game that night. Our ball-crazy boy was ecstatic.
The next day there was a 5K fun run starting right behind our rig. Later that night was the big city fireworks show.
At the baseball stadium.
When in Rome, right?
We walked over to the baseball game that night. Supper was hot dogs in the stands.
The next morning I entered and (mostly) ran the 5K. That afternoon we grilled hamburgers and cut up watermelon on the tailgate of the truck.
At dusk, we put our camp chairs in the strip of grass behind our rig and watched the fireworks.
Once they were over, and parking lot started backing up with homeward bound families, we folded up our chairs and walked a few feet “home.”
And went to bed.
The next day we hitched back up and got back on the road, headed east.
Planning may lead to more predictable results, but our most memorable experiences while traveling happened when we weren’t sticking to a plan.
Pasco is one of the Tri-Cities area of Washington, along with Kennewick and Richland. The Tri-Cities are located at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake and Columbia Rivers. Learn more about Pasco at visittri-cities.com.