By Michael Boyink / firstname.lastname@example.org
We were scheduled to leave the next morning.
Then they showed up.
You know those people, right?
A monster truck pulling a travel trailer. Truck bed heaping over with gear and surrounded by multiple full-sized flags on poles. Exhaust volume level topped only by the music coming from the open truck windows.
The beer cooler was on the picnic table before the trailer was parked in the campsite.
MsBoyink and I didn’t need to say anything. A traded glance was enough.
We’d have to endure the night, but could be rolling early in the morning.
Then a knock sounded at the door.
It was the monster truck driver.
Tall. Long hair. No stranger to the gym. Add a cape and he’d be a professional wrestler.
And holding a beer.
“Excuse me, do you have an extra plug adapter we could borrow?”
OK. So at least polite. And willing to come over himself rather than sending his wife or kid.
I had what he needed.
He followed me back to a rear storage compartment. He noticed the decals we had on the RV, saying that we were on a one-year family RV roadtrip.
A conversation started.
Wives were brought in. A campfire started. Chairs setup.
Their friends – with another monster truck, travel trailer, and beer cooler – joined in.
The men were “Coasties” – Coast Guardsmen.
The conversation flowed easily. They talked about weekend camping experiences and asked us about fulltime RVing.
Our kids asked if it was OK if they went down to the beach with the “coastie kids”. They took flashlights, made sea urchin discoveries, and played games of manhunt and pickle.
They made a late night of it. Then came home with that whole “we just had a great time but know we have to leave in the morning” angst.
We realized it had been a while since the kids had been around other kids.
And they were nice kids.
And we weren’t on a hard schedule.
So in the morning, MsBoyink visited the park office and extended our stay another night.
Telling the neighbors “we just met you and unexpectedly liked you so much we booked another night to be next to you” was a bit awkward.
But we got over it.
The next day the kids all played on the beach-front again while the parents hung out in the campground.
We shared a meal at their picnic table.
They brought out games.
We introduced them to geocaching.
And then they brought out their camping pièce de résistance.
Battery-powered and portable, even.
And so it was that for one night, on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, well after the posted quiet hours of 10 p.m. at First Landing State Park…
…we were those people.
First Landing State Park is on Cape Henry in North Virginia Beach, VA. It’s near where the American Colonists first came ashore in 1607, before establishing themselves at Jamestown. Learn more at first-landing-state-park.org.