Saturday, March 24, 2012
Our First Boondocking Experience
2012 Mar 24
Our first night in a boondocking situation was interesting. We had been driving, mostly in torrential rain, for about eight hours, off and on. It was getting dark. Our plan was to drive a bit past our destination, to a rest area on Interstate 30, in Arkansas. That way, we would be that much closer to the state park where we had reservations beginning the next day. What is it they say about the best laid plans? As we approached the rest area, we found the entrance ramp barricaded with saw horses and sand bags and "closed" signs. It was still raining. It was full on dark out. I was tired and my night vision was giving me fits. I pulled up at the barriers feeling hopeless.
Raymond offered to go out and move the barrier, if I wanted to risk going into the closed rest area. Since I was exhausted, I said "Yes". Once on the other side of the barriers, with them back in place,we drove into the well lit, empty space. Raymond was willing to stay awake in case we got visited by a State Trooper, and encouraged me to go lay down in our bed to rest. I tried, but because I am at heart, law-abiding, I was unable to relax, or rest. We got out the map and tried to see where else we could go that was close by. According to our All Stays Camp and RV App, there was a truck stop at the next exit, about ten miles away. We decided to go to the next exit and check it out, since there was also a motel at that exit. Always good to have more than one option. We left the rest area and headed on up the road, in the rain, with tired eyes.
At the exit, Ray and I saw both the truck stop and the motel, on opposite sides of the road. Nearly in unison,we said, "Truck stop, first". We drove around the large area where the 18 wheelers were parked in what seemed to me, a very haphazard manner. I wanted to be respectful of these folks who haul for a living, and not be in anybody's way, but I was having trouble discerning a pattern. After one trip around the site, we opted to park at an angle, near the corner of the restaurant, very near what looked like employee parking. Out of the way of the big trucks, and the car parking, but still relatively unobtrusive. I assured Raymond that we could get breakfast there in the morning, which seemed to limit his guilt about parking there.
The rain continued to fall. Sometimes, seemingly in buckets. I crawled into our bed and promptly fell asleep. It was the most restful night's sleep I'd had in awhile. Not only did I sleep straight through without waking even once, I felt completely safe. I'm not sure why either one of those things happened, but there you have it. Our first time staying in a truck stop, and it was all good.
In the morning we got coffee and rolls to go, along with a newspaper. The rains had finally diminished. We headed a little further up the road to the next town in search of a store. As we located the Walmart, we noted that there was an RV parked along the side of the lot. So, I suppose, if I could've driven an additional twelve miles the night before, we could've spent our first boondocking experience in a Walmart parking lot.
Personally, I'm glad it worked out the way it did. I'm not sure I would've felt as safe surrounded by just a parking lot, as I did surrounded by all those truckers.