As we planned our drive home after two days visiting Waco and all the Magnolia attractions, we decided to boondock one night in the parking lot of a well-known retail store. Pretty common for RVers. A day’s drive would land us in a mid-sized town along our route. Hmmm, there were three of those stores in this town, so we picked the one that offered easy highway access.
After a long day of driving, our trusty GPS guided us to the store, and we parked our fifth-wheels end-to-end along the far curb of the parking lot. Best spot, we thought, for not blocking customers and for our peace and quiet, too. Generators fired up, air conditioners turned on, and sides and awnings slid out. Within minutes, we were standing on the sidewalk looking for a place to have dinner.
Immediately, a car pulled over and the pleasant driver said he’d noticed our setup. He thought he should mention that we’d better lock everything down. Did we know we were in a pretty rough part of town? We thanked him, but agreed among ourselves the neighborhood didn’t look so bad. It was still daylight, so we spent a pleasant hour at a nearby restaurant.
Our stomachs full, we strolled back to the rigs, greeting people who were hanging out around the neighborhood. Smiling folks who seemed interested in our stopover. As we often do, we pulled out our lawn chairs and sat outside sipping adult beverages, chatting and waving at our new friends lingering nearby.
At dusk, a young man drove up and said he’d noticed our campers parked for the night. His parents were RVers too, and he felt compelled to talk to us … he would want someone to warn his family if they were taking risks. He said the area was notorious for crime, and our carefully chosen dark rim of the parking lot might not be the best place to relax.
After this second warning and a tense Cryer/Ashley consultation, the beverages were gulped, generators shut down, A/C turned off, lawn chairs stowed, and the slides and awnings rolled in. Now it was getting dark. Hmmmm, maybe those spots under the super bright parking lot lights and security cameras would be a better location. So we circled the wagons, locked the doors and pulled the shades down tight.
Sure enough, there was some parking lot activity after the store closed at midnight … people on foot, cars pulling in and out, possible deals being done. I’m not saying how well we slept or how many times we peeked out our shades before the sun came back up. But we survived to tell the tale, maybe thanks to some bright lights, cameras and the cautions of two kind strangers who were looking out for us.
Andy and Wendall
New Directions Secretary and Members-at-large