I suspect many of you reading this have childhood memories of traveling the country in the 1960s and 70s. For me it was traveling around with my parents who were part of a travel trailer dealership (the word/acronym “RV” hadn’t been coined yet) going to rallies, trips to travel trailer factories and other “trailer” related functions.
I fondly recall sitting in the back of the family station wagon (before the days of flip-up seats and seat belts) and watching the world go by. One of the things that always intrigued me was the signs indicating a roadside picnic area depicted by a fir tree leaning over a picnic table.
Photos via author
Of course, when my dad pulled into the picnic area there was no tree ready to topple onto the picnic table or our trailer. Sometimes there weren’t even trees, just shade armadas.
Back in the day, a roadside picnic area readily and conveniently served as a place to stay overnight in the trailer, as my dad wasn’t keen on paying for an overnight camp space when we were logging miles to a distant trailer function. Maybe that is how I became to favor boondocking?
As a youngster, I always wondered about who would want to eat a meal on a picnic table with a tree threatening to fall over onto it at any moment. Even worse, who would want to camp in such an area?
After years of traveling with a travel trailer myself, camping with children of my own and now being a grandparent, I had largely forgotten about the sign and the concerns that came with it. That is until I pulled into a boodocking spot in Montana hugging closely to a tree for shade and to maximize the space since our friends had to camp next to us.
After unhitching and setting up camp, I stepped back to admire our newly found free campsite only to realize my worst nightmare, I parked under a fir tree that was very reminiscent of the sign! Thankfully the tree didn’t fall during our stay and I didn’t wake up terrorized in the middle of the night with the fear of impending doom!
If you dare to, you will find the boondocking spot in question at N46° 28.191 W112° 25.555
Recalling childhood fears, just another adventure in RVing! Do you have a similar story? If so, please share.See also: 6 Rural Rest Areas Worth Stopping For