By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Traveling the back country of Idaho, we were bereft of where to stay. We had no great desire to spend big bucks for an RV park where we’d use hardly any of the amenities. The distaff side wasn’t inclined to hitting the boonies. Where to go? At a fuel station in Bonner’s Ferry we inquired about the whereabouts of a county fairgrounds. “Just up the road in downtown.” A classic case of double-taking, but OK, down the road to downtown we went.
Despite a prevaricating GPS unit, we eventually found the county fairgrounds. And sure enough, camping was allowed – and to top it off – allowed for free. We figured there may have been a bit of divine guidance in all this – had we arrived a couple of hours earlier we would have tried rolling the trailer into a lot crowded with Gatlin Brothers fans. As it was, the Gatlin followers had cleared the lot and we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Parked right next to the baseball diamond, we had the scent of fresh-cut grass drifting in the window. The parking was fairly level, and down the parking lot a fair piece was a free dump station.
This is not the first time we’ve been “rescued” by a county fairgrounds. Traveling through the southern states a few years back, we couldn’t find a suitable place to stay. We telephoned the visitor center in the county seat, made an inquiry and, lo and behold, the red carpet treatment was ours. Yes, we could stay at the fairgrounds which, although closed at the time, were miraculously opened to us. During the stay of a few days, the local police contingent rolled past our site to discreetly make sure all was well with us.
Many county fairgrounds are set up to accommodate RVers; after all, folks tending livestock during the fair like to stay near Miss Piggy, or whoever. Some outfits have elaborate sites with partial to full utility hookups. Others are a bit more on the primitive side, like our experience there in Bonner’s Ferry. Some are free, some charge a very fair price for what you receive.
Plug “fairgrounds” in your GPS unit’s “Point of Interest” feature and you may find a surprising place to put up overnight – or for a few days.