A Forgettable Fourth

FireworkThis year’s Fourth of July, our 14th celebration together, was an experience we’d rather forget. Although it began with much promise, it ended with more of a whimper than a bang.

We thought the stars had aligned when we were able to get a campsite at Loyd Park, despite being told, early in the week, that nothing was available. A follow-up call mid-week secured our spot and the game was on. Literally. We had tickets to the July 4 ballgame between the Rangers and the Angels. Rain chances were relatively low, our campsite was a few miles from the ballpark, and Cloud 9 was ready for the road.

Upon arrival, we delighted in having a site across the road from another Airstream. But our delight soon diminished when we realized it was the center of a family enclave–three adjacent sites occupied by the same family, with a smoker the size of a locomotive and a miniature water park, complete with inflatable pools and slides. Clearly, the family invested heavily in the children–those kids had everything imaginable, including bubble machines and electric cars.

Breaking with Airstream tradition, we decided not to introduce ourselves and ask about their rig.

It wasn’t long before another enclave appeared, this time a few sites away, complete with a multitude of inflatable water features and even a DJ, who played patriotic favorites, such as the theme from “The Duke of Hazzard” over a sound system that seemed better suited for a political rally than a little camp in the woods.

All of this didn’t seem to matter, however, because the hot temperatures and high humidity forced us to remain in Cloud 9 most of the time.

Our entire weekend was centered on the big event: the game. It was the 14th anniversary of our first date, a magic night involving a Rangers victory and an unforgettable fireworks display that seemed to last forever. We left for the ballpark around 6:30 and found a great parking place not far from the entrance. So far, so good. We made our way to our seats, passing dozens of appetizing food stands, thinking we would have plenty of choices near section 203. After all, we were on the “Lexus” level–certainly we could expect a certain luxury or two. Right?

Wrong.

The beer was warm, the hamburgers were awful, and the atmosphere inside the stadium was stifling. A rousing tribute to the troops, the unfurling of the largest American flag in the known universe, two flyovers (one by vintage aircraft and another by fighter jets), and an amazing singing of the National Anthem by an Arlington police officer could do little to soften the blow of spending $82 for two tickets, $15 for parking, $18 for two beers, $22 for two burgers and an order of fries–and all before the first pitch.

And then, there was the game. Or perhaps we should say the non-game. It’s hard to call what we watched for three and a half hours a game. The Rangers lost 13-0, which wasn’t a shut-out as much as it was a blow-out. Wow. The torture was absolutely unbearable. Like the 47,000 other fans, we stuck around for the fireworks. At least a rousing fireworks display would provide a patriotic exclamation point.

Brimming with anticipation. we relocated to different seats for a better view and waited for the show to begin, brimming with anticipation. At precisely 11:38 p.m., the show commenced. At precisely 11:52, it concluded.

Seriously? This is what you have to offer 47,000 people who’ve waited for hours? A 14-minute display? Tiny Silverton, Colorado, had a display that lasted an hour for 20,000 spectators. Are our expectations too high?

We made our way back to the car, arriving at 12:16 a.m. By 12:38 we were finally on the road and headed back to camp. We arrived to find our doggies awaiting us, eager to get relief. A brief walk, a glass of wine, and a survey of late-night TV (We actually watched an episode of Dobie Gillis!) finally brought our Independence Day observance to a merciful end.

We’ve had some really great Fourth of July experiences. This, however, wasn’t one of them.

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