Have you ever had an incredible experience that completely changed your perspective on something? Over the past few years of living full-time in our Vacationer this has happened to us a handful of times. One of those times in particular was on the 4th of July in 2021!
We are a family who naturally loves to celebrate holidays; however, we usually steer clear from crowded public displays and opt for at-home cookouts, parties or picnics with friends. And while we aren’t always with other folks as we travel, we are still able to celebrate, decorate, and do some fun festive activities as a family thanks to YearCheer’s holiday in a box no matter where we are in the country.
Last year, however, the 4th of July completely took us by surprise in the best way possible. We happened to be driving through Wyoming from the Jackson Hole area to Gillette for the FMCA Convention. Along the way, we spent a few nights in the small town of Dubois, WY. In our minds it was just a stopover place along our route. But our short stay did include the 4th of July. Having not heard of the town before, and always enjoying learning about the places we stay, we chatted with a few locals and looked up details on the town.
With a population under 1,000, there really wasn’t much going on, or so we thought. Turns out we were staying a few blocks away from the town park, which also doubled as the starting line for the annual 4th of July parade. Since it was within walking distance, we really didn’t have an excuse not to check it out. And to our pleasant surprise it was absolutely fantastic! The community, local businesses, school groups, police officers, farmers and fire department put on one heck of a parade! There were antique cars, tanks, tractors, horses, ATVs, floats, trucks and so much pride for our country you couldn’t help but to get goosebumps being a spectator.
The finale of the parade was none other than the local fire department truck armed and ready to literally make it rain on all the folks standing along the patriotic streets. A welcomed cooling off in the summer heat! We of course got wet… well all of us but Kade! He took off like a bolt of lightning, determined not to take an unnecessary shower! He did, however, make out like a bandit collecting over 100 pieces of candy and patriotic memorabilia tossed from the passing parade floats. After sharing our experience with others, it seems the fire truck hose down is a pretty common occurrence in small town 4th of July parades!
One might have thought the celebrations ended there but they continued throughout the day at a few local spots, culminating in a firework show up on the mountain overlooking the town. As luck would have it, the mountain was directly across from our campground. We didn’t hesitate to grab some munchies, blankets and music and climb on the roof of our Vacationer for the most memorable viewing seats! It was one of those days that we’ll remember forever and completely changed our perspective on small town celebrations. So much so that we plan on seeking out small town USA 4th of July celebrations from here on out. This year we will be celebrating in Flathead County, Montana.
This is just one example of why we love RVing and traveling around the country so much. Being from a larger metropolitan area in Baltimore, MD, we would not have sought out true small-town life. But what we have found has been so rewarding in that small towns provide a glimpse into a simpler life and time that’s focused more on community, family, and genuine love for each other and our country. These are values that are very important to us and ones that we want our kids to grow up with. Being able to experience small towns, rural communities, and places we’ve never heard of on a personal level has really been amazing for us as a family. What started out as a 2- night stopover town turned into one of our most memorable holiday celebrations, and a truly “proud to be an American” moment that we will cherish forever!
If you ever get the chance to celebrate our country’s birthday in a small town, take it! It just may change your perspective too! And be sure to keep an eye out for those fire trucks!