Undiscovered parking lots | Living with Gleigh


It was Tuesday afternoon. I had the RV all packed with food and clothes. I had the house somewhat clean so the house sitter would be comfortable. I had instructions laid out for the house sitter. I had the animals as settled as they could be considering we were leaving without them. I watered the plants, cleaned the kitchen and took out the garbage. I had all this done the night before we left.

Wednesday morning, we hopped in the RV, towing our street rod behind, and headed toward Westport for a couple days of camping at the beach. I was pleased with myself for remembering everything, until we got to the Fort Lewis area and I started projecting past our two days of beach camping to the Rod Run we were going to on the weekend. A Rod Run is a car show with modified, vintage cars sponsored by different car clubs. This particular Run is sponsored by my husband’s car club, East Side Street Rods.

As club members, my husband and I have taken on the responsibility for mapping out a poker run event that happens on Saturday morning, giving the street rod participants an opportunity to drive their cars. This task requires a lot of work on my part. My husband drives me out a month ahead of time to decide on the route, then I write it up, get copies made and place club members on the different parts of the route. It takes me hours to write the map, many of which are spent agonizing over whether it will be any fun. It is an all-consuming task for me every year. But by the time we leave for the Rod Run, I’m over it. It is what it is, there’s nothing more I can do and besides I’m a volunteer, they aren’t going to fire me.

We try to head out a few days in advance to go camping for a couple days at the beach just to relax before the fury of the Rod Run. So it was about the time I started into relax mode on the drive down I remembered there were more Rod Run activities besides the poker run we needed to prepare for.

After the show and shine, which is when the participant’s cars are parked in town for public viewing, they parade the street rods through town. I don’t care who you are, you never get too old to throw candy in a parade. I like to get the candy at Costco because you can get a whole lot much cheaper than in a grocery store at the ocean.

Then after dinner Saturday night there are door prize drawings and each club member is supposed to contribute a door prize. We had totally forgotten the items for both those activities.

My husband and I started discussing Costco locations, but when you’re driving down the highway, all you can do is wonder where one would be. The other option is what my family calls parking lot tours: you just drive around until you find one.

But then I remembered – I have a new smart phone. When I bought it, I wasn’t sure I’d need all the bells and whistles a smart phone offers, but as the months have passed,, I’ve come to really enjoy it. This was one of those times.

The last road trip we took was to Port Angeles. On that drive I had had lots of time to explore the navigation app on my phone, even though we knew where we were going. But since I had already familiarized myself with how to use it, I quickly Googled Costcos in Washington State, got an address and navigated us right to its door. We got the candy, the door prizes and continued on down the highway without getting side tracked on parking lot tours.

I never thought I would say that I love a smart phone, but here I am saying it. Sure we would have managed without finding a Costco; we forget to get those items every year. But it sure was nice to resolve the problem instead of wondering where a Costco could be.

I’m afraid, in the future, there are parking lots that will just have to remain undiscovered; at least by my family.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can read her column every week on and more of her writing and her daily blog on her website

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