Amid the vuvuzelas, fire pits, silly string and marshmallow fights of Monday’s (Jan. 2) Rose Parade overnight campout sat the members of the Escapees RV Club, a group of adventurers who are very familiar with sleeping under the stars.
The Pasadena Star News reported that although most had come to the parade as part of an annual family tradition, the Escapees had come to Pasadena as another stop on their North American RV tour.
Glenda, 58, and Don Wicks, 62, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Wendy, 60, and Vince Hall, 56, who have lived on their Winnebago RV since 1994, live a lifestyle of flying by the seat of their pants and traveling where the road takes them.
“The vast majority of the things we do are spontaneous,” Don said. “If you asked me what I was going to be doing three days from now I would tell you I had no idea.”
The Wicks attended the Rose Parade for the first time this year, and said they were impressed with the experience so far.
“I can’t believe they let people do this, camp out on the street like this overnight,” Glenda said. “My whole life I never thought I would be sleeping on the streets of Pasadena.”
Don compared the experience to a 10-day festival in Calgary called the Calgary Stampede, which he described as “10 days of drunken partying.” The parade, he said, topped that experience.
“This is a little bit tamer, but a lot more interesting with regards to the street activity at night,” he said.
The Halls, who have lived on their Winnebago RV since 1994, are familiar with overnight camping, however, they said they had never had an experience quite like the Rose Parade.
“We were doing this a week ago in the Arizona dessert,” said Vince, who is a retired member of the Coast Guard, “and now we’re camping out in downtown Pasadena.”
He estimated about 12 Escapee RVs were parked at the parade this year.
But the group didn’t brave Colorado Boulevard just for the campfire, or watch the parade for the horses, bands or even J.R. Martinez. They had a personal stake in the parade as volunteers who helped build the float for the city of Glendale.
Wendy Hall, who came to the parade once before when she was seven years old, said she was most excited to see her float come down the route, to “see the results of all our hard work.”
“I always thought it would be really cool to work on one and see how it comes together,” she said. “It’s something you have on your bucket list.”