One of the greatest exchanges of dialogue in a scene from the motion picture “Casablanca”:
Captain Renault: What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Captain Renault: The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert!
Rick: I was misinformed.
Our overnight stay in The Garden City RV Campground at the Bosselman Travel Center echoed that scene between the “Casablanca” film’s protagonist Rick Blaine (actor Humphrey Bogart), owner of Rick’s Café, and his adversary Captain Louis Renault (actor Claude Rains), head of the military police force in the colony of French Morocco during Nazi control of Vichy France in World War II.
Convenience store clerk: What brought you to Garden City?
Jerry: We came to Garden City to see the gardens.
Clerk: The gardens? What gardens? We’re in Kansas!
Jerry: We were misinformed.
Garden City is the site of huge feedlots, railroad yards, industrial agriculture businesses, and truck stops. There are no apparent gardens.
The Garden City RV Campground at the Bosselman Travel Center was spacious and clean, with convenient electric, water and sewer connections at each of its concrete pad RV sites. It has about 175 semi-trailer truck parking spaces, 35 sites for RV’s, showers, a laundromat, a game room, lounge, movie theater, pizza restaurant, cinnamon roll shop, free wi-fi. and several other features.
We did not have the opportunity to enjoy most of these amenities because during our entire stay the wind was blowing at 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 50. The wind was beyond the control of the travel center, of course, but our stay was also discomfited by the RV campground’s location.
The owners of the Bosselman Travel Center state they have created the place for drivers who need a convenient, secure and well-equipped truck stop. They have accomplished that objective, but I am not sure I would recommend it as a relaxing place to stay for vacation travelers in a small camping trailer.
The travel center was not the sort of place you could kick back and enjoy the evening.
To the south, the campground was bordered by a four-lane highway overpass. Just across the four-lane was a huge, HUGE, cattle feedlot. The wind was from the south. We decided to forego the pizza dinner and the cinnamon roll breakfast.
To the west ran a railroad spur that appeared to be a sidetrack. The line of oil tanker cars on the track added to both the campground’s visual and olfactory appeal. At least there were no passing trains during our night there –not that we would have heard the noise above the howl of the wind.
To the east was the main truck stop with all its facilities, plus a tire shop. The travel center is a business place after all, and trucking is the business. The RV campground is a sideline, and that is understandable. The coming and going of trucks during our stay was not really noticeable (see previous comment about the railroad and the wind).
To the north we could look out across 2,000 acres of flat and stump-covered cornfield in all its industrial-farming, dust-swirling glory. It was obvious why Dorothy Gale was eager to escape western Kansas and go to Oz.
At the end of a long day’s drive, the travel center seemed to the best choice for a one-night stay, especially since the website photos looked so appealing. And it was an honest ambassador of all that Garden City has going for it.
But we agreed we will find another campground on our next trip through Kansas. Prairie Dog State Park, for example, looked wonderful on our drive-through: a reservoir, the adjacent Norton Wildlife Area, rolling terrain, grasslands, and the nearby town of Norton with its somewhat rundown but still-struggling-along historic downtown district. And no huge cattle feedlot.
Probably several gardens, too.