Thursday, January 22, 2015

Starting and Ending with Waffles (Day 18)

Free Legal Waffles:

We started the morning in a room by a pool. I poured batter on a hot waffle iron. We pulled that waffle off, and made an exit plan. East or west? We decided to leave matters of the desert unfinished - there's water to the west.

We finished crossing the desert and began to drop through mountains. One portrait after the next, we crossed through: 

Hemet (Green, warm, but boring. Possible lack of personality.)
Temecula (maybe something... didn't pull over, in spite of Dirty Projectors song.)
Fallbrook (I could live here, but it looks steep in terrain in price.) 

New Ordinance: Humans are Illegal.

We needed a place to sleep.

Official camping hovers around fifty bucks here. We don't need to camp. We need to sleep. Eight hours - boom, boom. No fires, no noise, no trash. If it was me on a bicycle, I'd make myself a burrito behind a tree. The three of us can sleep in the car, but it's not as comfortable and stealth as I'd hoped. It works in a pinch, but it's not the Best Western. Parking the car outside a radius of potential investigation is a challenge: we don't know these areas. We are travelers, drifting across the surface; our cursory exploring is at speed through a windshield.  

I am regularly pissed off at how illegal it is to sleep. For something we all do every day, the lack of options baffles me. Sleep has become a commodity. Freedom to travel, in reality, has a price. If you want to be free, paradoxically, you need several forms of camouflage. Tentacles of several unfortunate sorts threaten every pocket and wallet. In my chest I feel illegal, but logic makes my hands flip double fuck yous.

"No overnight parking."
"No camping."
"No beardy weirdos (Unless holding cash)."

I count sleeping among my human rights. We were all born on this Earth - I didn't ask to be - but now that we're all here together, let's make sure our basic needs are met. Food Not Bombs gets arrested. A town in Texas considers legislation requiring leftovers to be made inedible (with toxic spray) before being tossed in a dumpster - lest a homeless human discover unwanted sustenance. How is this possible?

C'est la vie. Adapt and deal, mon frere. 

Casinos Are The Worst.

FreeCampsites.net pointed out a casino that allows free overnight parking for RVs. Since that's approximately what we have a very small one of, we went there.

Worst casino ever. Every casino is a dumb rubberneck at best, but this one seemed particularly sad. I'd say don't go there, but you'd never find this place anyway. It's remote, and on the way toward nothing. They serve free coffee and soda in styrofoam cups - a lady comes around with a tray. Zombies sit at slot machines without proper levers - they push buttons, and everybody there is increasingly fucked. It's a big flashing roll of flypaper, and they pry your eyelids open as your accounts are drained. (I lost $9 - a small admission fee for spying around.)

FreeCampsites.net users described a large empty lot above the employee parking area, and I went where it seemed like that was.

Knock, Knock, Knock! 

I was in a deep sleep at 1:15am, when a tall waffle-faced block of granite tapped something hard across my glass. This lot was off limits. An identical adjacent parking lot is where we were supposed to be. "Move your shit."

A gunblast to his hard corny face would have filled my dreams with sugarplums. Is that too harsh? I wish an owl swooped down and pissed in his ear. (... killing him instantly.)

Everything out; everything in. We drove to the correct lot. I could have thrown a stone to it, but I would have overshot. 

I did not get back to sleep: a car alarm on repeat. I hovered in the space before rapid eye movement several times, but nothing materialized. We spent the sunrise at Denny's, twenty miles down a mountain, with coffee and a hot shared skillet of grease.

3 comments:

Brian said...

Chris, in my stealth van traveling mode, I discovered mid-range motel chain parking lots to be a very good option. Days Inns or comfort inns are about right. I check out the rear parking area for a dark location with less traffic and pull in if it looks good. I use curtains for the rear windows and a folding silver sun reflector for the front windshield.

I don't know how complicated your current 'everything out, everything in' situation is, but people expect to see motel guests fumbling around the car with luggage, etc. and if its not too obvious what you're up to, then this might be an option.

Some locations even have free wifi and most have a decent toilet off the lobby that is rarely uses, since most guests have a bathroom already. I have never been harassed using this stealth strategy, but your mileage may vary with the current Festiva set-up.

Happy trails,

Brian

Chris Harne said...

Hey Brian -
Hotels are top quality parking for vans. In a van, I would park close amidst the main parking, and assure the best wifi signal. Also, don't forget the free breakfast.

The Festiva is tiny. We don't have a proper full-on curtain setup. We have to crack a window, or the windows will fog up. Maybe I'm too worried, but I feel like it sticks out, and I don't trust it to look empty under closer scrutiny.

We're in talks about switching to a Ford Transit Connect. Actually, I've been obsessing about it, so it's probably gonna happen. In my mind, I'm already building out the interior. They look like a little commercial vehicle, they have great headroom in back, fuel economy is... pretty good... and I can hardly picture better stealth. The F.T.C. would also be a perfect work vehicle for the book business. We've had a few shipments already that did not fit in the Festiva.

I love the low cost reliability of the Festiva. I love feeling comfortable tossing the back seat in the trash, and I'd take an angle grinder to any part of it without flinching. That's cool stuff. But I like the overall package of the Transit Connect. If we bought one it would have fancy stuff like ABS, Air bags, AC... seatbelts not sewn together at some guy's house... modern things.

I thought about getting a different van - the west coast has doozys everywhere - but I don't think we have to go that big. I obsess about these thoughts regularly.

Thanks for pointing out the hotel idea - something that works, and people should know.

Best,
Chris Harne

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if you left a review on the casino so that I don't make the same mistake and have to deal with him.