I took two weeks off from one job in order to do another job. I’m spending this week and next week working summer camps for Wilderness Awareness School. I remembered intellectually how much I liked it, but I had forgotten how really emotionally rewarding it is. And also how challenging. But that’s actually a story for another time. I’m only three days into the first week, so I don’t feel like I can sum it up yet. The story for today has to do with where I’ve been parking my truck at night. This is a very interesting topic to me, because I’ve been sleeping in my truck rather than trying to set up various couches to sleep on.

Two weeks before my first summer camp week, I had a chance to sleep in the back of my Explorer for the first time, and learned that the back is too short for sleeping comfortably. With the back seats folded forward, the bed is 5 feet long. I thought I’d be able to make it work by laying diagonal, but it only took one sleepless night without being able to straighten my legs to convince me that I needed some sort of sleeping platform if it was going to work for two weeks. The weekend before I left, I created a system of two boxes, about 10 inches off the floor of the truck. I’ll post a picture later when I remember to take one. I can organize my clothes underneath it, and sleep on top of it, which leaves me room for my banjo and spinning supplies (including my wheel!) in the other side of the truck. In fact, there’s actually room for me to sit in the rear passenger seat and (with the front seat folded forward) my spinning wheel sits on the floorboard, so I can actually sit in the back seat and spin! Here’s a not really great picture off that setup.

So my grand (and somewhat naive) plan was to simply sleep in my truck in the parking lot of the county park where I’m working the first week. I knew that the park had hours that they were closed, but figured who would know? Here’s the beautiful spot where I planned to hang out for the week.

Alas, I had not considered that it was the local sheriff that comes to make sure everyone is out of the parking lot before they lock up the gate at dusk. So my first night, things didn’t go quite as planned, and the copper ended up with my license plate number in the system. That meant that my Plan B (to find a busy 24-hour parking lot at the base of the hill) was a no-go. I was worried that my plates already having been run, I’d be really conspicuous anywhere in town. As always Google came to the rescue, although this time it was guided by the nimble hands of Preston, who I called at 10pm to look up the nearest Walmart. Don’t get me wrong, I am not even a little bit excited about Wal-mart, but they do encourage people to sleep in their parking lot (brilliant marketing). So Preston graciously gave me directions to the Walmart 10 miles away, even guiding me turn by turn past the closed freeway on-ramp that mapquest suggested. And that is how I came to find myself waking up here on Tuesday morning.

It was an interesting night, in the company of a couple of RVs and a couple of folks who seemed to be just driving acroos country or something, and a couple of people who definitely seemed to have set up camp in the Walmart parking lot semi-permanently. It made me wonder about Walmart’s official policy on homeless people. I assume they don’t just let them stay there forever, so I wonder how they decide who gets the boot and when. But anyway, it was fine. I figured I could stay there all week if I had to, but I had a couple of back-up plans to try still. By Tuesday afternoon, I had exhausted all my plans, and none of them had worked out. Resigning myself to another evening at Walmart, I stopped off at the local tea shop to use their wi-fi. The girl working there recognized me from the day before,
“You’re back,” she smiled.
“Yes, I’m working up on Cougar Mountain for the week and you’re the closest wi-fi connection,” I explain.
“Oh cool. I live right at the base of Cougar Mountain,” she says.
“You wouldn’t happen to have an extra driveway that you wouldn’t mind letting someone park in, would you?” I ask, mostly joking.
“Absolutely!” she says, without even missing a beat.
And they (she and her boyfriend) totally literally have an extra driveway. They live in a duplex that has three separate driveways. So this lovely place is where I’ll be staying the rest of the week.

They invited me in for a beer last night and we chatted for quite a while. She’s an herbalist and just got her massage license. He’s a dental hygienist for money, but he’s actually a rock climber. Really nice couple, and I’m stoked to have such a great place to sleep. I’m writing this while lounging on the sleeping platform in my truck, and I’ll post it after work tomorrow from the tea shop.

Now if I can just figure out how to keep my truck cool inside without letting in eleventy billion mosquitos… I wonder if they make screens for truck windows.

p.s. I’m at the tea shop now and wanted to update that the spot is still super cool, I had one of my long-standing nature mysteries answered for me this morning (just where do ospreys find all those huge sticks to build their nests with? Now I know), and as soon as I shut the computer so that it was lighter outside the truck than inside, all but two of the mosquitos left out the open window. With no lights on, I hung out on my bunk for an hour or so playing my banjo. Really nice. Life is good.