In addition to my job as a camp host, I also work in the parking lot at a very popular trail head. It’s free to walk the trail, but there’s a $5 parking fee for folks who want to leave cars in our lot directly across from the entrance to the trail. Unfortunately, there’s not enough space for all the cars people want to park. A few more parking spaces have been added at the campground just down the road, but still, the parking area is inadequate.

I only got trained to do this job on the (cold, wet) Friday of Memorial Day Weekend. Fortunately, it’s not a difficult job.

A car pulls in. I signal the driver to come all the way down the driveway so other cars can pull in and get off the road. I tell the driver about the $5 parking fee. I collect $5 (making change if necessary) and hand the driver a trail guide and a day pass to hang from the rear view mirror. Then I send the car off to park.

The problem occurs when the lot is full, but the tourists keep coming.

On the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, people started packing in around eleven in the morning. The lot was already nearly full when a group of people in 15 to 20 cars started pulling in. The road in the parking area is a loop, and this group created a logjam while they sat parked in the driving area, waiting (and hoping) for other cars to leave.

About then, my (older, more experienced) coworker said there was no point in even letting more cars into the parking area. I stationed myself at the entrance to the lot and told folks who wanted to park their cars that we could not accommodate them.

Most people wanted to know where they could park. I told them they could try the campground, but I expected its parking areas were full too.

People began parking on the side of the narrow highway, despite danger and “no parking” signs. I told people it was illegal to park there and if a ranger came along, they’d probably get a ticket. Many people decided to take their chances.

I saw an older (fit and seemingly wealthy) couple I’d turned away from the parking lot get out of their car, which they were leaving on the side of the highway. I walked over to the man and explained: illegal–ranger–ticket. He said there was a “no parking” sign over there (pointing), but not where he was parked. I told him I was simply giving him information, he could make his own decisions.

He pulled out his wallet and asked how much he owed me.

I said, Oh, no sir. There’s no charge to park illegally. If I took your money, I’d be sanctioning your decision to park there.

Then I walked off, imagining how–if I took his money and he got a ticket–he’d tell a ranger or a judge he thought it was ok to park there because he’d paid a fee to an employee.

No way. Not this employee.

To read more stories of the parking lot, go here: and here:

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now I have a little travel trailer parked in a small RV park in a small desert town. I also have a minivan to travel in. When it gets too hot for me in my desert, I get in my minivan and move up in elevation to find cooler temperatures or I house sit in town in a place with air conditioning I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

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