This morning I had a first happen. While I was working I noticed a police officer swing through this little rest area that I've been staying at and promptly leave After a few minutes of idling in the lot. When he left I let Lylah out and proceeded to feed her as I was on hold waiting for someone higher up to assist me. I let her eat her food, we do some training, and then she goes Potty. Once she's done I let her back in the van to hang out while I work.
In the mornings I work five hours a day and then I promptly leave and will be gone till late in the evening when I come back to sleep and work the next morning. I'm not harming anybody and I'm just hanging out and resting until I'm free from work. Really I'm not breaking any laws and I'm not "camping" here by any definition. I'm using the facilities to rest, I'm not building any fires, and I'm picking up after myself and my pup and throwing my trash away.
A few hours go by since I saw the officer and then he swings back into the rest area and parks near me. He gets out and comes a knockin. Luckily I wasn't on an active call and was able to answer right away. I opened the door and there he was. Staring up at me as I look down at him. Now mind you I didn't get out of my vehicle/home and I kindly asked him how I could help him.
He stared at me for a moment and then proceeded to start the conversation I could tell he was uncomfortable with. I dont think he expected a 20-something traveler to step out but here I was.
Him:"I'm just checking in on a call I received saying that you have been here since Friday. Are you broken down?"
I stared at him for a moment "No I'm not broken down, just visiting. Currently, though I am working"
He looks at my vehicle for a moment checking to see if there are any signs of a breakdown but doesn't move anything but his head to see.
Stumbling on his words he finally settles on " what is your name?" I give it to him "Date of birth?" I state my birthday. "Middle initial?" I tell him. After a brief pause, I interject.
Me:"I'm really just visiting, checking out the parks, hiking, running, and climbing. It's just me and ill be gone in a few days' time. Just hanging out there during the day to work and a little bit at night to get some sleep but in the afternoon to the late evening, I'm not here. I would be in the state park but they don't have great connection and I have to have that for my line of work"
He stares at me and looks at the dishes near my feet and glances at the passenger side of my vehicle where my laundry is clearly visible.
Him:"Are you visiting anybody in the area or anything?" he stares with a frown now on his face.
Me:"No just visiting the parks."
Him"Is this vehicle yours? How long have you had it?" Now it was my turn to stare at him. An odd question but ok.
Me:"This vehicle is mine and under my name"
Him:"Well, it says that the vehicle is under a Honda. How long have you had this vehicle?"
My brain now is doing circles trying to figure out what he just said. Who the hell is Honda? I've never even heard of a Honda before and I certainly got the title registered in my name. I made a mental note to see what that's about later. I smiled at the officer.
Me:"Not sure why that is. The vehicle is mine, it's a travel/camper van and I've had it for two and a half years now. I reassure you it's under my name and it is mine."
I think at this point the officer was more confused than anything. Not only did he not expect me to be cleaned up and dressed well but he also wasn't expecting my answer about not visiting anybody. I mean I'm visiting mother Nature, does that count?
Him: "Well like I said I was just checking in on a call that said you have been here since Friday and wanted to make sure you weren't broken down."
Smiling I glanced back at my computer to make sure things were good with my job and weren't needed before returning to him.
Me:"No officer, not broken down although I do appreciate you checking in on me. We will be out of here in a few days' time and in the parks this weekend before I head northwest" I paused for a second. "Have a great day officer" and then he promptly walked away and got in his vehicle. After a few minutes he drives off and I smile a little to myself. It's interesting to know that people reported me and were concerned but also a little bit out there. Clearly, I'm not broken down, and I'm not here 24/7 camping and causing a disturbance. I pick up after myself and Lylah and make sure not to leave any trash behind. I'm also spending money in the area and visiting the parks as I go.
I'm sure he expected to pick up a homeless person that has a stolen van but if that's the case then I am the cleanest homeless person he's seen and not only that but I come with a portable shower and good hygeine.
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