Living in a micro gypsy bicycle caravan is, in part, an exercise in urban stealth camping. Parking out along the beaches is a bust, for certain, so we bicycle caravan dwellers must find secluded secret little spots where we can spend our evenings in peaceful surroundings where we will not be accosted by the local law enforcement because, after all, it is illegal to live the way I live. I am use to that...I've lived an illegal lifestyle for much of my life, dwelling as I have in housebusses, housetrucks, and minivans. It is an aspect of my preferred way of life that I don't especially like, but it kinda comes with the deal. So I have been parking the caravan along a section of the bike path that is away from houses, buildings, and streets...it's quite a nice spot and I can lie in bed at night and watch the lights of the boats as they come and go from the harbor entrance. It's very peaceful and the only traffic is the occasional bicyclist.
|a photo my new friend Eric took, which has nothing to do with this story.|
So last night I was all tucked into my cozy little bed and had drifted off into dreamland when I suddenly was roused from sleep by flashing red lights outside my windows. Not a good sign. Then a heavy hand knocked on the caravan and told me to come out....."shit", I thought...I knew what came next. I was not unfamiliar with getting rousted in the middle of the night by the local constable. Generally how it goes is, they ask you some questions to establish who you are and what you are about and then inform you that it is illegal to sleep there and you will have to move on, and that there is, in fact, nowhere you can legally park and sleep for the night. That's pretty much how this scenario I was facing always plays out....and I was bummed...I really was enjoying this spot and the alternative was pedaling my tired butt into town and looking for some other spot to stealth camp...which can be daunting. I pulled on some clothes and opened up the roll down shade and was met by two LAPD officers. I had always heard horror stories about LAPD but having spent most of my west coast time in Northern California, I had never had the pleasure to experience it first hand. The first guy asked me how long I had been there, and I replied, "since about 10 pm." Then the other guy asked if I had been screaming out there a little while ago and I looked really puzzled and said, "No, not at all...I usually try to be more low key than that." They asked me if I had heard anyone screaming and I said "No, I think I would have heard something like that, I think I'm a fairly light sleeper"...
"Well," the first guy asked, "did you hear the helicopter that was buzzing over your head a few minutes ago?".....
"Uh, no....maybe I'm not as light a sleeper as I think I am."
Well, apparently several unrelated people reported someone screaming for help, and with the way the water is around there it's hard to tell where sound is coming from...they had been searching for about the last 15 minutes. Then.....(and this is the really bizarre part,) they said, "well we apologize for coming on like that, and sorry to interrupt your sleep....seems like a nice little spot you have here....have a nice night.".....AND THEY LEFT!!!!! Never in the entire history of my illegal lifestyle has that happened. I was shocked and stunned and in fact, still find it hard to believe. Apparently, the LAPD has bigger fish to fry that rousting micro-gypsy-caravan bicycle dwellers who are parking in out of the way locations. I drifted off into a lovely sleep, still disbelieving what had just happened.