Tuesday, July 13, 2010


When you’re traveling alone, some days are really quiet. Yesterday was one of those days for me. In fact, one of the only conversations I had all day was with a billy club wielding cop.

Really, I swear there was a cop out there who found it necessary to approach me with his billy club ready. I can tell you one thing- it’s really hard to look a cop in the eye when he talks to you while holding a weapon. In fact, I really can’t tell you a thing about that cop’s appearance except that he was bigger than me and was holding a billy club. I can, however, tell you how I came to be talking to a cop with a billy club.

It all started on Saturday night. I found a sweet spot to park the van on a street that had a hotel and restaurant on one side and a day-use state park on the other. It was also about 100 yards from the beach, where there were about 30 groups of people having bonfires. It was perfect- if anyone saw the van they’d figure I was either a hotel guest or someone who drank too much at the beach and caught a ride home. Plus- the state park had a bathroom for the morning.

The sweet spot proved to be sweet for a good night’s sleep on Saturday to gear up for Sunday’s long trail run. Well, that long trail run became over 4 hours of running plus another 45 minutes of tree climbing, bushwhacking and mudsliding. Needless to say I ended up exhausted and covered in what appeared to be a pint of blood, a gallon of sweat and about 5 pounds of mud.

While the public bathroom sink made for a halfway decent shower, it couldn’t wash away the exhaustion so I headed back to the sweet spot for another night. Apparently the locals didn’t think me staying there for two nights was so sweet.

Luckily, the restless legs from Sunday’s adventure on the trail had me awake at 6 am when the pounding on the van started. (The billy club, I’m sure.) I figured it had to be a cop, because even if someone was stupid enough to break into the van in broad daylight, he probably wouldn’t knock first. So, I did what any mature adult would do when the cops are looking for her. I hid. I pulled the blankets over my head and held my breath and hoped like hell that since I couldn’t see him, he couldn’t see me. When I didn’t respond to the banging, he shook the van a little too, just in case that might actually make me admit I was in there.

After a few minutes, he gave up. When I heard the car pull away, I got up, threw on some clothes and jumped in the front seat.

I should’ve just headed out of town, I know, but there was a bathroom right around the corner and like every morning, I’d awakened feeling like I’d somehow swallowed a gallon of water in my sleep. Just as I parked in front of the bathroom and started to get out, I noticed the city cop car pull up behind me. I watched in the mirror as the cop got out and cautiously approached my van, billy club ready. I had no choice but to open the door this time.

Now, imagine you’re a tough guy city cop ready to do battle with your billy club and you discover that your opponent is all 115 lbs of me- smiling. Yeah- pretty disappointing.

I mean, I’m sure the bedhead and puffy eyes made me look slightly fierce, but clearly he was disappointed.

Oddly though, despite his obvious size and power advantage, he never did put the billy club away.

So we had our obligatory “if you’re going to sleep in your van can you at least pull outside the city limits so the residents have to call someone other than me to complain” conversation while he held his billy club and I held my gallon of pee.

Needless to say, I was pretty agreeable. One, he was bigger than me. Two, he had a weapon. Three, you know how a guy will tell a girl just about anything she wants to hear in the heat of the moment if he thinks he’ll get some sex? Well, I will tell you just about anything you want to hear if I have to pee and you’re impeding my progress to the john.

Thankfully, I’d barely gotten my, “Sure, no problem,” out when a dirty guy with dreadlocks stumbled up from the beach right next to the sign that said, “No sleeping on the beach.”

Some people have impeccable timing.

So, while the cop made a beeline for the dreadlock boy with his billy club ready, I made a beeline for the bathroom with my bladder.

Pics (sorry, none of the cop) and travel updates coming soon. Lots of beautiful stuff in the Olympic Peninsula!

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