Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Old couple caught parking

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I am very upset with my husband. We were just fined $150 for illegally parking overnight in a Florida marina parking lot in the middle of nowhere. He says it is partly my fault because I should have seen the sign. I'm 78 years old. I'm just happy if I can see tomorrow. I told him when he decided to spend the night there that it didn't seem right. If it was legal why weren't there several other RVers enjoying this same spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico. My husband is tighter than a wax dolls ear canal, so he convinced me it was fine. When the officer rousted us in the middle of the night and issued a ticket, he pointed out a sign about the size of a small business card. I think it bordered on entrapment. I would be curious as to how many others have been issued this same fine. I could have stayed at the Ritz for that kind of money. I have been giving my husband the hot tongue and cold shoulder for a week for trying to put the blame on me. Do you think I should be mad at him or the Gulf county Florida authorities.
--Too Old to be Caught Parking in the Panhandle

Dear Too Old:
If you were parked where I think you were, I wouldn't place the blame on your husband. I've seen that sign and it always left me with the impression that the county couldn't afford a normal sized sign or they had other motives. Your experience is something many of us dedicated boon-dockers have experienced. Usually it is a verbal warning, but these are hard times and many local governments are feeling the pinch and pinching more people to plug up their economic plumbing. There are areas that you should always be suspect. The whole state of Florida is one of those areas. It does not have the wide open spaces and massive Federal lands of the western states. It is brimming with RVers in the winter who have already worn out the boon-docker welcome. If it looks questionable, and you have internet and cell connection, call the local authorities and check. You would be surprised how many nice places exist for safe overnight parking by just checking in with the local authorities. They can also give you a heads up if there has been any problems in the area lately. Many small towns have city and county parks that are free, or reasonable, just to welcome visitors. Part of the problem today is that those same authorities are dealing with their own residents who have lost their homes and have moved into these parks with RVs as a means to survive. So, c'est la vie! Scat happens. You will make it up with the next dozen free nights you can find. Think of boon-docking like geo-caching. Most of the time you find a treasure, but on occasion you get skunked. I know it stinks, but you just got skunked.

--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink



Anonymous said...

Don't pay... go to court and ask for jail time instead... they then have to cloth you and feed you.... if enough did this they would soon change their tune

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone has never spent the night or a week for that matter in jail. Not fun.

James O'Briant said...

Please -- what is the name and location of this marina???

Anonymous said...

Write a polite letter to the judge and include a photo of the sign. Or if you plan to be in the area, appear before the judge. There isn't much else you can do but plead for a reduction in the fine.

Anonymous said...

While the above comments are great for the fine. Might I suggest that you have bigger problems if you and your husband are trying to blame each other for this issue. A mistake was made. You and your husband need to talk about blaming each other for mistakes in life. Having been married for 33 years I can tell you that playing the blame game in an RV is a receipe for unhappy times and a waste of good RVing.