Last week I was sitting in bed, wrapping my brain around a programming problem presented by my newest project. With no warning, someone started pounding on the wall of my RV. No identification, no verbal communication. Just banging on the wall. Within a few seconds someone else started banging on the other side.
Would you open the door? I didn't. I shut my laptop and stayed as quiet as I could. I have light blocking curtains, but I could see that flashlight beams were reaching for the edges of them.
Then I heard someone try to open my driver's side door. It's locked. Then the passenger side. Also locked. I wondered if I remembered to lock the RV door. It gets tried, too, and the intruder can't get in.
I peak out one of the curtains when both guys are on the other side and I see a police car. After five minutes of harassment and a toothless warning about my "abandoned vehicle" on my windshield, they leave.
In San Francisco it's illegal to sleep in your vehicle. They know I'm in there, but can't prove it if I don't answer. So they harass me and I pretend I'm not there to witness it.
This doesn't happen in other cities, but San Francisco's high living expenses and excellent weather have made RV living attractive for a lot of people - mostly people with really junky large RVs who park near me and draw a lot of attention. My favorite spots have become clogged with these guys, and they're bringing heat to my situation.
Tonight I came back from a trip to Harbin Hot Springs, played a few hours of poker, and was dropped off at my RV, which is parked in Berkeley. My motorcycle is in San Francisco, and was four hours away from getting a $55 street cleaning ticket. The RV belched exhaust from under the engine, so driving it to the city wasn't an option. In the freezing cold I rode my electric skateboard a mile to a ZipCar, drove the ZipCar 20 minutes to my motorcycle, found a spot that's good until Friday, walked back to the ZipCar, drove it back, and skated back to my RV.
It's time to improve my system. Whenever something in my life is a bit of a problem, I think of it as an opportunity to make that something a positive part of my life. For example, showering in my RV became a hassle in San Francisco because I had to drive 20 minutes to refill my tanks. Without showers I could go 2-3 weeks. With showers I lasted 4-5 days. So I joined a luxury spa. Now every day I take two showers, sit in the steam room, and drink really good cucumber water. My friends joined, too, so it's a great time to sit together and relax, catch up, or just stare into the steam and ponder that next great idea.
Last week a small parking lot was up for rent on Craigslist. It was too expensive for me to rent myself, but after a few days I managed to wrangle some friends into splitting it with me. By then it was already sold and there were no others to rent.
So it occurred to me to ask my readers if anyone can help me out. Over the years I've met a bunch of my readers and have really consistently been blown away by how awesome you guys are. I'm not just saying that to butter you up. I can't imagine that out of the thousands of awesome people out there, no one has a good lead on a place for me to park.
Here's what I'm hoping for:
- Room for at least my RV (20'8" long) and my motorcycle. Todd is probably interested in parking for his Honda Element and motorcycle. If the space is bigger, I might be able to find more friends to share it.
- Either very good solar coverage (middle of a parking lot, for example) or electricity. I use very little and have a small meter to measure how much I use (I will pay you back more than it costs to provide me the electricity)..
- Located in either Hayes Valley, The Mission, The Castro, SOMA, or the Panhandle. Really, anything close to BART or underground MUNI.
- In an ideal world, it would be some weird configuration. The loading dock of a mall, or an abandoned parking lot somewhere, or the roof of a parking garage your uncle owns. Or if we're really shooting for the moon, maybe you know someone who knows someone who can convince the park rangers in a SF park to rent me a spot.
I spend about half my time in SF and half the time away. You basically won't know when I'm there or when I'm not because I'm really quiet and considerate. No loud noises, bright lights, litter, water draining, etc.. Because I'm away from SF so much I prefer to pay rent many months in advance (I'm renting a spot in Berkeley right now where I do this).
To be clear, I'm completely willing to pay a fair market rate, or even slightly above, for this space. I'm hoping for your help in reaching out to people you know who might have somewhere cool to rent me, not for your help in getting me discount parking. If you do help me find a spot I end up taking, I will repay you somehow.
Have any ideas? parking spot at tynan dot NET.
P.S. I am very hesitant to post any requests for personal stuff on this site because I know that 99% of readers don't know anything about parking in SF (but maybe you can forward this to someone who does?). I decided to post this one because it will make a big difference to me if someone can help, and I thought I could make the post moderately entertaining by sharing a couple recent stories.
I should also mention that a big part of the impetus of this is that I'm going to be doing a lot more traveling in the near future and need a convenient place to park that allows me easy access to the airport. So if you're into travel stuff, there should be some good posts for you in the pipeline.
Details on the SXSW panel I'm co-hosting coming later this week.
Lots of TaskSmash Codes: