PART III: Homeless in Seattle   2 comments

After sleeping a few hours, I got up and asked the clerk at the 24-hour truck stop where I could catch a park-and-ride bus into Seattle (the school has no parking).  She told me that she and her husband regularly caught a bus from a terminal just a few exits down that always had parking.  I drove to the lot expecting to find an attendant, or at least a posted bus schedule and map, but just found rows of cars.  I called the public transit office, and after a great deal of investigation they told me the next bus would not stop at that lot till the afternoon.  As they seemed to know so little about their own services, I started walking up to cars pulling in to park and asking their advice.  Someone told me about the main western terminal where I could get lots of buses.

I drove there only to discover garage parking that would not fit my 11 foot high camper.  I drove to the adjoining office complex with multiple buildings and open parking.  Did they require parking decals?  Would I get towed?  My camper stuck out like a hillbilly in Times Square.  I parked and walked to the terminal where someone told me I should take the next bus.  I climbed on and stuck a $20 bill into the till.  The conductor shrugged, “Say goodbye to your 20 dollars. We only take exact change.”  “That’s an expensive lesson,” I replied.  I made it to school, and after the day’s program was over, walked to an ATM and got $60… in 20 dollar bills.  I bought some overpriced item in a corner store to get change and walked a mile to the bus stop to return to the parking lot.  To my relief my truck was still there and unticketed.

blue camper

The plan I worked out over the last few weeks was to stay in a Washington State forest that allowed free camper parking and was driving distance from the dock where I could catch a ferry across Puget Sound to Seattle.  It was dark by the time I turned off the main road for the last ten miles.  Within a few minutes I had lost all cellphone coverage, including GPS, so I pulled out my printed map and flashlight (my cab light had burned out years ago).  I expected to see signs for the forest… at least road signs… but after wandering fruitlessly, I finally pulled into a church parking lot to spend the night, pulling behind some tall bushes so as not to attract undo attention from the street.

My forest plan was shot anyway.  The ten miles were much too steep for my broken truck to handle daily.  But what was I to do?  A cheap hotel in Kitsap County where I had transferred my Home Depot job would cost me $2000 for six weeks… while we were still paying rent in Asheville.  I couldn’t park my outrageous blue monstrosity on a street and hope to get away unnoticed.  I did some Google aerial searches of the general area near where I would be working and spotted a small church that bordered on a wooded area.  Perhaps no one would notice if I showed up late and left early.  For two nights in a row I showed up at 10 pm and parked in the back of the lot.  The second night at midnight, the pastor showed up and told me that I could not park there.  I was running out of options.

Out of desperation I parked the next two nights behind a doctors’ office complex, and not finding any other suitable spot, I finished out the week there, sleeping very lightly as I listened for the police to stumble on me and fine me or have me towed.  Having exhausted my nerves, I finally decided to move to a state park for $35 a night.  In the meantime, Kimberly’s friend Elisabeth kept pestering her brother and her pastor whose son lived in the area.  The pastor’s son connected me to a social worker who helped the homeless, and she thought I qualified.  She gave me several sites through which to find help, and I started checking those out.  Then Elisabeth’s brother got me in touch with John who was selling his daughter’s place and offered me a bed in the empty house—electricity, hot baths, microwave, and fridge.  It was perfect.

Posted January 2, 2018 by janathangrace in Personal

2 responses to “PART III: Homeless in Seattle

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  1. My Lord knows the way through the wilderness…all I have to do is follow!!! A lesson I am still learning, though it began at Ben Lippen and CBC…

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