Sleeping In The Car

The Hawk figures, what with all the nights I’ve already spent in the bed of my pickup truck, that I could drop some knowledge about bumming it across the country that someone might get some use from!

(I just ended a sentence with a preposition, a major English no-no.  Sorry, Mrs. Gregor..)

If you’re going to be sleeping in your car, here are a few guidelines that might help you rest a little more comfortably.

First of all, 24-hour businesses are great destinations, especially if they have expansive parking lots.  People are coming and going at all hours, and nobody is going to notice your car or truck among the hundreds of others.  Remember, one of your main concerns when sleeping in your car or truck will always be safety, and blending in is just good policy.

Indian casinos fit this bill almost perfectly – open 24/7, relatively safe, usually quiet.  Be aware of cameras and security, but if they can’t see you, you’re gonna be fine.  An ironic destination for dreamland is motel parking lots – just make sure the motel doesn’t have a parking pass of some sort.

And my new personal favorite, after spending a night at St. Mary’s in Tucson, is hospital lots!  In a hospital, you even have the built-in excuse of a relative in ICU or whatever, and how you didn’t want to leave his/her bedside but had to catch a quick 40 winks out here, sir, and couldn’t afford to drive all the way home across town. (wink)

Barring a 24-hour establishment, places that are not open for business but have employees working are also good – as a general rule, the more cars through the night, the better off you are.  So, big-box store parking lots are good, because workers are stocking shelves, cleaning, etc, while mall parking lots tend to have more security and less overnight traffic.

Rest areas seem like a good place, but in my estimation they are more fraught with danger than most places.  By definition they are remote, rarely patrolled overnight, and far from any source of assistance.  Sure, you won’t get towed… but no one will hear you scream, either.

There’s also an easy method – park the car on the street in a residential neighborhood, and set up shop.  After all, most people will just think you’re either a resident or a visitor, right?  If you take this approach, pay attention to street-sweeping signs and areas that have potential for a lot of foot traffic in the morning.

Basically, your best bet is either the edge of a parking lot with a good amount of other cars in it, or a quiet residential neighborhood.  Cram in a few hours of shut-eye, wake up, and drive away!  If you happen to get rousted by security or police or whoever, be polite, follow directions, and leave ASAP.

Uh, stay tuned for more ‘survival tips’ from the road, if you can call them that.  Okay, fine, stay tuned for more tangents from the mind and long drive of the Lost Hawk!

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