It's been a tough day for John. Sticks and leaves appear to be growing from the top of his camper, reminders of two earlier events. The mental stress of towing is starting to show. Now he pulls into a hotel parking lot. The front-desk manager said he could park his rig anywhere.
That's great, except...well, there are no dedicated areas for trucks and trailers. All but six parking spaces are taken, and they're all slotted between other cars in one row against the hotel. The driveway itself is wide enough for only one vehicle at a time to pass through.
"Anywhere you want," I say to John, a bit testily. "And hurry up. I'm tired."
Time to get creative.
Gold: Walleye Dan
His was the last rig into the lot and had the least room. He made up for it with guile.
"I'd rather park and walk than force myself into tough spots." He parks on the grass next to the lot. "Here you go."
He's told he's out of bounds.
"OK, I'll scope it out. Hey, these spots should work [next to a Dumpster]. I'll back up and angle in the trailer real slow. Then disconnect and park the truck separately. If these two spots hadn't opened up, I'd just find another lot and walk to the hotel."
Silver: John The Tactician
Had to mentally block out a gallery of spectators and one angry driver.
"I'll back into the driveway from the road. Using the entrance buys me a little more space to get into a spot." A lady in a Black Subaru can't get past and honks her horn. "It makes no difference if it takes 15 minutes."
Hotel guests begin to spill onto the balcony to watch. "I'll mentally measure the distance back to the curb, and then use a visual marker next to the truck door, like a leaf, to gauge that same distance as I back up."
Two bystanders shout: "Hold! Hold! Ho!!"
Bronze: Unflappable Fred
Being the first one into the lot made it too easy.
"If there's room on the pavement and I'm not in anyone else's way, I'll use it — whatever's available, even if it's an unmarked spot. Why make things more difficult?"
He parks along the edge of the widest part of the lot, leaving just enough room for parked cars to back up and get out. "When it's time to reconnect, I'll line up the trailer tongue with the Lear logo in the window of my topper. It gets my hitch right on the trailer every time."