KEYWORDS: telephone, trailer, car, right, parking, park

Have Trailer--Will Travel--Part 23: Parking & Telephones

David Berg

DFO812-2314 July 1979

—By Father David

1. INCIDENTALLY THESE HUGE SHOPPING MALLS ARE GOOD PLACES TO PARK YOUR TRAILER. They usually have huge parking lots with lots of space & you can drive in & drive right out without having to back out. You can take up a double space that you can drive right through. They're great places to stop during the day where the wife can do her shopping & you have toilets for the kids to go to the bathroom.

2. SO WHILE YOU'RE TAKING A NICE NAP & resting & recuperating in your trailer for your next journey and the next lap of your trip, stretched out comfortably on one of the beds or seats in the cool while you've got your windows open & the breeze is blowing through you can be taking an hour or two of good nap & rest & the family can eat lunch in the cheap cafeteria & the kids can play around in the shopping mall or be shopping & looking around. Sometimes they even have a playground.

3. THEN WHEN YOU'VE RESTED & EATEN & SHOPPED & gone to the toilet & everybody has gotten everything accomplished they need to, you're still attached & ready to roll & you just roll out & roll away. We frequently stayed in shopping malls & Sears parking lots & often we got away with staying there overnight.

4. WE MADE SURE THAT WE PARKED WELL AWAY FROM THE CROWDED AREAS way off somewhere on the edge of the parking lot where we knew that they weren't going to be crowded enough to need space to park & we would be far away from the other cars & shoppers so it would be quieter & they wouldn't bother us & we wouldn't bother them even if we let out a little water on the ground from one of our drains. But it's better to use a bucket!

5. WE WOULD BE SO FAR AWAY NOBODY WOULD SEE IT OR CARE & it wouldn't bother anybody. We would then often be able to stay there after closing time & right on through the night. I don't think we ever got chased out of a shopping mall. I remember getting chased off the sides of highways or sometimes off city streets.

6. WE FOUND THAT WITH YOUR VAN OR CAR CAMPER YOU CAN OFTEN PARK RIGHT ON A CITY STREET & spend the night. After all, you have got to park your car somewhere it's your car. And therefore what can they do about it? And they don't know whether you're inside or not unless it's hot weather & the windows are open & then they're probably pretty sure you are in there. But in cold weather in particular when you keep all the windows shut maybe except for the vent, or keep the kitchen or the bathroom window opened only a crack, they may have thought you forgot to shut it & they do not know whether you're inside or not.

7. WE OFTEN SLEPT ON CITY STREETS THAT WAY or we pulled into city parking lots & paid for parking in a regular city parking lot. If Mom wanted to go shopping or the kids had things we needed or I had business downtown, it was worth the money & it usually didn't cost much more to park the cruiser which only took up two spaces instead of one.

8. YOUR CAR & TRAILER WILL USUALLY ONLY TAKE UP TWO SPACES INSTEAD OF ONE even a big car is not usually more than 15 feet long & your trailer overall 20 ft., you usually can slide into a double space if it's a big parking lot & you just pay them for two spaces & you've got your space for the day or maybe the night too, & the lot may not be watched at night or even used at night but you're in there or & nobody knows whether you're there or not in cold weather, & usually nobody cares in a downtown parking lot.

9. AND USUALLY ROBBERS ARE AFRAID TO ATTACK because they don't know if you're there or not. I'll never forget we were sitting in such a parking lot in downtown San Francisco waiting for our mail once & we had our glass curtains drawn so you couldn't see in‚ but we could see out & we were just sitting there reading or talking.

10. THIS OLD BUM SIDLED IN BETWEEN US & THE WALL OF THE BUILDING we were parked next to. First of all he urinated against the wall & then he looked around & saw he was pretty well hidden so he tried the door. It happened that we had left it unlocked. So he was able to open it. Well we weren't scared, there were several of us sitting right there watching him‚ it was downtown broad daylight with the police all around.

11. BUT I'LL TELL YOU, HE NEVER GOT SUCH A SCARE in his whole life as when he peeked into the dark of that trailer & saw people sitting there facing him eye-ball to eyeball! He gasped, almost yelled, slammed the door & ran! So you're not necessarily going to be the one that's scared if they find you are in the trailer! They don't know if you've got a gun or a sledgehammer or a big baseball bat ready to bonk'm on the bean or not!

12. MOST CRIMINALS FEAR THE WORST & figure you probably have & that they're going to get the worst of it, especially when it's dark inside & they can't see. Therefore it's very seldom that I've ever heard of campers or trailers being attacked or robbed or broken into except those which were parked deserted or unoccupied, sometimes in storage or unoccupied on a downtown car lot or even out beside the road.

13. BUT THEY'RE AFRAID TO BOTHER IT IF THEY THINK YOU'RE INSIDE because you can see them but they can't see you & don't know whether you've got a gun or not. So they're pretty afraid to attack a trailer that's occupied. That's one advantage of having your house on wheels & living in it: They figure you're there. They're even afraid to touch your car because they know that every movement of that car can be felt in the trailer if it's attached‚ and that if you're in the trailer, they can't open a car door or shut it without your knowing it.

14. IT'S REALLY A FAIRLY SAFE LIFE even compared to living in a house or apartment because you can see all around you & out all windows & know exactly what's going on outside & if there's anybody out there. We had some very amusing incidents take place when we were inside & the people outside didn't know it.

15. WHEN WE WERE PARKED IN THE WORLD'S FAIR PARKING LOT & LIVING IN THE CRUISER at the same time‚ we had all the windows sealed with black paper and black tape so no one could tell even when we had lights on. It was Wintertime, cold weather, so we could live comfortably with only the vents open & the high bathroom window slightly open. One night a police car drove up right alongside us in this almost deserted parking lot.

16. APPARENTLY THE POLICE'S HOURS WERE OVER & THEY HAD DECIDED TO HAVE THEMSELVES A BEER PARTY right next to our camper! They probably had already had a few as, talking very loudly they opened the trunk of the car & pulled out a big case of beer & proceeded to stand around drinking it, at the same time, carrying on in a loud conversation about our camper. One of them asked, "What is this thing anyway?" Another one said "This is Mr. So-&-so's camper, the manager of the fair, he moves it here sometimes."

17. SEE, OFTEN IF YOU'RE BOLD & GO IN PRAYER & the power of the Lord & act like you know what you're doing & just go ahead & do it until they tell you not to, people figure you must have the right to do it. Of course you weren't supposed to camp there & live in your trailer & live on the grounds which was very convenient for us while we were operating our exhibits in the Fair, but nevertheless we did because it was convenient. We tried & we figured if we can get away with it, fine. We couldn't do any more than leave if they told us no.

18. WE WERE LIKE THE LEPERS OUTSIDE OF SAMARIA WHEN SURROUNDED BY THE ASSYRIANS: They said "If we stay right here we're going to die anyway of starvation so why don't we try to go over there to the camp of the Assyrians & ask if they'll give us food. Why sit we here & die? If we stay here we die, if we go there we can but die, so what's the difference? "

19. FREQUENTLY YOU JUST HAVE TO TAKE CHANCES OR RISKS or have the faith to be bold & try until somebody stops you or says no. Campers are a very bold breed. They sometimes roll in & camp where angels would fear to tread & if they're bold enough, people think they must have the right or they wouldn't be there. Hitler said that if you tell a big enough lie people are bound to believe you because they figure you wouldn't tell such a big lie unless it was true!—Ha!—But don't!

20. THE SAME PRINCIPLE HOLDS TRUE IN CAMPING SOMETIMES or parking your trailer or camper; I've been bold enough to park right across from the capitol of some states or city halls of towns etc. right on the city street all night‚ cooking, eating, sleeping, everything & got away with it just because we were bold enough to try it. Even the police who saw our camper thought it must be some official's car or something & he must be have a right to park there, & didn't bother us or didn't care.

21. WE'VE PARKED IN ALL KINDS OF AMAZING PLACES almost unbelieveable especially with a camper without a trailer. We've been chased out of a few places, popular beach spots along the ocean where we pulled in next to the beach, parking lots right next to the beach where we thought we might be able to get away with it staying overnight. Some places they let us & some places they chased us out.

22. THE FEW TIMES WE EVER GOT CHASED OUT the police just came around very politely, the squad car would pull up‚ look us over & have a conversation & one of them would get out & knock & say, "Sorry but you can't park here overnight, you'll have to move along, you've been here long enough. You can stay here until such-&-such a time or cook your supper but then you'll have to go. We don't allow overnight camping or parking".

23. THE ONLY CITY STREET I THINK I EVER GOT CHASED OFF of was in Carmel, California, a very swanky artists' rich resort. It was only 9:00 in the evening when they came by & told us to move along, that we couldn't stay there overnight. Of course the local hotels, motels & so on are always out to get the campers & the camps & the trailers parks & to try to run them out of business so they can get the business‚ so they usually get the city or local town to pass ordinances that you can't camp or park on the streets overnight.

24. MANY TOWNS HAVE THOSE ORDINANCES, but a lot of them don't enforce them if you only stay one night; if you park overnight they don't bother you—or at least they didn't ten years ago when we were camping out on city streets. In Monterey Park, California we parked right in front of Jeth & Deb's house for about a week before one of the neighbours complained.

25. THEY PROBABLY WOULDN'T HAVE COMPLAINED THEN IF OUR KIDS HAD BEHAVED THEMSELVES. We had Aaron's little 6-foot by 6-foot box trailer attached to the back of the cruiser, which had a back door facing the neighbour. The trailer didn't have a toilet, they had to use a pee-can, & the neighbour caught them pouring it out the door into the gutter, so of course they complained.

26. TRY NOT TO OFFEND YOUR NEIGHBOUR, try to "do unto another as you'd have him do unto you"! Would you want them with their camper parked out in front of your house, letting out their sewage into your gutter & stinking up the neighbourhood? I doubt it! So just try to avoid situations in which people are bound to complain because you're offending them.

27. THE NEIGHBOUR COMPLAINED TO THE POLICE & they came along & gave me a parking ticket which said you could not park a commercial vehicle on this residential street. At this point‚ they hadn't passed any ordinances that you couldn't camp on the street & all they had, was a parking ordinance that trucks couldn't park on the street, & the police contended that I was a truck & of commercial size.

28. I GOT SO MAD ABOUT IT THAT I DECIDED TO GO TO COURT & FIGHT IT! He said you can pay the $10 fine & move, or you can go to court. So they set a court date & I appeared at 10 o'clock that morning & I told the judge what happened, & he said, "Well, let's see‚ I'll look that ordinance up in my book."

29. AND HE LOOKED IT UP & HE READ IT while he sat there on the judge's throne & said‚ "Now, let's see. The ordinance reads this way..." & he read it out loud to the court & he said, "Commercial trucks, busses or commercial vehicles are not permitted to park on city streets overnight in residential area." He said, "Is your vehicle a commercial vehicle?" I said, "Of course not, Judge!

30. "MINE IS A PRIVATE VEHICLE, MY PRIVATE CAR & CAMPER‚ it has a private vehicle license, it does not have a commercial license. It is classified as a 'private passenger vehicle' under California state law." He said‚ "Well, then if that's the case, case dismissed. You were not guilty. Next case."

31. AND I WALKED OUT SCOT-FREE & KEPT MY $10! But I knew that neighbour was going to make trouble one way or another, & I decided to move, since we'd worn out our welcome. The Bible says‚ "Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, & so hate thee." (Pr.25:17.) I figured a week there of free camping on the city street using my son-in-law's house & his toilet was sufficient, & Monterey Park had contributed their share to my welfare & it was time to go. So we moved, & I think we went & found a trailer park at that time, even got a telephone! In some trailer parks if you are fairly permanent,

32. YOU CAN ASK FOR A TELEPHONE TO BE INSTALLED‚ & they will put the connection on a pole near your vehicle & run the telephone wire right into the vehicle & install the telephone inside. Or you can simply ask them to pass it through an open window & set it inside. We, in that case, asked him to put a plug-in type of connection on the pole so that every time we drove in & out of the space‚ which we did frequently with our car–type camper, our cruiser, the Ark‚ we simply pulled the telephone plug out of the pole & rolled off with the telephone still inside! And when we'd drive back into our space, we'd plug it back in again & we were in business again‚ & we could receive & make telephone calls.

33. OTHERWISE, YOU CAN GET YOURSELF A MOBILE-TELEPHONE for your camper or trailer. Normally this is put in the car itself or inside the truck or the camper or the vehicle part, the power part of the vehicle, because it uses battery juice. It consists of a telephone relay system mechanism which responds to radio signals; it's literally a radio receiving set & it responds to certain tone signals or frequency signals which add up to your telephone number.

34. YOU COULD, IN FACT‚ HEAR IT CLICKING AWAY EVERYBODY ELSE'S TELEPHONE NUMBER TOO. It was a little unit‚ about six inches deep, eight inches wide & 18 inches long. I had it sitting right beside the driver's seat between me & the wall of the cruiser. It was wired into the battery & had its own four-foot antenna on top on the roof, & it was on the mobile radio telephone exchange of the local area.

35. WE AT THAT TIME WERE IN TEXAS & our phone was installed in Ft. Worth's mobile telephone garage & therefore hooked into the Ft. Worth telephone system. We were given a certain number, & when that number was called by the operator‚ our mechanism would respond to that particular signal & our telephone would buzz. It usually gave a beep or buzzing signal, or you could turn a switch so that:

36. IN CASE YOU WERE INSIDE A HOUSE AWAY FROM YOUR VEHICLE & your vehicle was parked outside, it would blow your horn & you'd come a running & answer your telephone. These mobile telephones were very handy to have, although they're a bit expensive since you have to pay person-to-person rates on nearly all calls‚ but you also get person-to-person service. And if you don't get the party that you want to talk to, then you don't have to pay for the call at all!

37. THE WAY IT OPERATES IS THAT IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A CALL you lift the receiver & signal the operator. And she comes on the radio frequency & says, "Hello, this is Ft. Worth Mobile Operator." You say, "This is Mobile Telephone so-&-so, such-&-such a number‚ I want to call such-&-such a number in Ft. Worth." Or "I want to call long distance to Oshkosh," & give her that number.

38. THEN THE OPERATOR SIMPLY DIALS THAT CITY OR THAT NUMBER & gets your party on the line, makes sure it's the party you want to talk to, & turns them over to you. You have your conversation‚ & when you're done you both hang up & everything is shut off & the operator has clocked the time & charged you with whatever the rate was for that call, & it appears on your monthly bill, along with your base charge of so much a month. The base charge I recall was about $30 a month‚ plus calls.

39. WELL, SINCE I HAD FREQUENT DAILY IMPORTANT BUSINESS CALLS to television & radio stations & was constantly on the road & constantly making contacts with businessmen, & needing to have a phone where I could be called, it was well worth it & indeed necessary for me to have one. It was a comfort to know that in case of emergencies I could call for help on my own mobile telephone also.

40. IT WAS ALSO VERY VERY CONVENIENT because they offered quite a few other services. They gave you a book with zips or codes for the different cities & as you were passing through, you could call whoever you wanted to there: You could call information & ask what's on at the local cinemas, you could call for hotel reservations, or you could ask the operator‚ "Where's a good place to eat along this highway, or are there any drive-in movies?"

41. DRIVE-IN MOVIES WERE A GREAT THING FOR US then when we had the cruiser, the camper, because we could drive our house right into the drive-in movie, & sit up front looking through a nice big wind-shield & watch the movie & have all the comforts of home at the same time! And if anybody got sleepy, they could go to bed. There are lots of advantages to campers & trailers.

42. BUT THE TELEPHONE WAS A GREAT ASSET: If you're an important official & you have important business, it's worth the money. I enjoyed it very much & we used it a lot. We could call out & people could call in to us‚ if they knew what area we were going to be in. For example, when Mama Eve was at home with two of the children, & I was out in the cruiser in some area with the other two, since I usually took them along with me when she was not with me, she would usually know what area I was working in.

43. I'D SAY TOMORROW NIGHT I'll be in the Memphis area. So if you want to contact me, call the Memphis Mobile Operator & she will ring my number, & if I'm at home, which I probably will be then‚ I'll answer." Once I was driving when she rang!

44. USUALLY I TOOK FAITH & HOSEA or sometimes Sarah or others, & we would park in a nice trailer park. We'd always try to get a trailer park by a lake or swimming pool. Usually I took them in the Summertime when they were out of school, because we all loved to swim & it was a good way to take a bath & in hot weather a good way to cool off.

45. I WOULD TELL WHOEVER WAS AT HOME WHAT AREA I WOULD BE IN, even if I didn't know where I was going to be parked, & all they had to do was call the Mobile Operator & she would buzz my number & my telephone would buzz & I would answer & there we were!

46. SOMETIMES WE USED A SYSTEM WHEREBY WE WOULDN'T even have to pay for just checking-in calls, but she would know where I was & that I was alright. I would call her person-to-person collect & she would just tell the operator, "No, operator‚ I'm sorry but I can't accept that call." She'd refuse the call & then nobody had to pay for it, but she knew at least where I was & that I was all right.

47. OTHERWISE, IF I HAD ANY PROBLEMS I WOULD ANSWER HER & talk to her. So that system worked very well while I was out on the road like that.

48. MOBILE TELEPHONES ARE AVAILABLE IN NEARLY ALL METROPOLITAN AREAS. You have to have usually a home address. You can always give your folks' home address or you can give some friend's home address who has an apartment or a house with a telephone as your home address. Usually one or two local credit references like your bank or something are required, because they have to trust you with about $1,000 worth of equipment, & you also pay an installation fee, I think it cost something like $100 installation, & $30 a month base fee, plus calls.

49. IT WAS WELL WORTH IT, & WE ENJOYED USING IT & I might have had it yet if it hadn't been for Mama Eve who didn't like it for some reason or other, since, when she was finally travelling with us, she figured she didn't need it any more. And she thought it was costing too much money. So one day in Miami when I was gone she ordered the telephone company to come take it out.

50. I CAME HOME, & TO MY SURPRISE FOUND THE TELEPHONE GONE! And here I was expecting to receive important business calls in this trailer park from television & radio stations, & she'd removed the telephone! She said "You can get your calls right here at the trailer park, they'll call you to the phone."—Ha!

51. NOW HAVING A MOBILE PHONE WAS A STATUS SYMBOL in the eyes of a television program director or station manager who would call my mobile number, but can you imagine what he would think about having some cranky old lady in the trailer park office who's not even always there answer the phone & say‚ "This is Trailer Park So-&-so. You want what? Who do you want? I'll see if he's here, I don't know." And to have that guy have to wait a half an hour for you to get to the telephone was ridiculous!

52. SO I WAS ABSOLUTELY FURIOUS WITH MOM FOR HAVING OUR MOBILE TELEPHONE TAKEN OUT when I was gone! And as a result I couldn't get another one, because I didn't have a base address! We soon quit the television & radio work however, then didn't need it so much.

53. BUT IF I WERE YOU & I WERE AN IMPORTANT SALESMAN on road business, & had to make & receive important calls, you're on the road travelling from city to city selling as I was, I'd try to get myself a mobile phone.

54. FOR SOME OF YOU NEW HOMEGOING TRAILER TRAVELLING FAMILIES, this is one way you can be a highway salesman, a travelling salesman, & still take your family along with you, & still get your phone calls, by having a telephone installed right in your trailer, or preferably your car so you can use it at all times even when you're driving around without the trailer.

55. THEN AT HOME, YOU CAN LEAVE THE CAR PARKED BY THE TRAILER‚ & inside the car you can flip the switch that blows the horn when they call your number. Of course this might not be very popular with your neighbours, but you don't get too many late calls anyway. It's a very handy thing to have & works well in areas where you can get them, & you can get them in nearly all metropolitan centers of the United States.

56. JUST GO DOWN TO YOUR TELEPHONE COMPANY & ask them for the books that explain mobile telephones, the procedures & costs, & you may find it very worthwhile. Well, just about the ultimate in mobile home travel is to have a telephone.

57. THE NEXT BEST THING IS A 2–WAY HAM SET OR CB SET on which you can call your local ham service, or local CBers. These are very handy in cases of emergencies, because nearly all trucks & most ranches have CB sets, & if you have an emergency on the highway you can call. After losing the telephone, I got a CB radio, which served the purpose.

58. WE HAD A NUMBER OF INCIDENTS WHERE WE WOULD CALL SOME HAM SERVICE OR CBer on our CB set & ask them to make a phone call for us, & then they would call us back & give us the answer.—Very convenient, & the members are quite a fraternity‚ comraderie. Like a club‚ the members all try to help each other.

59. SO IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD A RADIO TELEPHONE, I'D STRONGLY RECOMMEND A CB RADIO. This is very popular & easy to get & reasonable in the United States, & you can use your CB set in any state. However, in travelling from country to country, sometimes you may have problems in other countries, because they may require you to buy a special license or pay a special fee to use your CB set in their country. Or they will seal up your set while you are in that country.

60. I HAD THAT HAPPEN TO ME IN CANADA, where they literally put official seals over the controls with an official stamp, so I could not use the radio while I was in Canada. I understand they have more liberal rules now where you can, by paying a fee or getting a temporary license, use your radio. And it's lots of fun while you're travelling‚ you can talk to passing trucks & passing motorists or ranches & CBers along the way!—HAPPY CARAVANING!