I spent the first two nights in New Orleans Parked in front of BW’s house. It was handy because I could go sneak in the back door, which was right by the bathroom. I think I’m going to like the whole Van Living thing, but I do admit that I like having access to a toilet come morning. I have a backup system (read bucket) in place, but I haven’t yet found it necessary. Read on to find out more about parking on the street and Walden as a venue for parties.
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A couple of mornings I drove to City Park. I arrived early, so the place was rather empty. I set up my table just outside the van and cooked breakfast on the butane stove. I cooked bacon the first day, so I was happy to be cooking it outside the camper rather than to fill my bedroom with bacon grease. The park provided good infrastructure. There was a building with a bathroom, a restaurant, and free WIFI. As the date of this post imply I was too busy housekeeping to avail myself of the free WIFI, nonetheless, parks could be a good place to, well, park.
The other nights in New Orleans I opted to go out and be on my own. No parking outside a friend’s house, no access to a potty, just me and the elements. On Saturday, during the French Quarter Festival, I managed to find a place on Baronne Street, just a block off of Canal. It was 2 hour parking and the street was mostly shaded, so Walden stayed pretty cool. I talked to Thor about whether he wanted to walk for blocks on crowded streets where it’d be hard to find a place to lie down, and he made it clear that he’d rather just stay home. He, like me, can be something of a homebody. I leashed Thor up, put a couple of coolers across the side door, shut the curtain and left him there on the back seat leaving open the sliding door and all the windows. I went back every couple of hours to check on him and pay another $3 for a slip of paper to stick in the windshield. It worked pretty well.
That night a bunch of my colleagues left Prestigious University’s reception, which, as always, included an open bar and generous hors d’oeuvres. Our party, about twenty strong, adjourned to a friend’s hotel room, which was conveniently located half a block from Walden, which was good, because moving that hotel would have been something of a bother. At some point, a sub-contingent of, I think, eight people, walked down the street and crowded into Walden. I distinctly remember counting eight people. The sliding door was closed. I also remember that someone sat in my lap, but not before she gave me explicit instructions about where not to touch her. I’m sure there were 3 people in the front seats, and 3 on the back bench (Thor was back in what my sister and I called the “way back” in our VW station wagon). Maybe a couple others were sitting on the cooler. It was a fantastic inauguration and test of Walden’s capabilities as party venue.
Another night, half a block down the same street, I had a smaller, quieter party with just two guest. One of my friends managed to finish a whole beer. When it was time for them to go, they started talking about getting a cab. That seemed silly, as Walden is not only my home, but is also a suitable conveyance for humans, so we took down the curtains and I drove them home. It turns out that my friend’s hotel, though in a place she wasn’t comfortable walking to, was a great place to overnight park. There was a spot right in front. There were cab drivers hanging out there, so it seemed safe, and I could get in to a bathroom on the ground floor. In the morning, I borrowed my friend’s shower, and then took advantage of the hotel’s free breakfast, where I had an English muffin and some sausage. I suppose I’ve snuck in on a hotel breakfast or two at conferences in the recent past, but I don’t remember feeling excitement over purloining foodstuffs and plumbing since college. As one of my friends in Knoxville continually tells me “Dude, you’re living my life backward.”