Yesterday I took my son to the caves and i took my daughter with. I brought food with for them to eat for when we get hungry, I brought water and two big flashlights and a tiny one. I also brought coats and a sweatshirt for my daughter. It was warm out and because it’s the holiday weekend, all the parking spots were full and the other two empty ones I saw were only reserved for over sized vehicles so I had to pull out and find another spot to park. Lot of cars were parked on the side of the road that were not parking spots so I decided to do the same but avoided parking in spots that said no parking. I parked near a car and it was right at the edge and I didn’t feel comfortable going too far over or else my car could fall down and I wouldn’t be able to get out and my car could tip over and I didn’t want that. I see a park ranger drive by driving some ambulance looking truck so I asked him if this was safe and he said yeah. My parking was fine he said so I continued getting ready for the cave and i had to walk to the visitor center to buy a pass and then I had to walk all the way back to my car and put it on my rear view mirror. Then we headed back and went to the cave. It was memories coming back when I was there when I was about six or seven. But we only made it in the entrance of the cave and my Uncle John was there and I remember other families had lanterns and my mom wouldn’t rent one and I was told we couldn’t go further in the cave because it was too dark and I remembered seeing water and this railing. I thought that as the worst trip ever because we barely got to go in the cave and see it and to me that was not visiting it and why take your kids to see a cave if you don’t intend to go in it because it’s too dark? I was going to give my children a better experience. But then I remembered it was because my brother was afraid of the dark so my mom didn’t rent a lantern and we left because my brother was too scared. He had dark phobia because of our former nanny used to put him in the bathroom with no light on and hold the door shut and then I started to do it after she was fired and it was very hard for my parents to get me to quit. No matter how much they punished me, I still did it until they figured out our nanny did it so that was where I got it from. I don’t know what my mom did then because I remember I grew out of locking him in there. But I did it as a joke while she did it as a punishment. But we never visited the cave again and I didn’t like the drive anyway because it was too long and then I discovered it was never that far away from where we lived but it seemed like a long drive because of the roads (you have to drive slow, 25 mph and 35mph and the speed limit always changes and the highest is 50 mph and then it changes to a lower speed when you reach curves so that is what makes it a long drive for a little kid. Then when you are in the park, you then have to drive slow always on the way to the cave and that is about 35 mph) and because I just had a short attention span and I got bored too quickly always. But my son thought the trip was short there and back but maybe because he had entertainment. I didn’t. I didn’t have a Gameboy and my mom didn’t play kid songs for us and she didn’t bring any activities with like coloring books or something.
But anyway I was imagining getting a ticket for not having a pass in my car while I was getting the pass and luckily there was no ticket on my car and two new cars had been parked behind me facing the same direction as me.
We did the cave and it was wet and cold and we heard water dripping and there was a breeze blowing through. There was lot of climbing over rocks and uneven ground so I spent most of my time looking a the ground and having my son shine light on it. It was more like a tunnel and then there was a dead end because it would get narrower and narrower to a point you had to crawl and then you reach the end and have to go back. I wanted to do the upper cave but couldn’t because it was more difficult and my daughter was falling down a lot and my son was scared of the cave because it was dark. The lower cave had more visitors than the upper cave because the lower cave is family friendly. Toddlers can do it and little kids because the cave is easy while the upper cave is more difficult so ten and up is recommended. Plus the whole thing is free except for passes. You only need to pay for a pass plus lantern rental if you didn’t bring any flashlights.
Then when we got back to the entrance, we removed our coats and we looked in the visitors center and then we headed back to my car and I let the kids eat again and it was like a picnic we were having because I don’t allow them to eat in my car. Then on the way back I noticed papers under my wiper so I pulled over and looked at it and it was a restriction or otherwise interfering with use on a road violation. I was confused. I paid for the pass, I didn’t park illegally. Did all the other vehicles get tickets too because they all parked in none parking spots?
I didn’t panic and I just went home and put the ticket in my purse and there was no contact number so it felt like a passive aggressive ticket. I had no way to defend myself and then I saw I will get a letter in the mail about my court date. I decided I would fight it and just tell them what happened because I wasn’t violating anything. I was parked on the side, I didn’t park in no No Parking zones, there were no parking spots because it was all full so everyone was parking on the side of the road and even the rangers were okay with it and even one of them said I was fine where my car was. I would think they would be shouting out their windows at everyone walking to the visitor center about them not parking their cars on the side of the road where there is no parking spots marked. My mom thinks I should write a letter to the address listed on the envelope. I decided to wait for the court date to be mailed to me. But then I find out online that fighting a parking ticket is a hassle because you need to have proof and I don’t have proof. If only I had noticed that ticket before I had left, I could have taken a photo of where my car is parked to show to the judge but I doubt I would have known to do that then too.
I remember the time my mom got a parking ticket when I was in 6th grade and she did pay for parking because she had it on her dashboard and I noticed the ticket so I got it for her and handed it to her and my mom said it was the officer’s problem if he didn’t see the permit. I thought then it was her problem because she now has to pay money for it for something she didn’t even do. I wonder if she got that resolved in court and she did have proof, I knew then to just save her parking permit to show to the court and it will have the date and time on it. I don’t know if she ever paid it or took it to court and had to pay a reduced fine or had it dismissed.
But boy I hate bogus tickets and I would hate to have something on my record for something I didn’t even do. I still wish I could hear from the officer about why he issued me that ticket and what his perspective is and how exactly I violated the use of the road. the ticket was issued while I was out of the cave but hadn’t gone back to the car yet. I was either outside the cave or at the visitor center. I looked at the time and saw this happened way after I had parked my car and I was out of the cave by then. But if I got a ticket for parking in a none parking spot, then all the other cars probably got tickets too including the ones that parked in a No parking zone and maybe two other cars that parked a car in a No Parking Zone so I can imagine the parked in victim probably got a ticket too for parking in the No Parking zone while the other two cars would get two tickets for blocking another vehicle and for parking in a No Parking zone.
I would wonder why not just do shuttle buses and build a new parking lot somewhere and make it big and do shuttles. That would solve their parking problem. They could put it in a nearest town if they have to like put it in town that is along the interstate and have a sign there for national forest and do shuttles from there. That spot could only be open for during busy seasons and do shuttles seasonally when they have lot of visitors but then they would have to add a fee to enter the park because I think that is what pays for their shuttles to make the visit easier. But that was still a good idea but I realized what they would have to do if they decided to do a big parking lot and add in shuttle buses. The state is separate from national forests and parks. You get a federal ticket instead when you do a violation there and I don’t think state tax helps pay for national parks or forests.