70/7000 Slept in a Parking Lot in Jasper, Alberta

Day 50 August 14, 2001

I’m a worrier. It’s bad because it’s stressful but also good because I tend to have all my ducks in a row. Before the trip I had anxiety about the ultimate travel nightmare, not finding a place to stay. I saw it as the worst thing that could happen to me and since I was an excellent catastrophizer, I was sure it  would happen. So even though I was newly single with my kids on their own, I bought a soccer mom’s minivan. I took out the back seats and hit the road, confident that I would always have a bed wherever I went.

I took one last picture of beautiful Lake Louise and headed north for my last few days before I would start the long trek home.


I planned on camping in Jasper, Alberta, and my neurotic preparedness paid off.  The campground was filled and so were all the hotels and motels. I parked in the public lot in the center of town and realized other people in campers and vans were settling in for the night. They were being discrete, moving around inside their vehicles with flashlights and speaking in low voices.  I followed their lead and inconspicuously moved some of my stuff  to the front seats  so I had a clear space for bedding in the back of the van.

Before I turned in for the night, I met a couple with a nice RV  who were also parking lot dwellers.  They were astonished to hear about my solo cross country trip and invited me to stay with them in Salt Lake City for The 2002  Summer Olympics. Wow! I took their information.

Another great thing happened. I looked across the parking lot and saw a double rainbow.  I was at peace. “It takes both showers and sunshine to make a rainbow.”


I went across the street and acting like I owned the place,  I went into the restroom at a gas station, brushed my teeth, and did what I needed to do. I sauntered out, went into my van, locked the doors, and sleeping in my clothes had a remarkably good night’s sleep.

4 thoughts on “70/7000 Slept in a Parking Lot in Jasper, Alberta

  1. What a stunning picture of Lake Louise! Calendar or Contest worthy!
    You are very resourceful, Joyce, I can’t imagine you being stuck while camping. I know that from to time you prefer sleeping in your van that must stem from that Jasper ‘s experience. It happens to me on occasion, it’s fairly comfortable and the price is right😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m enjoying reading your journeys and relate to you as a woman traveling alone. After 30 years of marriage, suddenly I found myself without a partner What seemed devastating turned out to be the best thing to have happened to me. I still had my family just not a husband. So I began to travel on my own. A week, a weekend or a day. I enjoy company but also enjoy traveling alone as you did. Making my own schedule. Stopping at some random place that looks interesting. Talking to strangers. Keep up the writing. I’m reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Autonomous Traveler

      I’ve been trying to get a hold of you this morning. Thank you for reading my stuff. I’m plugging away, keeping in mind my goal to have my grandkids know my story. Writing used to be a chore but I finally have gotten rid of the fear of criticism. How freeing! I love to write now. I am 69, a bit older than you but this the greatest time of my life for two reasons. I have grandkids and I don’t give a damn about what people think of me. I am finally whole. Keep writing, We have a similar style, outlook, and mission. I love your posts and am working on catch up with your site. We don’t know our impact yet. We are and will help other women. The time has come. So glad to connect with you, my new blogging friend!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.