I’ve been living in RVs since 2015. I used to have an old class C that I sold and I’ve updated for a better and bigger one. Most of you know that it is legal to park and live in your vehicle in certain areas in Los Angeles. What you might not be aware of is that a lot of people complain just for having RVs parked in their neighborhood. They say they are ugly and occupy a lot of space. They are afraid that some might commit crimes. Some may just be irritated with the fact that they pay so much in rent or mortgage and we can live near them with low cost. They have no idea about the daily challenges.
Because of the complaints, we’ve been pushed out of the residential areas and into very restricted parking spots in commercial areas. The city came up with a map where the green areas you can stay night and day but have to observe street signs (and there are a lot) cleaning day, 1 or 2 hrs parking limit, no vehicles over 6 feet tall or no more than 3 or 6 thousand pounds, etc.
In the street I’m parked now, people are coming up with the most creative and disgusting ways to try to intimidate those who live honestly in their vehicles. There is a couple in their 70’s who live in a class C RV and are parked near me. The other day they had a big surprise when they found the outside of their RV smeared with defecation. Yes, it is horrible. Imagine your grandparents going through that experience. The lady had to clean it all because she is the one that can walk. Her husband spends most of his time in a wheelchair. I asked if they complained to the police. They said the police does’t care when things like this happen to “homeless”. I said they should complain anyways so the authorities are aware of the vandalism and harassment.
Another person who is parked near us had his bikes stolen, and more recently, somebody used his name and phone number to place ads on craigslist and his bike was vandalized along with his trailer tires. He has a few dogs in the trailer so he leaves his information when he is out in case of emergency. The ads said: Free trailer, free dogs or the dogs will be put down tomorrow so come today. He had a lot of people knocking on his door because of those ads. Some people tried to take his generator that he leaves chained outside and they broke it. He had to check craigslist page frequently to flag those posts. He also complained with CL administrators but they couldn’t identify who was doing that. Probably a fake account.
The police started to come often to check who was moving their vehicles. Homeless services were coming often to check what was going on. A couple came to us saying they represented homeless services (and I think they were fake). They asked about our situation and suggested that we should leave because people were complaining and we would be harassed. That was exactly what they were doing, harassing us. Well, this is LA so I’m convinced they were actors. Shortly after that, I faced one of the scariest moments of my life.
I’ve been trying to sell my 30 foot RV because of all the problems maneuvering and parking a long RV, all the complaints and parking tickets I’ve received. Not to mention the expense with gas and maintenance. To substitute my home on wheels, I was looking for a 22 feet RV or a van so it would be legal to park in most cities and be more inconspicuous. I’d like to do that especially to be closer to my work. So I had the idea to buy a short bus and convert it into an RV. I got a diesel one because it is more economical and I’ve been researching on how to use cooking oil as biodiesel. I will be writing a blog about that soon.
On one Saturday night (about 3 weeks ago) I was with a friend inside the bus measuring it and making plans on how we would transform it. The door was open and the lights were on. At some point we saw a very bright light coming from a few yards back. I even said “what is that bright light?” My friend said “It is probably just a car”. To our surprise, a few minutes later, we heard a voice saying: “Come outside with your hands up.” My friend left the bus and they said: ” Walk backwards towards us. Keep your hands up”. They did the same to me. And all the while, I was asking “What is going on?” And the one who appeared to be the leader said, “I will let you know in a minute.” So after they searched my friend very thoroughly and also the bus (They thought somebody else might be in the bus for some reason), they asked if we were ok. They looked at my face to see if I was hurt. They did the same to my friend. After all the theatrics they said somebody called saying they heard somebody screaming. Oh come on! How often do the police come with 3 cars, bright lights shining on peoples face and treating innocent people as criminals because somebody heard a scream in LA?
After that I developed PTSD symptoms and became a little paranoid. But I didn’t leave the street. Instead, I wrote a complaint to the LAPD Internal Affairs. They are investigating (supposedly). I never had a problem with the police until this time. We are supposed to feel protected and safe and now, I feel the opposite. It seems very strange this happened. The policemen were observing us for a few minutes before they interfered. They certainly noticed that we were not doing anything wrong. I suspect they were there to scare us. Someone powerful must live in that area.
I used to work in a jail as a RN and I didn’t believe in the many stories the inmates told me about discrimination, abuse of power, intimidation and so on. After being treated as a criminal for no reason, I can relate to what those inmates were saying.
People can be very judgmental and cruel. Some think just because we don’t have a conventional life we have no worth. I have a full time job, I volunteer in an animal shelter, I rescue dogs and cats in Brazil, I pay taxes and live according to the law. Even if I didn’t do anything and wanted to live in my HOME on wheels I have the right to do so.
I’m still working on the short bus so I can move in to it and put my RV in storage while trying to sell it. I don’t want to be discouraged by these events. I want to learn with them and be stronger. But I’m getting tired.
Eventually I want to travel around the US and maybe even drive to Brazil from California. Being stationary in a city and, even worse, in a street, can be stressful. I have to stay around for my work. The idea is to work some more while I figure out a way to make money as an Itinerant Butterfly.