Monday, May 19, 2008

The Jet Set

I am parked in the Pikes Peak Shuttle Lot,
the long-term parking at Denver International Airport (map). I've just come back from the terminal, where I accompanied Louise as far as the TSA checkpoint -- her flight to San Jose leaves in about half an hour. Some of the parking shuttles here are Neoplans -- we felt right at home.

We left the Silverthorne Elks about 2 or so yesterday afternoon, and had a beautiful and uneventful drive down the hill, on the retarder most of the way. I erred yesterday when I said we would pass through the Eisenhower tunnel (although that's what everyone calls it anyway) -- the eastbound lanes actually go through the parallel Johnson tunnel completed six years later.

After a brief stop at the Flying-J in Aurora to dump and fill tanks (but not for fuel -- $4.399 at this writing), we still had some time to kill, so we stopped at the whizzy eco-friendly experimental Wal-Mart store on Tower road. I'll probably be back there tonight, with some photos and more to say about this particular location.

We stocked up on cat food and fruit, and caught up on email until 5ish. We then continued north on Tower until it intersected with the airport approach, and came directly here. I had called the airport a week ago to check on where we could park Odyssey, and they indicated that al oversize vehicles needed to use Pikes Peak, where there were designated spaces. Sure enough, signs immediately inside the lot entrance directed us to a specific row ("OO").

We arrived at the designated area to find about ten well-laid out, 45' angle pull-throughs. Signs at either end of the row proclaim "Oversize Vehicles Only -- All Others Will be Towed Away." However, the entire row was unavailable to us due to, you guessed it, regular cars in all spaces save one (which had a truck-trailer combination in it). We parked in an aisleway and called the airport parking people again.

After complaining about the lack of enforcement of their own rules, we asked for instructions on where to park. They transfered us to AMPCO, who runs the lot, who told us to just take two spaces end-to-end. I insisted on them taking our license information so that we'd be in the clear if we got dinged for parking elsewhere than the designtated oversize zone.

Two end-to-end spaces proved easier said than done here. The parking aisles are extremely narrow, as are the stalls. There was no way to turn Odyssey into any given pair of spaces and stay within the lines. While there were sections of the lot empty enough to get thusly parked, the possibility existed that even one or two cars parking in just the right stalls could have boxed me in. The "end caps," which otherwise would have been a good choice, have concrete bollards in them holding up stop and directional signs -- in fact, maneuvering around the lot will all these bollards made me feel like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

We eventually found two spaces that would work by virtue of the fact that the lot is angled here and each successive aisle is one space longer than the preceding one -- when I am ready to leave, I can just back up 50' in a straight line and I will be on the perimeter aisleway. Given how tight things are, and the lack of enforcement at the oversize spaces (which are both wider than the normal stalls, and angled such that entry and exit are less of a challenge), my original plan to just park back here next weekend when Louise returns may get scrubbed -- that will be the middle of Memorial Day weekend, and I expect this lot to be even more full than it is today.

Since we did not pull in here until around 6ish, and a single day's fee is good for 24 hours, I'll just remain here until sometime this afternoon, when I will head back down towards the Wal-Mart. I plan to stop enroute on an empty side street somewhere to fix dinner -- I have a steak I need to grill, and I don't generally like to pull the grill out at Wal-Mart.

1 comment:

  1. Price of diesel doesn't seem "that bad" in the big city. Just heard that it's up to $4.89 in our old hometown, Eureka CA. Ugh.


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