Show a little vehicular etiquette

On our family trip last week, we discovered the Yellowstone equivalent of filling up your gas vehicle at the diesel pumps. It was a breach of vehicular etiquette.

I think most people who live in Wyoming, and especially the folks in more rural areas, know not to pull up to the pump at the gas station that has the diesel hose if they’re driving a gas vehicle. If every pump has both gas and diesel, or if there are no available gas pumps, it’s no big deal. But most of the time, there are only a few diesel pumps, while there are lots of gas hoses. When I drove a diesel, it used to drive me crazy when I’d have to wait for a pump because there were four gas-powered cars in front of the diesel pumps, but all the gas-only pumps were open.

I’ve recently discovered a similarly annoying lack of vehicular etiquette. Up in Yellowstone, most of the parking areas have spaces designated for regular passenger vehicles, and longer spaces set aside for trailers and RVs. What our family found was that quite often, those trailer spaces were taken up by cars. I’m ashamed to admit that I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if I weren’t dragging a 28-foot trailer behind my truck, but since I was, the oversized vehicle spaces taken up by undersized cars problem was highly evident.

I’m surprised there aren’t more parking lot rage incidents in Yellowstone. And quite honestly, it’s a setup that’s ripe for an altercation. You figure there have probably already been countless delays and traffic stoppages on the way to the parking area for the geothermal feature you’re hoping to see, and you’ve probably bought a brand-new can of bear spray that’s never out of reach. You pull into the lot, and there are fourteen car spaces free, but every single trailer space has one or two cars in it. I managed to control my own temper on our family trip, but it’s only a matter of time before somebody loses it. I’m just glad it wasn’t me.