And then appreciate how lucky (or unlucky
) you are not to have Ferdinand running after you telling you not to pee up there in the headwaters of San Francisco's water supply!
Hah! BITD, as I usually did, I rolled past the Tioga station at about 3 or 4 am going about 15 - 20 mph. One time I heard a, "HEY, STOP!!!" over the Pink Floyd on my stereo. I stopped and backed up as a dark complexioned man in a ranger uniform came up out of the dark to my van. I nervously told him that I'd thought the entrance station was closed. He said that it was, but a stop sign is still a stop sign
. He was right! I admitted my mistake and apologized. He waved it off and we proceeded to have a long and amazing conversation about the Sierra and our respective experiences- right there in the middle of Tioga Pass Road. Me in my van with the engine idling and him standing next to my open window.
After that, he always recognized me when I drove through going home from a trip- usually on Sunday afternoons flashing my Golden Eagle pass. I suppose I was the hippie in the blue and white van to him. We'd have a 'mini conversation' that was like, "So where'd you go this time?" "Convict Creek." "Great area! Drive safely."
It was years later when I saw his picture in a National Geographic book or magazine that I learned that his name was Ferdinand Castillo. He was a beloved and colorful ranger who 'owned' Tioga Pass for several decades that included the 70's and 80's when I was a frequent visitor.
Rolling through stop signs usually doesn't result in positive experiences in regards to law enforcement, but this time was a unique exception.