Yesterday morning I decided to mount my bike to the car, load up my Camelbak and head over to Wekiwa State Park for a fun morning of mountain biking. As I approached the entrance to the park I was surprised to see traffic backed up for at least a half-mile in both directions. I figured the park would be more crowded than usual because it’s Memorial Day weekend, but I certainly wasn’t expecting anything like the traffic jam I saw! I considered turning around and going somewhere else, but I thought, “Most of these people are going to be hanging around the park near the springs and not out on the trails, the wait will be worth it…”
So for the next twenty minutes I inched the car towards the park entrance. The 1/4 mile road that leads to the ranger station was on my left, and that meant I not only had to cross the lane of traffic, but I had to merge with the people from the other direction turning right. Unfortunately most of the people who were turning right into the park were not letting the people who were turning in from the opposite direction merge in a fair way (every other car). So I was patiently waiting in the center turn lane for some kind soul to let me merge in when suddenly the woman driving the car behind me became so exasperated that she whipped around me on the left (into oncoming traffic), and tried to force her way into the line. There was not enough room for her to do this, and so she was sticking out into the oncoming lane and blocking through traffic.
Before I could fully take in what had just happened, an SUV sitting behind me that was loaded with young people (probably mid 20s) also drove around me on the left, and cut in front of the woman who had just done the same thing to me. I sat there staring at the large florescent Monster Energy logo adorning the back of the SUV in disbelief. The line began to move, and the guy who was driving the SUV was blocking the woman from moving. The woman driving the car was still blocking traffic from the other direction, and so I had an opening. I crossed the street and was behind the SUV, which began to move forward. At this point I was basically sitting parallel to the impatient woman who was now sort of stuck between the two lanes of cars trying to merge into the park. She was gripping the wheel tightly and staring straight ahead. She refused to look over at me. The guy in her passenger seat was yelling at her.
So then the guys in the SUV (at least six) all started leaning out of their windows just letting this woman have it. I mean yelling, screaming, cussing… All the SUV kids were smoking, and as they flicked their butts out of the car they made a game of extinguishing them with their Super Soakers. Then they turned their water streams to passing cyclists. I could not believe what I was seeing.
The line moved. I wound up between the clowns in the SUV and the woman who’d started the whole thing. The guy driving the SUV opened his door, leaned out and yelled to me, “F*** that B**** BRO, COME CUT IN FRONT OF ME!” I said, “That’s OK, I’m fine where I am.” Just as I said that someone came racing across the street and shot down the EXIT lane of traffic from the park. There were cars leaving the park, and they were now blocked.
The SUV guys went back to shooting pedestrians with their Super Soakers and rocking the vehicle. The line moved, and the lady behind me lightly bumped my bike tire with her bumper. I looked back at her with complete astonishment. Her passenger was yelling at her with renewed passion. My bike was fine, and I decided to simply let it go.
So with just two cars in front of me before reaching the ranger station they closed the park because it had reached maximum capacity. They were placing cones in a semi-circle and directing traffic to u-turn out of the park. The guys in the SUV, who I’m pretty sure were all drunk, went ABSOLUTELY BALLISTIC. Every single guy in that car was screaming and cussing at the ranger putting up the cones. They refused to turn around and I thought there was going to be a physical altercation. Thankfully the driver of the SUV finally started to leave, but he peeled out and narrowly missed a group of pedestrians. I glanced in my mirror and the woman driving the car behind me was in tears and shaking.
I couldn’t believe the obnoxious, selfish and dangerous behavior I’d just seen. I wonder how many people actually take the time to think about why we in the US are enjoying a long weekend? The idiocy that I witnessed yesterday morning bothered me far more than waiting in line or being turned away from the park. I’m generally not one to preach, but how spoiled have we become when waiting in line seated comfortably in our air conditioned cars creates enough anxiety to cause us to completely flip out? I’ll bet every last man and woman serving overseas right now would give about anything to be waiting in line at a park with their family.