You have to love flashbacks. Especially with video! This video was first posted back in 2015 on a different YouTube channel I had for tourism. That channel is no longer supported, and so I thought it was a fun little video to post here.
Before the pandemic, I was a tour director, tour guide and as such, I often drove smaller tour vehicles. And with that, I was like any other professional driver in that we maintained a “Drivers Log”. A paper logbook showing how many hours I was behind the wheel, where I went and how often I was “off duty”.
In 2015, the Federal Government made it mandatory to begin to switch to electronic logbooks and gave us a grace period. My new electronic logbook app “Keep Truckin” was serving me very well. it was easy to use and did what it needed to do. Except on the fateful day when daylight savings hit and Arizona time became the same as Nevada time. And on that day, I was sent to the Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim.
Like clockwork, I get to the south rim with my tour group and find a “surprise” vehicle inspection. The problem was that my new app was not making the time switch and was not logging my time correctly. I had an issue!
After getting my guests off to the overlook, I came back to deal with a Park Ranger on a power trip. And he was trying to be the big Kahuna to the little old tour guide because he was training a new Ranger that day.
I explained the problem to Mr Ranger and he was telling me I was illegal with the app because it did not connect to the van’s computer system. My vehicle would be red-flagged if I did not have a fully completed paper log. I did not and I knew what the law actually said. I kindly explained to the ranger what I thought the law was because that’s what the legal section of my App said was the law and I showed him the very section.
Red Flagged was essential a term used to mean my vehicle would not be allowed to move. My office would have to send another tour vehicle up and get my guests
He was no impressed because the App was wrong. He would show me the proof and he walks away. The junior Ranger finished the inspection and as we chatted, he told me that I really needed to carry a blank paper log just for times like these.
Mr “I am God” Park Ranger returns with the actual rule book in hand and he told me that he would read me the exact law that I was violating. As he read the law out loud, he stopped when it said that I was right. My App was legal to use as it was (working) until 2016.
He was not happy. I was still not legal because I needed a paper log sheet filled out and so I was not allowed to move.
As we were sitting there, a tour bus had just failed its inspection. Actually it blew a brake line that narrowly missed hitting that Park Ranger inspecting the bus. Junior Ranger whispered to me to go ask that driver for a logsheet since he wasn’t going anywhere for the rest of the day.
The bus driver was not happy, he was mad at the failure and was taking it out on me. Almost refusing to give me a blank timesheet I so kindly had asked for. But the Junior Ranger came over and asked him nicely, so he did!
Ok, so I was able to complete my tour, I was not Red-Flagged but I still had a $250 fine for not having the logsheet properly filled out when requested. I knew I was not going home without some kind of a fine after the Park Ranger swore He knew the law, not the tour guide. And found out that I was right…
Death Valley Rangers Have a Laugh
The following day, I make this video, upload it to YouTube and it gets a few thousand hits. A few weeks later, I am in Death Valley where most of the park rangers are not power-hungry pricks, and I am at Badwater overlook with a wonderful tour group.
Up pulls two Park Rangers. We talk like we always do. We swap a few stories about Death Valley tourist and I show them my logbooks. That’s when one of the Rangers asks if I have a YouTube channel and did I recently post a video about a Grand Canyon park ranger.? I said that was me, guilty as charged. He laughed and told his partner that I was the one in the video he shared with him (and a few other Death Valley Park Rangers).
The Park rangers in Death Valley, for me anyway, have always been more friendly, helpful, and considerate than the ones I run into at Grand Canyon South Rim. And apparently they like it when a video pops up showing the other parks and their rangers hassling the very people they should be supporting.
Yup, They said they liked it when a tour guide “Educated a Park Ranger” – No, they did not give me a fine…
That was probably not the highlight you were expecting this post to end with. But I thought it would be fun to relive the story and to see just how bad I was 5 years ago compared to now. Maybe not so much of a difference in on-camera talent, but the video quality sure has improved!
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