As a military family, the government shut down affected us in more ways than one. As a department head of the supply department at the Hospital, Gene was responsible for being the messenger and handing out pink-slips to several of the civilian employees in his department, as well as working late nights trying to get folks to understand that they weren't working with their usual budget and could not place orders for things like they used to. It was a game of necessity. Yes, the commissary closed for a bit and so we stocked up on dog food, which we can get at half the price as "on the outside" (meaning, grocery stores off base). We were told by our banking institution that they would pay us, in the event the military did not get paid, so we didn't have to worry about that, but we did have to work with our budget and really buckle down with what we were spending where, until everything worked itself out.
Then, we drove up to Big Bear. You see, back home in Virginia, I never really experienced National Parks like you do out here in California. On the road to Julian, on the road to the Palm Dessert, and on the road to Big Bear, you don't just drive through "the woods" because out here, the woods are National Forests. So as we exited the Moreno Valley and entered the San Bernardino National Forest, something alarming happened: the signs that tell you you are entering the National Forest were covered with black tarp. The parking, picnic, and trail-head areas were closed. Hikers were parking on the side of the road and dangerously walking along the curves to get to enjoy nature's beauty.
The forests were closed for business!
It was the saddest thing to see! Sure, we had heard about Mt. Rushmore being closed and how people couldn't even stop on the road to snap a picture of it, and how The Statue Of Liberty was closed. We even heard about the couple who was planned their wedding at Yosemite only to be denied their special day because of the closure and how Cabrillo National Monument was closed for it's centennial because of the government shutdown. I just never expected the woods to be closed for business.
It was disheartening to see. We still were able to park and do some hiking up at Big Bear, but there were campsites and picnic areas closed that you just hoped families hadn't planned vacations to go to.
We still have money in the bank, and food in the cupboards, and I won't remember the time the government closed the commissaries- but I sure will remember that year we went to Big Bear and almost hit two hikers walking on the road because the government closed the parking lot that would have kept them safe, and allowed them to enjoy the world around them.