There's a free parking lot near the Reston Wiehle station, actually a series of parking lots. I've known about them for years — they were originally intended as park-and-ride lots for bus riders — but it suddenly dawned on me that they're just a couple blocks from the new Metro station. Maybe they're not open anymore, maybe they're reserved — or maybe they're a way to save $4.85!
Today was the day to find out, so I left the house a little after 6, pulled up to the lots about 6:20 and found ... pandemonium. Cars pulling in, cars circling, cars like vultures searching for carrion. I tried one section of the lot and found it completely full, then headed back the way I had come in to explore the other side. It looked tight. Most spots were taken but there, off to my left, wasn't that an opening? Yes! It was! I pulled in quickly before someone beat me to it.
As I was walking to the station I fell in step with a fellow commuter who told me that this lot "always fills up by 6:28. Those cars there are the last ones that will find spots."
Why 6:28 and not 6:29 or 6:31 I never learned, but the man seemed quite sure of himself. A full lot by 6:28 a.m.? Why not?