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Old 02-11-2006, 10:23 AM   #15
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Parking at Wal-Mart

FWIW, I prefer Truck Stop's for my 8 hr sleep in route.
But the fact is a small group of bad RVer's will hurt us all.

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Old 02-11-2006, 11:39 AM   #16
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I think Campgrounds need to realize there's a need for cheap overnight parking. Instead of complaining that they have open spaces while people are parked at the walmart down the road, they need to offer those spaces cheap, with no hookups, so people can spend the night. I think most people would be glad to stay in a quiet nearby park than a busy walmart parking lot. There would always be some who want it free , but for a couple bucks, I'd take them up on that offer.
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Old 02-11-2006, 10:47 PM   #17
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Fyi

I recently asked a Costco executive about their policy on allowing overnighters in their parking lot. She replied that as long as you ask permission and you park as far away from the store it's OK! So there's an alternative if you have one in your area.

Steph,........as to overnighting in private CG's for less, they still have all the costs involved in a "for profit" business, ie insurance, maintenance, trash removal, taxes, advertising, etc, etc. I don't think it would pay to offer this type of service, so therefore you don't see this option.

BTW.......In Death Valley NP a few weeks ago, we experienced a unique way of checking into the Texas Springs CG. They had a kiosk that you swipe your credit card thru and tell it how many days you want to stay, and it spits out a receipt you attach to your campsite. The CG host checks these every morning to see who is not paid up. It was really slick and no hassle. I've not seen these before, but it would be great to have these in private CG's as well.
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Old 02-11-2006, 11:10 PM   #18
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What I like about a short stop at a Walmart or a rest area is that I can drive long hours and pull in late and not have the hassle of waking people up, parking or filling out paperwork. I hope Walmart stays RV friendly. It's quite convenient to pick up supplies or a bit of food, I even winterized there on the way back North, and then hit the road early again.
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Old 02-11-2006, 11:12 PM   #19
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So are you saying it is better for them to have say only 80% occupancy rate at thirty bucks a night, than to rent the bare bones slots for say ten bucks a night, and increase the occupancy to say 90%. How does that help with the fixed cost? I'm afraid I don't grasp the concept!

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Old 02-12-2006, 01:46 AM   #20
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Elizabeth in Iowa,

Are you posting your question to me? I don't dispute your math. My experience to overnite stays is limited to "Good Sam approved" CG's. I know a lot of the newer private CG's don't have spaces without hookups. Many we've stayed at have spaces that are long-term rentals (monthly). I hope their goal is to provide the best place to camp/stay overnite. If so, and you are a private campground owner with all your spaces having hookups, how are you going to determine which spaces are going to be discounted? Also, how are you going to prevent these campers from hooking up? I think there's a market out there for these types of "on the road overniter" RV's, but haven't yet seen anyone doing it!
Also, the directories that are available from Good Sam and Woodall's would have to post last year's prices of "overniter spaces". Do you really think they would do that?
I don't mind any of the overnite prices I've had to pay on my travels. My conscience also says, if I pull into a private CG with a newer Airstream, I should be able to afford the going rate. For this price, I want the best service available. If it doesn't meet my expectations, I'll let em know about it !

BTW.....I've never stayed overnite anywhere without paying something........maybe it's time I tried Walmart or Costco!
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:59 AM   #21
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While I have never stayed at a Walmart for an overnight. I have found that a Trailerlife campground directory was an asset during my last 2 week trip. I stayed at a GS campground and they didn't mind at all that I came in late and left early. They were very friendly and even assisted me in getting me my GS discount when I couldn't prove my GS membership right away. I stayed at a mobile home park for 15 bucks, for the night, full hookups and quiet. I am only 39 but it was a 55 and older park and they didn't seem to care about that. For one night of full service and a good nights sleep, ya just can't beat 15 bucks. Plus I dumped my holding tank before I left. Totally worth it. I can say that I will probably never stay in a Wal Mart parking lot unless it is the last resort. IE - can't keep the eye lids open ! lol.

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Old 02-12-2006, 10:09 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordandvm
Elizabeth in Iowa,

Are you posting your question to me? I don't dispute your math. My experience to overnite stays is limited to "Good Sam approved" CG's. I know a lot of the newer private CG's don't have spaces without hookups. Many we've stayed at have spaces that are long-term rentals (monthly). I hope their goal is to provide the best place to camp/stay overnite. If so, and you are a private campground owner with all your spaces having hookups, how are you going to determine which spaces are going to be discounted? Also, how are you going to prevent these campers from hooking up? I think there's a market out there for these types of "on the road overniter" RV's, but haven't yet seen anyone doing it!
Also, the directories that are available from Good Sam and Woodall's would have to post last year's prices of "overniter spaces". Do you really think they would do that?
I don't mind any of the overnite prices I've had to pay on my travels. My conscience also says, if I pull into a private CG with a newer Airstream, I should be able to afford the going rate. For this price, I want the best service available. If it doesn't meet my expectations, I'll let em know about it !

BTW.....I've never stayed overnite anywhere without paying something........maybe it's time I tried Walmart or Costco!
Yes I was posting my question to you.... vbg
I was brought up not camping but in a traveling family. And after that first year, never, ever, traveled without a firm route and even firmer hotel reservations! We always checked in by 4, and were out by 8 the next morning. My dad drove like a demon, and my mom once got a ticket in California for exceeding 90 MPH!! and to make a court appearance where the patrolman told the judge she was a polite driver, signaled every pass both turning out, and turning in! Mom explained to the judge Iowa's speed limit was (at that time lo! those many years ago) 'Right and proper' or 'Prudent and Proper', I forget the exact phrase! But I digress. Bruce and I have a tendency to straight line to a destination, usually some occasion or activity... a dog show, a family gathering, or whatever. On the way home we meander along and stop whenever or wherever our fancies take us. We usually only set up the unit at our destination, not while coming or going. For us, the campground experience is NOT what we're after. We're Travelers, not campers! We look for parking spots as oppossed to camping spots! While moving, we want a place that will let us spot the unit in easily, and out, with no fuss. If we plan to stay more than one night in an area, that is when we look for a campground! I confess... we use truckstops, WalMart, and so on extensively! But only for an overnight! At the destination I want to be able to drop the trailer and come back to find it still there, and nothing disturbed!
Even with the many styles of using our Airstreams, here's the key; IF a low cost, no frills campground were available to us, we would use it. To me, it is not about the money but rather about ease of use and value for my money! When on the road without the AS, I'm generally looking only for a bed, not a bunch of amenities, so Motel 6 it is! I would like the same choice when trailering!
Question back for ya..... why do you suppose Priceline and Orbitz are so popular? Wouldn't it be great if campgroundslisted with such a service?

Elizabeth in Iowa
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Old 02-12-2006, 10:27 AM   #23
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Perhaps a campground that is competing with the local walmart for overnight business would have a discounted rate if you show up after a certain time if you're planning on leaving in the morning. A few bucks is better than none.

When we went to Calistoga a couple years ago, we ended up in the redwoods at 10pm, looking for a place to sleep. We would have stopped at any wide spot in the road by then, but they all said 'no overnight parking'. The SP was closed. There were no walmarts anywhere near. Finally we found a 'resort' CG and they charged us $35 for the night! We paid it because we were tired, but we were out of there the next morning by 8am - less than 12 hours later. That was the most expensive night we've spent on the road.

I don't mind paying the price if we're going to hookup, watch cable tv, recharge the batteries and take a shower, but if it's a quick overnight on our way to somewhere else, I'd like to get it as cheap as possible. The PO of our trailer told me how he travelled all the way across country and back and never paid for a single night. He stayed in walmarts, casinos, truckstops. Not my idea of a great vacation, but he was pretty proud of it.

In my owners manual it explains how you can camp by just pulling off the road anywhere you like. Maybe ask a farmer for permission to park in their field for the night. I wonder what it would have been like back when the world was like that! I think today the farmer would tell you to keep going and the police would roust you from the side of the road in the middle of the night and tell you to go find a campground!
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:05 PM   #24
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Elizabeth in Iowa,

You've defined your style of travel as "low cost/no frills" coming and going. The question is "how much are you willing to pay" for your overnight spot in a private CG even if they were offered? I venture to guess you would not pay for these spots at any price if you knew you could stay free somewhere else. Many of the private CGs are located conveniently close to highways for ease of entrance and exit. If you use these, you are paying for that convenience. Also, there is a bit more secure feeling overniting in a CG vs on the tarmac at a Walmart or truck stop. How much are these worth to you?
So you want a Priceline service for overnite spots? How much are you willing to pay for that service? They don't do it for free!
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:56 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Johnson
I can say that I will probably never stay in a Wal Mart parking lot unless it is the last resort. IE - can't keep the eye lids open ! lol.

Chris
That's the idea. I don't believe any reasonable camper would/should advocate using the parking lot of a business as a campground, but only as a place to get a few hours rest while enroute to another destination. Unfortunately, I am aware that some people do use parking lots as a destination to avoid staying in a campground. Believe me, as part of my job, I have spent the last 28+ years in and around campgrounds, and have witnessed some very unreasonable campers (and have arrested many of them for their indiscretions).

I really like Stephanie's idea of campgrounds providing some no frills sites for overnight stays at a reasonable rate. This already happens at some campgrounds to some extent, but they typically only knock a couple bucks off the full hookup rate they charge for a full day. Furthermore, if you arrive late at night/early morning, you're still expected to vacate the site before noon, or pay for another full day.

For example, when I travel to Washington, DC, I stay in a nearby campground that charges $47 per day (less the Good Sam discount). Considering it's location and the services and amenities they provide, such as: guarded swimming pools, hot tubs, sauna, an excellent fitness center, a nice cafe, fantastic camp store, free internet dial-up, Wi-Fi service, water, electric, sewage, and telephone hookups, conference center, outdoor theater, free hayrides, etc., it's worth every cent. However, if you were just passing through, and needed a few hours rest without any hookups, they would still charge about $40 bucks.
No way.

Allowing overnight parking is by no means an altruistic endeavor by the Wal-marts, truck stops, restaurants, etc. Like the campgrounds, they are in business to make a profit, and this is just one way they can foster loyalty with a certain segment of their customer base (like us millionaire Airstream owners ). In order for the campgrounds to adapt, they would do well to offer a reasonable alternative solution, instead of trying to corner the market by eliminating the competition. I would be reluctant to stay at any campground that I knew was affiliated with this movement.
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Old 02-12-2006, 10:53 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by jordandvm
Elizabeth in Iowa,

You've defined your style of travel as "low cost/no frills" coming and going. The question is "how much are you willing to pay" for your overnight spot in a private CG even if they were offered? I venture to guess you would not pay for these spots at any price if you knew you could stay free somewhere else.
Your guess would be wrong. Several times we have used a commercial or state campgrounds for a simple overnite. And have on more than one occasion stayed two or three nights! My bottom line is ten bucks for a brief stay of under twelve hours. And I won't pay over fifteen.
There's a great park by Cairo, Illinois.... fee is five bucks for an overnight with no hookups, ten with electric, fifteen for w/e. We had a fire, wandered the banks of the Ohio and the Mississippi, watched the barges operate, and the traffic on the bridges. Any time we are passing through that area, we try to stay there.
Stayed at a neat campground in Ohio, cost us $15, liked it so much we extended our stay! Wish I could remember the name of it.... the guy next to us belonged to one of the camping clubs you buy into and said his rate was eight bucks a night at this one. We've paid five bucks a day on the Ohio turnpike. These were choices made with free parking available to us.
For me, there is no campground worth $35 or more a night for a simple overnight of six to ten hours.
Coming back from the east coast this fall, we did an overnight at Morain View because we knew we would not be moving out very early.... about nine or so. Can't remember what we paid, about twenty bucks I think. But, we were on the lake, with the most glorious sunset you've ever seen! Visited by many kinds of animals in the dawn... foxes included.
As for your labeling our style as 'low cost- no frills'.... all I can say is we prefer to think of it as frugal, or full value. You say to-mah-to, I say to-may-to. But then, we don't own a late model Airstream. Ours is an almost vintage, with the title in the drawer and no note ever on it! Perhaps our style is why that was possible.

Elizabeth in Iowa
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