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Old 10-22-2013, 10:05 AM   #505
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Actually more northern AZ, ideally in Navajo and Hopi country.

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Shop until you drop at a Walmart? Check your maps for points due west of Farmington, NM. Then you'll understand ...
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A ways into Utah....huh?

I'm not particularly interested to park in WM, but I am becoming aware that budgets are getting tight for a lot of people, and RV park fees are rising, and at least in California, State Parks are closing. So, I am fundamentally opposed to anything that reduces people's choices and ability to move around freely. I see it moving in the wrong direction where only the well-off will be able to afford travel.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:38 AM   #506
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We stay at WalMarts when we get a late start out of L.A. and heading up north. This allows my DW to get a full day of work done before we make our escape. We usually drive until 11:30 - midnight. While it isn't an exotic location, it is a great way to get a bunch of miles under our belt and arrive at our final destination earlier in the day with out being totally exhausted. Having said that, you should be aware of your surroundings and if it doesn't feel right for any reason, keep on moving. Some folks have recommended church parking lots to be another good alternative to overnight parking
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:15 AM   #507
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Personally I just don't like the idea of camping in parking lots. The major reason is the issue of safety.

Compound that with the unfamiliarity of the area.

So I guess a lot of this is with your own personal level of comfort.

I remember a smaller town in the south that had a large parking lot next to a football stadium.

stories of senseless crimes and the victims are sometimes just the matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Jack
Reminds me of a time before gps, while on a trip in Maine, stopped for directions to cg (we had picked one from cg guide) at a small gas station convenience store for directions. seemed straight forward followed road, not knowing area didn't worry about the road going uphill and getting smaller until I ran out of light and road, made a u turn without falling off the road and parked on the roadway when it was wide enough for another car to get by. Very quiet night had a good sleep, opened curtains, and the first thing we saw was a bear walking down the road. DW still quotes it as the worst parking spot, I loved it. Just a matter of personal comfort levels.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:15 AM   #508
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Ya know, we would like to suggest that there not be an inordinate amount of fear in parking/spending the night in parking lots or other outside-the-box places.

We were recently out for 4 1/2 months, and spent about 1/3 of those nights dry camping. Sometimes in public campgrounds without hookups, but many times tucking into different area....including parking lots. No safety issues, ever, not once.

We are not fans of WalMart lots, but have done a few and have never felt unsafe. Walmart lots are lit up like prisons at night, and the biggest issue is getting it dark enough inside to sleep. Most also have security cameras.

Probably much more safe, overall, than a river access area, forest preserve, etc., where we have still never been accosted.

There are certainly loonies out there, but how many of your garden-variety robbers and thieves are going to try to break into your rig under these conditions? The loonies won't care, but they can pop up anywhere and you still have time to defend yourself and call the police.

Also, these folks want quick, easy, profitable and safe. They don't know and can't see if you have a gun pointed at them on the other side of those darkened windows. It also takes time and makes a lot of noise trying to sledgehammer your way into an RV.

Just sayin'....don't live your life in fear or avoid a quick overnight at Walmart if you just need a place to sleep for the night.


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Old 10-23-2013, 09:25 AM   #509
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Excellent post Maggie.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:40 AM   #510
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as protective as Lilly can be, i wouldn't mess with you. Dog,not gun.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:41 AM   #511
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Sorry, that was directed to Doug and Maggie.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:57 AM   #512
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as protective as Lilly can be, i wouldn't mess with you. Dog,not gun.
Ummmm, yes.

Lily doesn't even want us near other dogs, much less menacing humans.

Even without the dog, and we have had her only 1/2 of our 6 years of serious traveling, we are aware but unafraid.


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Old 10-23-2013, 10:23 AM   #513
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We stay at some WM's, Cracker Barrels, etc. when the need arises.

Last month, when going down to Top Sail, we decided to travel a little further South the first day out to make our second day shorter for an earlier arrival at Top Sail. In our trip planning, we checked out Cracker Barrels along the way and had a list of three or four which might work time wise. After driving past the exit for the first one we'd picked, we could see it was in a nice area and looked as though it would be safe, but as we'd already driven by the exit, we proceeded on to the next.

We pulled in, it was a very busy place, ate our dinner and when paying asked if it would be ok to overnight. The cashier was a little perplexed and said they, of course, wouldn't be responsible for anything happening if we did; asked if we'd like to speak to the Mgr. which of course we did if he wasn't busy. The cashier mentioned to the Mgr. she'd told us they wouldn't be responsible for any possible damage and he questioned if we'd be staying at a nearby hotel. We said no, we'd be in our travel trailer. He was fine with us staying and suggested we might like to come in for breakfast the next morning, which we stated we would and normally do. All seemed well.

Well, we went back to settle in for the evening (making it an early evening as we wanted to be on our way very early). We knew they closed the restaurant at 11pm. About 9:30pm we started hearing people talking, laughing, sounds of dragging -- we thought it was the employees doing some early cleanup, taking trash out. As time went on, it became louder and more sounds, a few almost screaming. Around 10:30 I said to my DH, "I'm not feeling warm and fuzzy about staying here". He said, "Let's go" (he says he trusts my instincts).

As we walked out of our AS to go to the truck, we looked to our right, and there was a group of males sitting on the front/hood of a vehicle, looked to be at least 6-8, talking loudly and it was apparent it was a hang-out for them. We moved on down the road, and ended up stopping at a rest stop which had some truckers and decided we'd stay there. It was much quieter and felt much, much safer.

We now have decided that the cashier and perhaps the Mgr. had been trying to tell us that perhaps we would not want to stay overnight there, without actually coming out and telling us. We have always had positive times at the Cracker Barrels, so I suppose we weren't allowing their suggestions to penetrate.

We will continue to stay at these types places for a quick overnight, but we will certainly be more open to reading between the lines and be much more savvy in checking out the area.

Deb
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:10 AM   #514
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The signs make it easy to get rid of people that stay too long or are acting up.
In Durango, it has been thought that the local campgrounds took issue.
Unfortunately, in towns with a high tourist draw, the influx of "overnight parking" becomes a constant event and there is always the 10% a-hole factor of those who abuse the privilege.

I store my trailer in winter in Phoenix which is right next to two casinos. So after 8 hours of driving to get there, it is convienent to pull out of storage and over to the casino, park, eat at the casino, and sleep before heading out on our journey. However, I have witnessed others who set up camp there for several nights. Even two airstreams, face to face, unhooked, awnings out, with mats, chairs, and barbecue grills out and generators running. This is pushing the limits of courtesy parking. One of the casinos closed their paved RV parking and you now have to park out in a rutted dirt field with the semis and the continuous running diesel engines.

Other than that, I do not find the ambiance of parking lots enjoyable so will always make an effort to find a campground or RV park for the night, even if it takes me out of the way. Heck, I hate going to Walmarts just to shop let alone spend the night!
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:05 PM   #515
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I have witnessed others who set up camp there for several nights. Even two airstreams, face to face, unhooked, awnings out, with mats, chairs, and barbecue grills out and generators running. This is pushing the limits of courtesy parking.
Too bad.

Our approach is to only spend the night, and to always look like that is all we are doing.

Abuse invites ejection......and changing of the rules for all.



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Old 10-23-2013, 01:10 PM   #516
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However, I have witnessed others who set up camp there for several nights. Even two airstreams, face to face, unhooked, awnings out, with mats, chairs, and barbecue grills out and generators running. This is pushing the limits of courtesy parking. One of the casinos closed their paved RV parking and you now have to park out in a rutted dirt field with the semis and the continuous running diesel engines.
Only time I've seen something like that was after a hurricane evacuation, when every campground for miles around was already full to capacity with evacuees who didn't wait to the last minute to get out of Dodge. Understandable under those circumstances.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:35 PM   #517
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We've seen it happen in Taos. One junker spent the whole winter there last year. We were kind of amazed that the manager of our little Walmart (not a super store) didn't do anything about it. I thought for a while that the rig was abandoned, but then noticed an attached external propane cylinder that periodically changed its position. I wish the manager had taken action because that kind of thing doesn't exactly escape the eye of the locals in a small town like Taos.

Lynn


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Only time I've seen something like that was after a hurricane evacuation, when every campground for miles around was already full to capacity with evacuees who didn't wait to the last minute to get out of Dodge. Understandable under those circumstances.
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:22 PM   #518
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We have never stayed at a Walmart or any other open parking area. We did recently stop at one to pick up some supplies and noted two huge diesel pushers w slides out. It is my opinion that if you can afford an expensive rig and open your slides, that you can afford to park it in a real campground where slides are allowed.
We always stop in mid afternoon so spending a night in a parking lot does not sound reasonable to me. I would rather have a relaxing evening in a secured campground than in a parking lot. I consider the camping fees part of the vacation costs.
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