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Old 05-17-2009, 11:22 PM   #61
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We figure to be in Craig, Colorado, day after tomorrow. In checking RV reviews website, I see the county put in RV sites in the Moffat Co. Fairgrounds, then closed them to everyone except people with horses because the local KOA complained. There's no where else to camp within many miles, and we'd like to avoid that KOA (which got mediocre reviews as well), but we have no choice*. The Fairgrounds charged $10, the KOA a bunch more.

It's interesting to note the Moffat Co. commissioners have a reputation for being extremely conservative but when it comes to competition, maybe they're not so conservative, but then again, maybe they are against gov't involvement in the marketplace, but why did they allow RV spaces in the Fairgrounds? All very confusing to me.

Maybe we can borrow a horse for the night. If we can rent one for $10, pay the $10 Fairgrounds fees, we'll still be ahead by a lot.

I agree there are a lot of crummy commercial campgrounds that pack in people and are badly planned, and charge a lot for it. As eubank and another posted, motels are a lot more expensive than most campgrounds. Sometime in the 90's, motel prices began rising a lot—maybe because by then the big chains started to dominate what had been a very fractionalized business. It seems motels used to charge $30-50 and then it started getting close to $75-100 in the past few years for the same lodging. RV campgrounds now occupy the price range motels used to be in and KOA's seem to be at the top of the RV range except for the few "resorts" that don't want anyone with a 10+ year old RV (where do 11 year old Prevosts go anyway? Do they self-destruct?). So far as I know, there's only one national franchise RV chain, KOA, and it's been around for a long time. While I expect the rest of RV campgrounds follow the KOA rate structure, one chain (and a rather small one at that) cannot move prices very much, so we are safe (relatively) for now, maybe. The RV (and lodging) business is so bad right now, rates won't move for a couple of years, and maybe longer until the electric truck comes out and can go 500 miles on a quick charge. Bad business, however, can lead to 2 things—restrictive ordinances and a lot of closed campgrounds and that results, often, in higher prices because of no competition.


*Choice is a matter of choice. No doubt there are public lands options, but we want to get in and out fast, flush the black tank thoroughly, and get home that day. Campground wireless is important and cheaper than an aircard. Public lands are often 10 or 20 miles off the highway and that's lot of time when we want to move on down the road. We have no desire to camp at a Walmart or a Flying J and don't. Rest stops are even less appealing where they are legal for overnight. But to each his (or her own). People travel differently.

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Old 05-18-2009, 12:08 AM   #62
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The only businesses we have utilized for an overnight stay while traveling have been Cabelas and Cracker Barrel. Each time we have spent more the next morning than we would have paid an RV park for a few hours sleep. I'm sure Wally World knows that the RVer's who stay with them overnight also shop their store to replenish their supplies. The only time we have done this is because of a late hour we just needed a few hours sleep before pressing on, or there was no close campground, or the local RV park was full. If a traveler perceives he is getting ripped off he will avoid that particular park for future stops and let others know by word of mouth. And usually those RV parks with the reasonable prices and decent facilities always get the repeat business. It is sad that a business that can't attract dollars by value and customer service has to resort to government to herd people their way. Typical mindset, if we don't get what we want, by all means get government involved.


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Old 05-18-2009, 06:27 AM   #63
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ther is the best term for a walmart boondock...

Wal-mart is a trailer stop not a campground . After long day or driving you can rest or sleep the night then take off in the morning. No hook up just open the door crash on bed and wake in the morning and go... That I think would be the best way to look at useing Wal-mart parking lot...
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:54 AM   #64
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Fair & Balanced

Motel/Hotel Costs - Anyone notice that minimum wage isn't what it used to be? Has anyone bought a set of sheets or a pillow lately? What do basic utilities cost vs. 10 years ago? Oh and local taxes? Or a gallon of gas? I bought a small utility pump almost identical to one I had several years ago - cost $90 and I'm sure I didn't pay even $40 "back in the day". Hotel and motel owners aren't by and large just gouging, they are trying to make a living just like you and I are.

If you're like me - you use a hotel and leave it in pretty much the same state as when you entered. We don't think about the cost of the people who have a 20 person party in the room which results in carpet that has been vomited on, mattresses that are destroyed, holes punched in walls, ceilings, mirrors, television sets, irons that have been left on and have burned through bathroom counter tops, toilets that have been cracked, etc. And then there is the theft of linens and towels... and the number of people who still think that is "expected"?

In campgrounds, there are the construction gangs who unbeknownst to the owner have 20 employees using the shower houses from one trailer... and the kids that put the barbie dolls, rocks, turtles, etc down the sewer pipes... and the ones who build campfires so big that they kill the trees. Then there is everyone's personal favorite, the huge moho owner who sneaks in at 2 AM, dumps his tanks, emptys the trash, takes a long shower, recharges the batteries, refills a 50 gallon white tank, then fades into the sunrise... all without paying. The surveillance cameras that many campgrounds are adding to send those clowns a bill aren't cheap either. (Oh and in semi-urban campgrounds, there are the homeless people who use the showers and bathroom facilities. One owner I know personally LETS that happen because he feels when people get clean and shaved they may have a chance of getting a job and moving up out of homeless status.

KOA is a franchise - individual owners - and it ain't easy to make a living. The local KOA was taken over by corporate, and has gone from bad to worse. The land is probably so valuable that it will be turned into pink hotels or condo's as soon as the economy gets a bit better... so even corporate isn't going to put in a single improvement that will merely be bulldozed within the next year or so... the place has potholes that a pop-up could disappear into.


Yes there are lots of crummy campgrounds and I got bitten by bedbugs in a hotel... which is one more reason for loving my Airstream.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:03 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Mrcrowley View Post
Wal-mart is a trailer stop not a campground . After long day or driving you can rest or sleep the night then take off in the morning. No hook up just open the door crash on bed and wake in the morning and go... That I think would be the best way to look at useing Wal-mart parking lot...
A campground would be the place I am driving to to camp and enjoy my weekend or vacation.
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:12 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by VIKING View Post
The earthquakes are nothing compared to the taxes!
...and nothing compared to living near Nancy Pelosi!
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:27 PM   #67
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:39 PM   #68
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What does Nancy Pelosi have to do with this thread?

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Old 05-18-2009, 08:26 PM   #69
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Getting back to Maine and the main issue of overnight parking:
It might be interesting to learn the opinions of Angus King, the former Maine governor. When he left office in 2003, he and his family drove their RV all around the USA (coast to coast) for about six months. I wonder if they ever did an overnight at a Wal-Mart or Flying J or Cracker Barrel.

Read about their trip here: Where's Molly?
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:08 PM   #70

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Originally Posted by JStanley View Post
limit or kill off other suppliers.
Walmart's mission statement I do believe.
"Any nation that can survive what we have lately in the way of government, is on the high road to permanent glory."
Molly Ivins

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Old 05-19-2009, 02:48 AM   #71
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sometimes threads get better and better. Shame about this one.....
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:26 AM   #72
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I live in Maine, and it is IMHO one of the most beautiful places on earth. The people are fantastic, the country is beautiful, and the rocky coast is unique and breathtaking... and the camping is expensive as all get out. $40+ for water/20amp with no sewer is about the average. It's ironic that I actually tend to go outside of the state when I camp because it's just so darn expensive. On top of that, many of the campgrounds have a "no single persons" policy. I.E., couples and families only. Grrr. Yet another way the world discriminates against me for being a spinster at 35.

Honestly, I think there are two classes of people who want to park at Walmart up here. First, the complete cheapskates who would park free anywhere they went just because it was free and begrudge ever spending a dime, and folks who are just trying to take the sting out of the astronomical camping fees up here by staying overnight at Walmart while on transit to destination or maybe on the first or last day of their trip.

I'm glad the law was shot down. Easy solution: charge less for camping. Don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Maine's got enough economic problems without driving off the campers!!!
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:22 AM   #73
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Jstanley, it looks like the former first family of Maine got caught, with the Wal-Mart being the best option at the time. Check out Updates on the home page of Whereís Molly? And look at Oregon--The Coast, the Capitol, and the Carousel

And so we say good-bye to Oregon and the Wal-Mart parking lot where we spent the last night. Wal-Mart, as you may know, has a policy of letting RVers park overnight in their lots, which comes in real handy when you can't find a campground or it's too late to do all the setting-up. Naturally, we did some shopping (they have a great selection of RV supplies) as well; these guys didn't get to be the biggest store in the world by being stupid.

Now it's on to Washington and the third and final Right Turn. We even stopped at Mt. St. Helen's; what a blast. Sorry.

Anne-Marie and I have yet to spend a night at an informal camping site yet, but I expect that we will. Anne-Marieís parents were on the road from 1981 till 1996 with 18 years being full-time travel, and the later years were just 6 months at a time, and they only used a parking lot when absolutely necessary. They had a few experiences of being run out of parking lots late at night by the Police, and heard of other Airstreamerís being robbed, or vehicles being broke into. Anne-Marieís Mom still says ďStay Away From Parking Lots If You CanĒ. We will use them if we need to.


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Old 05-23-2009, 10:01 AM   #74
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Apropos parking bans, it appears that there is a new attempt in the town of Hobart, Indiana; see this article. The matter doesn't seem to be generating as much heat in this case, however.

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Old 03-15-2010, 06:43 AM   #75
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Free Overnights

While out west and in BC and Yukon and Alaska we stayed at Fred Meyers. A great store similar to Walmart but the employees seem to be happier and better cared for.
More important some of them have Dump Station and Water too!
They welcome us with open arms.
Some may call us cheap but we are full timers and retired. We have solar panels and everything else we need to stay away for up to 2 weeks without any hookups.
On a 3 1/2 month trip in 2006 we stayed in campgrounds for 21 days.
We love the way we travel and we appreciate Walmart, Fred Meyers, Cracker Barrel etc.
It some places the campgrounds lobby our government to prohibit overnights at rest areas. They do this for their own special interests and at our expense. Us taxpayers own the rest areas too.
Sometimes we travel to the wee hours of the morning, most campgrounds would not appreciate our arrival schedule. And, our arrival times might interfere with the peace and quiet that those at the campground deserve and expect.

It is about traveling and camping and having fun - not always about lining the pockets of businesses.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:11 PM   #76
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When I was a kid we stayed ay wally world a few times, mainly when trying to make time betwee points a and b. Most of the time we did go in and make a purchase in the morning. As long as you can sleep with alot of light coming into your trailer its fine.

But like others have said, if a campground has to try and force legislation to get customers I think theire priorities are way off base. Spend all that money on making your place better and people will come. When visiting the grand canyon I still go out of my way to stay at the flagstaff KAO, I think it is the nicest one I have been to and I have alot of child hood memories there.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:19 PM   #77
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Hi Joe,
When you pull into the parking lot, please be sure to turn off your headlights and don't bonk your locking system's horn when you park -- you'll wake me up. And what are you doing pulling in so late, anyway? Saving your batteries by not running lights in the rig until later?

Looking fwd to hearing you on the bands,

73 de N5RTG
Chasing 75 Degrees,

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Old 06-05-2010, 11:38 PM   #78
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This is a great thread. My wife and I have laughed all the way through it.

I want to be free to park overnight wherever the property owner will allow it... within limitations of decency and neighborliness, of course. Honestly I don't see much difference in some of the RV parks I have seen and the Wal-Mart parking lot. Actually, that is not true. Wal-Mart has more room than most "parking lot" RV parks. Wal-Mart may be a bit noisier at times, but at least they welcome you and appreciate your business. Okay, now to be completely open: I have never parked an RV at a Wal-Mart. I have parked one in an empty lot across from a casino, next to several diesel trucks. I had a very good nap, and woke my family and hit the road again with very little delay. I didn't need hookups, bathroom or swimming pool, and didn't want to pay for them. I was pressed for time and wanted a few hours sleep. My business still went to the local economy as we stopped at a gas station a couple of blocks away and filled up.

I think the most important idea of this thread may be this: We are America: what does that mean to you? That's the point. You can choose to stay every night in an RV resort, or you can stay on land with the permission of the owner for whatever they want to charge. It is not anyone else's business.

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Old 06-13-2010, 11:24 AM   #79
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I don't mind...

I do not mind spending an evening at a/an (fill in the blank) while going from point A to B. In fact, I really do not care what other RVers think about me spending an evening at a parking lot, empty field, BLM vacant real estate, National Forest pull outs, Jackson Center service center or anywhere else I can spend an evening and not be violating common sense or property owner's rights. Of course, living west of the Mississippi River offers a RVer more options than the more populated parts of the USA. The more populated an area, the less common sense exhibited and for good reason. It is unsafe outside a fenced designated camping area. Just do not bring that attitude to the Rockies...

I have spent evenings, while traveling long days, at Walmart, Costco, Flying J, Casinos, Discount Tire as well as State and Privately owned campgrounds as a few examples. I find the State owned and operated camp grounds clean, priced reasonable and great locations. It gives me a good feeling knowing there is campground parking available to those people who do not like the atmosphere around alternative options. I am not cheap. I am frugal.

Look at the options staying at alternative locations.

Walmart- groceries, supplies, snow shovel, asphalt lot, ice
Costco- tires, lawn chairs, chocolate covered raisins, fresh muffins
Flying J- water, dump station, usually the best gasoline price
Casinos- buffets, craps tables, video poker for the wife, outside security
Discount Tire- tire pressures checked, tires checked at sunrise

Commercial Private Camp Ground- traffic, candy bars, propane sales, table chained to a dead tree, KFC chicken in the bushes, check in and check out. NO chocolate coated raisins, muffins or craps table to be seen...

I have been to 50 states, although not driving to each. Now I am looking for the other 7 that our current political administration has pointed out that exist... Politicians always know better for us soon to be poor and lost souls who are still happy and live life at its best.
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:34 PM   #80
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When I was a kid my dad was the type to load the famly up in our Fleetwood Prowler and head off to some KOA somewhere, and for the life of me I could never figure out why he liked it so much. you were always packed in like sardines, you had no privacy, our dog had to stay home, it was hard to sleep and it wasn't uncommon to hear loud voices right outside the window, and we routinely had people cut through our camp.

I also noticed that I always couldn't wait for the trip to be over.

When I was in high school I discovered what campiing was really all about, id take my 89 suburban out somewhere in South West Montana up IBEX, West Pine, Mill Creek, or anywhere else out in the Gallatin, The Absorka Beartooths, or up in the Crazy Mountains.

For me the idea of camping is to get the heck away from the crowd not to be part of it. That is why you will never see me parked in a campground if I can help it.

You will however see me in a Walmart, K Mart, Costco or Sams Club parking lot. and the reason is I like places I can get the things I need and get them cheap, also when traveling most of these places have locations that are just off of the interstate, so I can get in get out fast. It is really nice too for me because I like to drive at night, there is less traffic and less stupid people on the road.

I like the fact I can pop into a Wally-world at 5:30 in the morning, sleep for a few hours and be on my way again after the morning rush has subsided.

The Guvament has no damn business where I lay my head on private property. If the property owner/manager is allowing me to stay there then it is no one's business.

For me I own and operate a towing company, if a property owner doesn't want some one parked on their property, believe me they have a means of solving the problem.

All it takes is a set of signs 18x24 inches posted at each entrance that say "TOWING ENFORCED" that also display the international towing symbol, that says below it "No RV/Truck Parking" and if your dumb enough to park your RV in there, well you get to pay some wrecker driver somewhere a fist full of cash to get your rig back.

I get people who think we cant tow them because they have an F-350 and a 40' 5th wheel, what they don't know is that I can roll in, pick up their front end, drop their drive shaft, pop the lock on the drivers door and release the E-brake if necessary, drop the trailer and haul off the tow rig while another truck picks up the trailer, if the tow rig is gone, they have no way to move the trailer, thus they can not halt the impound.

This is a system that has worked for a long time, there is no reason to go trying to fix something that aint broke. If the walmarts in Maine or anywhere else don't want people parking in their lots they have no need to call their legislature, just their local towing company.

In some places Walmart does tow, I know up in dallas if you park an RV or a Semi in one of the Walmart parking lots there you will get towed, and you will be surprised how fast a wrecker can actually get one.

It just pisses me off when ever it happens that some one uses government to try to force people to patronize one business and not another. I believe that became really popular in Germany in the late 1930's

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