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Old 09-21-2014, 10:02 AM   #21
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Although we haven't done that yet, I can see where it might be tempting. If, for instance you're on the way to a distant location and want to maximize the stay in that location; you would travel all day and look for a place to sleep only. Wake up and hit the road again. You're basically looking for a place to sleep, and not concerned with scenery, nature, camp fires, or setting up camp. The atmosphere would no doubt be better in a campground, but you're just sleeping, with little time to absorb nature or your surroundings.

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Old 09-21-2014, 10:16 AM   #22
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WalMart etc. Parking

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Staying overnight in your RV in a Cracker Barrel, Staples, Cabellas or Walmart parking lot? This seems like people are being cheap. If you can't afford camping fees, how do you afford gas?

-- Dan Meyer
The choice to overnight in parking lots IS NOT only based on cost.....

1. As mentioned, often one is only seeking a 8 hour rest period and is basically, just passing through. As there are by far more WalMarts and other availbale parking lots than camp grounds, and they are usually near hiways, venturing off highway for 30+ miles r/t just doesn't make sense.

2. Pulling into a camp ground, setting up and often having to unhitch is also time consuming and about the last thing you might want to do at the end of the day.

3. In season many campgrounds require reservations, often months in advance. The days of pulling into any-old-campground in season, and expecting a space are long gone.

4. My daily gas bill is about $35 for 150 miles, I'd have to cut my travel days by 1/2 if I also had to pay that much every night for a place to sleep.

5. The reduced cost of using permitted overnight parking in places, such as WalMart, is the very thing that makes it possible for a lot of us on fixed incomes to be able to RV at all..... And with some state camping sites as high as $60 night, ya gotta save there to enjoy being there.

Disclaimer: When travelling between destinations and needing an overnight rest stop, I first look for inexpensive campgrounds, close to my route of travel, for overnighting. Lacking that I use available resources to locate free parking, lacking that I have been known, after first asking permission, to park in the parking lot outside of Police and Fire stations for the purpose of a needed rest break. Never been turned down except when they knew a better place to overnight.



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Old 09-21-2014, 10:20 AM   #23
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I think if you are just in the travel mode, why not. They are right off the highway most times and like some camp grounds which are take exit so and so go 12 mi turn L go 6 mi bear to R go onto gravel road watch the fork to left make a semi circle on the left watch for the dip. Carl
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:52 AM   #24
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Commercial parking lots

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Originally Posted by Dan Meyer View Post
Staying overnight in your RV in a Cracker Barrel, Staples, Cabellas or Walmart parking lot? This seems like people are being cheap. If you can't afford camping fees, how do you afford gas?

-- Dan Meyer
I survive on a small pension. When I am on the road I have to pay out close to one thousand dollars [$1000.00] per month just keep my apartment and related services. Two or three nights in a parking lot equals a full tank of gas which equals about 550 - 600 Km of travel. If the service or amenity is available why would we not take advantage of it? If you want to tag me as cheap that is fine, I don't mind but I will continue to travel the way I do as long as I can afford it. And that means being wise in the use of my resources.
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:15 PM   #25
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This has probably been covered but what are people's experiences with truck stops? Seems like their purpose is fuel and a night's sleep.
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:19 PM   #26
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I'm currently still working part-time and that includes Thursday nites until 9pm. We like to leave on Thurs as soon as I get off work and travel a couple of hours towards our destination.
All of the above reasons could be ours - these places are very near a major road/highway, we are only staying a few hours, and it means we don't end up arriving after quiet hours at a campground and possibly disturbing others who have already settled in.
Our payback to those businesses gracious enough to extend this privilege is either getting a meal or purchasing some of the perishables we will need on the trip.
We always call to ensure o'nite is allowed and clear with the manager on duty when we arrive.
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Old 09-21-2014, 02:07 PM   #27
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Some are RV friendly, but not all. I have stayed at several Loves truck stops. And, some allow overnighting free with a truck size load of fuel, like $300 worth, or one of their special users cards. You need to ask if and where each time. Gotta tell you, it's never quiet there.....

And look out for the RampRats.



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Old 09-21-2014, 02:34 PM   #28
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This has probably been covered but what are people's experiences with truck stops? Seems like their purpose is fuel and a night's sleep.
We often use Walmart when traveling (as opposed to camping) and other free resources, but I avoid truck stops and lower 48 rest stops because of the noise.

It's interesting to note Dan's objection to free resources. I assume his stance would preclude BLM or National Forest boondocking just to remain consistent.
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Old 09-21-2014, 03:09 PM   #29
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We stayed in a Camping World while driving across New York State in July. I believe it was the one in Syracuse. We had gotten a later start that day than expected and wanted to make good time to our next destination in Vermont. I called ahead and was told that the sites with electric were first-come, first-served. There were a couple of other RV's there but we didn't see the occupants (2 couples) until the morning when they were hanging out on the comfy furniture by the coffee pot in Camping World. We made a couple of purchases and still got a reasonably early start. All went smoothly, though the interstate noise was pretty loud.
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Old 09-21-2014, 05:12 PM   #30
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I must be the ultimate cheapskate. Went x-country this year. Stopped at a couple of KOA's or other campgrounds. Found it a waste to pay $40 just to sleep overnight and shower in the morning. Stopped at Wal-Mart's and truck stops when not driveway camping at friends and relatives. For $8-10, I could shower at a truck stop, using their towels and soap. Plus, get coffee and a breakfast sandwich. When staying for more than just overnight, I would stay at State or National Parks form much less than a commercial campground.
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Old 09-21-2014, 05:42 PM   #31
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Alice, KOAs have some of the worst prices. Think we once stayed at one.

For anyone at least 62, a senior pass can be obtained for federal campgrounds for $10 for life. The Army Corps of Engineers has campgrounds that are only $9 or $10 using the half-price from the card and there are other federal ones with low prices. The ACE has a book out showing their campgrounds.

Short of that, county and state campgrounds are often inexpensive and a big guidebook of campgrounds will tell you which ones are in any town. Or check the towns on the Internet, if possible. Public is usually cheaper than private and often much cheaper. You can always ask locals where a county or city campground is located, if any. Sometimes, sometimes not. Their prices are likely to be less than half of private ones.
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Old 09-21-2014, 06:14 PM   #32
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Unfortunately California State Parks and Beaches, even with a Senior discount, aren't a bargain at all for overnighting, and that's IF (big if) there are any spaces available. Parking lot style spaces at state beaches are in the $30-$60/night range.

When I arrived at Silver Strand State Beach last month they had 1 space, for 1 night only, for $60, available. Fortunately I had reservations for my 3 night stay.



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Old 09-21-2014, 09:50 PM   #33
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Quote:
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>snip<

It's interesting to note Dan's objection to free resources. I assume his stance would preclude BLM or National Forest boondocking just to remain consistent.
The BLM and National Forest people advertise and encourage camping. I suspect that Wal Mart and Cracker Barrel simply tolerate it.

It all boils down to how the owners intended their property to be used. Retailers don't build parking lots to be used as overnight parking for RV'ers.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:06 PM   #34
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I wouldn't be surprised though if Walmart and Cracker Barrel take in more on average from those who stay than would have been paid to campgrounds.
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:21 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Meyer View Post
Staying overnight in your RV in a Cracker Barrel, Staples, Cabellas or Walmart parking lot? This seems like people are being cheap. If you can't afford camping fees, how do you afford gas?

-- Dan Meyer
When we're traveling between long distant points I drive until around 10 to 11 pm. We sleep 6 to 7 hours and get up and on the road again. Breakfast is down the road 1 to 3 hours after getting up. Because we were traveling with another couple one night we spent $35 just for that sleep. I won't do that again. By not paying outrageous camping fees is how we afford gas to travel.

I believe that snobs are part of the reason camping fees are so high. We manage to average less than $10.00 per night and camping close to 150 nights per year. Even at $10.00 per night that $1,500 per year in camping fees.
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:32 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Meyer View Post
Staying overnight in your RV in a Cracker Barrel, Staples, Cabellas or Walmart parking lot? This seems like people are being cheap. If you can't afford camping fees, how do you afford gas?

-- Dan Meyer
Pretty narrow minded opinion...When I am driving all day or leaving when I get out of work at 11pm hooked up and ready to go, I am looking for a place for 6 hours of sleep and hit the road I am not looking for a place with hookups I just want to grab some sleep.

I have stayed at a few truckstops and after buying gas and a snack they all said sure park with the truckers...morning I buy coffee and I am on route to my destination. If I was getting there and taking in the sites I would not stay in a walmart parking lot for my vacation lol.

We are like truckers going from home to our destination(well maybe not so much with the retired folks) and that is our vacation...so why not stop at a rest stop?
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:55 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
When we're traveling between long distant points I drive until around 10 to 11 pm. We sleep 6 to 7 hours and get up and on the road again. Breakfast is down the road 1 to 3 hours after getting up. Because we were traveling with another couple one night we spent $35 just for that sleep. I won't do that again. By not paying outrageous camping fees is how we afford gas to travel.

I believe that snobs are part of the reason camping fees are so high. We manage to average less than $10.00 per night and camping close to 150 nights per year. Even at $10.00 per night that $1,500 per year in camping fees.


Your number of camping nights says it all. With that kind of travel, someone may want to get a deal whenever possible.
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Old 09-22-2014, 05:21 AM   #38
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Camping World???

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It all boils down to how the owners intended their property to be used. Retailers don't build parking lots to be used as overnight parking for RV'ers.



-- Dan Meyer

Truer words have never been spoken. Retailers do not build parking lots to be used as campgrounds; parking lots are built for the convenience of shoppers who spend money in the establishment. Which is exactly what many overnighters do, either at the time they overnight or in the future. If Walmart allows me to stay in their parking lot, I'm not going to drive down the road and pick up needed supplies at Target. And retailers don't really care if the customers are parking trucks, cars, motorcycles, busses, bicycles or RVs in their parking lot. Retailers understand the value of good will as it promotes current AND future sales, and that is really what "it all boils down to." I sometimes eat breakfast at Crackerbarrel and sometimes at McDonalds. I have to tip at Crackerbarrel, but not at Mickey D's. Does it make me cheap if I choose fast food?


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Old 09-22-2014, 07:21 AM   #39
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The BLM and National Forest people advertise and encourage camping. I suspect that Wal Mart and Cracker Barrel simply tolerate it.

It all boils down to how the owners intended their property to be used. Retailers don't build parking lots to be used as overnight parking for RV'ers.

-- Dan Meyer
Actually WalMart has a published corporate policy, that dates back to Sam Walton hisself, to allow RV's to overnight in their parking lots, subject to local ordinances and managers discretion of course.

They know it's better for them if I spend $30 in their store than at a campground and I have something to show for spending that $30 other than a receipt that I slept at Joes Roadside Rest.



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Old 09-22-2014, 01:07 PM   #40
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I've stayed overnight at the Pilot truck stop in Bakersfield and it was fine. I didn't park with the big rigs though, I noticed another RV'er in the regular lot and parked there as well. Noise wasn't an issue, the only small issue perhaps was the really bright lights in the lot. I parked out in the middle of the lot and woke up surrounded by folks sleeping in their cars!
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