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Author Topic: Eyes Wide Open at Walmart  (Read 3155 times)
Audiomaker
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« on: June 17, 2014, 03:47:17 PM »

So after watching 22 youtube videos about nomad-ing, and having read countless webpages about "full timing",  I'm walking through the Walmart parking lot to search for a digital TV antenna for my rig and suddenly something that was never there appeared.

RV's... lots of them... probably 8 or more, parked off in the corners, shades drawn...obviously live-a-boards.
A couple nice Class A's, some Tiogas.... a camper van made of unfinished plywood.

Of course they were always there...in some form or another, but today it was like discovering gypsies were living in bush in your back yard and you had never noticed, or stumbling onto "the underground".

The whole thing became very real to me at that moment.  I felt familiar, yet embarrassingly ignorant.  I wanted to go knock on their doors and say "hi" (but didn't).

Something I haven't told you, and rarely tell anyone, is that when I was 17-20 years old, I lived in a Dodge Tradesman for a little over two years in Hollywood.   My mom had kicked me out.
A lot happened in that van...lots of stories... met the love of my life in it and she stayed with me for a year there before moving on...
Through much much hard work, I "graduated" back to the real world... pulled up my boot straps... ended up owning several businesses, paid cash for my house and whatnot.  I "made it out".
And now some 27 years later I'm going back in, but unlike the first time, it's more on my terms and I'm now aware of others doing the same.

This should prove interesting...
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eagle19952
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2014, 07:04:20 PM »

here's one to ponder.....when your insurance agent asks you if you fulltime your answer is........  Huh
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2014, 08:22:32 PM »

Hi Sean,  before the Depression, people used walmart to boondock, sometimes to excess, mostly not. Just like in the first Depression, people are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and starting a new phase of their lives, adapting with whats left. Your adapting using your smarts and wiliness, and your path may be fun too, I got thru the perfect storm of problems during this depression, in part by thinking, what I would do to make the bus more better, more fun, just more, momentary relief from the most pressing and daunting problems I ever faced. Wait till you find places, on flat spots on federal land, like just outside of Overton, Nevada. On a mesa overlooking the Virgin River and Lake Mead, there are 25 to 50 people of all socio-economic scales at all times, we go there to see the meteor showers, some have taken up semi permanent residence. Good luck on your journey thru this part of your life, have some fun too, this is not the end , but a beginning of a new phase, youve already made a great decision, tom...
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2014, 08:31:41 PM »

Hey Tom, loved your post. As a mater of fact I would like to see this topic become a permanent thread - "places to park cheap". I appreciate any info on locating these kind of places. Am about to enter this realm myself.
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2014, 10:47:58 PM »

Hi Sean,  before the Depression, people used walmart to boondock, sometimes to excess, mostly not. Just like in the first Depression, people are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and starting a new phase of their lives, adapting with whats left. Your adapting using your smarts and wiliness, and your path may be fun too, I got thru the perfect storm of problems during this depression, in part by thinking, what I would do to make the bus more better, more fun, just more, momentary relief from the most pressing and daunting problems I ever faced. Wait till you find places, on flat spots on federal land, like just outside of Overton, Nevada. On a mesa overlooking the Virgin River and Lake Mead, there are 25 to 50 people of all socio-economic scales at all times, we go there to see the meteor showers, some have taken up semi permanent residence. Good luck on your journey thru this part of your life, have some fun too, this is not the end , but a beginning of a new phase, youve already made a great decision, tom...

To be quiet honest, the idea has been a mixed bag.  The first time around I was a kid, and it wasn't "boondocking" or "fulltiming", it was "living in a van".   Even then, it was a choice to a degree.  The area at the time was buzzing with electricity.  I was in a heavy metal band, dated strippers, woke up on people doorsteps.  I kind of forgave myself for the idea that I was homeless really.
The stigma of it probably landed when the girl I was living with in there for the latter year left. She was very pretty and was tempted daily by men with much greater means.  When she left, I was alone and feeling very inadequate as a human because in fact, our living situation was mostly why she left.

But here's the thing...   years later I would tell people how much I loved the freedom of it, and after that experience, I kept seeming to gravitate back to non-traditional dwellings.  I lived full-time on a boat for a couple years in a work marina (which was an awesome experience), I lived in a mobile home type trailer (45') for a couple years.  2 years ago I skipped having a motorcycle I purchased shipped from Houston to Oregon in favor of getting it myself and riding it back... yes, camping in a tent roadside.

I have this photo of me... I'm about 4-5 years old standing behind a pretty disheveled camper (with long hair and some serious 70's kids clothes).  My mom tells me that we lived in there for awhile.  I don't even remember it.

I think what I'm discovering is that I am a nomad at heart, or certainly the universe keeps pushing me that way.  My post about the Walmsrt above is a recognition of almost "coming home", or that maybe it's ok.  When I lived in a van as a kid, I parked everywhere (stealth camped...lol), but really felt like the outcast not knowing there were others.  With no internet and such, you didn't really meet others, you just hid.

As I try to get this awkward rig ready for this new journey,  I certainly ask all the newbie questions about RV'ing, but in fact, I am as familiar with the road as most anyone...at least the hard parts of that road.  Even the van had some great times, and the marina live aboard was probably one of the best times of my life.  During that, I made friends with others doing it because they were apparent.
I'm really looking forward to it in some odd way.... at least for a little while.  The Walmart thing was like "wow... I'll have friends this time"... felt pretty good to know that they're real, and out there.
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Audiomaker
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2014, 10:48:54 PM »

here's one to ponder.....when your insurance agent asks you if you fulltime your answer is........  Huh

I was getting ready to make a new topic asking all about that  Wink
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2014, 12:55:31 PM »

Sean and John:

For free campgrounds, check out:

http://www.freecampgrounds.com/

For RV parking at WalMart, see:

http://www.walmartatlas.com/rv-parking-at-walmart/

Also some K-Marts, Cracker Barrels, and some other stores and many lodges (Elks, Masons, etc.) and casinos offer free overnight.

Some more great ideas, especially Bureau of Land Management's 400 parks and other great ideas for free or very low cost RV parking are here:

http://www.rv-camping.org/BLMCampgrounds.html      
 
Be warned: In many towns, the city governments are cracking down on overnight parking at shopping centers. Different reasons have been mentioned: Nearby RV parks are paying taxes based on their usage; some RV'ers abuse by staying many days, or taking choice parking spaces close to the store, or not asking permission, or littering, etc.

One personal experience: At a huge Sams in Arlington, TX, while my wife and daughter were inside emptying out the inventory, I took a long walk around the parking lot several times. There was a converted 45-foot Van Hool bus with New Mexico plates in the parking lot. I got to talking to Sam the security guy, and he said the manager was really mad because the bus guy did not ask permission, and it had already been there for five days. They were talking about calling a wrecker to haul it off. The  basic idea is: Park in such a manner that you do not close the door for others.  
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 01:23:28 PM by Mex-Busnut » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2014, 03:42:46 PM »

Lol,makes one mad has hell to see the campgrounds run by the US government paid for with your tax dollars and ran by volunteers, the free campgrounds are now 15 bucks a night under the present administration living in the WH and they  offer nothing just a place to park. I don't want anymore free weekends he offered a few years ago the next free camping weekend the fees will raise to 25 bucks a night
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2014, 04:51:44 PM »

My strong preference on the road on a long trip is to stop around 6 pm and tuck myself away in the back corner of a truck stop parking lot.  I find that I feel a lot more secure in the company of those professionals, no one gives me a hard time, I get to eat a meal in the restaurant and I can get fuel if I need it.  I never stay in Walmarts or similar if I can help it.  If I need the facilities I find a KOA and get a full service camp site for the night, dump and fill with fresh water, charge the batteries, etc.

Brian
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« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2014, 07:50:18 PM »

Hey Mex-Busnut, sounds like I would like the area your sitting at now. Thanks for the info on cheap parking. I gotta read up on the blm places. We use wm when traveling. Pull in late, ask permission at service desk, buy groceries in morning, and get on the road after breakfast. I always cringe when I see someone with the slides out, awning out, lawn chairs, and a dog tied up. WTH are they thinking.
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« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2014, 08:11:00 PM »

My strong preference on the road on a long trip is to stop around 6 pm and tuck myself away in the back corner of a truck stop parking lot.  I find that I feel a lot more secure in the company of those professionals, no one gives me a hard time, I get to eat a meal in the restaurant and I can get fuel if I need it.  I never stay in Walmarts or similar if I can help it.  If I need the facilities I find a KOA and get a full service camp site for the night, dump and fill with fresh water, charge the batteries, etc.

Brian

Me too Brian.  I've done the same countless times going back and forth across the country, and strangely enough, it's where I ended up at least a few times when traveling by motorcycle.  I've actually managed to set up a 1 man tent with my bike running visual interference in front of it only 20 or so feet from the row of big rigs.  Everyone kind of gets it and I've always been left alone.
I think the truckers discourage the presence of lunatics and opportunists compared to Walmarts or even rest stops.
If on the move, I think it's the way to go.  Frankly, I've always been "on the move" when out like that up until now.   I've never stopped at an RV park, and never spent the night on BLM land...etc.  I have however dreamed of taking a 5 day trip and turning it into a 20 day trip, simply wishing I didn't need to be somewhere and wanting to stop and smell the roses.
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2014, 08:35:06 PM »

One thing missing from WM are the lot lizards that they have at truck stops we never spend the night at a truck stop unless they have a area up front for RV's,the show is not as good up front at a truck stop but the rest is better  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2014, 04:13:13 AM »

What is a "lot lizard"?  Never heard of that term, and the images that come to mind are interesting to say the least...

Brian
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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2014, 04:41:02 AM »

Brian:

I also did not know the term "Lot Lizard", even though I was a trucker over 35 years ago. It must be a relatively new term. But Google is our friend. It refers to the females who rent themselves out to the truckers at truck stops, if you get my drift.

By the way, Brian: I love that: "Spicer 8844 4 speed Zen meditation device" line in your byline!
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2014, 05:23:38 AM »

Although I never partook,,,,Lot Lizards---Lady's Of The Night,,,, that check your oil at truck stops. . You boys are wholesome and have lived a sheltered life. Commendable.
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