Monday, July 14, 2014

Welcome To The Community!

It's an interesting life, living at Walmart. Last night on Facebook there was a somewhat heated discussion about the proper etiquette one should use while partaking in a free spot to spend the night. Slides in or out, landing gear up or down. My personal opinion is slideouts are fine, but jacks should remain retracted.

As an example, the 5th wheel that was parked directly in front of me had his slideout extended out over the curb and above a grassy area so that he in no way hampered the parking lot or took up anymore space on the black top than someone without slides. A gentlemanly thing to do in my book.

For myself, this is a mute issue because I intentionally avoid owning RVs with slideouts for both this reason and the fact that over time they become a maintenance headache.

As you can see by these pictures we had most common versions of RVs represented here tonight. I came early and secured the most level spot, but during the afternoon others trickled in and by morning I found a reasonable crowd had grown.

If you look close, there is an older gray Cadillac parked behind the cones and 2x4 barrier. It's a young man who appears to be living in his car. Yes, I've been a repeat customer at the Walmart Waldorf Astoria Inn, and every time I've been here, so has he.
There was one more car dweller of sorts as a man was sleeping behind the wheel of a pickup just out of camera range.

During our stay, I witnessed people headed into the store from most of these rigs. I spent a good $20 on supper and a few other supplies myself. This is all Walmart asks in the way of payback for the convenience. They even supply garbage cans in the lot so you can properly dispose of your trash.

No, it's not luxury accommodations by any means. There is a railroad switch yard just the other side of about a 50' deep stretch of brush, and the noise of cars banging continues throughout the day and night. But it's a clean, nice neighborhood, and a person can feel safe here.

Some choose to stay at Walmart because it's what they can afford. Others like myself are either passing through or right now, just waiting to finish up other business before moving on. Yes it's a matter of choice, no one person or group is right in how they view staying for free in a commercial parking lot.

One thing for sure, when you have spent a long day on the road knowing that you can find a safe place to stay, without worry of reservation or exorbitant cost, you come to appreciate what Walmart camping offers.

I know as I start my journey across the country, I will be a regular in every small town that happens to have a Walmart on the outskirts. It's the best way I know to be able to see what each little town has to offer.

Learning about the people of a place in many ways surpasses just looking at the scenery. But then at some point I will be staying for free on BLM land out west, and my $10 Senior Pass will let me into any National Park.

Many don't realize that often right outside the gate of most National Parks are surrounding BLM land. All of which is likely open for free camping. I stayed in a beautiful scenic spot not a 1/4 mile outside of the Grand Canyon last fall...And it didn't cost me a dime.

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