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'Camping' at Walmarts, Casinos, Hospitals
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gbrandt
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 8:23 am    Post subject: 'Camping' at Walmarts, Casinos, Hospitals Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

Got a question on camping at walmarts, casinos, hotels, hospitals. We've never done it, but plan on hitting a few of these places during our travels (http://livetravelplay.ca).

When do you feel safe to put the pop-top up? Or in all cases do you leave the top down and sleep on the bottom?

We have no problem stealth camping, but putting up the top may attract too much attention I think.

Gregor
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Corwyn Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most casinos don't care - especially if you're parked near the 40-foot RVs. The premise is similar to WalMart: you'll come inside for something.
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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saw this one parked at a local Wally World last Fall. Note the big-arse RVParked behind it.
I think it's up to you whether or not to put the top up, but I don't think anyone really cares.
You are drawing attention to yourself just being there in the first place, well attention from
me anyway. I'd stop and take a pic of your van if I saw it at a Walmart!
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I did my trip 4000 mile in the Westy, I never popped my top because basically I was just stopping to sleep and I just left the main bed made up.
I stopped at a lot of rest areas and almost always parked under a light and usually let the security person know I was there. Travelling as a solo female sometimes make stealth easier. In several places the police even kept an eye on me for security. I've never done stealth on a street.
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gbrandt
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DAIZEE wrote:
When I did my trip in the Westy, I never popped my top because basically I was just stopping to sleep and I just left the main bed made up.
I stopped at a lot of rest areas and almost always parked under a light and usually let the security person know I was there. Travelling as a solo female sometimes make stealth easier. In several places the police even kept an eye on me for security. I've never done stealth on a street.


Do rest areas in the states allow overnight? That would be cool. Do they all have security?

We are travelling for three months, so we have 'stuff' taking up the lower bed space. It would be a pain to have to move it every night. Thats why we want to use the upper bunk.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I need to make a travel stop, I usually pull into a roadside motel parking lot late at night after 10 pm. They're full of travelers, trailers, etc. so little attention if brought upon the van. I don't pop the top, just pull the curtains and sleep. I've never been bothered, but I'm usually alone on those occasions. If you have kids or more than one person, it could be a lot more challenging.
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I am Wildcat
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At Walmarts or Casinos, I would feel fine popping the top, especially when parked near other RVs. Hospitals I don't think I would pop the top, at least not overnight. I definitely wouldn't pop the top at a hotel.
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:18 am    Post subject: walmart Reply with quote

Walmart usually has a number of other overnighters like truckers and class A. Find a quiet corner and relax. Some say Cracker Barrel allow RV's too and they are as plentiful as Wally along the interstates.
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always stopped at Rest Areas and never had any problems. I've even slept amongst the big trucks but that's my least favourite place. Signs says you can't stay over in some Rest Areas but so many people do. Again I travel alone with a little dog. I don't know how it would be popping the top. I did it for years in a car as well.
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gbrandt
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DAIZEE wrote:
I've always stopped at Rest Areas and never had any problems. I've even slept amongst the big trucks but that's my least favourite place. Signs says you can't stay over in some Rest Areas but so many people do. Again I travel alone with a little dog. I don't know how it would be popping the top. I did it for years in a car as well.


If a cop comes to tell you to move, you could always quote stats about tired drivers and accidents Smile

Really, I think that letting you sleep at a rest stop vs driving tired is a big win for the state.

Gregor
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BayrischerGTI
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, pretty sure nobody would actually make you leave a rest area if you're trying to keep it safe. Private property is a whole different deal.
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foodeater
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BayrischerGTI wrote:
I agree, pretty sure nobody would actually make you leave a rest area if you're trying to keep it safe. Private property is a whole different deal.


You would think that would be the case, but it is not always. I have been asked to leave from a couple rest stops, on in CT, the other in GA, or LA (I cant remember). in both instances I was told by the police that they knew that I had been there for at least 4-5 hours and that was the maximum allowable time to be there.It didnt really matter to me since the sun was coming up, and I had slept pretty well. Both time the top was down (well once was in a tin top van). However I have slept overnight in probably a hundred or so rest areas over the years, so it isn't common for it to happen.

As far as staying at Walmart or casinos I've done plenty of that, usually with the top "popped". I've never had a problem staying at these places with the top up. I always put the top down before leaving the van to go into the Walmart or casino.
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very first night of "camping" was spent at WalMart:

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Here's some notes on the subject:
1) Most WalMarts are on/near busy roads or highways. ^That one was on a major road, near I-10 and railroad tracks. Sleep? What sleep?

2) Some cities have ordinances against overnight parking for sleeping purposes; my city does, which means my local WalMart had to put an end to overnighting. What this means: Not every single WalMart out there will allow overnighting. General rule, I suppose: If no RVs are parked, move on.

3) We stayed at Motel 6 one night on our last trip. When asked about sleeping in the parking lot (after paying for the room) the desk guy said, "You'll need the manager's approval and the manager won't be back until morning." This Motel 6 also required a parking permit be placed in the windshield or you faced getting towed.

4) Don't forget about truck stops. Noisy, but another option. Be sure to have earplugs with you. Wink

Just a few things to keep in mind.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Small rural airport are often good as are churches in the right neighborhoods. If you are a volunteer fireman with a sticker on you van you can always get away with parking at a firehouse.
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Gauche1968
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were to pop the top at a local Wal-Mart, I'd be more worried about local kids messing with me than getting kicked out or whatever.
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ithinkso
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Wal-mart's wont allow overnighting if there is a city ordinance against it. Henderson, NV is like this.
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spent the night in a Walmart lot once..

I didn't camp

I didn't sleep

but I did buy a few items and got acquainted with my new camper and our new relationship.

I've worked hard to avoid a revisit to a Mal-Wart parking lot when I plot & plan my adventures.
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

as a full time RV'er i've all but given up on walmarts unless i'm desperate. at least on the west side of the country i've been turned away more than i care to note. casinos are a better bet and these days they are everywhere.

when boondocking en route, we usually stick to rest areas and truck stops. when parking near trucks look for flatbeds as they don't have reefers that run all night long Smile

when it comes to rest areas some states are better than others. i was pleased to find NY doesn't allow idling. which is really nice. at least when you're in a van you don't have to park in between semi's like i do.

also if you've got a decent 3g/4g connection look for state parks along your route. sometimes they are only a few miles away from the freeway and offer cheap quiet camping. sometime they charge only $5 or something, but are worth it.

happy travels.
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I stay over at rest stops at least once or twice a camping trip. I always pop the top, crack a beer, cook some dinner and play some tunes. Never had a problem.
This is usually in Washington state.
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my experience with Walmart, they are generally too lazy to even round up all of the stray carts, so are they gonna walk to the far end of the lot to run me off? Probably not.

If a city has an ordinance against it, where is it applicable? Does it apply to private, public or city property or all of the above? Walmart is in fact private property, and it all depends on the wording of the ordinance.

Never take for granted that what you're told is fact, get a copy and read it for yourself!


In most cases if you stop at the local police dept or simply stop a officer and ask they will help you out.
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