Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wallydocking in Walmart parking lots

Boondocking: to camp with your vehicle in remote areas such as deep woods or desert locations, without power, sewer, or water hookups.

Wallydocking: to do this in Walmart parking lots :)

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I love Walmart. I didn't used to, since they all look basically the same and are all filled with identical cheap stuff from China. But let's face it. They have everything you need at an affordable price, and (best of all), they allow you to park overnight. At least most of them do. You can literally live at Walmart and make it your home if you want to.
Tonight I am parked in another Walmart lot, and I must say, I've gotten pretty used to it. It is nice to be able to use their bathroom in the morning (and at night), to know I am permitted to park here, to run inside and buy something if I need it, to not need my LED lights since their parking lot lights are so bright, to be camped out next to other vans & RVs doing the same thing as me, and to just feel safe. Almost every single Walmart that I've parked at has had a friendly security guard patrolling the lot & especially looking out for us overnighters :-) It just makes me feel good to know that I am parked in a secure place and even being looked out for.

I definitely park at other places, too, like the occasional truck stop, 24-hr grocery store, friend's driveway, rest area, park, or forest. When I'm near an unknown city, though, and actually looking for a place to spend the night, I always check out http://www.parkfreeovernight.com/ first to see if there is a Walmart nearby. If there is, I go there. Walmart makes things easy, it is just a safe and easy overnight solution. If there isn't a Walmart nearby, my 2nd step is to check http://www.freecampgrounds.com/. If nothing there looks good, I check my "2008 The RVer's Friend: North American Diesel/Parking Directory" for nearby truckstops that allow vehicle overnight parking. If no truckstops are nearby, I check http://www.casinocamper.com/ for nearby Casino lots, I look in my road atlas for nearby rest areas, or I just drive around and find something that looks good. I must say, however, there is usually a Walmart nearby, which is why I could possibly be considered a regular Wallydocker.

8 comments:

Edward said...

I'm fond of wallydocking too. I kind of despise walmart from a sociological/economic standpoint, but usually do pick up a few things when I camp at one. I've felt safer at some walmarts than at some state parks. One of my regulars is in Walterboro, SC. Right on I-95. Once there were over 20 there campers there with me. I once camped there on Christmas eve and there were a couple other rigs there with me even though the store was closed. I am one of those who picked up on your blog from the recent mention on the vanagon list.

I've got a few posts about my van on my blog you might wade through:

http://gismemories.blogspot.com/search?q=vanagon

Happy travels and thanks for the nice blog posts.

The Scavenger said...

Wallydocking, I love it. Never heard that one before. Sounds like things are going well for you, glad to hear that. Not really had a chance to get over here and read latley. Always enjoy the visit though. Stay safe.

Chris

Nomad said...

About the starter:if a tap from a hammer got it going, it would suggest worn out brushes. It would be cheaper to just replace the brushes than the whole starter.

The Traveler said...

Edward - That is so cool to hear about Christmas Eve & your regular Walmart. You know, every single Walmart I have ever parked at has had other RVers there with me! :) There are lots and lots of Wallydockers out there right along with us. I think that is so neat. Thanks for your site! I will definitely check it out.

Karl - (westyman) thanks for the message! I really appreciate your info & will show it to Dan asap. It is funny you should mention that thing about connecting the neutral safety switch wires together - I wish I had known that prior to my towing incident because that is what the guy at "Park Avenue Motors" also told me. He put in a used neutral safety switch (a 20.00 part), so I guess I paid 140.00 mainly for that exact information. "Just hook those 2 wires together the next time it happens." Easy as 123. It is amazing what simple little tricks are out there. Someone should make a big list of those little tricks especially for Vanagon owners :) I would make a list, but I don't know any of the tricks yet (except that one). By the way, I'm still planning on making it up that way sometime in the next year here. I want to check out the salvage yards up near you and see your shop.

Chris - thanks! :)

Nomad - I appreciate the info.. Do you happen to know how difficult it would be to just replace the brushes? I can't seem to find anything about that in my manual or online. I also can't seem to find where to get replacement brushes for my Westy.

Wally & Sue's 1975 GMC Glenbrook said...

Hey we are wally dockers too. In a way no money is saved cause we end up shopping there. It's all stuff we were gonna get anyway. I buy water there sometimes at the bulk station (33 cents a gallon) and use 5 gallon folding containers. Kinda cool to just go inside and get something if you get a mind too. Casinos are good too and once in Sioux Falls we fit in with the vender RVs at a craft show. No one knew and it was right by the convention center.

ForestWander Nature Photography said...

Cool Blog.

I like the inside of the RV/Van

The way you captured it is really neat.

Nomad said...

Sorry, can't help with pulling the starter apart, but have watched a mechanic do it a couple of times. They should be at the end of the starter that the wires enter it. It didn't look that difficult. The brushes are what make the electrical connection to the starter while it is spinning. From what I remember of seeing it was a couple of steel pole pieces held out by springs, to maintain contact. When they ware out, they just get shorter to the point that they can no longer make contact. Hitting the side of the starter can give them just enough of a shake up to get far enough out to work.

Diana said...

Thanks for the www.parkfreeovernight.com link. It's great, and I had not heard of it before.