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Old 07-26-2014, 02:48 PM   #1
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Travel cross country not staying in camp grounds

Where can I stop at night and not spend money on camp grounds, for a fast trip across country in a 34 foot motor home and be safe?

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Old 07-26-2014, 03:05 PM   #2
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Walmart allows you to stay overnight in their parking lots as long as the city doesn't restrict it. Ask before you try it.

You can also stay in some of the rest areas.

This site lists a lot of places you can stay.

Allstays Camp and RV | RV Parks Campgrounds


Jon & Sue Francis (Retired U.S.A.F.)
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Old 07-26-2014, 03:10 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome to the forum. Good advice above.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

2007 Itasca Ellipse 40FD
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Old 07-26-2014, 03:59 PM   #4
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We have crisscrossed the continent every which way, and at the end of the day find a back-to-back parking spot on the outside of the lot where we won't interfere with regular customer parking. Then we go shopping for supplies at WalMart before we hunker down for a relaxing evening.

WalMart is probably as safe as it gets: with good lighting, security cameras, and sometimes patrolled 24/7 by security guards. While the security guards assure your safety while at WalMart, their presence also signifies that you are hanging out in a scary part of town where you should keep your doors locked and clear out that area as quickly as possible.

For cross-country stuff, like our 9000 mile trip from Toronto to Alaska where we actually recorded the data, we only spent 33% of our nights in campgrounds. In Alberta and British Columbia there lots of places to dump and fill, like some the rest stops and Canadian Tire which also provides dump/fill facilities. We always enjoy those kind of dump/fill facilities:

1. Dump and fill;
2. Everyone gets a shower;
3. Dump and fill once more;

And then we are on our way!

We use Garmin's very bottom end GPS: Nuvi 50/54, which we bought on sale for $100. Look up WalMart for the direction you are heading, it will provide you with a list of WalMarts as you are heading north for instance, along with the distance along with the distance to each WalMart along your path.
Stan Birch
1999 Winnebago Adventurer 32T Ford V-10
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Old 07-26-2014, 04:39 PM   #5
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In addition to most Walmarts, (use the link mentioned above to find out which ones don't permit overnighting) Home Depot, Flying J or Pilot truck stops, Cracker Barrel Restaurants. It's always a good idea to check with the manager to be sure. I always park out of the way of customer parking, along the edge or island, etc. so I don't have cars swooping by. It's never been a problem.

In addition, some states allow reststop overnight parking:
Rest Stops

Also many Casinos have free or inexpensive RV parking:
Casino Camper - Home

Other free parking:

Another source:
RV Boondocking Tips - All The Best Places For FREE Overnight RV Parking | The Fun Times Guide to RVing

Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
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Old 07-26-2014, 06:58 PM   #6
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All the suggestions above are valid, but bear in mind that no place is free if you have to run your generator more than a short while for a/c in 90* heat.
John & Diane, Fulltimers. RVM103 NHSO
On the road since June '12 with Lincoln, the guard cat.
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:49 PM   #7
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Hey John,

I don't recall ever having to run our generator during evening hours, other than when hunkering down at a Flying-J during deep-freeze winter snow storms. Campgrounds are not an option that time of year, but running the gen for an hour before you hit the sack, is a good measure to make sure your 10 amp furnace makes it through the night with temperature- compromised batteries .

As for hot weather travel, for the rare two or three hours we might need to run the gen, the cost doesn't come even close to the cost of enduring a night in some local parking lot "campground"!!
Stan Birch
1999 Winnebago Adventurer 32T Ford V-10
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:10 AM   #8
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Don't forget COSTCO, Lowes, Home Depot - after asking the manager. At the Walmart in Albuquerque security came by to ask us to move. The female security thought we would sleep better if we moved to the part of their lot reserved for RVs and overnighters and away from the lights of shoppers' cars!
Sailsam and Susie
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:18 AM   #9
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All parking lot overnight stops need to have permission from the service desk so they can tell you if they have specific areas of the parking lot you should use. Some towns have No Overnight Ordinances and while in my experience the store will give you "no guarantees" permission to stay and nobody cares, there are places where you WILL get moved on by city officers. It is a overnight stay, NOT camping, so need to be sensible in deploying slides and jacks.
Tony Lee - International Grey Nomad. Picasa Album - Travel Map
RVs. USA - Airstream Cutter; in Australia - MC8 40' DIY Coach conversion & OKA 4x4 MH; in Germany - Hobby Class C; in S America - F350 with 2500 10.6 Bigfoot camper
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:52 AM   #10
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Thanks all
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:02 AM   #11
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Camping World is another place that lets you stay overnight.
2004 Monaco La Palma 36DBD, W22, 8.1, 7.1 MPG
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Old 07-27-2014, 02:45 PM   #12
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Don't forget Cabela's. Dicks and other large sporting good chains. In Maine also LL Bean. Ask around many towns like Montrose, Co or Charleston SC have RV parking lots where you can spend the night. We use Wal-mart all of the time, also some state's rest areas actually have patrol's at night for security
2005 Winnebago Vectra, 20 foot enclosed car hauler with a Mini Cooper S convertible inside, look for the big Betty Boop on the back,and two Westies Maggie and Buddy.
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Old 07-27-2014, 03:03 PM   #13
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we used the Walmart over night parking app, and used the Cabela's to dump for free. We also downloaded the Pilot/Flying J app and also the Loves Truck stop app. Loves has dump stations and fresh water for a fee of $5.00 at most of there stations. Half the cost of flying J. Also if you fuel up with diesel at the auto pump you get cash price when using a credit card.
1999 Monaco Windsor with a 330 Cummins.
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by AttilaKara72 View Post
Also if you fuel up with diesel at the auto pump you get cash price when using a credit card.
Is that Loves or FJ?

Never heard that before

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