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Old 04-04-2016, 07:46 AM   #1
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First time.... (freaked out!)

DH and I are planning to make the trek south in a few months. Previous trips we've stayed in campgrounds. This time (to save a few bucks) we're thinking about doing an overnight or two in a parking lot. I'm thinking I will be a nervous wreck and not get a wink of sleep. So how did you "survive" your first night?
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:53 AM   #2
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hammer bird,
check allstays.com for info about Walmart and other free places to park overnight.
the Walmarts we have stayed at were very secure.
check Indian casinos also.
both are more secure than Hiway rest stops.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:08 AM   #3
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Stay a few nights in Flying Js with RV parking.

Not as quiet as Wal-Mart but you won't be alone.

Once you get used to it, it becomes normal.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:15 AM   #4
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I had done quite a bit of parking lot camping when getting the rig worked on at various places. DW was adamant about "We are not staying anywhere but a campground". Last summer we traveled with another couple for a while and they suggested staying at a Walmart. After that one night, she was fine with it. If you are on a major route, you will most likely not be the only one there. Much quieter than truck stops, at least in my experience.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:16 AM   #5
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My personal preference is Cracker Barrels. RV parking area and breakfast in the morning. Very quiet with no traffic other than maybe the night cleaning crew. A few beverages prior to turning in helps also.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer bird View Post
DH and I are planning to make the trek south in a few months. Previous trips we've stayed in campgrounds. This time (to save a few bucks) we're thinking about doing an overnight or two in a parking lot. I'm thinking I will be a nervous wreck and not get a wink of sleep. So how did you "survive" your first night?
Hammer bird
I understand your paranoia.

15 years ago, (when my coach was new to me), the first night we boondocked overnight was in a campsite where I could plug into shore power in case we needed to.
Since then we have boondocked hundreds of times, (sometimes for as long as a week or more), without any problems.

I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about....(as twinboat said "Once you get used to it, it becomes normal)".

Mel
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:24 AM   #7
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tWe've stayed at

Walmarts
Sam's Club
Casino's
Flying J's or other truck stops
Cabela's
Cracker Barrel

Frist time we stayed at a Walmart was in Macon Ga, drove in and a security vehicle drove up as we were pulling. We thought we were in trouble. A nice woman got out and said "Welcome to Walmart, glad you stopped, please select a spot over there & I will be patrolling all night so no need to worry".

Most Walmarts don't have security guards per say but do have a good camera system which dissuades criminals.

Only problem we had was in Fort Myers Florida when we stopped at a Sam's Club and asked permission to park, the manager approved. Well in the middle of the night we started hearing a lot of cars and music. Turns out it was a gathering place for "young people". Also looked like there were 2 competing groups ready to get into a fight so we high tailed it out of there.

Bottom line is if you decide to stop take a good look at your surroundings. If the neighborhood doesn't look good move on. If there are other RV's parked there go towards that area, "safety in numbers".

My wife has traveled alone all over the Eastern US in the 2 coaches we've owned going to dog shows. She does travel will large dog (s) which is also a deterrent.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:34 AM   #8
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Just trust your gut. We have passed up only 2 WalMarts in 9 years. Can't tell you why other than it felt strange. Everyone sets their own tolerance level. We aren't comfy with highway rest stops
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:49 AM   #9
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We just got back from 14 weeks in Mexico (Yucatan). We spent a number of nights at all night Pemex trucker fuel stations. Always asked permission and gave a small tip. They always told us to park where our doorway would be in the light and observable by the attendants. One place had uniformed security (with shotgun and revolver). Gave him a $3 (50 peso) tip and he said that he would be by every half hour. The truckers are friendly, glad to segje Gringos, and want no one else around their trucks. Everyone we know that travels in Mexico stays at the Pemex since CGs are few and far between.
We have only read of one robbery at a Pemex and that was when the RVer did not park near the trucks but in the dark
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer bird View Post
DH and I are planning to make the trek south in a few months. Previous trips we've stayed in campgrounds. This time (to save a few bucks) we're thinking about doing an overnight or two in a parking lot. I'm thinking I will be a nervous wreck and not get a wink of sleep. So how did you "survive" your first night?
You are right to be concerned. I've heard horror stories:

Grandparents with little girl stopped overnight in a Cracker Barrel. The little girl woke up spitting a pea soup like substance, head was turning around, cursing, levitating etc. They had to get a Catholic priest to perform some ritual to excise the demon. The police said it wasn't the first time it happened there.

A couple in an expensive class A woke up on the grass in of a Sam's Club. Their expensive Class A gone! The police said that this has been happening all over the country. The thieves cut a small hole in a window, pump the MH with sleeping gas, remove the occupants and drive away.

A couple stopped at an Indian Casino and were never seen again. Their dinette had their dinner set out ready to eat. People near by said they saw bright lights and strange objects in the sky but were on their way to the great buffet and didn't investigate.

A couple in a Wal Mart reported that in the middle of the night there was loud banging on the side of their MH. They looked out the window only to see a 7' tall hairy big foot like creature running away.
























































PS - non of these things happened but ... you never know.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:42 AM   #11
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I understand how you feel, the first time we stayed in a Walmart I did not sleep well even though it was in a fairly safe location. Everytime a car pulled in close to us I woke up and looked out to see what was going on. All went well and I would do it again.

I'm a retired Police Captain, and have the capability to protect us, having spent over 30 years dealing with criminals, and even then I was a little apprehensive to stay overnight in a Walmart. The above post by "dexters" was a little out of line in my opinion as it was making you look paranoid. Trust me that is not the case, as crime does occur in parking lots. It is wise to be aware of your surroundings, and if it doesn't look/feel good go somewhere else. Try to park near other MH's/RV's stopping for the night as they are probably feeling the same as you, and we always seem to watch out for each other. We have found several Casino parking lots to stay in that are very nice, have Security patrols, and I get a good nights sleep. Plus you can go in and gamble a little if you like to.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:46 AM   #12
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A number of overnight spots, such as casinos, typically have security patrols that may ease your mind as you acclimate.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:59 AM   #13
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I've travelled all over the US except for Me, VT, and NH. I've been in the three western Canadian provinces.

The only places I ever had *any* trouble were in truck stops. Walmart is almost always at least reasonably quiet with no troubles at all so far.

I hope some of these impressions will make it easier to enjoy your trip. Maybe not plan any big mile days for the first couple of days so that you can ease into it without wearing yourself out.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:04 PM   #14
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My 1st time was Oct 15, broke down in a truck stop parking lot for 30 hours in the TN mountains. 1st trip in the MH and 1st time we slept in the MH, but the whole experience wasn't bad at all.
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