boondocking in rest stops and Wal-Marts

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Uncledave54

Member
Joined
May 31, 2020
Posts
6
Location
Livonia, Mi
A google search will explain the concerns. One big issue is the easy in/easy out of rest areas.
All unnecessary concerns, imo.
If the situation was as severe as the fear mongers would have you believe, the states would have no choice but to close the areas.

As far as easy in/easy out, the same could be said about Walmarts, yet waldocking is promoted as a safe alternative to rest areas.
 

Ex-Calif

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Posts
1,002
Anywhere one parks feels new, insecure and isolated. Like every neighborhood if it looks bad, it might be bad and so move on.

Well lit, populated rest areas are probably as safe as anywhere. I use them all the time. Also rest areas far from urban areas are probably better (IMO) because the "casual" criminal has to be pretty committed to drive 40 miles outta town to do robbery - LOL...

One trick I learned as a road warrior when selecting hotel stops was to look for the nearest Barns & Noble. Not many bookstores in the "bad" part of town. However lots of car dealerships indicates a pretty remote section of town at night...

Still a useful strategy when picking a Walmart or other parking lot stop even though there are fewer and fewer B&Ns around.
 

H5-Phil

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Joined
May 24, 2017
Posts
130
Location
Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
I'm a new motorhome owner and am researching places to boondock before I head out on an extended trip.
I've heard (and read) rest stops are dangerous and not a good option and Wal-Marts are getting sketchy.
On this forum I've read just the opposite. I would really like to hear from anyone who has stayed at either or both. How was your experience?
I realize not every experience is not going to be perfect. Just trying to get a sense of what I might expect from these areas.
Thanks
We use truck stops 90% of the time while traveling XC. They have fuel (we always fuel up), food, water, stores, etc. We look for areas around the perimeter that are not marked for truck parking to stay in. Truck stops are usually large open areas. On the rare occasion that we can't find a perimeter area, we use a designated parking spot (we're 52' long while traveling).
We've never been hassled nor have we had a problem. In fact, on one early morning departure a trucker waved at me to stop and told us about a major traffic accident that closed the freeway we were going to use. He couldn't have been nicer and the accident was in the direction we were going to travel. He saved us a lot of time.
Yes, there can be some noise at truck stops but strategically parking away from traffic lanes and fueling pumps can reduce that greatly.
Attached is a split picture of an end parking spot we found last year. We had green fields out our door and enough room to have our slide out.
 

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Doc Roads

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Joined
Jun 7, 2017
Posts
147
One caution, non-RV campers at a rest area can be a problem. You need to evaluate the overall site and look for indicators. We stopped at a rest area near Eugene, OR and noticed people hanging around. A closer look revealed well worn pathways to the nearby stream and an assortment of tents and temporary shelters In the trees and bushes with people milling around them. It didn’t look good. We moved on down the road where the next rest area did not have a similar situation. You just need to be careful.
 

chuckbear

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Joined
Aug 20, 2015
Posts
227
Location
Floral City, FL
We haven't used rest stops for overnights but we have stopped at a few that we would have no issues staying in. All had overnight security. We have used Walmarts on many occasions traveling all over the country. While the Walmarts can be noisy, at no time did we feel unsafe. And we always ask for permission first. We have found a few that the local government had restrictions on overnight parking in the town limits. Since we called the store ahead of time, it saved us from having to move on. Chuck
 

House Husband

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Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Posts
237
Location
K.C.MO.
We stay off grid a lot and have a couple of large NRA stickers on our MH and hope we never have to prove our membership. Canadian Customs do ask extra questions when they see the stickers.
 

H5-Phil

Well-known member
Joined
May 24, 2017
Posts
130
Location
Penryn, CA. (foothills of the Sierra)
We stay off grid a lot and have a couple of large NRA stickers on our MH and hope we never have to prove our membership. Canadian Customs do ask extra questions when they see the stickers.
Just a word of caution about any sticker that might indicate you carry a weapon in your RV; thieves notice things like that. Guns are very desirable to thieves. Thieves know when you're away. These stickers are also noticed by LE and as you mentioned, border crossings.
 
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