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Old 11-26-2018, 08:54 PM   #1
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Question about overnight parking

We’ve not boondocked yet, nor have we overnighted at Walmart, rest stop or Flying J. My question is, when you do park overnight at a rest stop or Walmart do you put your slides out? Our bedroom and bathroom are inaccessible with the slide in but somehow it seems kinda presumptuous to put them out in a non-campground. What is the custom? Thanks.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:30 PM   #2
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We’ve not boondocked yet, nor have we overnighted at Walmart, rest stop or Flying J. My question is, when you do park overnight at a rest stop or Walmart do you put your slides out? Our bedroom and bathroom are inaccessible with the slide in but somehow it seems kinda presumptuous to put them out in a non-campground. What is the custom? Thanks.
Don't put your slides out in a truck stop, or rest area. We truckers sometimes need a little extra maneuvering space. I'd really rather not ruin your vacation by accidentally bumping into your slides with the corner of my trailer.
If you are at a shopping center, or Walmart parking lot, then only put your slides out over the grass at the edge of the lot (their rules from what I hear).
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:32 PM   #3
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I get as far away from any traffic lanes and put them out
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:35 PM   #4
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We have put the slides partway out when they would not interfere with other vehicles. I usually try to find a spot with the curb or lamp post on my right to allow that. Extending the living room slide a foot allows us to access the living/dining room/refrigerator of our trailer.

In your case park with the curb/lamp post on the left.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:37 PM   #5
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Put out only what you need. I, like you, have to put out my main slide to access my bedroom and bathroom. I have boondocked at Walmart three times. I don't go there until after 1030pm. I park my TT with the slide out side on the non traffic/medan/grassy side. I always buy something from Walmart (water, drinks, etc.) I check out the Walmarts along my route on Google Maps satellite view. To determine if the Walmart is a ok place to boondock, I look for: 1. Do pics show TT already parked there, if so that's good thing, 2. Away from houses/apartments, if not don't stop, 3. Is the parking big enough. I boondocked at the Walmart on Exit 173 in NC and the Walmart before Dixie Caverns on Roanake off of 81. If you Google map these, you will see TT already parking there. I also check out the Ctackerbarrlls too since you can boondock there, but you have to make sure thier parking lots are spacious enough not to get stuck in the breakfast traffic in the morning. I do not out out my stabilizers or anything else, just be respectful and if there is a Walmart sign stating no overnight parking, then don't. Good luck!
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Old 11-27-2018, 12:07 AM   #6
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As mentioned, truck stops and rest areas are usually not conducive to putting slides out. Though, I was at a Flying J near St. Augustine that has RV parking and that lot looked like a campground! Slides out, generators running; it was separate from the truck parking.

At truck stops, we’ve only overnighted one time. We lucked into a spot where we had an extra wide spot (dead “no parking” area on one side so we could be far from the line on the slide side). We used our slide outs there as they’re required to get the kids into the bunk room.


For Walmarts- there are no rules. Walmart doesn’t dictate anything. You do what you feel makes you a good guest. There are some guidelines that RV groups put together, but again, guidelines; not rules.

Here’s what we do...

I feel that it’s proper to call or go in and ask permission first (“do you allow RVs to park overnight in your parking lot?”). We typically call ahead and ask; if they say “yes”, we will then ask where they prefer us to park.

Sometimes we will be in a portion of the parking lot that parallels grassy areas. Other times, we’ll do like truckers do and will park in line with a bunch of spots. In both cases, we use our slide outs. We just make sure that no part of our truck, camper, slides, or steps come near to encroaching on the roadway.

Assuming it isn’t super hot, we will also gently put down our landing gear. We found a couple of years ago that our kids rolling over at the other end of the rig rocked the camper enough to disturb our deep sleep and we wouldn’t wake up feeling rested. We never put them down much- just enough to snug up the camper a touch. And I would not do it if the day had been hot due to concerns about putting holes in the asphalt.

And lastly, so long as there aren’t houses or other RVs close by, we’ll run our generator for some/all of the night. We didn’t do it with the portables but only really had them for 6 months without many overnights. But we are more apt to do it with the built-in generator.
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Alabama Potter View Post
We’ve not boondocked yet, nor have we overnighted at Walmart, rest stop or Flying J. My question is, when you do park overnight at a rest stop or Walmart do you put your slides out? Our bedroom and bathroom are inaccessible with the slide in but somehow it seems kinda presumptuous to put them out in a non-campground. What is the custom? Thanks.
I put my slide out in a Highway rest stop if it does not reach the white line in the spot I am in. If there are no lines I either don't put it out or park somewhere it won't be in the way. I also have massive reflector tape on both ends of the slide to make it visible. As far as generators go I run it for brief periods if necessary unlike trucks that run their engine all night everywhere.
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Old 11-27-2018, 03:28 PM   #8
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Slide outs are typically weather and insect proof only when fully extended or fully retracted. That said I'd only put mine out over the curb/grass area. With a hybrid, though, any such camping without the ability to drop at least one bed makes for a pretty uncomfortable night in the too-short dinette or too-short sofa. At least we can get to the head with the slide in -- and do all the time on the road. I know that toilet seat is clean.

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Old 11-27-2018, 04:07 PM   #9
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We’ve not boondocked yet, nor have we overnighted at Walmart, rest stop or Flying J. My question is, when you do park overnight at a rest stop or Walmart do you put your slides out? Our bedroom and bathroom are inaccessible with the slide in but somehow it seems kinda presumptuous to put them out in a non-campground. What is the custom? Thanks.
As you can see from the posts it all depend each place can be different . some conducive to putting slide out some not . need to use your best judgement on a case by case basis
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:34 PM   #10
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there are no 'rules' to your questions, only good common sense. Some of us will, some of us won't... and sometimes it just depends on the situation, where you are, how many others are near you, etc.

We've been to W*mts where there seemed more RVs than cars, and everyone who wanted to put out their slides if they needed to - they were taking up 12 spaces, so it really doesn't matter anyway.
We've also been places where keeping them in made more sense, as we didn't want to seem to be camping... only parking. A coach with it's slides out will certainly 'look' more like someone is overnighting in it... if anyone cares. Most folks won't.

Police, Sheriffs, and others don't really care about overnighting RVs at large parking lot stores, unless the stores themselves call them about it. Chances are, few will ever be called simply because an RV is parked in their lot.
I will say, though, that MALLS are not necessarily as nice - they typically are under different 'rules' and don't like any vehicle parked in their HUGE lots, even if no one else is there, and the 21,528 parking spaces are empty!

Overnighting is not a big deal. Once you get used to it, you simply find a place as far away from the traffic as possible, out of the way of trucks coming in and out for deliveries, and try to be as inconspicuous as possible. We don't run out our awning, or make a campfire, or use our interior lights after dark without pulling all of our night shades. Sure, if I need to put out a slide, I'll park so that it's side is over the curb/grass/edge of the parking area where it will not only not effect anyone, but be less 'seen' by passersby. Common sense. Park on the outer edges, when possible, and you'll be just fine.

When you really overnight off-grid a lot, you start to see many more possibilities than it may seem at first - large movie theatre lots, large church parking lots, big box stores, of course, and even behind commercial businesses that close fairly early. On the other hand, schools and banks are generally a no-no.

We have also run into many cities and county regional parks and rv sites that aren't really advertised anywhere - they can be free, or a very small fee, some with electric, also. Several only take 'donations' in a drop-box. Using google-maps on your phone and zooming in close to the areas you might want to overnight at can render a lot of possibilities.
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:43 PM   #11
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We have overnighted in Walmarts, sever times on our way down and back from Florida. I have a 3100 watt inverter generator that I run all night to power my Res Fridge and my CPAP machine. Typically I chain it to the truck tow hitch under the front of the 5ver, but since I have an 8ft bed, I am thinking I will leave it in the back of the truck and run it from there. I can get 8 hours of power on a tank of gas.

Never had a problem at Walmart, but we only open our slides enoug to move around
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:08 PM   #12
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I have a quick question.
If we overnight in a parking lot and are using the 12v for the furnace should I disconnect the 7 pin power cord from the TV? Just had a brain f**t and was wondering if the furnace will drain the TV battery. ......... I'd hate to try to get underway in the morning and have a dead battery.
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:16 PM   #13
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Like you, we can't do much with our slide in. I can get to the bathroom and that's it. So for a quick potty break we don't extend it. But even for just a lunch break it has to go out about a foot. For an overnight, we put it out. I've never had a problem at Walmart. I have usually been able to get my slide out over a curb. But if that's not doable, I just try to be out of the way.
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:40 PM   #14
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should I disconnect the 7 pin power cord from the TV?
No need to since you have a Ford F150 which has all the trailer connections via relays controlled by the ignition. Expedition works the same way as did the old (and maybe new) Explorers. I have no idea how the lesser vehicles handle this but know at least some don't cut the power (or didn't).

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Old 11-27-2018, 07:03 PM   #15
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Just out of respect we always ask, even at Walmart as some do have special requests as where they want you to park etc. Always be respectful, clean up after yourself. park out of the way, preferably with slides facing out where they are out of the way.


We generally pull in and wait until early evening to put out slides etc. One thing I have seen and think is very rude is to set up with fellow traveller or several and circle the wagons so to speak and set out slides, awnings, lawn chairs and portable fire pits. Keep a low profile and don't spoil it for others.

Once stopped at a large superstore that allowed rigs in parking lot, they even had a sani-dump, we asked and they said it was fine, they requested where they wanted us to park etc. Later that day four rigs did exactly as I mentioned above and took up a huge area. On our return trip two months later there were signs up prohibiting overnight parking. We went in and did some shopping and were told the store just got tired of cleaning up after the overnighters. Take your garbage with you or at least walk it over to the dumpster.
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Old 11-27-2018, 07:08 PM   #16
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Overnighting in non-campground

Thanks to all who responded. We try not to drive more than 300 miles each day but wondered about trying NOT to reserve spots and save a couple $$ by overnighting on the road. Y’all are the best!
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:40 AM   #17
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It's just really sad that a few bad apples ruin it for the rest of us. I think that people have lost their common sense
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:46 AM   #18
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For my camper, slides out is a must. There is absolutely no room to do anything inside with them closed. I always call ahead to to find out if overnight parking is allowed and , if so where in the lot is it permitted. I always try to park so my slides do not open towards traffic. I will also lower my stabilizers and my tongue jack just enough to take the weight off my tow vehicle.
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:42 AM   #19
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Thanks to all who responded. We try not to drive more than 300 miles each day but wondered about trying NOT to reserve spots and save a couple $$ by overnighting on the road. Y’all are the best!
Last January we travelled from British Columbia Canada through Washington, Oregon, Nevada all the way down to Yuma. We took a few weeks to do this before settling in Yuma area for a month. While on the road we rarely booked ahead and if we did it was usually just that day or the day before. Casinos always seem to cater to RVs, even to the point of offering shuttle service. Between casinos, Walmarts, a few truck stops, and gas station parking lots we only stayed a few nights in campsites. Many towns have sani dump stations. I will admit destination spots are getting harder to get into and we are starting to book ahead on those.

It is a learning curve for sure, you only have to park next to a semi with a reefer unit once. Some of your best source's of info are the people camped near you, very friendly sort for the most part. We camped at an empty Shell gas station parking lot in Ely Nevada, with their permission, only to have it fill up with trucks around nine o'clock. Next morning while fueling up I got talking to a fellow traveller and they had a great nights sleep right downtown in a casino parking lot. Lots of info out there, don't be afraid to ask. Use your cell phone or tablet to source out info.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:25 PM   #20
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It is a learning curve for sure, you only have to park next to a semi with a reefer unit once.
Heh, we got parked at a Walmart around 11:30pm one night. I know when I woke up at 2:30 that the reefer truck was beside of us. Don’t know when he got there but I then woke up off and on until 7am or so when he finally disappeared. It was sooooo loud!
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