Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Wal Mart Experience

Did you know that you can spend the night in a Wal Mart parking lot? They are very hospitable to RVs and in return they expect you to be responsible and a good guest - quiet and respectful. You should ask a manager's permission and they will also tell you where to park.
All this having been said, it is still another world. Our first experience was in Massachusetts. After buying some stuff that we'd forgotten, including the extra toilet paper, we got back into the car to drive to the area which was alright for overnight parking. Do I admit that I made Shawn circle the spot at least 6 or 7 times, trying to perfect the exact spot where we should spend our first night sleeping in the little trailer? We finally parked under a big light, kept the long, heavy flashlight (we forgot to bring the base ball bat) at the ready, locked the door and hoped for the best. Even in this public spotlight, we managed to drink a margarita, cook a hot meal, listen to some music on the ipod and have a decent night's sleep.
Night #2 was spent at a lovely campground in Ohio. Yea! We were finally out of New England and on to the west!
Night #3 was not our best. It rained all day and that's OK except we missed our route and didn't end up skirting Chicago as we'd hoped. We spent about 2 hours getting through Chicago in heavy evening commuter traffic. At this point, I still hadn't had a chance to publish any blogs as we couldn't get a strong enough internet connection. Because of the rain, missed route, and traffic delay, we decided to drive late and stay the night at another Wal Mart. We stopped at a travel station to use the rest area and get a bite to eat and voila a wireless connection. So I posted.
I wish the Wal Mart Experience later that evening would have been as fast and easy as my posting turned out be. The first time we got off the interstate we couldn't find the Wal Mart that was supposed to be there. Our GPS kept saying "You have reached your destination." "No, this is a Hobby Lobby and a Pet Store". Where was the Wal Mart?" we asked each other. Back on the highway and there it is! On the other side and we'd passed the exit. The next one was about 15 minutes away. OK, that's not so bad. We were tired but not exhausted.
In the next Wal Mart we were told that they didn't mind if we overnighted but the city police might ticket us. We moved on.
The next Wal Mart was 45 minutes away. OK, we can do it. Yes, we can and we did. We set up camp and crawled into bed. Safety in numbers and there were 4 or 5 RVs in the parking lot. At 3:00 a.m. Shawn woke me up because he'd heard something he didn't like, so armed with the heavy flashlight and me at the door with my phone ready to dial 911, he went outside to see what he'd heard. A young guy on his way to stock the Wal Mart shelves was parking his car and had loud music playing. We were safe and ready to climb back into our warm nest. That's our Wisconsin experience. On to South Dakota!

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