Ah, the weather is finally warming up and I am spending more time in the yard--in between Christmas shopping, standing in long lines at the Post Office and visiting with some wonderful friends. Finally, I have a minute for the blog….
But this question goes hand-in-hand with "How do I find places to stay that are safe?"
I now have a variety of sources that I use to establish where I will stay at night and which locale is most likely to be the safest, quietest, least offensive to the neighbors, most convenient to where I want to be, etc.
My favorite, as anyone who has followed this blog will know, are the Cracker Barrel Restaurants. Those people are beyond accommodating. First of all their stores are always convenient to the main freeways through a town, yet are mainly set back from the noise and traffic. Many have security cameras and some even have security guards.
Additionally, every restaurant hands out a map with a list of all of their stores across the country…
And next to most of the names of the towns on the list, you will find an asterisk--*. Those are the stores that allow overnight parking in their lots. Plus they even go so far as to mark the area in their parking lot that they have set aside for RVs.
And finally, they put out an outstanding breakfast.
But I am not always in a town large enough for a Cracker Barrel, or near a freeway.
I have used hospital parking lots. I feel particularly safe there and I have several rules that I observe. During the day, I usually will scout out the exact location I will park for the night, then I drive away. I never arrive during visiting hours, I park in the midst of other parked cars, and I immediately close all the curtains and go to bed--no reading, computing, cooking or anything else to draw attention. Those things I do while sitting in a park or in some picturesque locale during the day. When bedtime approaches I get completely ready before heading to where ever I will spend the night.
The other 'free and welcome' places are Walmart's (not my favorite due to unsavory traffic after hours), Sam's Clubs, some Camping World lots, K Marts, rest stops (always check for security cameras plus many have guards at night), and just about every truck stop (usually pretty noisy from the trucks but many Love's and Flying J's provide a separate and quieter area for RVs). Those are only a few of the potential 'resting places' though they are the most reliable.
Because my rig is less conspicuous as an RV, I have parked for the night on city streets, at libraries, in shopping centers, in casino parking lots, and on BLM land (always free unless posted as 'no parking'). I have learned to no longer fear truckers--many are now couples or even single women.
I told Ron that I wanted to paint some kind of advertising sign on the RV because I see them all over the towns and often parked willy-nilly….florists, carpenters, bread trucks, etc. Ron suggested a plumbing company--they are universally needed and never questioned. (Not a bad idea, although someone might ask me to unstop a toilet.) Anyway, just a thought.
Ron installed a very good, and loud, alarm system that I set every night. It is so sensitive though, I have triggered it by just closing the refrigerator door, and Sigh Me has jumped up on the dashboard and set it off. I am sure it would wake me if anyone tried to get in the RV. And If they were to try, well I have my 'hair-trigger' wasp spray.
When I first got the stuff I emptied an entire can doing target practice--and I am a dead-on sure-shot. It won't kill anyone but it might blind them. It is always within an arm's reach of me.
And finally, I keep the vehicle keys within easy access at all times. I have only moved from a spot twice because I thought it wasn't safe enough but I have also never been bothered by anyone. And that is after over two years on the road.
I think my best protection is to keep a low profile when night comes, plan ahead (at least through the next 24 hours), rely on my resources, and know my options.
Or come park in your driveway.