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RV Civil Disobedience in the Parking Lot

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signI’m poking around Ontario along the eastern shore of Lake Huron, doing day stays in provincial parks and sleeping in Walmarts. No problemo down in Goderich – we spent Thursday on the beach, seeing maybe ten people total all day, and enjoying the cool fresh breeze with that deep water smell coming off the lake. That night, we drove the ten miles back to Goderich, slept in the Wal-Mart where we had stayed last year, shopped, bought gas, and headed north.

We went all the way to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, where Lake Huron and Georgian Bay meet. Beautiful scenery all the way up there, but not many places you can hang out on the water without doing business with the commercial interests. As the sun went down, we headed back south, and made it as far as Port Elgin, where we had spotted a Wal-Mart on the way up.

Just because we're engaged in a political struggle, we don't have to skimp on creature comforts. The spring asparagus is in. I hope that's enough Hollandaise.

Just because we’re engaged in a political struggle, we don’t have to skimp on creature comforts. The spring asparagus is in. I hope that’s enough Hollandaise.

Checking in, we notice the “No Parking 2-7 AM” signs, and a quick chat with the manager on duty revealed that, although he had no problem with letting us stay, there was a municipal ordinance against parking overnight, even on private property.  What is going on here isn’t a crime wave by marauding RVers requiring towns to pass protective legislation, it’s a power play by the RV park owners. As part of a national RV park owners association initiative, draft legislation prohibiting overnight parking on private property is being circulated, lobbied for, and passed by increasing numbers of municipalities. Its purpose, although the park owners won’t admit it, is to make them more money by forcing people to patronize their businesses.  Boy, that gets me mad.

The issue isn't whether there's enough space in the lot. It's all about the Benjamins.

The issue isn’t whether there’s enough space in the lot. It’s all about the Benjamins.

I’m a good neighbor – I shop in towns I stay in, buy gas and groceries, and visit the local parks and other attractions. I just don’t need to stay in overpriced commercial RV parks with 12 channels on their “cable”, weak WiFi, dumpy bathrooms, rusty well water, and crowded lots full of ill-behaved children. I bought a self-contained RV, a Roadtrek 190 Popular, for a big chunk of change, and spent another $10,000 making it even more self-contained with solar panels, TV and internet dishes, and so forth.  All I need is a reasonably level place to park and I’m good for the night, with many more TV channels and better internet connectivity than I would get in most RV parks.

Wal-Mart corporate policy is that anyone, truck or RV, can spend a night in their parking lot with permission.  They don’t have a problem with it, as long as people arrive late, leave early, park out of the way, and don’t litter or spread out with slideouts, awnings, lawn furniture, etc., like they’re homesteading the place.  Many other businesses, like Cracker Barrel, Canadian Tire, and Sam’s Club, have a similar policy. The businesses don’t have a problem with it, and I go in and ask each and every time I stay anywhere just to make sure. The RV park owners are the ones with the problem.

Many of these ordinances are sporadically enforced – one case in point is Deland, FL. I’ve stayed at that Wal-Mart several times, despite the local ordinance. I check with the manager each time, and they tell me that, although they can’t give me permission because of the ordinance, neither they nor their company has a problem with me staying. So there I am, in the far corner of the lot, curtains drawn, TV dish up, obviously overnighting, and the cops drive by. I wave. They wave back, check the rest of the lot, and drive off. They have their hands full with  real duties protecting the citizens, and aren’t enthusiastic about wasting their valuable time rousting law-abiding citizens just to make the RV park owners more money.

By thevdawn's early light, we're still standing - or at least we didn't get rousted.

By the dawn’s early light, we’re still standing – or at least we didn’t get busted. Power to the people!

This little bit of civil disobedience in Port Elgin ended in a victory for the forces of freedom and justice – we didn’t get rousted. Even if I had gotten a citation, I’d rather have my money go to the city, who needs it, instead of those dissembling, grasping RV park owners. I make it a point never to spend a dime on RV parks in towns with such ordinances. I don’t like getting pushed around.


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  • Larsen Askeland

    I’ve stayed there myself under the same circumstances. Didn’t have any problems either. In fact I stayed at the Walmart in Niagara Falls, Ontario last night when I noticed the ALLSTAYS app noted a change from PARKING to NO PARKING. I spoke to management who cited similar concerns by local campgrounds in the area. Last night there were two of us. Bottom line … Walmart in Niagara Falls, Ontario welcomes RVers.

  • Dave Miller

    I had the same problem in Wisconsin Dells several years ago. The local cop that I talked with said that it was driven by both the local campgrounds and the motel owners. This was at Easter and there wasn’t a campground open in the whole area. If you ever get to Duluth, MN I know a great spot. Bigfoot Dave

  • http://www.mountainairervpark.com Val Brochner

    HI, Greedy private park owner here, grubbing for your money again. Why do you feel that you need to make your living by disparaging others ? Do you not have any “real issues” to write about? Private RV park owners work hard, for the most part, to try and make a meager living serving a public who wants to really camp (not just hang out on a parking lot). We don’t have time to run around trying to influence city ordinances regarding people who choose parking lots over paying. To tell you the truth, we, as park owners, don’t want you, the cheap folks who don’t want to pay and only want to complain. We want families here, who want nature, clean facilities, and safety while they sleep in their RV or tent. And you can see, we’re not running around writing articles about cheap people who live on Walmart Parking lots because we are genuinely trying to make a living. Maybe your articles could be about your unit, as they claim to be, not just yet another rant, by you, knocking hard working people and their businesses you know nothing about. if you can’t find something interesting to write about you go back again to the same nonsense over and over. Shame on you! Find something useful to write about or get a job.

    • Campskunk

      well, if they would write the ordinances saying campers with families couldn’t park overnight and had to go to your park instead, that would be fine with me. the problem is they write them saying no overnight parking for RVs, period. maybe the national RV park association pushing these ordinances should revise the draft ordinances they’re circulating and lobbying for.

    • Yan Seiner

      Val:

      Living in Oregon I see both sides of the argument. We have had historically a huge problem with “RV”s homesteading for months or years in public parking lots. And I use the word “RV” loosely; many of these are old wrecks, school buses, and coversion vans with no holding tanks that dump waste directly on the ground under the vehicle. So yes, the local gendarmes need an ordinance to keep this sort of “camping” to a minimum. Fortunately the one good thing the Occupy movement did was focus attention on people homesteading in unwelcome places so that we now have non-profit run places where people can camp and live long term.

      On the other hand, there are times when I really, really don’t want to stay in a campground. Or when I show up somewhere and, unknown to me, it’s the “Paddleboat days festival” or some such and there’s not a camping spot open for miles and I’m just passing through and I’m tired and done for the day.

      The RV Park industry has been very active in pushing these ordinances through where they’re not needed, with the single purpose of driving more people to pay for private RV parks. While I appreciate the services offered by commercial RV parks, I typically only stay in one perhaps once every 5 years, and I certainly will not be forced to pay for one. I will rearrange my trip to go to places where I can do what I want, not someplace where I have to do what some industry lobbyist wants.

      I don’t have a problem with places like Sisters, OR that bans all vehicles taller than 7′ from parking in the business district. I do have a problem when an industry as a matter of policy wants to dictate what private property owners choose to do in their own private parking lots.

      • Gail Kapusnick

        Probably a good solution for the PROPERTY OWNER who is concerned about people homesteading on their property would be for them to limit parking to say, 10 or 12 hours. Then they can have people ticketed or towed if they break the rules. That’s what I would do anyway.

    • Gail K.

      Sorry Val. Lots of us who don’t care for the RV park experience don’t appreciate being forced to stay in one. I can only imagine the uproar if a town passed an ordinance saying non-residents were prohibited from sleeping in private homes, they had to stay in the local hotels. So when you go visit friends, sleeping on their couch would be forbidden, it’s the Holiday Inn or bust. Or if driveway parking was outlawed and people were required to park on the street at parking meters. It sounds ridiculous. These overnight parking ordinances sound just as ridiculous to me. If the private property owner chooses to allow me to park there that is not your business. I would say from reading posts of Facebook that 99% of the RVers can’t or won’t do without their full hookups and will stay in parks. I don’t need cable or electric. Internet would be nice but how many parks actually have usable wifi? Water and sewer? Yes, every week or two I need that but not every night. I almost *never* stay at Walmarts as I am not a big Walmart fan. I do appreciate them allowing me to park there if I need to, and if I do I give them some business. I do love Cracker Barrel as I love their breakfast. I’m a big State and National Park fan and that’s where a lot of my stays are. Your park looks nice and the rates aren’t bad. But if I stay there I want it to be by choice and not coercion.

    • http://www.OvernightRVParking.com Jim O’Briant

      I’ll go along with allowing your local city council to do YOUR job for you — that is, forcing unwilling travelers to stay there, when marketing your campground effectively is YOUR job — if you’ll agree to some conditions:

      (1) Your campground must be open 365 days a year, regardless of your geographic location, so that RV travelers in any season can stay there.

      (2) Your front office must be open and staffed 24/7/365, so that an RVer arriving at any hour of the day or night will be served by your staff.

      (3) If you advertise free Cable or Satellite TV, there must be just as many channels as an RVer can pick up through the satellite dish on his/her RV roof — OR — every campsite must have a clear view of the southern sky for satellite reception.

      (4) If you advertise free wi-fi, the signal must be as strong and as fast as the similar free wi-fi at your local McDonald’s, and this must apply in every campsite on your property, with sufficient bandwidth to accommodate every camper being on Netflix at the same time.

      (5) Every campsite in your campground must be large enough to accommodate a 44-ft motorhome with slideouts on both sides, or an equal size trailer. Also, all road and bridges leading to your campgrtound must be upgraded to accommodate the same, including a continuous program of trimming low tree branches.

      (6) Every campsite in your campground must be paved and level.

      (7) And since you’re FORCING us to stay there, every campsite in your campground must provide 20/30/50A electric hookups, water hookups and sewer hookups.

      Sounds fair to me.

      • Campskunk

        hahaha – hi jim! sounds fair to me, too ;-) for those of you who don’t know, jim o’briant runs the overnightRVparking.com website, a database of over 10,000 places to park overnight for little or no money. maybe it’s up to 11,000 by now – i don’t keep track, and it’s growing rapidly as subscribers submit updated information on places they find and stay at. i have been a subscriber for five years now, and got my money’s worth back long ago. jim has more experience than most of us do with this boneheaded effort by communities to force people to stay in the local commercial RV parks, and as you can see, he’s given the matter some thought ;-)

  • Jim Hammill

    We build roadtreks for people to hang out and to relax. I think legislation that forces people to pay when free options are available is disgraceful. And I am sure there are people that disagree, and they have their rights. The campground owner argues to councils that they offer a tourist destination and bring in cash to the community. So does the Roadtrek boondocker he brings the same cash to the community and only wants the freedom to NOT pay the campground owner. I can buy milk where I want, but I just camp and pay the guy the town says I will? BS. I say never camp in campgrounds that are in towns that have these ordinances. Boycott them. Roadtreking is about freedom. It’s not about concrete pads with plugs beside them.

    • http://www.OvernightRVParking.com Jim O’Briant

      I’ll take it one step further. I try to never spend a penny on ANYTHING in any city or town that has one of these Anti-RV “No Overnight RV Parking” ordinances. I’ll drive another hour to a community that wants me and wants my money.

      Jim O’Briant
      CEO & Administrator
      http://www.OvernightRVParking.com

      • Gouny

        That is great and I would go a little bit further and print small cards with the following message “I would have spent money at your location (store, service station etc.) but your regulations to prohibit overnight parking have forced me to go somewhere else” and leave these everywhere you would have stopped. A little work but possibly a big gain. And you could go a little further by saying that you will inform all other travellers you know or meet and tell them to avoid that community.
        Nothing aggressive just making an INFORMED choice.

  • Jim Hammill

    We should organize a huge Roadtrek protest at a walmart:):)

    • Campskunk

      that sounds like work – remember, i’m a shiftless sort ;-)

  • Louis Goldman

    I’ve run into the same problem on both the southwest coast of Florida (Sarasota) and the coast of California just above Santa Barbara.

    • http://www.OvernightRVParking.com Jim O’Briant

      You’ll run into the same problem at nearly every tourist destination area in the USA — as well as in some areas that consider themselves “destinations.”

    • Campskunk

      decent overnighting spots in south FL and CA, as well as most urban areas, are hard to come by. it’s supply and demand – some boneheads have parked up a place to the point where the store owner has to ban overnighting. fortunately for me, i flee urban areas like the plague, so i seldom have a problem. there are some gems, though – the rest area at the north end of the golden gate bridge is a wonderful overnight spot.

  • Mike Wendland

    Then there are those massive campground “resorts” that don’t allow Class B RVs because they think we bring down the value of their Class A “neighborhood.”

    • Yan Seiner

      So true. Some time ago I took my daughter to a triathlon. We made a reservation at an RV park; they called back and let us know that they cancelled our reservation because our “unit” did not meet their standards. So we stayed in a parking lot, which, as it turned out, was closer and more convenient to the start line.

      Should we be forced to subsidize an industry that doesn’t want us? Why?

    • Gail Kapusnick

      OMG the first time I saw a park with the class A only rule I about died. And let’s not forget the age discrimination rule that is *very* prevalent, that if your rig is over 10 years old you’re not welcome. Someone just posted on FB that they saw one with a 5 year rule. Unreal. I never dreamed the whole RV scene would be so class-conscious. It’s a bit disappointing.

      (PS I like this new CAPTCHA….much better than those horrible squiggle ones)

      • Campskunk

        i just googled around – a nine year old Class A sells for 35-40k, and diesel pushers are 50-60kish. a new Roadtrek can cost two or three times that. so which one gets kicked out of the park for being “not classy enough”? the Roadtrek. it makes no sense.

        by the way, a nine year old Roadtrek sells for around 35-40k, same as a nine year old Class A. where did all the Class A owner’s money go? down the drain, with even more going into the fuel tank, that’s where ;-)

      • http://duess.com Andreas

        Every time we come across the 10 year rule, our 1984 Airstream International miraculously and instantly turns into a 2008 Anniversary model. ;)

        Not that we care one bit about staying at these kinds of places in the first place. Last weekend we were invited to spend the night for free on a fairground in a small town in Ontario, underneath trees, by a river. It was beautiful

  • Jim Hammill

    Campground owners should have to compete for business, they should not get forced business, that is a monopoly and against all free society principles.

  • NoneOfYourBusiness

    Mike Wendland your Class B’s are tacky and we indeed don’t want them in our campgrounds! Go stay at Wal-Marts. Be parasites. Maybe someday you’ll grow up and get a real motorhome. But until then, you and your little camper van and your freeloading pals just make me laugh. You shouldn’t even be in the FMCA! I am done with this blog!

    • Campskunk

      hmmm… this isn’t the first time i’ve heard disparaging remarks about class Bs coming from certain sources. http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/2014/01/07/campers-converge-on-valley-for-motor-home-rally-/4368241/

    • Karsten Askeland

      And we are glad that you are … Since you obviously have nothing positive or constructive to offer to the discussion. Many of the Class B’s you see on the road today offer the same and in some cases more amenities than the Class A’ s or other travel trailers and 5th wheels.
      PLUS … We have the added benefit of being able to travel and park most anywhere. Places only a Class A owner would dream about.

    • http://www.rentmyroadtrek.com Vicki Rittner

      “NoneOfYourBusiness” . . . you are entitled to say whatever you want, but anonymous RUDE comments only prove the small-mindedness of the author. I’d rather have a $100,000+ Class B than NO CLASS at all, like you.

    • Martha S.

      If you feel that way, why were you here in the first place? Good grief!!

    • Mary Zuschlag

      Why are you reading this blog if you think Class B’s are tacky? Don’t you have a class A blog you can make your tacky comments!

    • karl

      This is addressed to the individual who signs in as “NoneOfYourBusiness”. No need to feel threatened. Most of us enjoy Mr. Mike Wendland’s perspicuous blogs rather than your verbal diarrhea. Didn’t anyone teach you that a personal attack is the weakest form of argument. Tut, tut. As far as Roadtreks are concerned, you really should consider visiting your optometrist at the earliest opportunity.

    • Donna

      ‘’freeloader’’? I prefer to think of myself as intelligent, practical and green. My Roadtrek gets double or more the gas mileage of a class A ….aka ‘’diesel hog’’.

  • nd fan1

    Skunk — You’re not shiftless. You’re retired!

    It’s a free country! No one should be forced to buy an overnight spot in an RV park any more than they should be forced to buy anything they don’t want or need. We make hundreds of choices every week about what we will and will not buy, based on many different reasons. Those of us who don’t buy things we don’t want or need are the ones who save money and end up having the money to travel and see the country or whatever else we really want to do! Others may be envious!

  • Karsten Askeland

    Dear “Greedy Campground Owner”

    I agree that everyone should be able to make a living. No problem with that. What I do object to however is paying as much as $60 a night to park my completely self contained Type B motorhome in a campground that offers and is charging me for services I don’t need or want.

    I am a traveller … Not a camper. I don’t sit in front of a campfire roasting mash mellows … Not that there is anything wrong with that. All I want is a place to park overnight … Grab a few Zzzzzz and then be on my way. I don’t want to listen to screaming yelling kids splashing in a pool. I don’t want to listen to obnoxious, drunk weekend warrior cursing and swearing.

    Offer me a place to park overnight in a quiet part of your campground for a reasonable fee … With no services and I will be happy.

    As a single male travelling alone I have been turned away from several campgrounds in the past becasue of “Families Only” signs.

    Keep the campgrounds for families … Please leave me my little space at Walmart or wherever I choice to park for the night … Always with permission and respecting the owners property.

    A Happy Type B motothome traveller. :)

  • Gary Hood

    Interesting subject. While i can see people wanting to stay somewhere for free if they are traveling, there are other considerations. If everyone were to flaunt bylaws (&/or laws), it would end up being chaos & bring us back to the wild & wooly west! If one doesn’t like a particular bylaw, then the way to change it is through the democratic process.
    Then, too, there may be other considerations. What if that particular town has had problems with vandals at night? Does it help to defeat their strategy by ignoring the bylaw? I would think that as a visitor to town (& country), one should be on ones best behavior & obey the wishes of that place.

  • http://www.rentmyroadtrek.com Vicki Rittner

    Proposed legislation to force RV’ers into campgrounds or RV parks is beneficial only to the owners of those facilities. Is that the message a community really wants to send to the traveling public?

    I love parking at Cracker Barrel restaurants. I usually arrive after they’re closed, and wake up to the smell of bacon. I **always** eat breakfast and usually do some shopping in the store. Then I’m gone by 9am.

    RV parks are usually not as conveniently located as Cracker Barrels and Walmarts, and not well lit for RV’ers pulling in late at night. Then I take my dog out for a walk, and hear dogs barking from within darkened RVs. At Cracker Barrel, I’m not bothering anyone when we go for a walk. The lots are well-lit, and I feel safe.

    I went out of my way once in New Mexico to stay at an RV park. The place was hard to find, and the area was filled with stickers; the kind that make walking a dog impossible. The advertised dump station was “not available”. Pretty sure there was some illegal drug activity going on by the kind of late night “visitors” to one of the units nearby. Not to mention the trains every 2 hours, less than 100 yards from my door. I’d drive another 1-2 hours next time to find a Cracker Barrel, and might even consider a Wal-Mart!

  • Martha S.

    Private property owners / businesses should have the right to let people park on their property. Business owners have to have a product that people want to buy. If there’s safe, free overnight parking, then the campground owners either have to work that much harder to provide a quality product that people want … or they go out of business. “Capitalism, baby! Yeah!”

  • Laura HP

    Karsten, you’re right on! Walmarts and like are perfect for “travelers” needing a quick spot to sleep before heading out in the morning. If campgrounds offered an area to meet the needs of travelers, not campers, I think they could make some extra $$, travelers could stay a few hours and be on their ways.
    This topic is certainly generating a lot of comments.

    • Campskunk

      hey, laura, you know me – oil on troubled waters…

      • Nancy

        You got that right, Camp ;)

  • Nancy

    Can’t we just all get along
    ;) :)
    ;) :)

  • Larry and Kara

    We are writing the FMCA to demand Mike Wendland be removed from his column and to revoke his membership for allowing these attacks to continue on campground owners and against Class A owners.

    • Campskunk

      that’s ironic, since the article takes exception to bullying tactics used by campground operators against RV owners…

  • Mike Wendland

    Wow. I’m with you, Nancy.

  • Teri

    There are always some that ruin for the rest of us. I have seen RV co ops restrict based on the age of the vehicle as well…nothing over 10 years old.

    I like walmarts when I stop late at night and leave early in the morning. Most RV resorts don’t really want late check-ins. I dont need to pay for extras I don’t use.

  • Mike Wendland

    Here’s why we like our free and easy style of off grid go-where-we-want camping http://digital.fmcmagazine.com/Vizion5/viewer.aspx?issueID=18&pageID=92

  • Thomas V Koehler

    My wife and I have been boondockers for several years. We do stay at commercial campgrounds, sometimes, and at national and state parks often. We also have a book which lists free and cheap sites around the country. We have stayed overnight at 18 wheeler reservations that also welcome the camper trade – free. We have stayed overnight at highway rest stops that permit overnight rest stops. We do not stay where we are unwelcome and we spend freely where we are welcome. Small town parks are often very good and cheap or free. BLM sites in cowboy country are free. As I am not a fan of Walmart it would be two-faced of me to stay there overnight, even if welcome. I did not know that Cracker Barrel allowed overnights. SWMBO loves Cracker Barrel! When traveling we bend with the wind and go with the flow, and a pox on those who do not like us.

  • Gene Renaker

    Mike,
    We are full-time road warriors driving our Sprinter Van all over the country for an Expediter. Like you discovered in Ontario, sometimes it’s quite difficult to find a place to park and sleep for eight hours—especially when it’s past midnight. Our secret? Hospital parking lots. Occasionally we have to pay, but usually they’re free. There’s always plenty of parking spaces at night, plus they’re always in a quiet zone. In the morning, we go inside and eat at their cafeteria. And their restrooms are spotless too. Crazy huh?
    Gene and Julie
    Clarkston, Michigan

    • http://duess.com Andreas

      Let me add to this, church parking lots. Always quiet, never been refused.

  • Marty

    Campskunk, I’m glad you brought this to light. My wife and I where planning on an overnighter at that particular Walmart in a couple of weeks. I used to live very close to that Walmart and I have to say that I’m very disappointed, maybe even embarrassed that the town would impose a ban on overnighting. Port elgin has always been a tourist town and a policy like that would only serve to shoot themselves in the foot. I’m now living in Stouffville, Ontario and if you should find yourselves out this way I would gladly offer you a place to park.

  • karen

    When confronted with the problem of successful lobbying by a greedy RV park owner in Chiefland FL … The ordinance was overturned by a deluge of well-written, intelligent and sensible emails and written letters to the mayor, chamber of commerce and city council. The ordinance was overturned. We can again enjoy our overnight stop on the way to our destination further south. We patronize the restaurants, fresh veggie stand and fill our diesel tank as a thank you now each time we stop. That is how you change the ordinances, one town at a time. PS the RV park in Chiefland is a filthy pit hole… The city council wrote him a letter after reversing the ordinance, suggesting he clean up his park, arrange better signage, and spent money in advertising to attract customers…(instead of pressuring RV tourists into having to patronize his park!)

    • Campskunk

      well, that’s a happy ending story, glad people took the time to get the city government to reconsider. it’s easy for these RV park owners to blow smoke about the menace of homeless people parking all over the place, hiding a bad motive behind a good one. they’ll whine and cajole and the next thing you know, an ordinance pops up.

  • David

    I’m still surprised at the disparaging comments about “families”. I don’t get it. Its not ” families” or “kids” that deserve negative connotations. Its disobedient, rude, obnoxious behavior from people in general. Maybe kids… maybe adults.

    I think what it comes down to is a “traveler” lifestyle. Some choose to be on the move; the journey being as important as the destination. My wife and I (and our three young boys) travel a lot. We love driving and seeing as much of the US as possible. Hopefully, Canada and Mexico when we have more time. With our military careers, both my wife and I are often required to travel. Our class B is THE perfect travel vehicle. And often times stopping at a campground, isn’t in our plans. We have a certain distance we want to travel, to get to a certain place. Our kids are asleep by 8-9 pm and often up around 6-7 am anyway. We like the option to pull into a Wal Mart, Cracker Barrel, rest area, Flying J, Pilot, etc… State Parks are also absolutely wonderful.

    One thing I see, that I have NOT seen any campgrounds address is a reduced fee for “over nighters”. If I’m arriving after 9pm or so and leaving 1st thing in the morning, is the same fee still appropriate? To be honest, I think most campgrounds would admit that they don’t want that type of customer anyway. Arriving late and leaving early often disturb guests.

    With that said, how many ” lost customers” are there that are staying at these free areas? I’ve never seen more than two or maybe three RVs parked at a Wal Mart and only that many on a weekend. And besides, I can’t even count the number of times where all the campground sites are completely booked up.

  • http://www.roadtrekgirl.blogspot.com Sandy

    It just amazes me that RV travelers who espouse the RV lifestyle can be so negative-the people calling for Mike’s removal from FMCA-come on folks there are far more important things to stand up for in this world. I just discovered that Good Sam Club actually has a group called the Good Sam Parking Rights Council: http://www.goodsamclub.com/parkingrights/Default.aspx
    Check it out if you want to mobilize against those who want to take away our camper’s freedom of choice. Good Sam just got me as a lifetime member after finding that council ! Campskunk great and helpful reporting as usual-Happy Trails and may the Boondocking Gods always shine upon you :)

    • Campskunk

      hey, roadtrekgirl, good to hear from you! i have been wondering about the position of the various RV associations on this- FMCA may be straddling the issue since they get advertizing from RV park owners and don’t want to offend them. it’s good to hear that the Good Sam people are actually pro-RVer. there are other anti-RV ordinances besides the ones limiting overnight parking, particularly governing where you can and can’t park your stored RV when not in use. some places won’t let you park it in front of your house, or even in your own driveway. i would love to see a copy of that RV Parking Rights Manual.

  • karen

    Awww what happened to my comment? It was here and now its gone. :(

  • karen

    Oh I see it now… Never mind!

  • Bill & Karen

    When we stay overnight at a business, be it WalMart, Cabelas, Tfruck Stop, wherever, we alsmost always buy from them while we are there. Gas, food, groceries, etc. We also always make sure our area is as clean or cleaner than when we arrived.

    If commercial campgrounds had an over night lot, maybe power available for a small fee, they would probably get the boon dockers.

  • Jeff Mundell

    I have a question where does the FMCA stand about this boondocking legislation? Are they involved in anyway standing up for us little guys? Setting on the fence is the easy way out. One of the perks of being member they advertise is how they lobby for us RVers. By the way I called the SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota we can stay in their parking lot when ever we like… You do not even have to like Spam…
    You Roadtrek guys keep making a high quality product! Build it they will come!

  • Brian

    I agree that we, town and city dwellers, should encourage roadtrekers to stay in our area parking lots (a la Wal-Mart). You bring your spending $ to us and we appreciate it.

    For those trekking in the Wasaga Beach area of Ontario, there is a Christian family campground called ToJo’s. It is across from Orr Lake (south west end). It is a quiet campground with great amenities. The rates area reasonable.

    If you’re looking for a quiet place to stop and enjoy Christian fellowship, come on by and rest for a night (or three).

  • Mark

    Very ironic that a person who earned his money working as a public servant would willing share his decision to violate laws of a public agency. So Campskunk are you okay with collecting a retirement pension check from your public service or do you perform civil disobedience by burning that check since it oppresses your free-will ;). Hypocrisy is funny.

    • Campskunk

      well, mark, if you don’t like me now, you would have really hated me in the 1960s. i grew up in the segregated south, and me and my friends broke a whole bunch of laws. we faced down the fire hoses and dogs and nightsticks, and we filled up the jails, and the world today is a freer and more just place… because we had the courage to break the law. i have no problems obeying just laws – i’m as law-abiding as they come. it’s laws like this, specifically crafted to impinge on my freedoms and coerce money out of me, that i have a problem with.

      when government does evil, it relies on intimidation and threats of sanctions to keep you in compliance with these unjust laws. they want to make it not worth your while to break them. with people like you it’s easy. you see the sign, say to yourself, “uh-oh, better not break the law”, and meekly give all your money to the smiling RV park owner for poor service that he has no incentive to improve, because he’s got you by the short hairs. but that works both ways – by opposing them, we can make it not worth their while to enforce these laws. if they think the massive bad publicity and economic boycotts coming their way are worth it, well… hey, enforce away. i’ll pay the $20 fine. or maybe i’ll not pay it and just sit in jail… that really messes with their heads.

  • Kristi

    If there was a compiled list of cities that impose this kind of ordinance, I’d make an effort to drive right past them, and then I’d send their city council a note to express my displeasure. I avoid staying in campgrounds that are family-oriented now that my kids are grown. Most of the campgrounds I’ve been to have campsites that are packed so close together, you can smell others’ food cooking and hear their t.v.’s playing (some of them have t.v.’s and refrigerators outside right under their awning). Nothing worse than falling asleep to the smell of your neighbors’ campfire smoke, waking up to loud children that aren’t being supervised, and using a community bathroom with all its foreign filth and putrid odors. Just not my style of camping at this point in life. Most of my ‘camping’ ends up being in a friend’s driveway, a destination festival, or boondocking in the woods on private or public property (oh, and maybe the occasional parking lot of a microbrewery if I’ve enjoyed enough of their product ;) – with permission, of course). This is not because I’m cheap, but because these are my destinations of choice. My class B is perfectly suited for that. I might add that the snippy comment by the FMCA enthusiast is enough to convince me not to join the FMCA !!!

  • Jim Hammill

    Sometimes the lack of a sense of humour in people is really stifling. Campskunk may in fact be a former public servant. So am I, and so are many Roadtrekers. And when we tout our “civil disobedience” like Campskunk has done, perhaps, just perhaps, we have our tongues firmly imbedded in our cheeks. We look at overregulation as one the repressive tools of “the man”, so to speak, and don’t fear joking about it, and disagreeing with it openly.

    And of course, the folks who are attacking you out of enlightened self interest (campground owners) are possibly understandable. But those who simply attack you because they have a pickle inserted firmly in their derrière are, well, repressive, selfish people. and I stand firmly against their attacks. They can disagree with thoughts and not attack the person. But to attack the person is so…..small.

    Cheers, Campskunk. You are one of my favourite guys, and I admire your free spirit, your convictions and your backbone.

  • Jim Hammill

    But you still need a haircut….

    • Campskunk

      probably a bath, too.

  • Jim Hammill

    Now that is tough in a Roadtrek….

  • Kristi

    Way to watch your water footprint campskunk …. but I know where you guys can get a free bath if you’re passing thru west mich !

  • Bob Clark

    Slightly different perspective?
    While I’m sure there are there are many instances where campground owners / associations are behind the “no parking” issue, how many of the initiatives are due to “bad” travellers taking advantage? People who leave trash out, don’t patronize the establishment, loud music, loud pickup trucks with HUGE 5th wheels … we’ve all seen them. I think MOST business owner have a hard time calling the police and “cracking down” on customers or potential customers. A no parking ordinance would give the police the OK to come onto private property to “roust” the offenders without the business getting involved.
    As in Campskunk’s case, they don’t HAVE to roust you, but they CAN if they need (want?) to. Selective enforcement? You bet! Happens all the time. Ever get a warning rather than a ticket for speeding, rolling through a stop sign, one too many, …? Police officers have the authority to act one way, but the discretion to act another based on their judgement and the circumstances. Perfect system? Of course not. Like democracy, it often sucks like a Hoover. Unfortunately, there’s nothing out there that is or ever has been better.

    Just a slightly different thought process to keep the dialogue alive! ;)

    • Campskunk

      cops are indeed selective, both about which laws they enforce, as in my anecdote about Deland, FL, and who they enforce them against. there’s something about my appearance that causes some law enforcement types to dust off the regulations book and conduct an exhaustive search to see if there’s anything they can get me on, but most are pretty laid back and reasonable.

      when they’re put in the position of applying 100% enforcement for an unjust law, they are often apologetic. it’s not, “hey, you’re violating our ordinances”, it’s “the city passed this crazy ordinance, and…”.

      • bob clark

        Campskunk! … surely you’re not suggesting that stereotyping and/or profiling continues in our enlightened day and age!
        Just get a buzz cut and wear normal clothes! Oh wait, then that would mean I have to shave, stop smoking cigars, drive a pickup, grow 4 inches and switch from Independent to Republican!! Hmmm forget I said that. :)

  • Nick

    “when government does evil, it relies on intimidation and threats of sanctions to keep you in compliance with these unjust laws.” Thanks to Campskunk for these words! Very powerful.

    Nick