Nov 022013

I got an e-mail yesterday from my friend Brian Gore, author of such great westerns as Heart of a Man and A Matter of Honor, and the modern day westerns A Pair of Second Chances and Shadow on the Mountain. But Brian didn’t want to talk about books and publishing.

He is also an RVer and he wanted to tell me about an experience he just had at the WalMart in Los Lunas, New Mexico. Brian said he has stayed there overnight several times on his annual migrations south, and pulled in only to find new signs prohibiting overnight parking. Experienced RVers know that sometimes those signs really mean you can’t park there overnight, and other times they are just a tool a business can use to run off the occasional RV slobs who sometime show up and want to set up housekeeping for days on end.

Brian said that when he went into the store to ask, he was told he could park for 30 minutes and then he’d be towed. Who can even get their shopping done in 30 minutes?

Usually when this happens it’s because the town fathers have decided (under pressure from local campground owners) that RVers are freeloaders cheating the campgrounds out of a night’s camping fee.

This is what’s known as being penny wise and pound foolish, because Brian did exactly what I would do, he went on down the road to another town where his business is wanted. The WalMart in Los Lunas didn’t get the money he planned to spend shopping there, the restaurant where he planned to eat missed out on his business, and the town lost the taxes it would have earned on those sales.

We had a similar experience once in Flagstaff, Arizona, where we were hassled by the cops twice in one afternoon when we were passing through on our way to Kingman and stopped at Sam’s Club and a shopping center. It was mid-afternoon, and at both places the police quickly showed up to tell us we could not park overnight. I told them we were just passing through and stopped to buy some things, but the officers rudely about told us we had better be gone very soon. I wrote to Flagstaff’s mayor who replied, basically telling me that we could take our business elsewhere. We have done just that ever since whenever we could.

As RVers we have choices, and if we are not welcome in a town, there’s another one just down the highway waiting with open arms and parking lots. Go where you’re wanted.

We have had a tremendous response to this week’s free drawing for a personally autographed paperback copy of John and Kathy Huggins’ excellent book So, You Want to be a Full-Time RVer? So far, over 190 people entered and there’s still time for you to do it, too. Who knows? Maybe you could be our lucky winner!

Thought For The Day – Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  11 Responses to “Go Where You’re Wanted”

  1. Had a very similar experience in Flagstaff last year Nick. We had heard about a good used book store there named Bookmans and it is only a mile or so off I 40. We were in our 36 foot motorhome towing our Jeep and parked in the lot and went inside the store. It was midday and this is a big parking lot which served half a dozen or more stores and we were out by an edge not in anybody’s way. We were in the store an hour or so and when we came out a policeman was parked in front of our motorhome and told us we couldn’t park there overnight. I told him we were going on to the Thousand Trails in Cottonwood and leaving right then. He drove away and just then my our daughter called from Florida to give us an update on our grandson, who is overseas in the Air Force. While the wife was talking to her I went back to the head, and before I was done the cop was back pounding on the door demanding to know why we had not left yet. I was still on the pot and she was trying to tell daughter to hold on while talking to him through the screen door and keep our dog from barking all at the same time. He told her “Lady, put down the damn phone and talk to me or I’ll take you right to jail.” She hung up on daughter just as I got out of the bathroom and he told me he didn’t like being lied to. I said we had not left when we had said we were and that was lying and he could arrest us for that. Needless to say we will NEVER stop in Flagstaff Arizona again!!!!

  2. We’re sure glad we didn’t stop anywhere in Flagstaff when we were touring Northern Arizona (we stayed in a campground in Sedona). By all means, if what they want is no business with RVers, let’s give it to them.

    We were thinking that someone should put up a web page somewhere listing RV-unfriendly places, and a quick googlin’ shows that Nick Russell himself did it already, although in his .net site.

    A little more googlin’ found references to a dedicated site (then called, which apparently went belly-up, but not before collecting over 3000 entries. The good news is that those entries ended up in the POI Megafile.

    Even better would be a wiki-like page where anyone could add their own experiences… much less maintenance and much more information. Will have to think about that…


    Vall & Mo.

  3. Thanks for the information, Nick. Adding these to our avoid if possible list!

  4. I just buzz on thru Flag, nuttin’ there I can’t live without and there are plenty of fuel stops before and after, so they don’t even get that. I don’t even stop there on the motorcycle.

  5. Never understood people who can afford a big old motorhome or fiver but are too cheap to pay for a campground.

  6. We have 2 grandchildren in Flag but we either stay in Cottonwood or Williams. As for Robert, there’s a reason for everything.

  7. It’s not always about money, Robert. Many time we just need to park and sleep and go on our way the next morning without the hassle of finding a campground, usually unhooking the car and backing into a site, hooking up utilities, etc., when all we need is a place to get some rest.

  8. Sounds like Robert needs to get an RV and learn about it. For us, it’s NEVER about the money. It is all about getting on our war fast and with as little hassle as possible.
    On our long distance runs we have stopped at Walmart ‘resorts’ for that convenient quick stop/start and on our way early routine. Without fail there are others there too. The least number I have observed has been four so far in our short history of being out here FT. That is a lot of revenue that some of these small towns really need. Yup, short sighted for sure.

    But, it is never a problem to roll on down the road.

  9. I do have an RV, Wayne (or should I say Smarty Pants)! It’s a year old 40 foot Allegro diesel pusher that we bought new and spend 6-7 months a year in. But we never camp in parking lots. We go to RV parks which are safe, quiet, and where we can have full hookups. To each their own and if you like sleeping in shopping centers go for it! I just don’t understand why anybody would do that.

  10. I have come across the same in Flagstaff. I was looking for a particular solar store and to do some shopping for groceries and the grocery manager warned me about the police. He was concerned that I might get a ticket. Seems every year there are more and more unfriendly towns for RV’rs and the price of an overnight stay is going up and up. This doesn’t make for a pleasant traveling environment. I’m thinking of giving it up the rig is in the shop now getting new brakes when it comes out I may trade or sell it. It was fun and interesting while it lasted.

  11. sounds like Robert is one of those who cant tell the difference between parking and camping in an RV. As the manager of a facility whose lot is frequented by RV parkers there is a difference. Parking entails pulling in, turning off the key and staying a while. If one needs, or thinks he does, to run out slides, set down jacks, hook up to power and extend awnings, to say nothing of getting out chairs etc Then he needs to go to a campground. Overnite stays in rest areas, truck stops and parking lots who allow parking is a quick and efficient way to get some needed rest without all the bother of setting up camp for a 10 or 12 hour stay. It is not always about the money it is just a much more efficient and safe way to break up your travels. More than 1 nite in a parking lot is usually out of line.

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