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.