I got an e-mail yesterday from a reader who asked why anyone would consider spending a night at a WalMart, truck stop, or highway rest area when there are so many campgrounds around the country. She asked if the RVers who do this are all cheapskates, or it there is ever a legitimate reason to do so.
In our many years traveling around the country in an RV, we have spent a lot of nights at the places she asked about. And yes, I have been called a cheapskate on occasion, though I prefer the term frugal. If we are on the road going from point A to point B and only want to stop and sleep for a few hours, I see no reason to go into an RV park and spend $25 or more when I have a self-contained motorhome. I’m not going to use the swimming pool or activity center or any of the other amenities of the campground, I can produce my own electricity, I have water on board, and holding tanks. So what do I need an RV park for?
Now, that’s when we are on the road going someplace. I do know RVers who spend more nights in truck stops and WalMarts and places like that than they ever do campgrounds. In fact, they brag about it. A few years ago we had a fellow who told us that he had been on the road for a full year and not once had he been in a campground. Every night was spent blacktop boondocking somewhere. His wife also told us that she was ready to get on a plane and fly back to where they came from because she did not become a fulltime RVer to spend her nights living in a parking lot. That guy was not frugal, he was a cheapskate.
There is also the convenience factor. If you don’t have to get off the highway and find a campground, stop at the office and register, pull into a site, and hook up, you save a lot of time. And sometimes bad weather, traffic delays, mechanical issues, or whatever may throw our schedule off and we don’t get to where we planned to be for the night. In that case, we just find a safe place where we can park, with permission, and go on down the road the next morning.
Do I prefer the comforts of a campground? At one time we spent over seven months straight dry camping on a friend’s land, not hooked up to campground utilities. Our MCI bus conversion was set up for dry camping and it was no problem at all. That was then and this is now, and given the choice, yes, we prefer the comforts of a campground. There’s a lot to be said for full hookups. But to each their own, and we know a lot of people who really enjoy boondocking, whether it’s out in the middle of the desert somewhere in Arizona, or in a parking lot for a quick overnight stay. To each their own.
Yesterday Terry finished proofing my new Big Lake mystery novel and I made the corrections she suggested. With that done, now my cousin Beverly will go over it a second time. Things are moving right along and it will be out in just a few days.
A while back in my Author’s Newsletter I invited readers to send me a short description of themselves and I would pick one to become a character in my new book. Julie Berquist said she always wanted to be a cop, so I included FBI Special Agent Julie Berquist, who heads up a special team sent to Big Lake to help find a small child that has been abducted.
If you would like to be on my newsletter mailing list, send me your e-mail address at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll include you. It comes out about once a month and includes information on my writing activities, special offers, and a short story by one of my author friends.
Congratulations Phyllis Frey, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Sentinel In Elysium, the first book in my buddy George Weir’s excellent Elysium Chronicles mystery series set in a small Texas town. We had 93 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.
Thought For The Day – We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom.