Boondocking The 66

Boondocking – the adventurous activity of taking an RV where real nature lovers typically prefer to bring a tent and cook on a campfire – is nothing new, but the recent 21st Centuryisation of bringing RVing back into the suburbs is.

And this is what I’ve been doing. Not because I like to sleep in car parks but because it is free.

There are plenty of sites – Allstays.com is probably the best – that can help you. Here are some tips I’ve picked up from experience.

  • Plan – or call – ahead. You don’t want to arrive and find that your chosen site doesn’t allow overnight parking.
  • Be choosey. Most places that will let you stay overnight will be next to an interstate and the road noise will keep you awake when you don’t want to be. If a town has options look for the one that is further away from the highways.

  • Find somewhere level to park. If you can’t then make sure your head is uphill to your feet.

  • Overhead parking lot lights have their pros and cons. They give security but can light up the interior when you’re trying to sleep.

  • Be mindful of using your generator. You’ll want power at night but others around you might want peace and quiet instead. Except for truck drivers: they run their engines for hours – especially if they are pulling refrigerated trailers.

  • Restroom facilities can be used. But a small purchase at your overnight stopping point will help make it easier for the next arrival.

  • Clean up after yourself. A litter-strewn car park isn’t nice for other boodockers, customers or staff and it’s likely to cause policies to change.

  • Know where the bona fide RV-friendly campsites are. You can’t rely on the hospitality of retail America forever and every week or so you’ll need to dump your tanks and take on fresh water.

  • Remember you’re in a car park. While it’s convenient for you to stop overnight it is still a car park and shoppers aren’t going to care if they are disturbing you.

  • Don’t advertise where your stopping. If you are making your location public then turn off your tracking before you arrive. 

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