Walmart parking in the dead of winter

There is an RV parked at my local Walmart and I love it. It’s not mine – we are still waiting to make our purchase – but I love to drive by it and look at it, while respecting the occupants’ privacy, of course.

It’s an A class, and not a recent model. No sliders. It has probably seen a great many years and a great many miles, and it has been occupying a corner of the Walmart lot for a couple of weeks now.

The reason for my attraction for this lonely RV is twofold.

The first is that it is currently the dead of winter here in Canada (January 2015). The nighttime temperature dips down to below-zero F some nights. For most people, this is not the ideal time to be boondocking. Yet there they are. Their generator runs quietly and constantly, and I imagine whoever is inside is nestled under layers of wall and floor insulation in the form of blankets and whatever else. Their presence gives me confidence. It shows me that avid RVers can indeed camp through any weather, and even though we all strive for the idealized campsites that appear on RV magazines and websites, it is also possible to tough it out through the darkest of winter days.

The second reason for my attraction is that it has been there now for quite a few days. It is my understanding that most big-box stores like Walmart are generally OK with allowing a rig to park overnight, but that there is little tolerance for long stays or for people who set up their sliders and their generators. I actually agree with this short-term policy. After all, a store parking lot is private property which costs money to maintain and insure. I feel it is a fair trade to allow a well-behaved RV to park overnight in exchange for some in-store purchases. I feel also that too many RVers have taken advantage of store managers’ good nature, and have ruined the experience, thus inciting many store owners to decree a total ban on all overnightdry-camping. Once again a few bad apples ruining the barrel.

To see this RV actually stay for a number of days shows me there is always hope, always the possibility of finding safe harbor while on the road.

I am not going to post a picture of the RV in case somehow this blog gets back to someone who takes offense to the concept of this rig’s extended stay and evicts them. I am sure they will be gone pretty soon anyway.

But as I sit through this winter, desperately waiting for the funds to appear in order to make the final payment for our own wheels, hungry to set out on the open road, rig sightings are few and far between. So to be able to observe one, thriving in the forbidding Canadian climate, helps me feel just a little closer to our goal.


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