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Old 02-11-2013, 01:35 AM   #1
g1g
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Default Any suggestions

Just checking out Mt Rushmore/badlands/deadwood general area for a possible trip. I see there is no walmart parking in the area and that may be all stores. Does anyone know any good boondocking locations in the area. Looking for anyplace I can park it for the night be it boondocks or parking lot wherever it is safe. I would like to boondock for a night or two then campground for a night or two. I can look up campgrounds but if anyone knows any cheap nice ones that can take me in without reservation let me know.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:52 AM   #2
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There are a lot of National Forest campgrounds in the area that are inexpensive. Most all are dry camping but you get a fairly level site, a fire ring, a picnic table and a nearby well maintained vault toilet. With our Golden Pass we pay less than $10 per night at most of them.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Any suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by g1g
Just checking out Mt Rushmore/badlands/deadwood general area for a possible trip. I see there is no walmart parking in the area and that may be all stores. Does anyone know any good boondocking locations in the area. Looking for anyplace I can park it for the night be it boondocks or parking lot wherever it is safe. I would like to boondock for a night or two then campground for a night or two. I can look up campgrounds but if anyone knows any cheap nice ones that can take me in without reservation let me know.
We boondocked at the Walmart In Spearfish, SD in September 2010, on a Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Sturgis, and points west/south tour, without any issues. IIRC there's a gas station with a cafe, a small convenience and liquor store just down the street from it, if you're looking for coffee (or whiskey ) in the morning. Not guaranteed, though, with my memory. The Walmart is maybe 12 miles north and west of Deadwood, on I-90 just before the main town of Spearfish. I'll guess and say it's at exit 14? I'd guess it's visible from the interstate, but again, not sure. We probably found it by GPS late in the day.
I think the cafe was called Fresh Start Convenience, from Google Maps.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:19 PM   #4
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When we were there a couple of years ago, they were camping at the Walmart in Rapid City. It was chaos, however.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:42 PM   #5
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When we were there a couple of years ago, they were camping at the Walmart in Rapid City. It was chaos, however.
Chaos in what regard?

We stayed at a Walmart in Edmonton, Alberta and the night we stayed there I counted a total of 22 RVs.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by booster
When we were there a couple of years ago, they were camping at the Walmart in Rapid City. It was chaos, however.
Chaos in what regard?

We stayed at a Walmart in Edmonton, Alberta and the night we stayed there I counted a total of 22 RVs.
The RV's were clustered in part of a quite small parking lot, very close together, chairs out, etc. There were RVs coming in and out through the very tight clearances, holding up all the other traffic in the lot. Kids running all over. We got our shopping done and were out of there as quick as we could.
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:08 PM   #7
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When we were there a couple of years ago, they were camping at the Walmart in Rapid City. It was chaos, however.
You should have seen the Walmart in Missoula, MT, then. Talk about chaos. I took some pics of the evening sky across the Walmart parking lot there. You can only see the early campers, the place was full of every kind, and combo, of traveling vehicles when we woke up the next morning. There was one other Roadtrek besides ours, but they just parked, and stayed inside after dark, so we never met them. Late model Chev, possibly a 210, gold or champagne trim and paint, and with a satellite bubble on top. Nice looking rig.


We witnessed a nasty car crash and rollover on the interstate just shy of Missoula on that same trip. It happened right in front of us (maybe 20 yards or so) just before we stopped for the night, near a place called Turah. The driver survived with minor injuries. I noticed him pass us normally, and a few minutes later, he just hit the median ditch in a shower of dust and car parts.
http://www.kpax.com/news/man-survives-i ... ear-turah/

It was the second automotive mishap we witnessed on that trip.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by booster
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Originally Posted by Davydd
Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
When we were there a couple of years ago, they were camping at the Walmart in Rapid City. It was chaos, however.
Chaos in what regard?

We stayed at a Walmart in Edmonton, Alberta and the night we stayed there I counted a total of 22 RVs.
The RV's were clustered in part of a quite small parking lot, very close together, chairs out, etc. There were RVs coming in and out through the very tight clearances, holding up all the other traffic in the lot. Kids running all over. We got our shopping done and were out of there as quick as we could.
Are you sure you weren't in Quebec?
That's the norm there.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:15 AM   #9
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O.K. so everyone here is talking about the RV mahem at the Walmarts. We are new to this (at least I am) and don't know about such things. One of the destinations I would like to travel to is the area discussed here--Mt. Rushmore & surroundings.

The question is: what are the policies at Walmarts? Can you only be there certain hours? Anytime. Is there a "code" people follow?

Just wondering about such things since our rig is due in about 6 days.

...........Rocky
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rok
...........The question is: what are the policies at Walmarts? Can you only be there certain hours? Anytime. Is there a "code" people follow?..........
I haven't done it either Rocky but plan to so I'm interested to hear what other say.

The Rand McNally GPS we bought has Walmarts that allow overnight parking listed and tells you to notify the store manager that you will be overnighting there. My take on it is to park in the area they tell you to and don't set up "camp". Just use it as an overnight rest stop as intended and buy something in store (if you need something) to show your appreciation.

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Old 02-23-2013, 01:52 PM   #11
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OK, I'll give it a try.
Most dry or dispersed camping ("boondocking") is loosely defined as stopping somewhere where there usually aren't any fees, but there aren't any hookups either (shore power/fresh water/sewer/cable TV/wifi) like those you'd find at commercial campgrounds like KOA, etc.. Commercial campgrounds charge for those amenities, which are included in the price per site, per day/night. It can be anywhere from around $20, to sky's the limit for these "luxuries". Dry or dispersed is usually free, or may require some sort of pass like the NPS "America the Beautiful" annual pass to gain access to the facility's dispersed camping areas.
However, many people prefer less expensive camping options (me included), including, but not limited to, much less expensive places managed by the NPS, BLM, NFS, LTVA, ACE, etc. which typically charge a much lower fee (can be as low as $5 to $10 per site per night) for "rustic" or "primitive", but they have fewer amenities (usually just some form of toilets or bathrooms, and sometimes pay per use shower and laundry facilities) but no direct hookups. Some commercial campgrounds have cheaper "tent" sites that might have no hookups, but there may be group showers/bathrooms available, which are included in the lower price per stay.
Then there are the free places. These can include freeway rest areas, almost all truck stops, visitor centers, some casinos, turnpike service centers, and any other place where you can legally park overnight, without getting ticketed or asked to "move on". Many people stay overnight in parking lots at shopping malls, and one of the favorites for traveling campers is Walmart. In my experience over 4 years, Walmarts generally aren't bothered, if you join a group of other boondockers, don't treat the parking lot like a pay per use campground (no slides out, stabilizers down, or BBQ, or other camping gear outside), and want to get some rest. They know that the average boondocker will need supplies, and will shop in their stores as a means of "paying" for the privilege of parking there overnight.
Recently, I've read/heard that some Walmarts are changing their attitudes because of the stupidity of some people who are treating their parking lots like a commercial campground, and causing damage to the pavement by lowering leveling jacks, leaving garbage, and even dumping their tanks in some cases. There have also been complaints from some local shoppers of problems with boondockers, but I don't know any specifics.
So, be a good camper/customer and they usually won't be bothered if you sleep in their parking lot overnight. Be a bad camper/customer, and you'll help to ruin it for everyone else that likes the convenience of finding a Walmart late in the day, or when the commercial places are full or closed up for the night, or when you just want a place to get a few hours rest before continuing your journey.

Just google "boondocking" or "dry camping" or "dispersed camping" and you'll get many hits that may explain it all better than I just did. There are also some websites that "sell" information via subscriptions or actually send you a book of boondock or free camping locations, but it's such a volatile equation, you're probably better off spending the money on a pay per use campsite, if you're not sure about the boondocking situation wherever you happen to be.
One more thing. Walmarts usually are part of a mall, and sometimes their direct neighbors post "no overnight parking/camping" signs on their own properties adjacent to the Walmart parking surface. The Walmart may not object to overnighters, so if you're not sure which parking area is "prohibited", ask the Walmart store manager. I've been confused a few times myself, and they'll usually tell you what area you can park in.
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rok
...........The question is: what are the policies at Walmarts? Can you only be there certain hours? Anytime. Is there a "code" people follow?..........
I haven't done it either Rocky but plan to so I'm interested to hear what other say.

The Rand McNally GPS we bought has Walmarts that allow overnight parking listed and tells you to notify the store manager that you will be overnighting there. My take on it is to park in the area they tell you to and don't set up "camp". Just use it as an overnight rest stop as intended and buy something in store (if you need something) to show your appreciation.

Rand McNally GPS
I see you beat me to the boondock punch. I agree with everything you've suggested.
BTW, if you're ever heading south on the interstate (I-95 in particular) there are some service centers along the toll portions between ME, and the DC area that are good for over night stops. Coffee at them wasn't that good, but there's almost always a Starbucks with in a few miles.
I should change my handle to "Boondock Mike".
Do you think there'd be any interest or use in starting a "Boondocking" Info sub category on the forum, so newbies could get a feel for how it works, and info on the do's and don'ts??
Might be fun for some of us to relate our stories about our travels and misadventures in a way that might even be educational?
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:37 AM   #13
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Default Re: Any suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rok
O.K. so everyone here is talking about the RV mahem at the Walmarts. We are new to this (at least I am) and don't know about such things. One of the destinations I would like to travel to is the area discussed here--Mt. Rushmore & surroundings.

The question is: what are the policies at Walmarts? Can you only be there certain hours? Anytime. Is there a "code" people follow?

Just wondering about such things since our rig is due in about 6 days.

...........Rocky
I'm checking my ALL-STAYS app on the iPhone now and there appears to be two Walmart stores in the Rapid City area that allow parking. Not sure how far they are from your destination. One is definitely much further south than the other ... on Route or near a Route 16 it looks like. There is also one near Spearfish, SD. There are signs posted in some areas but according to the manager they are just for the truck route area for the trucks going to Walmart. Otherwise it is OK.

Rocky ... if you have a smartphone there is a FREE ALL-STAYS Walmart app that will show you the locations of all Walmart stores in North America. Tells you if there is or is not parking permitted. I have the ALL-STAYS Camp & RV app. Tell me that and more ... Flying J/Pilot, Lowe's, Home Depot, Cracker Barrel and much many more locations ... including campgrounds and State and National Parks etc. Think it was $9.99 with free updates. Well with the price ... at least for me.

I also believe you can go online and check the ALL-STAYS web site for similar information.

Another site you might want to check is BOONDOCKERS WELCOME. There are currently over 700 FREE parking location here. They currently charge about $24.00 a year for membership ... but again if you are into travel and boondocking it is well worth it. I belong and have used it several times so far.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:33 AM   #14
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Hi Karsty,

Didn't know you were on this forum, too. (I've seen your posts elsewhere.) How's your Winnie ERA doing? Last I heard, you were trying to get your maserator to work.

Thanks for the tips on the smartphone apps. I don't have a smart phone, but my wife does when she hasn't drained the battery.

We just finished our maiden voyage in our GW Legend SE (I'll make posts on other threads in this forum.) One of the things on the top of our lists is NEW smart phones with a decent carrier (Sprint and AT&T didn't cut it on the trip, but I've been told that I might have to do some sort of upgrade on my Sprint phone). Anyway, once we do all that, I'll have a smart phone, too. --and my wife will have a cell phone that doen't lose 1/2 its power after one hour. We'll probably also get an I-pad or something similar and a Usb modem for the computer. We didn't have much reception on the entire trip of 17 days, and a lot of the RV Parks that said they had Wi-Fi only had it in spots.

Once we get new phones, I'll start loading up the apps for Class B'ing around the country.

Thanks for the comments.

...........Rocky

P.S.: We now know what the Wal-Mart experience is because we spent the last night of our trip in a Wal-Mart parking lot in northern Oregon.
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