I mentioned last time that this article would delve into the fascinating and little known world of Wally-Docking.
Now, I didn’t coin the Wally-Docking phrase of spending the night in a Wal-Mart parking lot but I think I have popularized it. As of right now, as I write this, my family and I have spent the night in 259 unique Wal-Mart parking lots (plus lots of duplicates).
I know that to some that might sound a little “hobo-ish” but to Wally Dockers that is badge of honor.
We’ve been Wally-Docking for about 14 years, and I know others have done it long before us. I was a little hesitant when I first mentioned it to my wife who is more accustom to Hiltons than Holiday Inns. But she was willing and after a few Wal-Marts under our belt she was a firm believer in Wally-Docking.
In fact, if you were to ask her, she’d say she’d prefer to stay in a Wal-Mart parking lot than in a National Park Campground. I know you’re flabbergasted…but here’s why:
– They’re safe (not all campgrounds are)
– They’re abundant (campgrounds aren’t)
– They’re free (campgrounds can be pricey)
– They have a grocery store inside (out of OJ?)
– They’re big and easy to maneuver in and around (just try backing into a tree-lined path after dark)
– They’re surrounded by other ‘amenities’ (like…Kirspy Kreme donuts, shopping malls, and of course Goodwills)
So Wally-Docking just makes sense and they’re availability means flexible travel time. “Oh, sure we can stay and sight see…because there’s a Wal-Mart just down the road.”
Now I could probably write a book on Wally-Docking ethics and unspoken regulations but let me just throw out some bullet points:
– Not all Wal-Marts allow you to park overnight
– Get the app All Stays. It lists all the Wal-Marts in the country and notes if you can overnight there.
– You don’t have to ask…but park out of the way (like down near the Garden Center)
– Don’t use your leveling jacks (can dent the pavement)
– Don’t stay multiple days
– Stock up at the store (cheap RV toilet paper)
– Take your cart back to the cart corral
– Leave your campsite clean
Oh, there’s more to say, but you’ll just have to try it to find out all the benefits of Wally-Docking. Who knows maybe we’ll park next to each other in some out of the way Wal-Mart in Dodge City, KS.*
Until next time…swing wide and keep your eye on your tail,
*The Rand McNally Road Atlas, sold at Wal-Mart, lists all the Wal-Marts in the country.