Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back to Memphis

We drove into Memphis after the sun had set – our GPS taking us down Elvis Presley Boulevard. In the lights it was all glitter and neon and we weren’t sure what we were looking at. The Man had programmed in the nearest Walmart to Elvisland and we pulled into the huge parking lot and sat in the car for a while – tired.

When we travel with our trailer we head for any Walmart we can find along our route. Not to shop – but to sleep overnight in their parking lots. Most of them allow overnight (camping) as long as you stay around the edges (of the parking lot). They know that more than likely you will be spending money in their store. If it’s not allowed – and in some places it’s against city bylaws – there are signs posted that say no overnight parking (camping). Why would we camp in a Walmart parking lot you ask? There are many reasons people do it – but the first one people say is – it’s free camping. But it’s also a safe and known place to stop overnight as you make your way to your final destination. Most of the stores are open 24hours and have groceries as well as everything you might need along the way. Of course we don’t put out the awning or the camp chairs and only once have we heard someone start up their generator (we were appalled!)

We have our routine down pat after all the trips we’ve taken with our little trailer and car. We pull into the parking lot and we look around for a spot that won’t be in anyone’s way and where we won’t be bothered by cars coming in and out. More often than not - Walmart has security traveling around their lots to ensure the safety of everyone. The yellow lights atop the vehicle can be seen circling the lot throughout the night. Only once have we been told we couldn’t camp and we were asked to leave – but that’s another story for another time.

So we sat for a while – tired – silent – and watched the lights of the security vehicle. The truck circled and circled – coming closer each time and we wondered if we were going to be asked to leave. The Man got out and went into the trailer and I sat in the car and listened to music blaring from somewhere behind us. In a few minutes The Man was back in the car and pulling out our Walmart atlas - it has the addresses of every Walmart in it as well as being an atlas. In a minute he was programming something into the GPS and starting the vehicle.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“I think we should go somewhere else. You heard the music blaring? The security guard – and this one is a woman – pulled up behind the trailer and got out of her truck and started dancing.”

I know my mouth fell open and I was of course fascinated. While The Man worked on the GPS I watched the security guard as she drove past singing and bobbing her head. Obviously she was having a great time. Obviously it wasn’t going to be a restful night for us.

In a few minutes we were on our way again and the GPS took us 20 minutes across town and into another Walmart parking lot. This one didn’t have any dancing security guards and we quickly unhooked the trailer and set up. In no time we were fast asleep and oblivious to any sounds around us.

21 comments:

Akelamalu said...

I find it fascinating that people park overnight in car parks. I can't be sure but I don't think it's allowed here. How generous Walmart are. :)

Daryl said...

A few months ago we had a camper parked across the street from our apartment bldg. I think there were people staying in it but I cant say for sure because I never saw anyone come or go from it and then it was gone.

In fact, had you post written this fascinating post, I wouldnt have remembered it was there!

Maggie May said...

I think you would be arrested over here but think it is a jolly good idea to be allowed to camp in the Walmart car park.
I wonder why the woman was so happy?

Leatherdykeuk said...

How fascinating. I love the idea of using Walmart as overnight camps. Fabulous.

Brett said...

What a great idea.

Lane said...

That's interesting Aims. Like the others have said, I don't think it's allowed here but with the huge distances you have to cover over there, it sounds very sensible of Walmart to allow it.

I wonder if that woman was celebrating something or just always like that?:-)

Mean Mom said...

Sounds like a very convenient place to park overnight, particularly if Walmarts are usually 24 hour. They're very enterprising stores!

Debra in France said...

Very sensible of the store. They then have all your business the next morning! I can't wait to hear more about Memphis. I never got to go there and have regretted it ever since.

Thank you for you offer of finding a pattern for me. I have 900grams of Jaeger Aqua DK. I am thinking of a pretty summer vest and/or a nice jumper for the summer. It is such lovely yarn I want to make some special from it. Debra x

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

Award for you over at mine.

rosiero said...

What a lovely idea and, as you say, Walmart benefit because they know you are likely to pop in to buy something. I wish that idea would catch on here. Sadly at present you would be moved on if you tried to camp in any store's car park.

bermudabluez said...

I see now why you thought of me when you wrote this aims!! We have never actually stayed in a Walmart parking lot, but the subject is discussed alot on the forums. Especially for safety reasons!! Hope you are enjoying your visit to Memphis. I'd love to go there sometime...

Mean Mom said...

Re your comment at my place - hope you and the Man are having a good day! My imagination running riot! ;0)

distracted by shiny objects said...

A dancing Walmart security guard???...you can't make that stuff up. Life just hands it to you on a little flowered dessert plate:>)lovely writing.

travelling, but not in love said...

You didn't join her? I'd have been in like flynn, throwing some shapes and cutting a veritable rug in the parking lot. You dissappoint me sometimes Aims...he he...

TSannie said...

I had no idea RV's and Walmart's were so connected! We have 2 here in Norwalk, but they are so in the middle of suburbia I don't think they'd ever be uncrowded enough for RV's. I'll have to look next time I'm there.
Love the way you write.

BT said...

I too find it odd, but can understand why people park over at Walmart. How strange was that security guard? I hate loud music played in cars. What makes these people think that everyone likes their style of music. Bonkers. And selfish.

Melanie said...

LOL There's that saying that there's "nothing stranger than folks". It did make me smile though to think of the woman dancing on duty. :-)

Alice Stroppel said...

What a great idea, I didn't know Walmart let you do that. Enjoyed the story very much.

Alice Stroppel said...

What a great idea, I didn't know Walmart let you do that. Enjoyed the story very much.

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