Step Van RV conversion

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the second post in a series on stealth parking. If you didn’t read the first one I encourage you to go back and read it first. After my first post many of you commented that you are outraged and offended that living in a van can be illegal. I replied that I am not offended, and in fact I am sympathetic toward the laws. I know lots of people don’t read the comments and I think this is important enough that I am going to repeat my answer here so everyone can understand my thinking:

I am sympathetic to the laws against vandwelling. I am not a fan of cities, but once we decided to live in cities, we had to agree to some common rules or we would all die!! One of the most important rules is where are we going to get water, poop, pee and put our trash. What are we going to do with things that die? We all have to do it the right way, or we all die together of some pretty awful diseases. If you poop in the creek upstream of me, I am going to get sick, so where you poop is my business!

Vandwellers refuse to follow the rules. We each make up our own rules as we go along. We poop, pee and get rid of our trash however and wherever we feel like it. Saying everyone must live in a house connected to electricity and the sewer and water system is first and foremost an act of self-protection.

When you become a vandweller who lives in a city, you become an outlaw and an outcast. We are going so far against societies norms that they can’t understand us, and humans are naturally afraid of things they can’t understand. You may have no choice but to break laws and lie to authorities. You must decide if that is acceptable to you. I am not suggesting you break the law! I am warning you that I have been forced to do so and encouraging you to seriously reconsider if you are willing to do it and live with the consequences if you do.

As you read through the places I have parked, you will see that I give some suggested excuses for why I was there. The idea is I had my story ready: If I was in front of the hospital, I knew who I was there to see, and what was wrong with them. If I said I was just passing through, I knew where I was coming from and where I was going and why. If I was in front of a car repair shop, I had already decided what was wrong with my car. The more detailed my answer, the more convincing I was, so I thought it all through before I parked.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERABut understand I am only telling you what I do and not in any way telling you to break the law or lie to authorities. If you decide you will, that is your decision and you alone are responsible for any consequences that may come from your actions. If at all possible I encourage you all to become boondockers because it is quite easy to live on public land without breaking the law or lying.

Here are some places I have parked in order of how good I think they are:

1) 24 Hour Grocery Stores:

Your best choice for stealth is any 24 business so there is activity from employees working inside and customers coming and going. With all that activity, it’s easy to blend in. My favorite of all is 24 hour grocery stores. Having worked the night shift in one for many years I know for a fact that everyone inside the store is much too busy to care if you are sleeping in the parking lot. Police officers came into the store I worked at all night to get a few things and use the restroom. There is no chance they could know which vehicle belongs to an employee and which might be a vandweller. Generally, we all parked pretty close together in front of the store at night. So if you find a group of cars in the same place every night, park close to them, you will blend right in as an employee.

2) Wal-Mart:

As most experienced RVers know, Walmart (and Sam’s Clubs) love and welcome us to stay in their parking lots. Unfortunately, some cities have made it illegal to do so and strictly enforce it against Walmart. However, the enforcement is usually selective and they will not enforce it at other big-box stores. So if there are “No Overnight Parking” signs in a Walmart, I suggest you just go to another big box store. I carry a Rand McNaly atlas I bought at Walmart that also has a listing of where all there stores are and will usually call ahead to find out the status of that Walmart. Another place that loves RVers is Cracker Barrel restaurants, but I have never stayed in one.

3) Closed Big Box Stores:

If you can’t park at a Walmart, then go to another Big Box Store like Home Depot, K-Mart, Target or any other large chain stores. If the parking lot has plenty of employee vehicles, just park with them and no one will notice. But what if there aren’t any other vehicles? One idea is to put a “For Sale” sign on the dashboard before you go to bed. Use a local phone number if possible.

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