Oh Walmart, I have such conflicted feelings about you. I do not love your uber-big box, take over the world, pay your employees crap nature BUT you are one of the few reliable spots to “camp” for free. Check out All Stays for a list of Walmart stores that allow RV parking. Overall company policy allows for RV parking but it’s up to the discretion of the store manager.
We have checked out quite a few Walmart parking lots in our roaming but our favorite by far is the Walmart parking lot in Moscow, Idaho. Twice a year we head to work at the University of Idaho and the Moscow Walmart is a five minute drive from campus. The biggest plus is that it has a large side lot that is perfect for RV parking with a lovely view overlooking the campus and the rolling hills of the Palouse. Every other time we have had the place to ourselves so imagine our surprise when we pulled in at midnight and there were two other RV’s parked there! There was plenty of room, as you can see from the pics.
Most other Walmarts we have stayed at have been on major highways or in major cities so it’s usually a mix of semi-truck, RVs and people sleeping in their cars. It can seem a bit sketchy but it is a great option if you are looking to save some money and just need a spot to sleep on your way to an epic location.
Our good friends (aka Team Davidson) came down from Olympia to visit our new 'home' at Roamer's Rest. They have a cute little R-Pod, so they decided to come hang out with us at the RV park for the weekend. It still counts as "roaming" if at least one of us roamed there, right?
Team Davidson is comprised of Cora and Jason and their two insanely cute daughters Aggie and Mimi. It was Aggie's 6th birthday weekend so there were many hijinks including ice skating, glitter crafts (breaking in the Airstream with the 'herpes of the craft world'!) and checking out the river. I had hoped we could test out Roamer's Rest's horseshoe pits but classic Portland weather decided to return for a brief moment that Saturday.
It was a nice chill weekend while we gear up for our next adventure with the Airstream. We are heading to Moscow, Idaho for Bill's work for a couple of days. Expect a post about our stay in the lovely Moscow Walmart parking lot. Then we're off adventuring for a long weekend. We are debating between heading back up to Montana (Glacier/Polebridge) or maybe Snoqualmie? Suggestions welcome!
I swear we didn’t choose our first RV park based solely on the name – but it didn’t hurt! Roamer’s Rest is a mid-sized RV park in Tualatin, Oregon, about 15 miles south of Portland. Situated between Highway 99W (aka the road to wine country) and the Tualatin River, it’s a surprisingly quiet and mellow spot. We didn’t realize it would be such a challenge to find a spot to park for the first couple months of Airstream life. There aren’t very many RV parks in the Portland metro area and many of them were either fully booked or had a bazillion rules and regulations that would not allow for our lovely Miss Inga (our sweet, mellow, 12 year old Siberian Husky). There’s also a pretty strict time limit on most RV park residencies (which varies by county). Multnomah County only allows a 30 day stay whereas Washington County allows 90 days.
For our intial stay, we wanted to do a month somewhere so we could shake out the nuts and bolts of living full-time in the Airstream. We didn’t want to have to worry about having to find a place to ‘dump’ our tanks every week, so the full service RV park was the way to go. Monthly rates are surprisingly affordable, especially when compared to nightly rates at most campgrounds. Roamer’s Rest definitely adheres to the 90 day rule and encourages shorter stays, but there’s a nice mix of daily, weekly and monthly residents.
Our other main requirement was ‘location, location, location.’ I work part-time at Victory Academy, a private school for kids impacted by Autism in Wilsonville. On a good day, it’s a solid 30-45 minute commute from NE Portland. I wanted to be a little closer to work since we were ramping up for our huge fundraiser and I was commuting more days than normal. Roamer’s Rest is a lovely 15 minute drive to Victory through gorgeous farmland, which has been a lovely bonus. We are also a five minute walk to river access and we were able to take our inflatable kayak for a little trip on the Tualatin River one sunny day after work. Finally, as much as I am a Portland city girl at heart, one of the fun things about Airstream life is treating each location like a vacation destination. I’m not sure I could live in the burbs, but it’s great to visit cute downtown Sherwood with it’s mix of wine bars, art galleries and small town charm. And not too far down the road is Newburg, another great little town--where we had a delicious dinner for my birthday at Ruddick/Wood. Knowing you are only going to be in a spot for a month or so is great motivation to explore what you may normally consider a ‘not-so-exciting’ area.