Just another average sunset in paradise!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My first night at Walmart

After leaving Idaho early Monday morning, we headed west with no particular destination in mind.  I had some idea of the route I wanted to take but missed a couple of turns and just kept going.  There are no real boondocking opportunities going through the farming country of southern Washington.  I decided that there must be a Walmart in Yakima, WA and thought it was about time I tried camping at one.

Walmart sunset

What I found was a 24 hr Walmart Supercenter just off highway 82.  When I say “just off” I mean it.  The highway is less than 30 yards from the end of the Walmart parking lot.  I found a great spot in the corner of the parking lot.  It was close to the highway but I figured that there would be very little traffic at night.  I never got the chance to find out.  Within an hour of my arrival, several big rigs had parked within a few feet from Dod.  One was a refrigerated carrier which meant that his auxiliary diesel would be running all night to keep his load cold.

We moved to the far end of the lot which was actually as far from the highway as you can get and far away from the big rigs.  Since Dod fits in a regular parking space I had my choice of sites.  I wound up in a corner space in the employee parking section.  Very quiet until . . . . .

Apparently tradition has it that just before starting the midnight to 8 a.m. shift the night crew has a pizza party in the employee parking section.  Not to worry, they all left just before midnight.  All quiet and back to a restful sleep until . . . .  I don’t know if it happens at all Walmarts but I can tell you that at the Yakima Walmart, they sweep the parking lot between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Tuesdays!  This includes motorized blowers to get the garbage away from the curbs and then over an hour of a regular sized street sweeper covering the entire lot.

All-in-all not a very good first experience with Walmart camping.  One thing I did like was the reading light.  It was about 85 degrees inside Dod when the sun set.  With the very bright parking lot lights I was able to set up a chair and read my book with cooler temperatures and a gentle breeze.

Overall, not what I was expecting but I will give it another try or two before making a final decision.


  1. You've got a pretty good attitude about that awful experience. :)

  2. That about compares to our worst Walmart overnighting experience. Most are much better than that. However, one thing we have learned in the last four years of cheap overnight parking is that there is almost always a better free option than Walmart.


  3. I have had quiet nights and noisy nights, and I've also experienced the parking lot cleaners. I don't think you are supposed to sit outside in a chair, though. Keep as low a profile as you can so they will continue offering overnights. It's a bit of a crap shoot, but considering that it's free, I'll take what I can and take a nap the next afternoon. Hopefully in a free rest area. :)

  4. ...but it's still a nice sunset!

  5. Great Wally's sunset but lousy experience. I've never really had a Bad experience in any of the Wallys camped in. But then, it is a parking lot.

  6. We've stayed at 3 or 4 WalMarts so far. Not a vacation destination, but handy, and they serve a purpose. The worst one was in an urban location where a guy kept returning to pee behind the dumpster. Also uncomfortable was one where we parked in the way-back of the parking lot and people kept circling us to get the full view (we're pretty long with a toad). No incidents, though, besides the ubiquitous street-sweeping.


  7. I have spent many a night at many a Wal*Mart camps with very few problems. One of the very few blessings of a reduced ability to hear. However, the sweepers did usually wake me but I was then able to go back to sleep.

    Please do NOT set up camp, it will ruin a good thing (FREE) for everyone.