Saturday, April 14, 2007

Camp Wal-Mart: Some stores allow overnight parking

LUMBERTON, NC— As night falls, the Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lot suddenly bustles as RV travelers pull off Interstate 95.

One by one, stylish motor homes and modest recreation vehicles park near the entrance of the store off Fayetteville Road and set up camp.

The draw, enthusiasts say, is convenience and price — it’s free.

Judy McKay walked toward Wal-Mart to buy antihistamine medicine for her allergies while her husband, Don, sat in the Holiday Rambler Class A eating a sandwich and enjoying a cold beer.

Don McKay checked with the store manager earlier to make sure they could stay. Signs posted throughout the parking lot warned no parking for unauthorized vehicles.

“We weren’t sure whether we could camp here,” Don McKay said.

He reached into an overhead compartment and pulled out a book called “Wal-Mart Locater,” which provides a list of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores that allow overnight parking for recreation vehicles. The book gives directions, indicates whether it is a superstore and rates the stores, he said.

Don McKay then grabbed the book called “Wal-Mart ‘No Overnight Parking’ Stores,” which provides rules to follow and stores that prohibit overnight stays.

The information also is available on the Internet.

“There is no point of paying $30 to $40 a night to stay at a campground,” said McKay, who is from Ontario, Canada. “You can do a little bit of shopping. That’s how Wal-Mart benefits.”
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