I contemplated staying at Mesa an extra day, but I really needed to get some work done and internet speeds at that campground were hardly usable, so it was time to head out.
There weren’t many places to camp out between Mesa and Clarkston. There were either only paid campgrounds or places that had zero internet connection at all, and my route after Clarkston basically had no cell/internet connection for over 100 miles.
Using an app called RV Parkey, I found out that the Walmart in Clarkston, WA allowed overnight parking, which was just fine by me. It was in a place that would have great internet and I could grab some things from the store while I was there.
I got there and was initially excited. The views from the parking lot were great and my internet speeds were blazing fast. This will be perfect for the night.
Unfortunately, after I started walking around a bit, I noticed a bunch of “No Overnight Parking” signs.
I decided to go inside and talk to the store manager, who indicated that they unofficially have no problem with me parking there and wouldn’t bother me if I did, but that the city had recently passed an ordinance prohibiting overnight parking on their lot and that there was a good chance the police would knock on my door in the middle of the night forcing me to move.
And so, I began my search for legal places to park in the area. I first tried a BLM campground about 15 miles away, but the cell signal was unusable. Not going to work.
Then I tried a Casino that was a little closer to town. Again, data speeds were unusable. Not going to work.
Then I tried two truck stops in the area. The first was way too small and I just wouldn’t be comfortable there for the night, and the other was on a really bad slant that would have been really uncomfortable unless I parked in the truck parking area, which was very congested and I wasn’t about to use my van to take up a spot that a trucker needed.
The only private campgrounds in the area were either very expensive or were very run down and didn’t feel all that safe.
I spent probably 2 hours driving around trying to find a safe, comfortable, legal and free space to park with no luck.
So, I went back to Walmart. “Screw it, if I get a knock on the door I’ll leave. No way am I paying $60/night for a camping spot.”
15 minutes later, I’m pulling into one of the $60/night RV “resorts” in the area. This RV park was literally behind a Costco, which was behind the Walmart I originally wanted to park at.
As you can see in this video, I was annoyed.
I was in a pissy mood for about an hour, and then I got over it. Sometimes I have to seriously think about the things I’m whining about, and realize most people would absolutely love to have this “problem.”
It was clean, safe, had good internet, I was able to dump my waste tanks, fill up with fresh water, and get a nice long hot shower in their clean bathhouse, so it wasn’t a total waste. I just couldn’t get over the price to stay in a place that was essentially a parking lot. I would have preferred Walmart!
But man – I just don’t understand why people voluntarily pay $60 to vacation in a place like this with everyone crammed together. The RV Park (excuse me… “resort”) had overwhelmingly positive reviews, was almost totally full, and people seemed to be enjoying themselves, so I guess I’m the outlier here.
As a business person, I was also a bit jealous. What an absolute cash cow.
Can they jam any more people in? I don’t think so.
Here’s the nice big clean shower.
It ended up working out just fine, and despite being so congested, it was very quiet and quite a bit of wildlife came through the campground that night.
Here’s the route we took.
Some highlights from the drive.