29 posts in this topic

We found a new resource that others may want to investigate. As you know, many more vehicles are being sold that depend on electricity. Answering a need for access to electric, a company called ShorePower Technologies has installations that provide power connections on an hourly basis.

We stayed at Wendover, Utah, in September. We were looking for a casino parking lot in West Wendover, Nev., but in the process we found a large parking lot next to a casino. It turned out the parking lot was the truck parking for the AM Best Travel Stop. There was a casino RV park behind the truck parking but there were no pull-through spots in the RV Park and we didn't want to unhook.

When we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a number of fixtures that looked like power outlets on one end of the lot. I took a look and sure enough they were electrical outlets, four separate boxes per post. There were parking spaces marked for trucks to back in or pull in to a parking spot and hook up electricity rather than running their engine all night long. I went into the AM Best station and inquired about these connections.

They indicated that we were welcome to stay on the parking lot for the night and I was directed to a kiosk to purchase the electricity. I picked up a brochure at that kiosk and returned to the motorhome to investigate further. There was a web site listed on the form (see link in the first paragraph). Logging on to the web site, I learned about the company, the power posts, rates and how to get the power turned on.

It turns out there are 30-amp outlets as well as 20-amp outlets. Each post has three 20-amp outlets and one 30-amp outlet. The cost for using these is $1 per hour (20- or 30-amp the same) plus a $1 administration fee to turn on the electric.

There was an 800 number, so I called and set up an account. I activated a 30-amp outlet at the rate of $1 per hour for the night. I said 15 hours in part because they indicated the first use was free! They set the electric to start at 5 p.m. and shut off at 8 a.m. Normally, that would cost $16, but this time it was free. There was a visible timer on the post, so I could see when the power was turned on and when it was about to go off. You could choose to have the electric turned on at 4 a.m. for three hours for $4, get your batteries charged and coffee made and be on your way for just $4 for a one- night stay. By the way, the power stations had connections for cable TV, and the web site indicated free Wi-Fi was available at some locations.

Now, here is the thing. We were there hooked up all night long and no trucks came in to hook up. If the truckers aren't using it and we are, the company might see another market to address and we may get some of these that are better set up for motor homes.

We parked at an angle to the post we hooked up to, which would have blocked two or three sites for trucks. But in this case the lot was large, there were only a few trucks and none of them chose to hook up to the electric. I can see the company working with other places that have large parking lots and would like to make a few bucks off the RVing community. Perhaps places like motels, community parks, convention areas, maybe even Wal-Mart and Sam's!

The web site lists places where the company has installations -- there are about 50 scattered throughout the US. We'll be on I-90 in a few weeks and there are several stations there that looked like they might be where we might be making a stop. I'll try to investigate those and use them if possible. Clearly, some of the stations were in city locations for commuters plugging in cars and they wouldn't be suitable for anything but small RVs, but the trucking applications would work well for us. Imagine the possibilities if everyone with a large parking lot put in a few power posts and they could make some money from hosting overnight RV parking. We could find lots of large parking lots like Wal-Mart that would be welcoming us.

Anyway, electric power is coming to the roadways and that can't be bad for motorhome owners!

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Thanks Tom !!

Good information, but is one really boondocking when plugged into the power grid? :D

Rich.

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It wasn't an RV Park, it was a parking lot. Isn't this what we have all been asking for? A cheap place to stay overnight. Why pay $30 or $40 for an RV Park when you come in at 8:00 in the evening and leave at 7:00 in the morning? Here you can get as little or as much electric as you need for a night at a cost that is much less than an RV Park. If this becomes widespread enough I'm betting that RV Parks will begin to offer overnight rates.

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This is some thing I would like to use in our trips to the mid west.

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Anyone traveling the Ohio Turnpike they have Rest Areas Travel Plaza's that offer RV parking that has 20/30/50 amp service; water and dump for a $20.00 fee.

Check out their web site.

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Thanks Tom !!

Good information, but is one really boondocking when plugged into the power grid? :D

Rich.

My thought exactly when I read the subject. Boondocking with power is an oxymoron.

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Boondocking. What is the definition? Is parking on the Wal-Mart parking lot overnight boondocking? Is parking in some remote area with generator power boondocking? What if you have satellite TV and/or internet? Does it still count as boondocking. If you have cell phone coverage does that still count as boondocking? It is hard to get off the grid these days. I'm betting most of what people call as boondocking still provides some or all of the above. The question becomes, does a wire define the grid? Is wireless access off the grid?

I didn't mean to start an in depth discussion of what the boundaries of the term are. I just slapped a title on the post.

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Makes for some interesting interaction and how things have changed in one generation and to what we and our grandchildren now consider camping or boondocking.

In many ways equal to how things changed in my Grandparents life from the horse and buggy to a man on the moon.

Sometimes its hard to grasp the reality of what is now the norm.

Rich.

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Avatab,

I have seen these covered on TV before. They are meant to provide air conditioning or heat and other connections by inserting the unit into the window of a truck. I'm not sure how well these would work for an RV. I haven't seen any installations of these yet. And yes, the truckers seem to be slow in taking advantage of these connections. I suspect the drivers for hire aren't going to get compensated for using them instead of running the engine of the truck. I would think independent truckers would be very interested in the economics of these kind of installations. In the meantime, perhaps we as RV'er can take advantage of them.

I looked at my generator expenses several years ago and over a 10 year period, my generator was costing me in the neighborhood of $3.00 per hour to run (includes fuel and all maintenance and repair). That generator now has almost 1600 hours so this is a long term look at what a 7.5 KW Onan generator costs to keep it running. I am not a do-it-yourself person when it comes to the generator, I take it to Onan and get it serviced and repaired when I have my Cummins engine serviced.

At that rate, I'd much rather pay $1.00 an hour for electric than run the generator and that doesn't even consider the noise and exhaust of the generator.

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Yes, I also wondered whether those would work with an RV. Seeing the video now makes me think they would for us since our Suncruiser has a drivers door and a square roll down window. It almost looks like you could also turn it sideways to fit in an RV sliding window......Next time we are up there I will try it and see if it fits OK and report back. :-)

One advantage to this system is that the power pedestals are evenly distributed across the whole parking lot, making it easy to pull up to any one of them, park and then pull straight out the next morning. One drawback compared to the system you used is the lack of 30 amp outlets, which means no roof AC. But I will still take the standard outlet over no power at all.... ;-)

Steve

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DW considers anything that is not a five star hotel/motel boondocking. I think it was a good title Tom. My MH is not configured to run by itself overnight unless the generator is running.

Do they allow the slides to be extended? That is also a must in my configuration.

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I read somewhere that boondocking had only one requirement.. no shore power.

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Do they allow the slides to be extended? That is also a must in my configuration.

When we were there none of the other outlets were in use so we could park sideways and we had slides out. I would imagine if they were crowded you wouldn't be able to put slides out. If the company decided to set these up for RV's I would think they would allow room for slides.

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Interesting service. I visited the website the OP posted and requested they consider 50 amp plugs and market to the RV community. If big trucks aren't using them, I sure will.

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Our names are William and Hilda Kerek and we are from Ohio. We are new FMCA members and own NexusRV motorhome. We are planning to travel west visiting our friends in California and would like to boondocking at Wal-Mart and Flying J Truck Stop all along the way to Riverside, California. We have a couple of questions.

Is it safe to boondocking at either Wal-Mart or Flying J? The reason for this question is that we are a deaf couple in our 60s’ and never had any experience in boondocking.

Do we need to ask Wal-Mart or Flying J manager for permission?

Is using a generator acceptable?

Many thanks in advance for all of your advices, recommendations, and suggestions.
William and Hilda

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Yes, in almost all cases it is safe to stay at a Wal-Mart overnight. Overnight is key as this is not a campground but rather a place to stop when you cannot reach your destination that day.

I use a program called RV Parky to check before arriving whether overnight parking is allowed and it has been very accurate. If there is roaming security I double check with them. If not, I do not bother the management (others will disagree). Yes, generators are acceptable for use at either of those locations, just try to get as out of the way as possible and don't cuddle up beside another RVer is you plan to run your genset.

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I know a lot of RVer's stay at a Wal-Mart overnight but we don't feel comfortable staying overnight at a Wal-mart. We stopped at a Wal-Mart in Maryland once and there was a strange guy riding a bike going around and looking into the RV he came right up to our door scared the wife and we just left. Flying J are okay but if you get there late sometimes its hard to find a space and if you park where the truckers park I get the feeling they don't like us parking in their parking area.

We joined a RV club that has campgrounds thru out the US and as members we can stay free or pay $3.00 per night. so when we are traveling long distance we plan our trips and see if one of their campsites are near. It's much more comfortable to have full hookups and the slides out even if its only for one night.

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I have a feeling that the trucks do not use these facilities because they don't have A/C that plugs in. What does a truck have that requires 110v? Nothing I can think of.

Also, why are we getting hung-up on a word like 'Boondocking'. We still say that we are staying in a 'campground'. Is staying in a 40' Class A with 4 slides, central heat and air, flat screen tv's, king size beds, refrig and all the other conveniences of life really camping? So staying somewhere with only a plug in can be called anything we want. It's closer to boondocking than a campground is to camping.

I have stayed at Wal-Mart and places like Flying J. I definately perfer Wal-Mart if nothing else because of the noise. A lot of semi's packed side by side with their engines running and them coming and going as well as trucks just coming through to fuel is too much for me. At Wal-Mart as well as any other place, don't open your door unless you know who it is. Safety is always first.

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BillAdams and Patriciagwynn, we cannot tell you how much we truly appreciate your responses. We learned a lot by reading comments, suggestions, and advices from experience RVers. Thank you so much!

BillAdams, thank you so much for sharing about RV Parky! We just downloaded it onto our Galaxy S4. We also downloaded RV Parking Finder, RV Camps Locator, and Casino RV Parks. We are very excited! :)

We have a question for Patriciagwynn:

What is the name of the RV club you belong? Could you provide us their hyperlink? Thanks so much!

William and Hilda

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Just wanted to add to the comments about staying at WalMarts and other free places. If we are traveling a long distance, we like to alternate between free parking and campgrounds with hookups. This cuts down on costs, and we have never felt threatened at any of these places. We like the convenience of being able to pull in at any time of the night, shut off the engine and go to bed, without having to find a campsite, hook up, and possibly wake other campers.

If you stay at Flying J, find the area where the other RVs are, don't park with the trucks, since this will be noisy.

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Thanks to all who have helped when we asked for help. Without question, the FMCA members are the nicest and helpful people!

William and Hilda

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