travel

Not So Sleepless in Oregon: A Car Camping Experience

After a day of driving through Montana, Idaho, Washington, and eventually Oregon, it was safe to say we were very tired. Every local hotel was much too expensive for the budget that we were trying to stick to, so it was time for us to try out our car bed once again. We weren’t sure exactly how this was going to go seeing as many Walmart’s apparently do not allow overnight stays in their parking lots in Oregon.

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We went to a Walmart and decided just to sit for a bit and feel it out. We saw many others in their vans and rv’s who obviously weren’t going anywhere. I wanted to see what the area was like and to try to determine if their “no overnight parking” signs were more of a suggestion than a rule. It did not take long for us to see a police officer pull through and start taking down plate numbers. This was going to be a no go.

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Ultimately we called one last Walmart to ask if they allowed overnight parking. They told us no while we were sitting in their parking lot full of campers and people sleeping in cars. We jokingly thought about telling them, “then you might want to come check outside.” Since we didn’t want to risk a potential knock on the door at 3am telling us to leave, we decided to pass.

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I then called a Love’s gas station that had some people sleeping in their cars. They were totally fine with it and told us that it should not be an issue.

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When sleeping in a location like this we would end up feeling less guilty because we were going to most likely use their showers in the morning and buy breakfast. We sat in the car in our new parking spot home for the night and settled in.

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“Head to toe so Mom and Dad don’t get mad.” Tip: In all reality, this was more comfortable since the trunk of the car is quite narrow.

For a great change of pace compared to the first time we tried this whole car camping thing, the lows were in the 50s, so a little crack in the window created a perfect climate in the vehicle. Especially with the heat of two people in the car, this cool air made this our best night of car camping yet. I slept better in this parking lot than I did in some of the hotels we stayed in!

Have you ever tried car camping? If so, how was your experience?

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7 replies »

  1. Cool story. Many years ago I did frequently. That was an economical way to travel. We used to carry a small backpacking stove and cooking gear. Wasn’t too bad.

      • Most of the car camping, rather camping in the car, that I did was on the way to or from somewhere because I was too poor to afford a motel. It was OK, but for more comfort I preferred a tent if I was really camping, or eventually a motel with a bathroom and shower. Well, keep posting. Thanks again.

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