Vagabond in America 2016 travel blog

Casino Camping

Yesterday's plan was to visit a junior-high and high-school friend who sat directly behind me in homeroom for six years (7th-12th grades).

I couldn't find any available RV parks that were near by. There were a few RV parks that were close but they were closed for the season and wouldn't open for two weeks or more. But, there was a casino right where I needed one. I checked and the casino did allow free overnight parking for RVs in their "East" lot.

Overnight parking is a popular way to save money when traveling by RV. If you stay in a Walmart parking lot, it's frequently called "Camp Wally" or "Wallydocking". When you stay in the parking lot of a casino, it's sometimes called "Camp Casino". Overnight camping generally means no hookups. That is, no electricity, no water, etc. Not a problem for me. I always carry a few gallons of fresh water and have dual batteries.

Most people who stay at Camp Casino drive Class A RVs (the motorized RVs shaped a bus). The problem for fifth wheel trailers is staying level. I can't run my refrigerator on LP gas unless the rig is reasonably level. Because the suspension on my truck is so high, my fifth-wheel trailer rides high in the front. There was far too much food in my fridge and freezer to go an entire night without turning on the fridge.

At a campground, this is never a problem. Once I unhook my RV, I have leveling jacks that gives me exact front/back leveling. (Side-to-side leveling is slightly harder.) Casinos, obviously, want you to spend your time at their casino. They do not allow you to unhook your trailer from your truck. That would imply that you're planning to drive somewhere else.

To solve this dilemma, I cheated a little bit. I unhooked my trailer but did not pull my truck away from it. I left the "king pin" (the trailer's attachment point) inside the bed of my truck. From a distance of only a few feet, it looks like my trailer is still attached. I was't able to exactly level my rig but I came extremely close. Close enough that I was able to open one of my propane tanks and turn on my fridge.

As it turned out, I was the only RVer in the parking lot that night. There were, however, trucks all night. Several of them left their noisy refrigeration units running. Since many of my campgrounds are adjacent to Interstate highways, I've gotten used to sleeping through loud engine noises.

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