Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Walmart RV Resort and a Nice Restful Lake

This post will be for three locations:
1st: Walmart Parking Lot; Laurel, Montana (elev. 3,300 feet)

2nd: Walmart Parking Lot; Sidney, Nebraska (elev. 4,250 feet)

3rd and current: Hunters Cove COE Campground on Harlan County Lake; Republican City, Nebraska (elev. 2,000 feet)

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone

Thru Stops 14, 15 and 16
Well, I've fallen behind on posting to the blog. One reason is a good reason in that I was camped in Walmart parking lots for two nights in a row. I could have gotten online and made a post but I didn't. The second reason is that once I got to a real campground, I was just too danged tired to cull through the 100 or so pictures. But, since moving day is tomorrow, I need to make a post to get caught up.

This post will have more pictures than usual (3 days worth). Most are travel pictures used to show the different landscape from Idaho thru Montana and Wyoming to Nebraska.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was looking forward to over-nighting in a Walmart parking lot. It was something I've never done in all of my RV travels. It's not something I consciously avoided doing, it just never came up. But, on this trip, it all came together. First, I didn't have any campgrounds for a thousand mile or so that I wanted to stop and explore the area. Second, the weather was great with the temperature dropping into the low 60's at night. Third, I was in the mood for some "long-haul thinking driving" (two-500 mile driving days, back to back).

I'm sure a lot of people are wondering what I thought of the Walmart RV Resorts. I thought they were great. I got to the first one after dark because I was delayed by a couple of hours when I was leaving Idaho due to a wreck on the highway. Sitting in traffic for two hours isn't fun, but since everything happens for a reason, there must have been a reason for delaying everything by those two hours. The delay meant arriving an hour after sundown, but that was nice. The temperature had already dropped below 70 degrees and there was a cool breeze blowing. About six other RV's were already parked so I found a nice open spot that looked kind of level and stopped. Although I was sure it was OK to park for the night, I still went in and asked for permission. The guy said "sure, not a problem just park out of the way of any route our delivery trucks will take". I told him I was parked on some stripped out parking spaces and he said that would be fine. I walked around the almost empty store and picked up a few things. After visiting with the cashier for a few minutes I walked back across the parking lot to Liberty, crawled into bed and went to sleep. I slept good and got up early to get a shower so I could hit the road since I was looking at another 500+ mile drive. Then I realized what I didn't like about over-nighting at Walmart,,,, no electricity means no coffee.

Idaho,, the four lane between the casino and Coeur d'Alene.

A view of the lake and mountains in the distance

Since the casino was electric-only. I needed to find a place to empty Liberty's tanks and take on some fresh water before the long hauls. Luckily, I found this excellent 4-bay dump station in Coeur d'Alene and it was only a few miles out of my way. It is a free dump station but has a box for donations. I started to drop a five dollar bill in the box but remembered the extra high parking price I paid to park in the city parking lot at the boat tour. So, I pocketed the fiver and called it even. 

More Idaho landscape. It is pretty country.

The trees were nice while they lasted.

A bare slope that stood out like a sore thumb. I assume there must have been bad soil to keep things from growing on the slope, but I'm not sure and there wasn't anyone to ask.

I sometimes take for granted what I'm doing. I'm usually reminded of it at rest areas when I'm walking back to Freedom and Liberty. I stopped and took it all in and snapped a picture. 

That's the Clark Fork River. We criss-crossed paths several times.

Another typical view of Idaho and western Montana

The trees are getting more scarce.

Another bare slope. It was strange one side of the river was bare sloped and the other fully wooded.

I crossed the Continental Divide on I-90 at Lookout Pass near Butte, Montana. Somehow it felt nice being on the eastern side. It was a strange feeling.

What goes up must go down. Going up the passes, Freedom would just drop into lower gear and climb the grades. If it was a steep up hill grade she would usually drop into 3rd gear and steadily climb at about 40 to 45 mph. Going down, she would again drop into 3rd gear. If the downgrade was long, I would have to use the brakes just to get her speed down some before letting the engine brake do its job. Freedom did great, of course, Liberty just followed.

You get a long view when you top out over some of the hills.

A nice partially rainbow came out to keep me company. I got lucky and took the picture with it coming down on the Rest Area sign.

This is one of my top five pictures for this leg of the trip. Even in real life, it looked fake. The light was playing on the clouds with the ones in the middle being lighted up big time while the adjacent ones were dark. I'm glad this picture turned out.

Later one, the other end of the rainbow poked through the dark clouds.

This picture was for two reasons. One the bright white shining through the opening in the dark clouds. Second, Freedom and Liberty's shadow. I'm usually off the road by 3:00 in the afternoon so I don't see their shadow. I was still about 2 hours away from the first Walmart.

The first Walmart. Nice spot, great weather. The Walmart was super clean and it felt good just walking around inside after such a long drive. OK, ya'll can call me crazy now.
I was able to pull into a McDonald's after leaving Walmart to get some coffee and a sausage biscuit to eat on the road. The coffee was OK but still not mine. I only ate half of the sausage biscuit. I never can remember to tell them to make the sausage 'well-done'. Oh well. Another 500+miles and another Walmart. This one was smaller and filled with 18-wheelers. I found a level spot and stopped. Again, I went in and asked permission to spend the night. The lady I asked said it was OK but not to park by the Garden Center since they were doing a remodel and the workers would need the room. Of course, that is exactly where I was parked, so I moved Liberty. After parking, for the second time, I walked up the street to get something to eat. When I got back to Liberty, I didn't like the slope of the parking spot so I moved her to another location and it worked out just fine. Had that spot not worked out, I was prepared to move to the Cabelas Sporting Goods Store that a commenter, "Arrowhead Gramma", mentioned in the last post,,thanks again AG. Another good night's sleep and we were up early to get on down the road to a real campground. 

A panoramic view of the open-ness of the southern Montana/northern Wyoming

I'm not sure if Montana or Wyoming.

Looking down on the valley where the Bozeman Trail was located.

I hadn't found a bench in a while and the view was great.

The trees are all gone by this time

Pretty dark blue sky with puffy clouds.

It's called Sky Lining. Something the old west riders would avoid because it is highly noticeable. I saw this for a long way off. It is one of those metal silhouettes but it showed how easy it was dangerous to give away your position.

That strange looking circular clouds is in the general direction where the second Walmart is located. Strong storms were predicted for the area, but we didn't get any.

This was the second Walmart. I didn't like the slope of this spot so I moved to the right side in this picture. 
The real campground is a Corps of Engineers campground on Harlan County Lake in south central Nebraska near the Kansas state line. It is an excellent place to rest up from the last two long haul driving days. A nice view of the lake and 50 amps of power. The town listed for the campground is Republican City, but there isn't much there. The nearest town with a real gas station and stores is Alma, Nebraska about 10 miles away. Essentially the lake is surrounded by Nebraska corn fields. I like it. It is restful. 

This is the dark clouds that I woke up to after the second Walmart stop. Flat Nebraska.

Corn fields to the left and right. I'm not farmer but would figure harvest time is only a few weeks away. I bet these roads will be busy, busy then.

You know you're in farming country when you see this coming at you.

Campsite at Hunter's Cove COE Campground. Nice restful campsite after some long-hauling. My stay is 3 days at a senior rate of $12.00 per night. Not as cheap as Walmart, but I'm completely satisfied. 

I drove around the area on my second day. I stopped at the downstream side of the dam and was surprised to see no gates were open since the lake was very high. It was flooding parts of the campground. I was later told that Kansas, downstream, was flooded worse and didn't need any more water so it was being held here at Harlan County.

One of the few dams you can still drive across.

A nice over-look, but no benches. That is the dam on the right.

I visited with this fisherman for a while. He lives about 30 minutes away and fishes here regularly. He said the lake is up about 15 feet but down from what it was a month ago. The trees to the left of him are usually on dry ground. He caught two fish while I was there. He is walking to put one of them on his stringer. 

There is even a nice small pull-off on top of the dam. 
Tomorrow is moving day and since I'm rested, I will make another somewhat long-haul of 450 miles across Kansas to an old reliable campground I've stayed at before and said I would never stay again. It is a city-owed campground at El Reno, Oklahoma. It is a first come-first served campground but I don't think it will be filled up due to it being a weekday night and the temperature is suppose to be 100 degree that day. It is a great campground and the only reason I said I wouldn't stay again is the constant wind blowing in that area. Both times that I've stayed there, the wind blew like crazy. I'll arrive around dusk, set up, plug in to electricty, turn the A/C on high and go into town to find something to eat. I'll only be staying over-night. Some may ask why I'm not over-nighting in the Walmart again. Didn't I mention 100 degree day!!! If I'm lucky, maybe I'll stubble on a Taco Bell, although without reservations, I'll be risking getting turned away at the door by the maitre-d.

This post is longer than normal but I wanted to get my thoughts about Walmart camping down in a post for future reference. All in all, it worked out great. Will I do it again? Sure, if the temperature and location works out. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.      


  1. Thank you for more really great memories. I am thinking about rolling west in four weeks if the temps drop enough.

    1. You're welcome Barney. Be safe when you get back out there.

  2. Someday I'll have to tell you about the 18 different ways of making coffee without plugging into shore power, but you can start without me by googling up cowboy coffee, pay no attention to the part about the old sock. And it's not just for cowboys when I was seriously into Elk hunting we always made our coffee that way.

    Glad to see you gave Walmart a try, yes there are some drawbacks such as noise, but there easy to get in and out of, you don't have to drive 20 miles out of your way just to camp for a few hours, there's no paperwork involved, and you certainly can't beat the price.


    1. I'm familiar with cowboy coffee and I have the makings for it in my RV. I'm also familiar with the cold water trick to settle the grounds. But, I'm spoiled to the new fancy coffee makers and before I do cowboy coffee again, I'll just drink truck stop coffee. As far as staying at Walmart again,,,, not a problem as long as it's not too hot or too cold and I don't have anything to explore in the area since I can't unhitch in Walmart. It's like everything else in life,,,it has its time and place. Be safe out there and good luck on your travel planning.

  3. Great highway photos. You have traveled a long way quickly. In all our years on the road we have not stayed in a Walmart. We keep thinking we will and then the pull of a full hook up wins. Travel safe.

    1. I made a conscious effort to stay at Walmart this time. I liked it and will do it again if the situation/conditions are right, such as descent night time temperatures and nothing to explore in the area. Ya'll be safe out there.