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Man Tried to Fix an Old RV Transmission in McDonald’s Parking Lot…Townfolks Lobby to Get it Towed

Dwayne Robinson’s situation went from bad to worse when he discovered his RV had been towed from a McDonald’s parking lot.

The story highlights the massive problem of homelessness across the country and the many obstacles these individuals face.

We decided to examine how this situation happens and what RVers can do to avoid a similar fate.

Let’s dive in!

Man Fixes RV in a Vermont McDonald’s Parking Lot

With rising costs for housing across the country, some individuals and families find themselves homeless. Unfortunately, that was the case for Dwayne Robinson, his wife, and their son. Dwayne and his family were staying at a local family shelter, and he used a 1972 Chevy Coachman RV as a work vehicle. 

As should be expected from a 50-year-old vehicle, it experienced a major mechanical issue. The motor home was inoperable, and Robinson spent several days attempting to fix it. Residents of the area found the RV to be an eyesore and had it towed from the McDonald’s parking lot.

In a tough situation, Robinson needed to pay $350 for the towing fees and an additional $75 per day storage fee. However, Dwayne can’t afford to rescue his vehicle. Even if he did, he has nowhere to park it where it wouldn’t risk getting towed again.

Cities Enforcing Stricter RV Parking Regulations

Over the last few years, cities and local municipalities have crafted strict rules and regulations regarding RV parking. These are mainly in response to individuals not correctly disposing of their trash and human waste. This can quickly create an unsanitary and unsafe situation for the area.

Olympia, Washington, is one of the cities getting overrun with RVs. As a result, the local government is implementing a permit system requiring users to agree to certain conditions. These include no violent behavior, one chair outside per person, and properly disposing of human waste and trash.

Full-Time RVers vs Homeless Living in RVs

Recently, there’s been a massive increase in full-time RVers. These individuals typically choose to sell their homes to live in their RV. For these people, the lifestyle is a choice. On the other hand, homeless people usually have no other option for places to live.

Not only is RV life a choice for full-timers, but their travel style is typically very different too. Homeless individuals usually stick to a specific city or local area. Meanwhile, RVers may frequently travel, using their mobile homestead to see and experience the country.

Many full-time RVers live relatively comfortable and luxurious lives. Full-timers are destroying the stereotype often associated with individuals living in campers. Many work from the road or find seasonal employment opportunities to fund their travels and adventures.

Pro Tip: Didn’t book a campsite in time? Find out Can You Park Overnight at McDonald’s?

RV transmission
Making RV repairs while on the road can be tricky. If you’re going to park publically to fix your RV, always get permission from the business first.

Proper RV Parking Lot Etiquette

If you plan to park your RV in a parking lot, know your etiquette. Otherwise, you could be in the same situation Dwayne Robinson experienced. Let’s look at a handful of rules you should follow, whether staying for a few hours or the night.

Ask For Permission to Park

Parking lots are private property, and you should never stay there without getting permission. Who you need to talk to depends on where you are. Whether it’s a McDonald’s or Walmart, you should speak to a manager or someone in a position to permit you to park, so you don’t get towed.

If possible, it’s a good idea to call ahead and get their blessing. However, even if they allow you to stay, you should take note of the individual’s name and check in with the store when you arrive. This can help you avoid unnecessarily putting yourself and your RV in a difficult situation or wasting your time, energy, and fuel.

Clean Up Trash

Nomads leaving trash behind when they’re done at a spot is one of the primary reasons for creating rules and regulations regarding RV parking. In fact, it was one of the underlying concerns of the residence Dwayne Robinson’s situation. However, Robinson insists he always cleaned up after himself.

Even if you’re not the type to litter, it’s a good idea to pick up any trash you see around your RV. People will assume you’re responsible for the mess, and you could take the blame for the mistakes of others. Keeping spots as clean as possible helps minimize the chances that areas will create or enforce parking regulations.

Don’t Overstay Welcome

Another essential piece of RV etiquette is not overstaying your welcome. Whenever parking in public places, you should limit your stays to no more than a single night. You should arrive late and arrive early to avoid being a nuisance or in the way.

If you must stay multiple nights in an area, pack up and find another place to park for the day. Once the sun sets, you can head back to where you plan to stay the night. However, you don’t want to wear out your welcome with the property owner or locals.

McDonalds at night with campervans
Places like McDonald’s, Walmart, and Cracker Barrel will typically let RVers use their parking lots for free.

Don’t Set Up Camp

Another major mistake you want to avoid when parking in public is setting up camp. This was another strike against Robinson with the locals. It looked like he was planning to stay awhile since he left stray fuel cans and other items lying around outside the rig.

A parking lot isn’t an RV campsite. If you stay overnight, don’t treat it like one. They’re not places to get out grills or other camping gear to make you feel at home. The more stuff you have outside your rig, the more likely you’ll attract negative attention to you and your RV.

Patronize the Business

It’s proper for anyone staying at a business to show their appreciation by patronizing the business. If you’re sleeping in a retailer’s parking lot, you should throw a few bucks their way. It’s a simple way of saying thanks and that you appreciate their hospitality.

Luckily, at some of the most popular spots for overnight parking, Walmart and Cracker Barrel, it’s easy to do. You can stock up on supplies or grab a quick bite to eat at the end of the day or in the morning. Showing your support by spending a few dollars is still a much more cost-effective option than campsite fees or a hotel. 

Pro Tip: If you are new to camping for free in your RV, make sure you know these Don’ts of Free Camping.

Plan for RV Parking Before You Go

Unfortunately, the days of parking for the night in any empty parking lot are likely behind us. Whether you live in your RV by choice or out of necessity, you must be careful where you park it at the end of the day. Remember to have a plan for where you’ll stay before you arrive. The last thing you want to do is to have your camper towed because you didn’t know or follow the rules. 

We can learn quite a bit from Dwayne Robinson’s RV getting towed from the McDonald’s parking lot. So don’t let you and your rig experience the same situation!

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