The dreaded window knock is the nightmare that overnight parkers fear. Many have heard of others experiencing it but have yet to encounter it themselves.
Luckily, one YouTuber caught his encounter on camera and shared it with his viewers. Learning from the mistakes of others is one of the best ways to learn.
Today, we’ll look at his incident and provide tips to help you avoid a similar situation.
Let’s get rolling!
What Is the Dreaded Window Knock that Campers Refer To?
We’re referring to the window knock when campers park in public spots to sleep. They’re typically doing so while using parking lots or other public spaces. However, some businesses and local ordinances don’t allow overnight parking.
When business owners or law enforcement catch individuals violating the rules, they’ll knock on the window to wake the violators. In most situations, they’ll simply ask them to move on their way and find another spot for the night. However, law enforcement may not always be as forgiving and could issue a citation or fine.
Who Is Travis Heinze?
Travis Heinze is a traveling YouTuber that makes most of his content regarding individuals he claims are violating his rights. He often puts himself in situations where he gets confronted by law enforcement or others in a position of authority. When asked to present his ID or answer questions, he often doesn’t back down from an encounter with officials.
Where Did Travis Get the Dreaded Window Knock?
Travis parked at a Walmart parking lot in Muscatine, Iowa. At approximately 10:00 PM, while Travis was inside his vehicle, three Walmart employees approached him. They knocked on his window and informed him that he could not sleep in his car in their parking lot.
They advised he could move to the local Farm and Fleet parking lot because they allow overnight parking. However, the video’s description states Farm and Fleet doesn’t allow overnight parking either.
Pro Tip: Avoid getting a knock on your RV door by avoiding these 7 Deadly Sins of Stealth Camping.
What Is Travis Heinze’s YouTube Channel Let’s Exchange IDs About?
Most of Travis Heinze’s content on his channel revolves around encounters with authority figures. He toes the line between standing up for himself and being disrespectful. Some individuals can’t handle him standing up for himself or questioning their authority.
The more dramatic interactions allow him to grow his channels and gain followers. He has over 60,000 subscribers, and some of his most popular videos have hundreds of thousands of views. A couple of his videos have reached more than a million views.
What Should You Do If You Get the Dreaded Window Knock?
How you handle yourself is crucial if you are unfortunate enough to experience the dreaded window knock. If someone of authority informs you that you cannot stay at their location, apologize for your behavior, pack your things, and move on your way. Anything that you say or do isn’t going to change their mind or make the situation better.
Depending on your attitude, the person demanding you leave may offer some assistance. They may know a spot that allows overnight parking or where you can rest for a few hours. However, they may withhold the information or give you inaccurate information if you behave disrespectfully or out of anger.
How Do You Find Overnight Parking?
Finding legal overnight parking places can be challenging, but technology can make it easier. Some apps like Campendium and iOverlander can help you find free spots to park for the night. These are great because other users can leave reviews and provide information about specific locations.
No matter what you’ve read online or found on an app, you need to look for any signs in the area. Rules and regulations can change with little notice, and a spot may no longer be available. However, just because you don’t see a sign doesn’t mean you’re free to park.
If you plan to park for the night at a business, you should call ahead to get permission. This will help you avoid the dreaded window knock and wasting your time and energy on a spot that doesn’t allow overnight parking. It’s much faster and easier to call and ask if a business allows overnight parking than to drive there.
What Is Good Etiquette When Camping Overnight in a Parking Lot?
If you find a spot to park for the night, there are several things that many in the community consider good etiquette. While these may not all be official rules, following this etiquette helps increase the chances that overnight spots remain available for others.
Ask for Permission
You should only park on private property after first getting permission. You probably wouldn’t like it if someone came and set up camp for the night on a piece of land you own. A business isn’t going to either. Just because you see an empty parking lot doesn’t mean it’s available.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big box retailer like Walmart or a restaurant like Cracker Barrel; you should always get permission. Ask to speak to a manager or someone with authority to grant your request. Be cordial and explain your situation. You’ll likely find that you win more battles than you lose by treating others with respect and decency.
Obey All Signs
If there’s a sign, it’s there for a reason. It may be more convenient to assume or think that a rule doesn’t apply to you, but it likely does. Some locations that allow overnight parking will post signs that state the limit. It’s hard to tell whether an area strictly enforces or monitors the length of time people stay.
If they are, a person of authority will let you know you’ve overstayed your welcome. Unfortunately, this could be a costly ticket or fine that would hurt your bank account.
Don’t Set Up Camp
Overnight parking is just that – overnight. Do not set up camp and overstay your welcome. In these situations, you’re simply looking for a spot to park while you get some sleep before hitting the road again.
Even if you plan to stay in the area, pack up your things as early as possible and move along to whatever adventure you have planned. Sitting in one spot or setting up camp will attract negative attention and increase the chances of the window knock.
Leave No Trace
One of the biggest reasons overnight parking spots get shut down is people not cleaning up after themselves. Many get tired of overnight guests trashing their property and leaving a mess for them to clean.
Leaving no trace means vacating a site as good as you found it or better. This means picking up any trash and reducing the impact on the land where you’re parking. Even if you’re not the type to leave a mess, you should clean up after others.
Pro Tip: Before you give stealth camping a try, make sure you know these 5 Things to Know About Stealth Camping.
Is Overnight Parking at Walmart Worth A Possible Window Knock?
Parking overnight at Walmart can be a great option, especially if you’re in a bind. However, you must research and verify the legalities in a particular area. Be respectful if you get a knock on your window in the middle of the night. These situations can go from bad to worse if you’re not. The last thing you want is to find yourself in legal troubles that you could have avoided.
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