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Old 07-04-2016, 08:18 AM   #1
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Stealth skoolie?

I am considering going the Skoolie route, but would prefer to maintain a lower profile than a psychedelic paint job. Do you suppose any of these might work? I need to move family belongings across the country, and will be camping in the back along the way. I would envision using blackout curtains inside the windows for all of the following. Thoughts?

Note that a 1' x 4' magnetic sign only costs $33 or so, plus ten bucks for shipping: (http://www.stickersbanners.com/magnetic-signs.html

White paint job, with "Activity Bus" signs on the side and front, and park in school parking lots? Would probably need to leave before dawn during the school year (or earlier).

White paint job, with "Church Bus" signs on the side and front, and park behind churches? Ought to make arrangements first (I would suspect that with references of how at previous churches we left no mess a good number of pastors would play along, mid-week at least.)

Olive drab matte paint job, with a few numbers painted on the sides, and park outside National Guard armories?

White paint job and "Quarantine Transport" and park outside hospitals?

Blue paint job with a WalMart asterisk in yellow, and just stay there?

Blue paint job and "UN Detention Transport" and park outside preppers' homes? (Joke.)

OK, so maybe this won't work. But we are hoping to save some dough and renting space along the way (or being turned away from proper campgrounds) does not appeal. But comments might be intriguing...
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Old 07-04-2016, 08:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
I am considering going the Skoolie route, but would prefer to maintain a lower profile than a psychedelic paint job
Haven't seen many psychedelic paint jobs on here. Any normal solid color would almost automatically not identify you as a "hippie".

Although I do like the "UN Detention Transport" idea.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:04 AM   #3
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...Although I do like the "UN Detention Transport" idea.
Once, at a Y2K prepper event in San Diego, a pastor friend and I were waiting for someone. Just for fun he took out a pocket notepad and pretended to write down license plates of folks entering the parking lot. One fellow watched him from a distance for awhile and turned around.

Not sure if I want to tweak folks that badly, but it is an intriguing thought... That poster of Jack Nicholson comes to mind: "I know the voices in my head aren't real - but they come up with great ideas sometimes!"
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:32 AM   #4
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people say my bus is Prison bus colors.. though I suppose the 'DEV RANDOM' across the top gives that away.. but even though the wal-mart parking lots have signs stating "dont park here" I often see semi's and RV's parked out at the ends of the large super-center lots...

at one time wal-mart was completely RV friendly and invited people to stop... my guess is liability changed that so they put up the signs but may not actively enforce..

many pastors drive by their churches wquite often and would notice a church bus that wasnt theirs...

police acrively patrol school lots as they are vandalism targets...

-Christopher
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:33 AM   #5
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I have a thought.....

Make it look like an RV and hide amongst the other RV's that overnight on WalMart parking lots.

I am not the biggest fan of WalMart overall but I wont throw stones because Sam has let me sleep in his driveway for a cumulative 2-3 years. Not kidding. I have spent that many nights sleeping on WalMart parking lots all over the country.

Other than the WalMart in Plainview Texas, I have had wonderful luck staying at WalMart. Per their corporate policy, they support the RV community but it is up to each store manager to decide whether we are welcome or not. So far Plainview is the only unfriendly I have found.

I have also been welcomed at a number of Home Depot stores and enjoyed the free Internet.

I have found that reasonably polite and presentable when you go into the store and picking up an item or two for dinner while asking permission to park overnight works wonders. At non-WalMart locations I have had 90%+ success rate. Not 100% though. I have been told no a few times and had to buck up and move. BTW: At WalMart you don't really need to ask. One of our local WalMart's actually has signs for RV parking.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:33 AM   #6
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Just a solid color or two-tone paint job and no lettering at all. For one thing, you don't to be false advertising or you'll actually be drawing unwanted attention. I've joked about matte black with NSA SURVEILLANCE VAN in large letters and 'not an' in small letters above it.

In seriousness though, like last week I kept getting passed by a fleet of blue and gray OTR buses but they had no marking on them. They had government plates so I knew it was some agency or agency-adjacent. I caught up with them at a truck stop and ends up they were the Air Force Band on their way back to Colorado Springs. They aren't allowed to actually put their identity on the bus anymore... Go figure.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:34 AM   #7
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I know! Add a doughnut shop logo and park outside police stations!
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
... wal-mart parking lots have signs stating "dont park here" I often see semi's and RV's parked out at the ends of the large super-center lots...
Intriguingly, ours has "No overnight semis" signs, but RVs are welcome.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:44 AM   #9
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i forgot about Home Depot.. the couple that are near me also rent trucks... and parking amongst the rental trucks would be rather easy place to hide out...

one of my favorite coffee shops is near a Home depot.. and soince I love using my bus as a daily driver (for real).. I often park the bus there at Home depot for a few hours at a time and theyve never said a word to me.. (I do buy a lot of stuff for my house in there too)..

-Christopher
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:47 AM   #10
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RE the Walmart parking situation... I think more of it is the local parking ordinances than Walmart policy. All Walmarts have the no overnight parking signs but many don't enforce it unless compelled to by the city. If the store is on an outskirts of town or the town itself is truck friendly then they don't run off truckers or RVs. Some may also be RV friendly but not truck friendly as I've learned.

Also, Cabela's are large vehicle friendly and usually easy to get in and out of.

Sometimes Harley Davidson dealerships are truck and RV friendly.

Some parts of the country even McDonald's and other fast food joints have a limited amount of large vehicle parking although I don't think their intentions are to support overnight parking.

I would also just like to point out that even if you see trucks doing it, don't assume it's acceptable. Truckers' hours are governed by federal regulation and therefore places like Walmart or Lowe's which receive their goods in truckload delivery need to let THEIR drivers park and rest but don't want that to be carte blanche for other trucks and RVs to assume they can also. Even at truck stops, it may seem no harm for an RV to park overnight but if you look around you'll realize there's a huge shortage of truck acceptable parking nationwide. Every night every truck stop and rest area is overflowing with trucks. Trucks stops are actually cashing in on this by slowly changing more and more of their parking to paid reserve parking, so when the free spots are full trucks have no choice but to cough up for parking because they cannot legally go further to the next available safe haven. It grinds their gears when they see RVs in the free spots AND sometimes taking up two spots with their slideouts open, free camping in a space they require to keep doing their job legally. There is little worse than getting in the way of a working person.
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:51 AM   #11
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This appears to be a relatively good source of WalMart parking info:

RV Parking at Walmart – Walmart Locator
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Old 07-05-2016, 12:08 PM   #12
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How about 24hr fitness centers.? not sure of a good color for that but has any one have any experiance with these buisnesses or similar.?
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Old 07-05-2016, 12:51 PM   #13
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Suggestions for free overnight parking:

Walmart. Some are cool with it, others not so much. Some (locally) don't even bother with "no overnight parking" signs; I think this is a local ordinance issue and if the city isn't strict on enforcing it, the store isn't either.
Home Depot. OK, so I have no experience with them myself, but I'd give it a try. Never hurts to ask. Probably same deal on the local ordinances.
Truck stops. Some have paid parking but will waive the charge with a fill up - sometimes a minimum amount of gallons. Many (especially in less densely populated areas) don't bother with paid parking. *TIP* Don't back all the way in a parking space, back far enough so a passing trucker can see the front of your bus (they will see the spot is occupied and not attempt to back into it). And I agree, RV'ers should not extend their slideouts to use more than one spot; truckers have a severe shortage of truck stop parking as it is without some Jacka$$ using an adjacent spot with their slideouts (I understand Walmart policy frowns on this too).
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Old 07-05-2016, 02:44 PM   #14
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I like the "church bus" idea, I actually considered that myself because, who is gonna mess with a church group?

I never really wanted to draw any attention to myself, as I am a stealth camper when in town, WalMarts, Home Depot, or anyone else I do business with that has a decent parking lot.

My biggest advice is tinted windows - Home depot has some cheap blackout tint (just over $100 for all my winders) and limit what people can see inside the rig without looking like you are hiding - I got a few knocks when I had Reflectix in the windows, but not since tinting and black curtains (just looks dark instead of curtains.)
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Old 07-05-2016, 04:27 PM   #15
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how hard is it to tint school bus windows?
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Old 07-05-2016, 06:11 PM   #16
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We've been 14,000 miles all over the country with our bus and usually stay in truck stops, rest areas, and Walmart parking lots when we're not boondocking. Never once have had a problem. If you go to a Pilot, Flying J, or Love's you're also allowed to park overnight in their regular front parking lot. Often they have actual RV spaces up front. Keep in mind we also have a goat that lives in the back of our bus and is clearly visible. And two dogs and three cats. No one has ever given us grief, even when we park in the back truck lot with the generator running. Most of the time the truckers are admiring the bus rather than being grumpy about us taking up a space. We also have Reflectix cut out for each of our windows that we hang in place with a piece of tape when we need it. It works great for times when you'd rather not have someone peeking inside. One 25'x4' roll was sufficient for all the windows.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:08 PM   #17
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I actually laughed out loud at the title....

You could paint these things Camo and they still stand out!
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:54 PM   #18
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:57 PM   #19
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I talked with a Walmart manager once when we were traveling & wanted to stay in their lot, what he told me was if it's a stand alone Walmart with their own lot then they allow overnite parking if the lot is shared with other businesses then it's generally not allowed.
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Old 07-06-2016, 03:42 PM   #20
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We stopped at a Walmart in Grand Junction Colorado a couple of years ago and there were "No overnight parking" signs all over the parking lot. However there were RVs parked in the usual spots at the edge of the parking lot. We went in asked the manager if it was all right to park for the night and she said sure no problem. She added that the city made them post the signs but the city never sends anyone to check for overnighters and never kicked anyone out. So we stayed for the night and it actually worked out well for us.
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