Parking your car/RV/dadvan in a Wal-Mart parking lot to sleep in is a thing. Apparently Sam Walton was a big fan of it, too! I didn't know this before I went on tour, but I took full advantage on nights when I didn't have somewhere to stay, hunkering down in the Dadvan.
Now, it may sound like a horrible way to spend a night, but there are actually some nice perks:
- Non-disgusting bathrooms
- Wi-Fi, if you park close enough
- natural white noise machines (aka 18-wheelers coming and going)
Now, some of these may sound less like perks and more like basic necessities, even annoyances, but I assure you, when you've resigned yourself to sleeping in a Wal-Mart parking lot, anything can seem like a luxury.
Without further ado, here are the top 6 (of 6 total) Wal-Mart parking lots visited by Xave on the Dadvan Tour 2016.
6. New Liskeard, Ontario - New Liskeard is at the bottom of the list because of this location's unfortunate lack of proximity to any restaurants open past 11PM. You might think this is not Wal-Mart's fault, but if Wal-Mart is really in the business of catering to the cross-Canada traveler (which I assume is the most lucrative silo of its business), it should be making efforts to provide any and all of said traveler's needs.
5. Pincher's Creek, Alberta - Pincher's Creek was probably the least pleasant of my Wal-Mart experiences. First, an absolutely insane lightning and dust storm turned southern Alberta into a nightmarish hellscape; not my favourite late-night driving conditions. Second, this location seemed to be some sort of high-volume way-station for overnight truckers, preventing sleep from coming easily. Third, I got pulled over early the next morning when the speed limit went from 110 to 50 and I was clocked going 72, and upon being questioned about where I was coming from, I'm pretty sure I said "uhh.. Pinterest Creek?" (I got off with a warning.) But this Wal-Mart redeemed itself because it provided me with a morning fruit drink-smoothie thing which claimed to have literally 89 servings of fruit, a necessity after all the A&Ws along the Trans-Canada highway.
4. Dryden, Ontario - I literally don't remember a single thing from this Wal-Mart. I can't even remember what it looks like. I'm pretty sure it looks like a Wal-Mart, but I'm not entirely sure.
3. North Battleford, Saskatchewan - This Wal-Mart wasn't that great, but it was my first ever Wal-Mart parking lot experience, so it will forever hold a special place in my heart. Nobody's first time is ever that great in retrospect; but it is always special.
2. Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - This Wal-Mart climbed the list because you could park off the parking lot on the grass, getting a bit more separation from the street and the lights. It was also right beside a park, which doubled as a bathroom for a late-arriving traveler, and turned out in the morning to actually be a golf course.
1. Salmon Arm, British Columbia - Well, it turns out even the Wal-Marts in BC are beautiful. This particular WM had installed a path around most of the periphery which made for a nice walk and view of the mountains. There seemed to be more campers hanging out outside of their vehicle than normal, likely to take in the scenery, which was decidedly not an attraction in a place like North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Two thumbs up, highly recommended Wal-Mart.
*Wal-Mart pictured not actually from given location, is just generic Wal-Mart. But you never would have known.