Road Rage in Fort Lauderdale

by Rachel Gertz

Day 108

Another Walmart Parking Lot

Just so you don’t think it’s all wine and roses on the road, consider this: we manage to spend entire days driving from parking lot to parking lot all over metropolitan cities such as Fort Lauderdale, only to be turned away by insidious “No RV parking” signs. Walter is big, uncoordinated, and as good looking as he is, he sucks at elocution.

Today was one of those days. As we thoughtfully attempted to book RV parks in Miami (note to self: book eleven months in advance), we realized that we would be ‘homeless’ for the rest of the week. That is, held captive in the clutches of a corporate giant (aka Walmart) for days. Now, even for the really RV-savvy, three or more days of boon docking means you will have no water, a full sewage tank (or at least a stinking one), and the twitches from your lack of sleep in crime ridden Walmarts or abandoned malls. Two days is doable, but five to seven? Hah. Only if you don’t value your sanity or personal hygiene.

This is the fun packed day we had:

  • Booked our stays in Key West and Austin, TX and spent all morning on the phone and Google maps.
  • Bolted from the abandoned West Palm Beach mall parking lot after two cars started repeatedly circling around us. Didn’t stick around to find out their intentions. Left at noon and drove for an hour to Fort Lauderdale.
  • Landed in a Target shopping centre so we could shower and eat a quick ham sandwich, but this Target was in a shopping centre, so we knew we couldn’t catch any Zeds there. Left at 3: 30pm.
  • Tried to stop for gas at a Chevron, but the pump was broken. We nearly clipped the bikes off the back pulling through the narrow lane; the inclines are always steep too, so we we risk losing Bella, our scooter, every time we hit a slant. It is now 4:00pm.
  • We got back on the freeway and rolled into the Hard Rock Cafe Casino (since casinos are mostly RV friendly), hoping for an adoring welcome. NO RV PARKING signs glinted angrily back at us, further reinforced by the police towers hovering in the lot for the Superbowl. 4: 20pm.
  • Back on the freeway to a narrow Exxon. This time gas pumping was succesfull. 4:50pm.
  • Programmed another Walmart into the GPS, but Travis turned Walter around because I was pouting. He asked me where I wanted to go. “To the beach!” I said. So we headed east. It is now 5pm. The sun would set in an hour.
  • Several wrong turns later, we are moving along a narrow beach front road, looking for sand and the last chip of sun. Wrong turn leads to dead ends. Parking lots close in half an hour, but want to charge us $7 anyway. 5:20pm.
  • Can’t park or turn around, keep heading south. No cafes, no more parking lots. Just a narrow strip of black top and one direction. 5:30pm.
  • Programmed another Walmart into GPS. Saw it as we haul ourselves over a drawbridge, and lo and behold it loomed in the impending dark. 5:37pm.
  • Hunkered down in a corner with rickety shopping carts and other RVs and semi-trucks. Hoping that Carl, the security guard in the old Buick will just move along and realize we are the least of his security concerns. We just want to reflect upon the day, and drink some fine Samuel Adams cream stout. 10:11pm.

So all of you critics that think we just sip margaritas on jeweled beaches all day while sending emails and playing tic tac toe— you are gravely mistaken.

We only do that on Tuesdays.

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