Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another day, another Wal-Mart

I am at the Wal-Mart off Exposition in Aurora (map), one of the two other Wal-Marts in this town.

When last I posted, you may recall that I said I was moving over to the Aurora Elks lodge, and that is, indeed where I drove, only to find that it's... gone. The building now houses "Martha's Aurora Events Center," which was deserted when I arrived. A quick call to the number I had listed for the lodge revealed it to be disconnected.

The Elks is an organization in decline -- our own "home" lodge in Richland, Washington is in financial peril -- and this has happened to us before. We try not to go too far out of our way to find a lodge without calling ahead, since you never know. I later learned (once I got online and could dig into it) that the lodge sold the building last June. Odd that none of my on-line research ahead of time turned this fact up, but then, it took a good several minutes of digging on-line to figure it out, and that was already knowing it was closed.

In this case, I had a couple of backup options scoped out on the map, and I took a shot on coming here, even though I thought I might find it posted for no overnight parking. It is not so posted, and actually turns out to be a good spot.

This is an older and smaller store -- no groceries, and it's even small for a general merchandise store. I can't imagine it will be open much longer. Even so, it doesn't look like a traditional Wal-Mart -- it has a red brick facade, and non-standard signage. City ordinance, I imagine.

The garden center has expanded out into the parking lot in such a way that there is a small "orphaned" section of the lot, with only one way in, and thus not on the "way" to anything. It's also about as far from the doors as you can get. Consequently, it is completely empty. Large, mature trees surround it, providing shade and a good deal of privacy and stealthiness.

The good news is that I did not have to travel very far past the old Elks to get here. That's especially important because I have mail en route to the post office closest to the defunct lodge. My other backup option, the Englewood Elks, is another dozen or so miles further. My plan to get the mail on my scooter will have to be scrubbed, as we don't, as a rule, take the scooters out in a business parking lot except for emergencies.

This location is also just a block away from the mall, as well as several dining options. That ought to provide a needed diversion, as my other plans for the Elks will also have to be scrubbed: working on the Webasto (and maybe the HID floodlights). Again, we generally do not do outside work on the bus at a Wal-Mart, with the exception of installing items that we purchased there. Fortunately, there is no Webasto-weather on the horizon, and may not be now until fall.

With any luck, I will be able to stay here for two nights. If this spot seems uncomfortably obvious or in the way, I can move next door to the Sam's Club (although their lot appears busier and does not have a similarly orphaned section). That will just leave Friday night before I pick Louise back up at the airport Saturday, and I will either move back to the DIA Wal-Mart for one night, or perhaps get a jump on the holiday crowd and settle back in at the long-term shuttle lot in the airport, since I'm concerned I won't find a space there at all by Saturday.

If dinner and the mall, with its 16-plex cinema, does not keep me occupied for the evening, I discovered Wal-Mart has a Redbox Video dispenser here, and I might give that a try. We've lamented the fact that a service like NetFlix is unavailable to us on the road -- we don't rent movies, since tracking down a BlockBuster or whatever, picking up the movie, going someplace else to park for the night, then having to go back to the store to return it is way more hassle than it's worth. If these Redbox kiosks start popping up at Wal-Marts, though, it's a perfect fit: pick up a movie for a dollar, watch it while staying overnight in the parking lot, then drop it back off in the morning.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go update the Elks RV Parking discussion group with the news about Aurora.


  1. Sean
    Dawn here, wanted to say hi and welcome you to Denver Metro {wave}

  2. one more thing
    for a free redbox video
    promo 2052DL -valid today ONLY

  3. Redbox is great! They are cropping up everywhere.

    Love your blog - esp. the videos!


  4. @~dawn -- Don't know how far you are from Aurora Town Center, but I've got plenty of free time if you'd care to visit. Free tour of Odyssey! Also, thanks for the Redbox promo -- I'll see if I can use it tonight.

    @maureen and eric -- Thanks for the comment. Louise gets all the credit for the videos; she spends hours on them.

  5. Would love to stop by but getting off work now and then have a dentist appt. tomorrow, suhrry!

  6. Sean
    I think you will make good use of RedBox. How can you go wrong at $1.00/day. Those Redbox kiosk's are wired to the net! You can go to the Rebbox site & check inventory on the Redbox kiosk of your choice. You can also returm at ANY Redbox kiosk.
    -Robert McHenry
    Concord, NH

  7. Yes, you can rent a redbox dvd from one location and return it at a different location. That should be very convenient for you as you are traveling.

  8. We'll have to check out Redbox and see how they work for us. We've been full-timing for about a year and have found Netflix fairly easy to use while being mobile. They allow us to change our shipping address as often as need to so that our movies catch up with us. If we know we'll be visiting somewhere, we change our address there - other wise it goes to our our mail forwarding service in South Dakota that eventually catches up with us.

    Redbox is intriguing tho.

    - Cherie

  9. Netflix also has online options, all you need is a decent internet connection.

  10. @Ellobie -- The "Fair Access" download limitations on our high-speed satellite service mean that we can't download anything as large as a feature-length movie; we'd get our service restricted for 24 hours or so before we could even get to the end of the film.

    That might be a good option, though, next time we're on a free WiFi hotspot (rare, these days).

    @~dawn -- A big "thank you" for the promo code, it worked like a charm. And that was a nice visit, thanks for stopping by.

    @all -- OK, I'm sold on the Redbox thing. It was simple and easy to use, large selection (at least at this kiosk), and they kept me well-informed via email of the status of my transaction. Thanks to the promo that Dawn sent, my video this time (Ocean's 13, BTW) was free.

    About the only negative things I can say are (1) The DVD had a couple of scratches on it that caused it to actually have playback problems in two spots. No big deal, and I might have avoided the issue by cleaning the disk first with a microfiber towel. And (2) the kiosk was actually down for "inventory maintenance" when I went to return the DVD around 5pm or so. It was back up on my second attempt at 8:30, though, so my return was "on time."



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