By Janet Groene, F47166
When a hospital permits RV parking in one of its lots, a difficult medical situation becomes much easier for RVers with medical emergencies or in need of specialized treatment, especially full-timers. Here are firsthand experiences from several FMCA members.
“My husband had cardiac arrest and subsequently bypass surgery while we were on a motorhome trip in Oregon,” said Jeannie Hinton-Gregerson, F175698. “Thanks to the quick action of paramedics and friends, we were able to save his life. He was in Good Samaritan [Regional Medical Center] in Corvallis, Oregon, for 18 days. During this time our rig was parked in the hospital parking lot with water and electric hookups free. A dump [station] was a few blocks away.
“It was wonderful to be at his bedside all day and have our comfortable motorhome to go to at night,” Jeannie said. “The nurses even walked me out to the motorhome one night when the security guard was not available to do so. What a great hospital. He received the best of care.” Thanks to Bert Gowdy, F206771, for writing about the same hospital. “They also offer housing at the Mario Pastega House for the extended family,” he said.
Dennis and Jeanne Newton, F262034, reported that St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, has full hookups for patients and their families at the Jeld-Wen Family Stay Park. “People travel over 100 miles to get to Bend for the quality of medical care here,” said the Newtons. Also in Oregon is Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford. According to Cliff and LaVonne Rucker, F185194, the center has a half-dozen RV sites. “It’s a very excellent hospital just eight blocks off Interstate 5,” they reported.
FMCA members who asked not to be identified recommended Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Oregon. They said it has nice spaces and is a great hospital in a nice town with access to things that RVers need. They pointed out that the hospital is just five minutes from Southern Oregon Diesel in Roseburg, and is only an hour south of Coburg, home of Monaco Coach Corporation and its service center, as well as a Coach Care facility, and Cummins Northwest.
Joe and Kay Demarte, F296246, traveled from Indio, California, to Phoenix, Arizona, for the birth of their first grandchild at Phoenix Baptist Hospital. They asked security whether they could stay overnight in the back of the parking lot, and the guard not only gave permission but he pointed out a place where they could plug in for electric. Congratulations on the new baby, Grandma and Grandpa, and thanks for sharing!
John and Sandra Pritchett, F157947 reported seeing RVs hooked up in the parking lot of Providence Hospital in Mobile, Alabama, but noted they hadn’t stayed there themselves. Some years ago the couple did stay in a camping area on the grounds of Bay Medical Center in Panama City, Florida, only a block from the front door of the hospital where Sandra’s father was undergoing surgery.
If you happen to be in east Texas, check out Tomball Regional Hospital, located just north of Houston, suggested full-timer Robert Tripp, F368142. The hospital has four sites with water and electricity. “This was most helpful when our mother was in the hospital,” he wrote. “It would be so nice if more hospitals would offer this option.”
Ray and Karen Nellis, F235635, stayed in the parking lot at Appleton (Wisconsin) Medical Center a few years ago. “We checked with security first and told them why we needed to be there,” they explained. The hospital also has a house where a room can be rented for several nights.
“I can’t guarantee that [RV parking] is still available since there has been some construction at or near this site,” said Ed Williams, F310125, but three years ago he found approximately 10 RV sites at the Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic Guesthouse. He recommended that travelers check ahead for current availability. “[The Cleveland Clinic] is number one in heart care in the U.S.,” he said.
“Realizing I could go no further on our trip back to Maine this past April, my wife called the Virginia State Police asking for the nearest hospital north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel,” related Stephen D. Morrison, F87507. “They directed us to the little town of Nassawadox, Virginia, where we found the largest building in that part of the state — Shore Memorial Hospital. I was immediately taken to the emergency room where they began testing and treating me for pneumonia.
“No campgrounds within a reasonable distance, and my wife is hesitant to drive our Class C motorhome. She asked the administrator if it would be possible to park the motorhome somewhere on the grounds where it could be plugged into electricity. A short time later maintenance personnel arrived. They moved the motorhome to the rear of the grounds next to their building and plugged into a 20-amp circuit. Although out of the ordinary for the hospital, they handled our problem in short order, which enabled my wife the convenience of visiting me during my recovery.”
Other RV hookups. Check out these hospitable RV parks, too. Find campground information in campground directories; call hospitals about their RV parking rules and availability.
- Quail Crossing RV Park in Waco, Texas, offers overnight and long-term rates. The park is close to Hillcrest Hospital, Scott & White Clinic, Providence Hospital, and the VA Hospital.
- Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, Texas, has RV spaces with water and electric.
- Trailer Inns RV Park of Seattle/Bellevue, C8238, off Interstate 90 at exit 11, offers a 10 percent discount for travelers who are in the area for hospitalization.
- RV sites are rented to patients at the University Health Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Proof of hospital care is required. There’s also a KOA nearby.
- In Southeast Arizona, Twin Buttes Mobile Home Park & RV Community is handy to the Southeast Arizona Medical Center in Douglas, Copper Queen Community Hospital in Bisbee, and the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center.
- Dalmonts RV Trailer Corral in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is just off Interstate 10, close to the university and hospital.
- San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, New Mexico, has RV spaces for $10 a day through the Connelly Hospitality House, (505) 324 2273.
Some hospital RV parking basics:
- The old cliche says it’s easier to apologize than to ask permission, but that doesn’t apply here. Ask and be prepared to show proof of hospital admission.
- Even if you’re not looking for an overnight stay, it’s wise to call ahead before arriving in a large motorhome. Super-size medical complexes such as the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles have special parking areas for RVs, because they won’t fit in regular parking lots.
- Be a good neighbor. Bad apples have ruined many other aspects of full-timing, and this is one door we don’t want closed to us.
- When your emergency is over and you move on, please write a letter to the hospital administrator expressing gratitude for the special hospitality extended to RVers and, if possible, enclose a donation.
News to use. Traveling With Your Pet ($17.95), the AAA book about pet-friendly lodgings, is out in its eighth edition. The bulk of the book is dedicated to hotels and motels, but it’s worth buying for the sections on campgrounds, pet parks, and animal clinics.
If you use e-mail and would like to participate in my Full-Timer’s Opinion Panel, please e-mail me at email@example.com. You will be contacted with occasional questions and can remain anonymous if you wish.