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Old 09-06-2022, 10:21 AM   #1
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RVs at rest stops on the trucker side

Another somewhat newbie questions:

I-state driving wears me out. With my truck and rig, I am about 42 feet long

Rest stops: Anything wrong with parking to nap, or spending the night on the trucker side? Long parking slots, easy to get in/out. Seems common sense as the car side typically doesnt have long slots to park in, some do, some dont)

Understanding it can be loud with rigs idling, and not understanding the legality of spending the night (if any, although truckers do)

1. Truckers: Your thoughts?
2. Who spends the night at rest stops: Good/bad experiences?
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Old 09-06-2022, 10:55 AM   #2
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Melvin,


Other than the big rigs idling all night I've had no problems catching a little rest in the truckers lanes. Buses also park there. I've been told that Flying J & other truck stops offer them too.



On I-80 in Ohio they have RV specific parking areas with water & electric (for a price). Other states are following suit.


You can Google a particular I-state route to find out if there are any RV lanes on your route.
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Old 09-06-2022, 10:56 AM   #3
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Most rest area want trailers and trucks in the same section. Some have separate parking for cars with trailers but they are few and far between.

We have stayed overnight in rest areas a few times over the years and never had a problem with it other than the noise you already mentioned. As long as you can get to the bedroom without opening the slide out and blocking the space next to you everything should be OK.

Personally I do not like staying in rest area because of the constant noise. Plus we drive short days and usually are off the road at 4 or 5 in the afternoon so we get a campground spot.
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Old 09-06-2022, 11:37 AM   #4
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Between the noise from idling, the general comings and goings, the noise from the highway (!), and the not-entirely-negligible possibility of "problems" in the wee hours, my general takeaway is that rest stops aren't the greatest places to overnight. However, my rig is a hybrid, so I'm a lot more susceptible to such (and would likely turtle up to do so).

Personally speaking, I'd much rather find a Cracker Barrel parking lot, but - better yet - we've discovered some really great hidden gem camping spots with surprisingly/very low overnight costs (county parks and the like). Upside is that these places actually WANT you to come, and have all the amenities that a trailer needs (eg, if you want to dump, etc).

That being said, it's definitely okay to catch a quick nap in a Rest Area, and GENERALLY okay to sleep in your rig overnight; note that you're neither camping (pitching a tent), nor parking (and leaving your car).

A decentish article describing such is here: https://rvblogger.com/blog/states-let-you-overnight-in-rest-areas/, but you might look for specifics in each state you visit.
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Old 09-06-2022, 11:47 AM   #5
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As a fleet manager who runs about 70 drivers and hauls a TT, I have mixed feelings on this subject. Truck parking across North America is on a whole terrible. Highway rest areas are full early, truck stops fill quickly too. That is the reason you see big rigs parked on off and on ramps. They are not lazy, just can't find parking where they should park. Most shippers will not allow drivers to take the mandatory breaks in the yard. Most law enforcement are lenient to a degree, but I still get quite a few calls from agencies about my trucks being somewhere they are not supposed to be.

As for parking, we understand the RV needs and for the most part accept the first come first served ideology of parking for big / long rigs.

Like someone said just don't take up 2 lanes with slides or steps.

As for my travels we try for truck stops with RV lanes or the occasional walmart / cracker barrel. I have also started to use churches. Harvest Hosts seems to have a fair amount of churches on our routes. A $20 donation to the youth group and a nice big empty quiet lot seems a fair deal to me.

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Old 09-06-2022, 11:58 AM   #6
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it all depends on the state in which the rest stop is located. most want trucks w/ trailers (ie all the campers) to go into the truck parking area. they don't have room for us in the car lots. additionally, the rest stops i usually pull into here on the east coast often post no overnight parking (Md in particular). i also know that truck drivers need the spot more than i do - i go in to use the rest room and then go on my way and i always find a campground to stay at for overnight.
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Old 09-06-2022, 12:24 PM   #7
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As you approach a rest area, you'll see a sign pointing rvs to the parking spots.
Most rest stops force you to the truck parking... even for a quick restroom break. We were 40' long and no way we could fit in car parking. However, there are rest areas that had rv parking areas within the car parking.

When we towed a trailer, we'd stop for restroom breaks at rest areas and when we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere and were too tired to drive. Parking between trucks was not a good experience for the truckers or us. The noisy diesel engines make it uncomfortable to breath and sleep. Plus we knew that they were working and had no where else to stop when forced to by law or need to sleep.

The truckers were friendly and sometimes we'd see them looking over the rig and checking on us on our journey.

Frankly, we never really felt 'safe' at a rest stop for any length of time. Too many people coming and going. So we'd bite the bullet and reserve a campsite for overnight. We slept better and were ready for the next days leg of the journey.
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Old 09-06-2022, 01:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melvinjo View Post
Another somewhat newbie questions:

I-state driving wears me out. With my truck and rig, I am about 42 feet long

Rest stops: Anything wrong with parking to nap, or spending the night on the trucker side? Long parking slots, easy to get in/out. Seems common sense as the car side typically doesnt have long slots to park in, some do, some dont)

Understanding it can be loud with rigs idling, and not understanding the legality of spending the night (if any, although truckers do)

1. Truckers: Your thoughts?
2. Who spends the night at rest stops: Good/bad experiences?
I have parked and napped at truck stop areas during daytime hours. No one has ever said anything negative to me. Just like everything else, I am sure some people don't like seeing RVs parking in truck parking areas.

Unless posted otherwise, I assume those spaces are reserved for oversized vehicles, not necessarily just 18 wheelers.
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Old 09-06-2022, 04:03 PM   #9
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I have a 45' fifth wheel, so I an not a lot shorter than semis/trailers.


My thoughts:
1. Rest areas - first come/first served. They are generally provided via tax dollars and I feel I have just as much right as a trucker to the spots when needed.


2. Truck stops - did you buy your fuel there? Other things? First come/first served here, too, but I don't generally do this if I can help it or if any other options are available. If you don't buy stuff there, don't park there. If it is paid parking - back to first come/first served.

3. At my length, Cracker Barrel is often not a reliable choice. Wal-mart can be iffy but generally workable. Getting into and out of places without reviewing Google Maps sat view is a fool's game lol.


I am not oblivious to the plight of the OTR trucker, but I have as much right to rest to operate safely as the next driver. I do try to avoid taking up spots during peak rest periods, though, to try to help the balance a little.
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Old 09-06-2022, 04:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Reverse_snowbird View Post
As you approach a rest area, you'll see a sign pointing rvs to the parking spots.

Most rest stops force you to the truck parking... even for a quick restroom break. We were 40' long and no way we could fit in car parking. However, there are rest areas that had rv parking areas within the car parking.



When we towed a trailer, we'd stop for restroom breaks at rest areas and when we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere and were too tired to drive. Parking between trucks was not a good experience for the truckers or us. The noisy diesel engines make it uncomfortable to breath and sleep. Plus we knew that they were working and had no where else to stop when forced to by law or need to sleep.



The truckers were friendly and sometimes we'd see them looking over the rig and checking on us on our journey.



Frankly, we never really felt 'safe' at a rest stop for any length of time. Too many people coming and going. So we'd bite the bullet and reserve a campsite for overnight. We slept better and were ready for the next days leg of the journey.
Fyi: In NC, many state rest areas have trailer parking spaces in the car area, but often they are occupied by inconsiderate drivers of single vehicles.

By the time you discover this, you will be beyond the entrance to the truck parking. No way to backtrack. Best to go to the truck area in the first place.
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Old 09-06-2022, 04:19 PM   #11
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You don't say if you are retired or not.
Before we retired, we would sometimes overnight in the previosly mentioned 'free' areas due to length of driving days and shortage of time. Never had any problems, but real rest doesn't come easy in any of them. Always used spots designated for semis and/or RVs.
After retirement, have never used them again. No need. No schedule We just make sure our travel day plan lets us get to an RV park.
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Old 09-07-2022, 08:50 AM   #12
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Totally see this point NMWildcat. We are not yet retired, so your description of long days and shortage of time still applies to us. But those who are retired and can make the journey part of the adventure, I would not opt to stay in parking lots for restful nights.
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Old 09-07-2022, 09:29 AM   #13
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On one way pull parking spots at rest areas I only pull in far enough to the rear of my trailer is where the rear of the semi-trailers sit. If I pull thru so the nose of my truck is where the semis are I had trucks thinking my slot was empty when they see the "empty" gap between the trailers and almost pulling in behind me. (Hope this makes sense.)

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Old 09-07-2022, 09:50 AM   #14
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I am retired

But frankly, the expense of spending every night in a campground is not needed for me: When I travel I like to spend one night boonddocking (rest stop, truck stop, parking lot), etc. Then one night at a full hook up

Id rather spend the saved money on fuel to travel more

Great pionts folks, thanks
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Old 09-07-2022, 09:52 AM   #15
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I use the truck/trailer spots when taking a break. One thing I've seen, there are SOME rest areas that don't allow overnight parking...

FWIW, I limit my drive time to under 6 hours and have always spent the night in a trailer park...
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Old 09-07-2022, 10:04 AM   #16
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On one way pull parking spots at rest areas I only pull in far enough to the rear of my trailer is where the rear of the semi-trailers sit. If I pull thru so the nose of my truck is where the semis are I had trucks thinking my slot was empty when they see the "empty" gap between the trailers and almost pulling in behind me. (Hope this makes sense.)

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Makes sense to me. Learned that the hard way when a truck started to pull in behind us and had to back up. He wasn't happy, but just shook his head when he saw two 'grey' hairs were driving.
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Old 09-07-2022, 10:05 AM   #17
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We are at the point in our life where the $$ for the one-night stay at a pull thru site in a KOA is worth it. You can almost always find a spot in a nearby KOA and that allows for a hot shower, which is a must in my book after a hard day of driving.
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Old 09-07-2022, 11:00 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
On one way pull parking spots at rest areas I only pull in far enough to the rear of my trailer is where the rear of the semi-trailers sit. If I pull thru so the nose of my truck is where the semis are I had trucks thinking my slot was empty when they see the "empty" gap between the trailers and almost pulling in behind me. (Hope this makes sense.)

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It does.
And I do the same.
Especially with a shorter trailer.
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Old 09-07-2022, 11:41 AM   #19
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I regularly use truck stops and rest areas to spend the night. Whenever we take weekend trips, we leave right after work on Thursday or Friday (I have every other Friday off), and get as far as we can that night. We also park on the truck/trailer side. Any time after 8 pm, and it's really hit or miss if there are any spots open. If there aren't any, we continue to the next one, until we find a spot.

What I like about these spots is the quick and easy on/off to get a fast start in the morning. If we were retired and the time savings was not as important, I don't think we'd do this very often, maybe not at all.

I understand that not all truckers appreciate RVs using 'their' spaces, but we are all entitled to use them, unless posted otherwise.

If I use a truck stop, I ALWAYS fuel up there and grab coffee in the morning from them.
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Old 09-07-2022, 12:18 PM   #20
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Rest areas are for everyone. First come first served. I agree with others to not pull up far making the spot look empty. Since my stairs are the fold out style I leave my porch light on to help keep it visible. The spots are not wide enough to open my slide unfortunately (40" deep). If I can find a spot along the outside that I can park or see others parking at, then I will use that and open slides.

Truck Parking areas on side of highway are for trucks.

Roadside picnic areas (yeah, talking to you NM and TX) are just rest stops so fair game.

Traditional truck stops like Flying J, Loves, TA I don't like to use even if I am filling up and buying food there. If they have designated RV spots and allow overnight then okay.

Large unpaved or "truck stop like" places with no designated parking spots (no painted lines) are fair game and I use them often as I can usually get on the edge in order to open the slide since my trailer is basically useless with it closed.

BLM land out west or NFS land that is pretty close to the highway is easy but not always unoccupied, especially near the cities. Can be a lot of homeless camping there as they move from spot to spot.
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