View Full Version : Overnighting at Truck Stops

03-03-2010, 07:51 AM
This is an expansion of a previous post about Pilot Truck Stops.

We currently use CG's or motels for overnighting on the road and this seems too expensive an option for what we need (a bed and a morning shower). Because of this we don't venture very far anymore and would like to change that. We are now versed in knowing about Walmarts or other large stores that overnight, but these tend to be too far off the road.

For anyone who has stayed overnight at a truck stop which one did you stay at? What other things were you able to do there - showers, dining, supplies? What concerns would there be - parking area, facilities? We are not bothered much by the noise (we use ear plugs), and I don't mind using public facilities but DW does, so I'm trying to get a feel for what to expect.

Thanks all!

Mrs. CountryGuy
03-03-2010, 08:55 AM
We have not done this, but I have to say we have seen a LOT of Walleyworlds that are JUST off some expressway or I road.

Get a lookie see at the road maps they sell in walleys that list their stores.

And, remember, not all walleys will or can allow you to stay.

We do stop at quite a few as we run, we pull in, sometimes just for a short break and some times for a grocery run.

indy roadrunner
03-03-2010, 12:06 PM
Art, here is some things to consider. Some of the Flying J's have separate areas for RV. Usually a good food establishment as truckers likes good meals, restrooms can be iffy depending on time of day. And a nice little convience store for goodies. Remember "Ladies of the Night" tend to frequent truck stops so just be aware of your surroundings. I have did a few Wal Marts in my days, I always check at the customer service counter and usually after I have deposited a few dollars into the Walmart account with the plastic bags of goodies to show for it.
Some Love Truck stops are about the same as Flying J's but seems like the Pilots I have stopped to fuel or take a short break, well I just didn't feel real safe. But That is just me and the only pilots I have been in have been Indiana, Illinois, Mo and Ky.

03-03-2010, 03:09 PM
We sometimes use Wal-mart's We shower etc. in the camper. Biggest issue for us sometimes is no AC in the summer so it works best in spring and fall since we do not have a genset.

03-03-2010, 07:29 PM
Regarding Truck Stops: Please do not take up a truckers resting spot. Remember that as RVers we are not mandated to stop but Truckers are required to rest.

Fortunately many Truck Stops also have some dedicated RV areas. Find them and use them rather than parking where the trucks are.


03-04-2010, 03:58 PM
We've only overnighted at one FJ, in Winchester VA. Found the RV area crowded, tight maneuvering and filled early. Maybe others are better, but so far we prefer Walmart. We normally call 30 to 60 minutes ahead to verify that we're allowed to overnight, and where to park. The managersw have always been either welcoming or apologetic if we weren't allowed to stay.

Wayne and Carolyn Mathews
03-04-2010, 05:33 PM
We've stayed at many Walmart stores and at one Love's truck stop and had nothing but good experiences. Like others have said, we always check first to be sure it's ok to stay, and we always buy something where we're staying. At Walmart stops, we get our dinner from the store deli, grab a $1.00 movie from the Redbox DVD rental machine, and have a relaxing evening in our rig. (But we don't run our generator to watch a movie unless we are in an area where other generators are running.) We use our own shower and toilet at those stops, just because it's more convenient and private.

Last summer, just before sundown, we bought groceries at a store in a small town in Oregon. The store manager told us that we were welcome to stay in the store's parking lot. We pulled into the area he indicated was for trucks and RVs and prepared to settle in for the night when we noticed a large drainage ditch not far from the parking area. Staggering out of tents and cardboard shelters in that ditch were three or four transient-looking folks; they sat down and watched us. Then some young men on bicycles began circling our rig, not right up on us, but close enough to make their presence felt. That went on for 15 minutes before we decided to pull out and go to a Love's truck stop on the interstate in town, where we spent a nice evening with a well-lighted parking area.

We probably were in no danger in that grocery store lot, but it was unnerving to have so many eyes on us; the store was not on a main drag and the parking lot wasn't lighted well, either.

I'd definitely say if you don't feel comfortable where you stop, no matter where it is, then don't stay--move on.


03-05-2010, 06:03 AM
Have never overnighted in Truck Stop. Too me they are too busy to get a good rest.

Have only spent the night at a WalMart once. We did not initially intend to spend the night there. Still had 3 hours of daylight left and planned to get down the road another hour or two. But after stretching our legs and walking the dog decided to get dinner (at the deli) and call it a day. I did not ask but we were one of a dozen or so rigs on the lot at that time. Nobody had setup camp but several had pushed the slides out. When we pulled out a 7am the following morning there were at least 2 dozen on the lot.

First time I tried a rest area for overnight was in KS. Most KS rest areas have a separate loop for the picnic area. Stayed in the picnic area away from the restrooms and parking for the trucks & cars just stopping long enough for the bathroom. Not too bad got a decent nights rest. Any other time I have tried a Rest Area it has never been more than a few hours. Basically just a nap. Too much in/out traffic to really rest.

Have stopped in several other parking lots for overnight. They have always been when pulling in late 9~10pm and gone 6~7am. Never had any problems at any of them. Arrive after the business has closed and gone before they open. Always under or close to a street light.

03-06-2010, 01:59 AM
We have never overnighted in any Truck stop, rest area, box store, etc in all our years of traveling, personal choice but do appreciate the privilege to do so should the need arise. Remember there is a difference between overnight parking and overnight camping. Respect the privilege. We do prefer Flying J's and have stopped for fuel and lunch many, many times.

03-06-2010, 06:06 AM
We agree with Rich (OMG). We like to have electric. Ed has ringing in his ears that really bothers him if there isn't noise so he goes to sleep with television on. Some towns have rules against overnight parking anywhere except a park. One time we pulled into a big lot of a store that was closed. There was a fast food close to the road and we intended to get lunch. Police came and made us leave!! Next town!
Happy trails...................

Mrs. CountryGuy
03-06-2010, 08:08 AM

those were some silly officers, just lost the city some income, oh, well. go where those dinner $$ are welcome.

03-07-2010, 05:32 AM
quote:Originally posted by Parrothead

We like to have electric.

I agree. That is why I disconnected the converter and installed a MagnaSine Inverter/Charger. The inverter will run everything but the A/C. Because it is wired into the Monty Elec System, everything in the coach has power. Just use it the same as I would if hooked to shore power. Best of both worlds.

03-07-2010, 06:26 AM

We have found the Flying-J's usually have a separate section for RV's. Because of the in-and-out traffic, we only use them when we're without another plan, and that always depends on location.

For the best spot, you should get there fairly early.

We've only stayed in a Wal-Mart once, and it was also a pleasant experience, and that was only because the place we had picked for boondocking ...wasn't what we had anticipated.

03-07-2010, 03:25 PM
Most Cracker Barrels will invite you to stay too!

03-07-2010, 04:39 PM
We too have stayed at several Flying J s and Walmarts.

We ask at the Walmarts since some of them don't allow stops. Somtimes it's a matter of they just want to know you are there and that you are not taking prime parking.

Many casinos have parking lots that you can stay in.

This trip we pulled into a truck stop that wasn't filled and asked and were told yes. Of course buy some fuel if you can.

We are aware of several other restaurants, usually associated with stops that have multiple truck stops that will allow you to overnight.

Luckily we bought a trailer that we can get around inside without pushing out the slides but many places you can put out the slides if you get the right spot. Some of the casinos actually have wider rv spots.

Many of these places can be on the noisy side and frequently you should get there early in the day. I don't mean 2:pm but I have seen many roll through some of the spots we park in, after dark, and there is nothing left.

We are still finding more. And talk to some of the people at these stops in their rigs. We found out about several specific places that we return to each trip from such conversations.

03-08-2010, 05:14 PM
Lotsa good ideas, some I knew, but plenty of new ones, thanks all.

I am looking mainly for good shower facilities and would like to feel safe as possible (biggest concern) by arriving in daylight. For weight concerns I try to travel with minimal water. We would definitely check in first, patronize the location in meals, fuel and supplies and would ask for a place for RVs to not impact truckers. Otherwise we'll head for a CG. I wouldn't imagine Walmarts and Cracker Barrels have public showers but they have satisfied our meal and supply needs.

Keep 'em coming.

03-09-2010, 10:47 AM
If we had a generator we'd be more inclined to overnight at a Walmart or a truck stop. As it is, we just don't rest well if it's not pretty quiet. That's probably our problem.

We overnighted in a Walmrt one time and swore we'd never do it again without a generator. It was on NE highway 2 in Lincoln, NE. We unfortunately were parked right next to the store's main entrance road that runs from the highway to the store parking lot entrance close to the store. And the store is open 24 hours. And across that entrance street is some kind of warehouse with 18-wheelers coming and going all night long. All night long. Did I say all night long? In addition, it was July in Nebraska. I think the low for the night must have been around 85. When we closed windows to help quiet the noise a little it was unbearably hot in the rig. When we opened windows trying to catch a little of the nearly non-existent breeze, it was too noisy to sleep. If it wasn't the semi's it was the kids with the loud pipes and squealing tires. All in all, I'd say not a good experience. Did I mention those 18-wheelers came through there all night long? :)

Oh, we couldn't move, either. We were there because we'd just blown off the turbo hose on the truck we owned at that time and it was in the shop. We had a loaner, a Taurus. When we got the truck back about 2pm the next afternoon Vicki said I don't care if we only go 2 miles to the first RV Park or we get a motel, we're NOT staying here another night. We took off and drove straight through almost to Utah, to Ft. Bridger, WY and then spent a couple of nights resting up.

03-09-2010, 03:12 PM
One thing you didn't mention - were there any 18-wheelers going by, and if so, how often?[}:)][}:)][}:)]

03-10-2010, 08:03 AM
...and was it all night long?

03-10-2010, 09:49 AM

03-10-2010, 04:36 PM
We also have used Cracker Barrels and Walmarts. All were great experiences. A nice quiet gen like our Kipor 3000 tucked down in the bed of the pickup is a must. We always check with the mgrs of each establishment. However, due to onboard water supplies and waste tanks, I would not do two of these stops in a row. A CG with dump facilities would be the next night.

03-11-2010, 06:00 AM
We don't have any problem staying in noisy areas. Especially when it's not costing anything. We stayed in a truck stop in Grand Junction, CO. We stopped early afternoon (5 p.m.) and parked way out in the back. When we awoke in the morning, we noted that the truckers had honored us by not parking in the spots right next to us and they didn't run their engines. However, in other parts of the truck stop, trucks were running along with their reefers running. Most truckers are very courteous. Note that I said "most" of them.


03-28-2010, 03:16 PM
You never know who has what these days,I still drive a truck most of the time to pay the bills and camp when I can. I like going down the road checking out the other TTs and 5vers, don't care much for the MH. Most of the time when I see someone stopped at a fuel desk, I'll try to speak, trade opinions and ask advise. Some campers apparently don't like truckers or maybe their just scared of us, we do have a reputation. As was mentioned, truckers can only legally drive for 11 hours, then must rest for 10 and because of a few, they are welcome at very few places. The next time ya'll see someone in a Peterbilt waving like a fool, wave back, it might be me, another Montana owner, just saying howdy ya'll!

03-28-2010, 04:45 PM
I'll be looking for you! I'll be waving like a fool! In personal interactions with truck drivers we've had nothing but positive responses. The most recent was at a FJ at El Paso. My handicap cart had broken down in the store and this nice trucker helped us get the thing back out to the truck and loaded up! This was someone who we had never seen before and who had no reason to even acknowledge us!

So what color Peterbilt am I looking for?


Delaine and Lindy
03-29-2010, 05:23 AM
Just one of my jobs before being drafted into the Army and after I retired was a over the Road Truck driver. I ran 38 States and Canada. I can assure you that some Truck drivers do have issues with those of us who are in the RV's. Most call us Happy Campers. However from the Truck drivers view point, I can understand. Most RVer's can go and buy a rig thats 40' long or more with a standard drivers license and drive coast to coast none stop. A Truck driver by law can only drive so many hours before they have to shut down. And then they try to get into a Truck stop and there we are with our RV's taking up a parking spot. Then were does the Truck driver go???? It has happened to me many times. We very seldom use a Truck Stop for overnight. If I did I would use the RV parking area only. For those who haven't driven a Truck its a very hard job, most just see us in those shiny Freightliner, Peterbilts or Kenworths but believe me its a lot more to the job than that. So when you see those Knights of the Road say Hi, they keep America going, without Trucks there will be no America as we know it. GBY...

03-29-2010, 02:05 PM
It's white with blue fenders and I pull a tanker. I travel mostly MS, AL and a little LA right now, but in case of a serious hurricane, it's anything from Myrtle Beach to Brownsville.

03-29-2010, 07:08 PM
Thanks for the color scheme of your truck. I do not travel in that area so will probably not be doing the "waving fool" thing. Thanks for adding a bit of humor to what could be a really negative discussion.


03-30-2010, 03:06 PM
HamRad, you better git on down here to GOD's country and check it out. Only thing is,you can't go back and tell everyone, we only have just so much room down here and if everybody found out about the place, we'd all have to move somewhere else.
And if means grin..., that means a bunch of grins.