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Old 11-23-2013, 06:29 AM   #15
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I've stayed at numerous rest areas over the years & of course Cracker Barrel's. Both are great, & have found them to be safe. The trick to the Rest Areas is not to park where they direct "trucks & trailers" to go, they are very noisy & smelly. I just pull my rig into the "Car" area & park myself as far away from the building as possible, to avoid getting boxed in by cars, just stooping for a short while. It is much quieter in those areas & is very well lit. It's worked really well for us over the years on trips from NY to FL............& beyond. I often wondered if some official of some sort would ask us to move to the "Truck" area, but it has never happened.

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Old 11-23-2013, 06:30 AM   #16
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There are a host of options for free parking, but head DaveFL's warning: it takes some research. has a great website and several smartphone apps that are very useful. It's crowdsourced information, so it's only as good as the input in recent areas.

If you're new, a related but slightly off topic recommendation is

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Old 11-23-2013, 06:35 AM   #17
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We have used all the above,too.

Truck stops are noisy, busy places. But they usually are in handy spots.

Over the years, we have adapted to finding campgrounds.

While not always the most picturesque places, we have made a habit of using KOA parks.

The are generally in very handy spots along major roadways, they are generally clean and well kept, and most have easy, level, in and out pull-throughs for short overnight stays.

We find in most cases where we just want to rest for the night, we don't even have to unhook.

We joined their "frequent flyer" program, and making a reservation is easy. Mostly, it can be done on the road via the internet. If not, a member number is usually enough, without having to spell out names and addresses.

I understand you were asking about rest stops, but as you travel more your attitude may change some.

When you realize you have the comforts of your Airstream with you, stopping a little earlier and having a cocktail and grilling a little supper breaks up the long, marathon trips
just enough to make them more enjoyable.

And the cost of the stay is offset by the price of a meal in a restaurant.

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Old 11-23-2013, 06:48 AM   #18

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Originally Posted by RickDavis View Post
I have been using rest areas as overnight stops for over 40 years with never a problem regardless of posted limits. That includes 10 years of delivering trailers so that is a lot of overnight stops.
As anywhere, trust your instincts, but I would be more concerned in town or near major cities than in the rural areas.
My experience has been there are more drug sellers and "business ladies" operating around some of the truck stop chains. While I have never had a problem in a truck stop either, listening to a CB radio late at night can be an education.

On any destination trip, where the object is getting there, we have used "rest areas" almost exclusively. Pick a spot carefully, always have an exit route, don't drop the stabilizers, no liter, use pet area and leave early.

I did have an early morning knock once. Security guard said he smelled the coffee, always interested in AS and would I answer a few questions.

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Old 11-23-2013, 07:42 AM   #19
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Never been rousted from a rest stop. Can't imagine a trooper compelling a tired driver onto the freeway... can you say "lawsuit"?

If you're worried about safety, get a CPL. has a good interactive map for checking state to state reciprocity.
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:00 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by richinny View Post
has anyone used one of these facilities?
Shorepower - Network Locations Truck Stops Rest Stops
We used the one at Wendover this August while attending the Bonneville salt flat races...worked excellent and I recommend it...
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:00 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by mccrosti View Post
Mhony, certainly some drivers use the parking lot as a urinal. Most professionals don't for the reasons you state here. The pervasive smell usually comes from hog or cattle haulers.
Does cow or pig urine not have a distinctive odor- sorta like cat pee or dog pee does?
The smell I am referencing is distinctly human-
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Old 11-23-2013, 11:21 AM   #22
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the hogs and cattle must go to walmart too!
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Old 11-23-2013, 11:26 AM   #23
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I think it is more likely that some drivers dump beverage bottles they use as urinals when driving (to avoid a stop) onto the pavement.

You see these same bottles by the side of the road on occasion.

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Old 11-23-2013, 11:31 AM   #24
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They may be emptying Gatorade bottles of pee, but I think they just stand between the trucks and let 'er rip! I have accidentally "caught" them on several occasions.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:37 PM   #25
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I use Wal Mart, Cracker Barrel, Flying J, and Church parking areas.

Many Fraternities suck as the Elk and Moose have parking for members and many have electric.

Now as for Cracker Barrel years ago I asked the waitress about using them in Ohio. She did not answer but the manager stopped by a few minutes later and suggested I not stay at that Cracker barrel because the prostitutes used CBs to call the truckers off the Interstate and the police raided the lot several times a night. We moved on down the road to the next Cracker Barrel.

Once I dropped my trailer in a rest area in NC because I had to get some work on the truck before I could tow any further. The attendants let me pull up close to the building and plug into the receptacle behind the coke machine for the day to run the frig.
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:16 PM   #26
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I have to agree with JD's earlier post regarding earlier stops at campgrounds and enjoying a drink while grilling dinner. This has become our norm, ie, stopping late afternoon while still light and not pushing the mileage. Could be an age thing for me and staying within my comfort zone. We try to use KOA, but use many independents. Having hookups and a place to put out the lawn chair appeals to us. Have to admit, some places we've stayed we decided to skip the lawn chair and grill. But for the most part, we've had good luck and have been comfortable with the one nighters. We think rest stops, etc, have a higher risk factor than we're willing to accept unless we're in an emergency situation.
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:41 PM   #27
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In the past I've slept some at rest stops and at truck stops without a problem, but now I don't like to drive that late and I'm not in that big of a hurry. Also we're pretty spoiled because we like all the hookups, and cable TV. But, I understand many have to cover the miles, and conserve on the costs. Guess we're pretty fortunate we don't have to do that now.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:03 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by RUMSHIP View Post
I've stayed over night at rest stops. Problem is cliental maybe a little on the seedy side. Just be cautious. Staying over night anywhere but a campground can be iffy.
I have pulled into to rest areas and slept for a few hours. I find when I wake up, it is hard to get back to sleep with the noise. Unless you are actually camping, no one will time your length of stay. You will be parked in the truck lane so trucks will come in and out at all hours. A refer will have the diesel refrigerator turn on and off. Your stay will be as noisy as a truck stop. There are only truckers at a truck stop, no possible axe murderers and you can park as long as you want.
State and county parks won't break the bank and often offer very pleasant surroundings. Casinos often offer free overnight parking and usually more pleasant surroundings. You are traveling to enjoy yourself and you won't in a rest area or truck stop so budget some camping into your trip.

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