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Old 08-20-2017, 02:45 PM   #1
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Sleep in rest areas?

I know common sense should rule, but how many of you feel safe sleeping in a rest area of an interstate?

Arrive late, no campgrounds near at a reasonable rate, just lock up and hit the sack.

I never have, but I'm not sure why.

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Old 08-20-2017, 03:07 PM   #2
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Well I personally feel 100% safe doin that, unless there's somethin clearly sketchy. On the border of Colorado and Kansas there was one that was real small and dark and unkept and when I got down there, there was an old, broken down motorhome with a big carboard sign askin for money or help. So, I didn't stay there. Also some states like Colorado don't let ya stay overnight. But lots of them do.

But usually I feel very comfortable with it, cause that's what they're for. Especially if it's clearly maintained. Most cops/dot officials would rather ya park in the rest stop than drive tired. Cop in Utah said exactly that to me. He said they regularly check on overnight resters and encouraged me to use the stops. Biggest issue is a lot of them are very sloped and uncomfortable to sleep in without leveling, which ya shouldn't do at most rest stops.

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Old 08-20-2017, 03:11 PM   #3
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Don't count on it here in Ca. most are closed and reason I here is water doesnt meet safe standards? so close the whole thing? Seems toilets could still flush.
We witnessed when picking up our trailer in AZ just how nice the rest stops were and the one we stopped at for lunch had a grounds keeper towing a mesh grader behind his golf cart leveling the gravel areas in the landscape making it look more like a country club.
I'm not sure if I could get any sleep alongside the freeway with people coming and going all hours though.
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:14 PM   #4
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We overnighted at the welcome rest area in Mississippi on I-10 just east of Louisiana. They had security there--and what were basically pull-thru sites without hookups. Away from big trucks, and the added benefit of someone looking out for thieves. Great place to catch 4-5 hours of sleep and move on.
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:46 PM   #5
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Many times YES, but then again I pass on many that looked sketchy.

I have camped in some really nice rest areas in WV, Kansas and a few other states over the years. Some are signed with NO overnight camping. I have also seen a few rest areas with "cameras for your safety", I obviously did not stay there, while others just didn't look safe or "inviting" or were close to large cities or sketchy areas. The couple of times I have "camped" in some Kansas rest areas they were quite nice, had a loop area to get away from the truckers and often even have dump stations. This year I got tired of sleeping between the truckers (diesels running all night, loud brake noises when they roll in after midnight, etc. Though I always felt safe it was a bit noisy. This year we stayed in Walmart parking lots 3 nights on the way out West from MD, and 2 nights headed back East from WY. They do have cameras in their parking lots (good thing), but they do have overhead lights (good and bad) on all night long. Easy to get some fresh produce or groceries for the trip, flush toilets, trash cans, etc. When we got up at sunrise, this year I counted anywhere from 6 other campers to 30+ in the Cody, WY Walmart. Of course ask the manager first. I still might park overnight in a rest area, but only if it looks relatively safe. Another consideration is that many casinos allow overnight parking, some have hookups and even RV parks. We have been doing this lately - going in to relax for an hour or two at the slots, maybe eat at the buffet for dinner or breakfast. You will see many truckers do this very same thing. Always ask first or Often small towns (particularly in the Midwest or Western states) will have small parks or recreation areas that all RV overnight parking. The possibilities are endless for free overnight parking.
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Doc Foster View Post
The possibilities are endless for free overnight parking.

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Old 08-20-2017, 07:27 PM   #7
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I have many times when traveling. A few times they've felt too sketchy, so I kept going to the next one. Once it didn't look like there was another anywhere close, and it wasn't overly sketchy, so I compromised and slept in the truck, so if I had to cut out, I didn't have to walk from one to the other.
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:40 PM   #8
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I've only slept in a rest area once, east of Dallas, when I was evacuating for Hurricane Katrina. That was in the back of a Dodge Durango before I even bought my Airstream. But I had been on the road for 23 hours straight in bumper-to-bumper evacuation traffic and there was literally no place else to stop and rest, and I was too exhausted to care whether it was safe or not.

In fact, one reason I bought my Airstream was to avoid having to sleep in rest areas ever again. To me, a rest area is a place to break up the drive into manageable chunks, give the cat a litter box break, have a snack (to me, driving while eating is distracted driving just like driving while texting), and stuff like that. Not a place to bed down for the night. Since I bought my Airstream, I've never spent more than an hour at a time in a highway rest area, and seldom even that long unless I'm using their dump station.

Not saying whether it's a good idea or a bad idea to sleep in a rest area. If they allow it, and you want to do it, I'm not going to tell you not to. All I'm saying is, I'm never in such a hurry to put miles behind me that I can't detour a few miles off the highway and look for someplace better, safer, and quieter. Like maybe a church parking lot in a nice neighborhood.
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:52 PM   #9
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It's illegal in some states, dangerous in even more.
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Old 08-20-2017, 10:09 PM   #10
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Yep, plenty of times. I mean seriously, that how I "rest" ...
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Old 08-20-2017, 10:43 PM   #11
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We have done it where permitted. We prefer truck stops, a rest area will do just fine.

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Old 08-20-2017, 10:58 PM   #12
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All valid points.
The reason it occurred to me is I've noticed that prices in campgrounds have escalated with the boom in RV'ing. Places on this site may charge between $45 and $70 for one night.
When I drive cross country, I want to get there, so I arrive late and leave in the morning. I don't need the pool, bicycles, volleyball courts, laundry, or even the showers. I want a quiet place to rest, eat a late dinner and sleep. Even easier with the AS since it stays hooked up, has no jacks or slides.
I don't blame campgrounds, I've spoken to some of my favorites and they all complain how the city/county sees them as free revenue and raises their property taxes every year.
But as we all feel the crunch, more folks will want a cheap place with no amenities just for one night.

There's some guy on YouTube who lives in an old class C and he parks on the street, some of the places look like south central. Yikes! No thanks.

I like the idea of casino parking. Win-win (no pun intended)
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:03 AM   #13
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Prob. with truck stops or if rest stops close to Chgo. or other large cities are lot lizards, if you don't no what they are they are ladies of the evening, even w/security patrols they ply there wares for sale.
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:09 AM   #14
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I use them all the time while working. Don't give it a second thought. I prefer to wake up in a place that sells coffee, so they're not my first choice. But were I on vacation they'd be high on the list for consecutive travel days.

Plan your trips. Use satellite images to confirm "quality". Part of that is how close to a metro area. Best that one is over 100-miles away to avoid truckers who may jam up the smaller ones that are closer in.

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