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Old 01-02-2012, 09:55 AM   #43
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I've always been told not to stay overnight in rest areas along my way, although I have done it in my car if it's a busy one with other people sleeping in their cars and lots of trucks stopped. Any opinions on that?
I know in Florida they actually closed some rest areas down due to crime and late night bodily transactions. I wouldn't spend much time at night unless they have a guard on duty.

I can't sleep when I hear trucks and bright lights. Wonder what every little noise is. Traveling/camping is supposed to be relaxing. Even when trying to haul long distance, I'll still waste an hour to drive off the interstate to get to a state/county park to at least relax with a cocktail and some quiet sleep. Burning through all night with short cat naps is long gone from my college days.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:27 AM   #44
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I've had mixed experience at Wal Marts. I travel to juried art & craft festivals to sell my photography, and restored an old Airstream with a goal of saving on hotels. One of the good things about Wal Mart is you can buy anything you need. At the Bozeman, MT Wal Mart, I was able to walk next door to Famous Daves, watch Monday Night football in the bar, then walk to my trailer.

I do think that Bozeman Wal Mart has a problem with too many campers. They cleaned their parking lot one night. For 3 hours. A sweeper truck , with flashing lights, and a beeper. I think they wanted to give campers a night to remember. Lucky for me, I had a few beers while I watched the game, so I slept pretty good. haha.

The security at Billings,MT Wal Mart actually pulled up and said hello, like a camp ground host.

At Lawton, OK Wal Mart, someone who said that they were security knocked on my door and told me that they didn't allow overnight camping. So I camped just down the road at Acadia Lake State park for $14. Worked out nice.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:42 AM   #45
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Robert Cross --
Your rig looks almost identical to mine. I have a 2007 white Sub with a 25 FC!
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:48 AM   #46
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At Lawton, OK Wal Mart, someone who said that they were security knocked on my door and told me that they didn't allow overnight camping.
ha ha - - Ok, I actually wondered what I would do if I got a knocked at the door. The door glass is opaque. I guess I'd ask the person to step in front of the galley window so I could see them first? I know I would be very reluctant to open the hatch.

I am not normally a person who is afraid of every little thing, but in a busy area, sitting in a tin can with no way to escape, I did feel a sense of vulnerability. Of course, this is partly a function of it being a new experience.

My dear wife was uncomfortable, and I worried for her discomfort as much as anything for myself. I didn't want her to think of imagine that I would put her at risk.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:03 AM   #47
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Keep in mind that in California, so long as you're just pulling in to sleep and park in a regular splot, it's perfectly legal to use a rest area for 8 hours in any 24. These can be noisy with truckers sometimes, but it is doable.

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Old 01-02-2012, 11:13 AM   #48
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Olema isn't all that far north of the Golden Gate Bridge, but it is a slow drive to get there and back. The Coast Highway is not RV friendly south of there—we drove it, but it was memorable. The campground is nice, but it sits right on the San Andreas Fault and that is disconcerting. There's another highway to the Olema area, but I haven't been on it. The Olema/Point Reyes National Seashore is well worth a visit, but as a pace to camp and visit SF, it doesn't seem practical.

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Old 01-02-2012, 11:50 AM   #49
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Never had a problem using the "rest" areas.

Some can be down right nice..

Chooz carefully, stay hitched and keep the stab's up.

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Old 01-02-2012, 12:24 PM   #50
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I like stopping at Wal-Marts and travel centers and rest stops enroute because they are widely available and convenient. On long trips I enjoy driving through the night and only start to think about stopping when I need to make a stop for gas, food, washroom, or time to catch some sleep and that is where ever when ever. We used to schedule stops and map out campgrounds but that did not always work out well either. We would be driving in the dark missing small side roads to wake up mom and pop and fill out paperwork. Locality varies experiences as does remote areas versus densely populated neighborhoods. Many times I have not wanted to stay at places whether they be campgrounds, rest stops, or travel centers, after seeing them. One has to use their discretion and possibly move on to another. I also don't like arriving at my destination at 3 in the morning to pick a campsite so a quick shop and a nap lets me arrive early, which is just about the only way this night owl gets somewhere early. It isn't solely a matter of trying to be cheap, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you are completely self contained to plunk down money and disturb others while trying to situate yourself into a sleeping campground in the wee hours for just a few hours sleep. All my experiences have been good ones. I have pulled out of places I am not comfortable in. And though noise and light can be disturbing, it is also somewhat assuring. It is never good to risk driving sleepy which is often the alternative.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:40 PM   #51
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The campground is nice, but it sits right on the San Andreas Fault and that is disconcerting.
Gene
Well, it's hard to imagine a better way to ride out a quake than an Airstream. It's not like it's going to collapse on you if the foundation shakes a little . I think we should rate our freeways in the Richter scale like earthquakes . Seriously, we see our Tin Pickle is our emergency shelter; anything strong enough to make the Airstream uninhabitable by pure shaking or displacement is quite unlikely.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:50 PM   #52
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I understand the desire to get somewhere fast and sleep several hours and get back on the road. I feel the same way sometimes, but after a couple of nights of little sleep, driving is harder and my attention is not too good. We want to relax in the evening, maybe watch some TV, become attached to wifi, have a good meal and get enough sleep.

It doesn't seem that Walmarts, rest areas and Flying J's make for enough sleep and a relaxing evening. If I were 30 years younger, maybe I'd see it differently.

Even on those long days driving cross country, we rarely get to a campground after 6 or 7 pm and we rarely leave before 10 am. That leaves 9 or 10 hours to drive with a short lunch break and a few gas fillups—500+ miles with interstates—and around 15 hours to regroup our minds, relax, sleep and eat. A campground seems worth it to make the trip better. Even after that approach, when we are traveling 3,000 miles or more to get somewhere, we take a two night break before we need to be admitted to a sanatorium on a 48 hour hold. There's usually something to see—maybe a museum, historic site, or just be lazy—and we can recover before we become road warriors again.

I think campgrounds average around $35 and it seems small price to pay for some semblance of sanity. A road trip should be fun.

And most important, Barb would not allow me to stop at Walmart, rest area or a Flying J, not that I haven't thought of it because I don't like paying $35. I have learned to keep my mouth shut (sometimes).

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Old 01-02-2012, 01:06 PM   #53
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While we Wal Mart and Flying J often I prefer Cracker Barrel. They all close by 10pm and have dedicated spots for RV in the rear. Generally we will stop at one Cracker Barrel for dinner around 7 and then drive till just after 10 and stop at one down the road. Quite and convenient. If I stop at a Wal Mart I end up spending almost as much as a campground would have charged.

Years ago we stopped for dinner at one in Ohio and asked the waitress if overnighting was OK. She did not reply but a few minutes later the Manager can to the table. "I understand you want to stay tonight." I said no we were just asking about Cracker Barrel policy in the area. He said "I don't suggest you stay hear, did you notice how high we are above the highway? The prostitutes work the trucker from up hear with CB and the cops come through several times a night."
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:21 PM   #54
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Personally, I don't mind traffic - I prefer it, because it usually means there's less chance of a problem. It's utter isolation that worries me!
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:39 PM   #55
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I haven't done it in my own camping travels, but my parents and I stayed in a Sheetz gas station (it's a Pennsylvania-based chain of gas stations) lot one time, with their permission of course. We did pretty well until a truck pulled in next to us and left his engine idling.

We're going to Disney soon, and on the way, our first choice will be a campground, if we can find one open. If not, we have a full tank of fresh water and empty gray/black tanks, and three fully charged batteries... I know Erica won't be a huge fan of staying in a parking lot/rest area/etc., but it's better than being dead tired and on the road.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:27 PM   #56
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We want to relax in the evening, maybe watch some TV, become attached to wifi, have a good meal and get enough sleep.

...Even on those long days driving cross country, we rarely get to a campground after 6 or 7 pm and we rarely leave before 10 am. That leaves 9 or 10 hours to drive with a short lunch break and a few gas fillups—500+ miles with interstates—and around 15 hours to regroup our minds, relax, sleep and eat. A campground seems worth it to make the trip better. Even after that approach, when we are traveling 3,000 miles or more to get somewhere, we take a two night break before we need to be admitted to a sanatorium on a 48 hour hold. There's usually something to see—maybe a museum, historic site, or just be lazy—and we can recover before we become road warriors again.
I like your style. We don't plan on needed to rush that much anywhere. And, we don't really cotton to driving at night. Frankly, more than 5 hours driving in one day would be considered a lot for us. We're planning a long trip in the early summer up to the Tetons, and we will organize it for no more than about 5 hours a day driving. When I was 30 I once drove from coast-to-coast non-stop. Those days are long gone!

Out here though (Ca), RV parks are more like $50 and up on average.
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