Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

A truck stop makes the perfect stop, even overnight

Perhaps you’ve been there … It’s fast approaching dinnertime. Everyone is getting a bit hangry (hungry and angry) and needing to stretch. Face it. You tried to cram too much travel time into one day. What to do first? Get food? Try and find an RV park in the area and hope by some miracle they have a site for your rig? Pull over at the next rest area and try to catch a few winks? Before your fellow travelers get too overwrought, find the nearest truck stop. Yes, you read that right!

Not just for truckers

What makes a truck stop so great? Take a look at the RV-friendly amenities offered at many of these highway respites, like Love’s Travel Stops, Pilot Flying J, and more.

  • Food. Even the picky eater in your group will find something they like to eat. In most cases, well-known restaurant chains are located right inside the truck stop – like Arby’s, Wendy’s, Subway, Taco Bell, DQ, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Huddle House. Just hungry for a sweet pick-me-up? Some Pilot Flying J locations feature Cinnabon and Carvel.
  • RV parking. You don’t need to worry about finding space for your big rig. Truck stop parking lots are big. Really big! And many feature special areas for RVs to park. Even overnight! You can book a site with full hookups at some Love’s Travel Stops. Check here.
  • Laundry. Heading home from a week’s worth of travel? You can do your laundry before you get home!
  • Dumpsites. Check out this PDF to see if your Pilot/Flying J has this service.
  • Private showers. If you’ve been dry camping, this can mean the difference between another night of sticking to the sleeping bag lining or sleeping clean and comfortably.
  • To go. Truck stops have great coffee, but many stores also offer fresh fruits, handy grab-n-go snacks, and soft drinks, too.
  • Propane. Most truck stops offer both bulk propane refills and small propane exchange tanks for your grill.
  • Tire repair and more. Yes, you may be able to get that spare tire fixed at the truck stop. Some places also have general mechanics for your convenience.
  • Dog parks. All newly built Love’s Travel Stops incorporate this amenity, as do many of its competitors. Older stops are adding this feature, as well.
  • Wi-Fi. Every national truck stop chain we’ve stopped in has offered free Wi-Fi. Most have a consistently strong signal, too.

Downsides?

Of course, there are downsides to stopping in a highway truck stop. Here are just a few:

  • The high volume of traffic means you’ll need to be alert as you follow signage for RV-friendly fuel lanes. If the RV fuel lanes are full you can use the trucker fuel lanes. Just be sure to pull well away from the pumps once you’ve gassed up. (Those truckers want to get back on the road ASAP!)
  • Overnight stays in a truck stop can be noisy! You may have diesel transporter trucks entering the station for fuel throughout the night. Most truck stops are located right next to the interstate highway, so you’ll have constant traffic noise, as well.
  • Fuel prices can be higher at truck stops than stations a bit farther off the highway. Check apps like GasBuddy to compare prices. Know that smaller fuel stations may not be able to accommodate your rig’s size – specifically overhead clearance.
  • Stopping at national-brand mega truck stops also means you’ll miss some of the local flavor of the region. (Although we have seen boiled peanuts in some of the big truck stops in the South.) That said, even Cinnabon can’t beat a good, local, mom-and-pop-owned restaurant.

When you travel, do you stop at truck stops? Have you ever stayed overnight at a truck stop? We’d love to hear what you think! Please share in the comments below.

##RVDT1670

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Pierre Schexneider
5 days ago

I have used Flying J for overnight parking but don’t use the trucker’s lot. I have parked next to a curb or in the vehicle parking area to avoid taking up a trucker’s spot. I always clear it with the manager. We have used the laundry facilities but not the showers as we have one in our Minnie Winnie 25B.

Larry
24 days ago

I just don’t get all the hostility here. I have been using truck stops for overnighting while en route for at least 15 years. I began the practice after my wife commented she felt unsafe at the Walmart we stopped at the previous night. The neighborhood was kind of sketchy there.

I have never had a negative exchange with any of the truckers, but sometimes have had some nice conversations. Often I have seen lots of empty spaces in the truck lot, and just this summer for the first time experienced a full truck lot. Eventually I found that truckstop did actually have a very poorly marked RV parking area where I finally parked.

I don’t block the trucker fuel lanes because I need gasoline, not diesel. I appreciate Flying J for putting in RV fuel lanes. When it is available, I always use the RV parking area. Sometimes those spots are taken up by large, commercial straight trucks. Panther is a big user of RV spots for their trucks, but not the only one.

John
27 days ago

Considering there is not sufficient truck parking available or ammenities as is, not much use for RVs in the truck area. The complaints about truck exhaust and constant traffic are “entertaining.” Just shows you are parking where you don’t belong. We won’t even talk about whether you are wanted or not.

Steve
27 days ago

My question for the “no/never” responders is “do you park in the truck parking lanes at Interstate rest areas or take up multiple car paring spots?” Truckers also spend the night in those rest area parking spaces in many states that allow 8-hour rest stops. So, do you feel more guilty about taking one of “their” parking spaces or multiple car spaces while using the rest area?

We have stayed at both Flying J and Love’s truck stops for an overnight in our RVs. However, we prefer Flying J (NOT Pilot!) because they nearly always have designated RV parking spaces. We don’t put our slides out or steps down when staying at truck stops (or Walmart, for that matter). All three of our RVs were purchased specifically because no slides needed to be opened to use the kitchen, bathroom, or bed. And we try to eat either dinner or breakfast (or both) at the truck stop restaurant. So we are especially fond of Flying J’s that have Denny’s because we love their Slam breakfasts!

Gene Bjerke
28 days ago

We have stopped overnight a couple of times. Some truck stops have RV areas. If not, with a Class B it is usually possible to find space away from the big-rig parking area. Parking among the 18-wheelers is a death wish.

Glenn
28 days ago

Let me get this straight. You have an RV large enough to require fuelling at the truck island. This implies that you also have an RV large enough to have a shower. Use the shower in your RV and allow the commercial drivers access to the truck stop shower. While you are using the truck stop shower, a trucker is waiting. Show some common courtesy.

KellyR
28 days ago

Hmmmm, to the comments below. Article says “many feature special areas for RVs”, so I think the truck stop wants RVs there. And to many who comment. you must be in Class As with Toads or in 5th Wheels. The article works well for us Class B’ers, as I sure am not going to park in a long truck spot where I can be ‘pulled up on’ by a big rig, or breath exhaust fumes all night.

Gary G
28 days ago

I’m old enough to remember when truck stops had real restaurants and served great food, not fast food. Not saying fast food is bad, but I would think truckers would like a nice meal to end or start the day!

Rich
28 days ago

emphasis on RV PARKING. please do NOT take a parking space that a tired trucker needs. RVers have other options for overnight stays.

Liz
28 days ago

Here are a couple of good articles addressing the controversy discussed below. https://camperreport.com/can-rvs-stay-at-truck-stops/. Read all the way to Truckers advice for RVers. This Forum for Truckers speaks to how truckers feel about RVers in their lots: https://www.freightrelocators.com/threads/rv-rig-overnight-and-truck-stop-use.88753/. . There are even YouTubes in which truckers address the issue.
My opinion only but this article paints an unrealistic picture of truck stops and wasn’t well researched. I’m on the side of the truckers here, there are other places we can park. If you didn’t plan your travel day carefully and over estimated your driving distance, that’s on you and you need to learn from it. Don’t park at a truck stop. As Timothy and Mctroy say below, truckers are under tremendous pressure and must rest, at the end of 11 hours of driving they may be on their last nerve and not so friendly. Think about this, if truckers don’t get rest they are not safe drivers!

Diane Mc
28 days ago

We’ve been using truck lanes for fuel since we bought our diesel pusher 20 years ago. So far not one bad experience with truckers. Many comment on our MH or just say hello. Once truck stops started offering cards to be able to pay at pump, we pull in, fuel and leave. Even before I would go inside to get pump turned on and stay there until husband called to say he was done. I would get back in line and pay while my husband pulled the MH forward. On a few occasions we have parked in the truck lot to make a quick lunch or grab something quick inside. Rarely there for more than 30 minutes to max 1 hour. Agree with others that the truckers are working and have schedules to meet plus mandatory rest times. Just grateful we can use truck stops for fueling as much easier to maneuver & quicker.

Pat Daubenmier
28 days ago

I agree with people who commented that this is bad advice. Truckers make their living on the road….we do not. Plan ahead and do not take truckers bedrooms.

Bill
28 days ago

Many nights in all types of truckstops throughout the west. I agree with everything in the article but doubly encourage you to buy stuff there .. even fuel
Same is true for others willing to accommodate overnight camping.

Mark & Vickie Bruzdzinski
28 days ago

Yes we have stopped at Flying J a couple of times just to get Fuel, Snacks and a couple hours of much needed rest.. We try to get an end spot so we can extend our bedroom slide for a rest if not able just crawl over the matress and get some shut eye

Thomas D
28 days ago

Lots of times. My advice, stay away from refers. Refrigerator trucks. The compressors start and stop all night rather than running steady. And stay as far away as you can from the fleet. They need room to maneuver.

Georgina Lentini
28 days ago

RVers at truck stops isn’t always a good idea. I used to stay at them. Many truckers don’t appreciate us taking up their spots- they have no other options to park – we do. I don’t think this one size fits all comment is good.

Tommy Molnar
28 days ago

Boy, to me this is bad advice. Fueling at a truck stop is one thing, but parking in the truck parking area can lead to trouble. As others have mentioned, there is a HUGE shortage of truck parking all over the country. Truckers get tickets for parking on off-ramps in some states, or even parking on a street outside of a delivery site. We can find spots in and around some restaurants or stores (Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops come to mind). Home Depot and Lowe’s in some cases. But don’t even think of taking up shower time or laundry facilities. This article makes it sound like truck stops are a little chunk of heaven. THEY ARE NOT!
I was OTR for over 20 years and I know from where I speak.

littleleftie
28 days ago

While we have made use of overnighting at Flying J’s on our travels, we have NEVER parked where the trucks park. With customer parking areas on the other side of where the trucks park, it has never been an issue. To block a truck from parking would be very unfair to them. We have enjoyed having a shower at the end of a long travel day and always eat at the restaurant, as a way of “paying” for our ability to park overnight. Yes, they are noisy. Yes, they can be busy. But do we feel safe there? Yes. Definitely.

Gail
28 days ago

We did this once. We parked in an area away from the trucks due to the noise. Around 11pm a truck pulled in right next to us. It was so loud everything inside our camper was vibrating! We had to move. 🙁

Engineer
28 days ago

I do not understand why this blog would encourage this. RVs have no business parking overnight at truck stops!

Last edited 28 days ago by Engineer
anne
28 days ago
Reply to  Engineer

AMEN TO THAT… STAY OUT OF TRUCK STOPS AND LEAVE THE SPACE FOR TRUCKERS WHO ARE MOVING OUR GOODS AND MAKING A LIVING NOT RV-ING. VERY BAD ADVICE!!!!!!

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