Rest Area? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-08-2007, 09:07 PM   #1
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My family and I are going to head down to the Florida Keys in a few weeks. Our plan is to leave here in the late afternoon and drive into the night until we get well south of Jacksonville Florida. At that late hour, trying to find a campground will probably not be an option. So we were thinking we'd just pull into a Florida rest area and get a few hours sleep before continuing on the next morning.

Have any of you done this? Good idea? Bad idea?

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Old 03-08-2007, 09:34 PM   #2
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I have. The only problem is that you will be withe the big rigs, and probably squished between two of them, both running. If the noise is not a problem, it should be OK.

The other problem I have had with this plan is that when you TRY to get in after 10pm or so, the trucks have taken the spaces and you may have to move on to the next one.

Scope out wally worlds or truck stops, just in case you need a contingency plan.

When you start seeing the hitchhikers that really aren't there .... because you have gone too far with no sleep, just pull over on a side road!

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Old 03-08-2007, 10:07 PM   #3
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...get a few hours sleep...
Define "Sleep"
Gina brings up a good point: Idling Semi-trucks. MANY of them. We have done this, and it got us through a tight schedule, but we did NOT sleep, only 'rested". After 2 hours of it, I cannot remember if we were really rested, of if we decided we had just reached our noise limit and were no longer nodding off. I would recommend a WalMart parking lot instead.
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Old 03-08-2007, 11:51 PM   #4
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On one of our trips to Oregon last year, we left Vancouver BC after work (around 4:30)and intended to sleep at a rest area for a bit, (thinking around Castle Rock, Kelso area) tried to get in one and NO room, so around Vancouver WA we found the Wal mart---signs all over about no parking overnight..
SO we thought of trying to find a rest area in Portland---no go.
On the road to Tillamook---oh we'll make it to the cheese factory (we slept there once years before) now signs all over, no overnight parking. Same at the grocery store across the road--no decent wide place to pull over.
Found the new Safeway store inTillamook--no signs so try and drop off to sleep in the trailer--about 10 minutes later (this is after 1 at night) we feel the trailer being rocked....I think just kids on a Friday night--so we headed off from there--- I was scared spitless.
Try to make our way out to Cape Lookout State park area---ended up getting lost and being in the wrong direction (I guess we really were tired) and finally found a wide place by the side of the road to sleep---woke up to the sound of the ocean (but on the wrong side of where we thought we were)
Anyway not quite the experience we had planned...

We heard that campground operators are giving the big stores grief about letting people stay for free for overnight---don't know how long we would have been able to sleep without someone waking us up---we were just planning about 6 hours sleep.......
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:12 AM   #5
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i just returned from a trip of a couple of thousand miles beginning in maine. all campgrounds were closed for winter until i got south of the mason/dixon. i stopped in church parkinglots, (which are huge and empty), and in some countryside type parking lots. i didn't stop at rest areas as i took no highways, only secondary roads. i had no problems and slept a full eight hours, used gas lamps and heater and was quite cozy; pulling off before dark and staying past breakfast.
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:01 AM   #6
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we've done the I-95 and Turnpike drives in Florida many times and have stopped at many of the rest areas for facility use and coffee only. They are always busy, crowded, noisy, etc. Lot's of "security" oriented notices around, too. We are always glad to "get the heck outa there." Can't imagine spending the night! If you do, let us know how it goes.

And have a great time in the Keys!!
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Old 03-09-2007, 08:37 AM   #7
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we feel the trailer being rocked....I think just kids on a Friday night-

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Old 03-09-2007, 12:44 PM   #8
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I was as scared as if it was Bigfoot!!

Glad we were still hooked up to the car---and it was one of the times I went right to sleep...GRRRRR
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Old 03-10-2007, 07:06 PM   #9
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Hi Smith Family!

We were recently wandering around FL from the panhandle to the central area - we did stay o'night at a main "Welcome Center" on the Interstate, but found several "no overnight parking" signs at other rest areas ... just a headsup ... YMMV.

Just south of JAX we stayed at Indian Forest Campground - not too far off the highway (I-95), nice folks, lots of trees so it isn't just a big parking lot. Wishing you safe journeys and a great trip to the Keys. L 'n D
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.” A. Einstein
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:57 PM   #10
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My wife and I used to stay in all the places mentioned EXCEPT she would NOT stay in rest areas. Now that I'm alone I stop anyplace I feel like though, since I stay off the freeways for the most part, it's usually a wide spot along the road on a county road somewhere. Main reason I'm answering this is to relate an experience we had 4 years ago in Florida. We had gotten into Floridia 3 or so hours later than we'd intended and when we went to the campground where we'd intended (no reservation) to stay we found the drive in gate closed and locked. Searched for another campground with the same result. I checked the next day with several other campgrounds and each one of them told me that they close and lock their gates at sunset. Strange I thought but maybe there is a security problem in Florida.

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Old 03-11-2007, 09:12 AM   #11
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Well, there is a security problem in many parts of Florida. After two hideous business trips to Miami a few years ago, I won't even consider stopping a vehicle I'm in anywhere near that hellhole.

We found a campground via Good Sam's that will be open later in the evening/a.m. down around Ft. Lauderdale. So we may end up making that our target for that leg of the trip.
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Old 03-11-2007, 10:41 AM   #12
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As well kept and as clean as our rest stops are along the major highways here in Oregon, it would be the last place I'd plan on stopping in the middle of the night. For whatever reason, that's when all the crazies come out and pray upon unsuspecting folks. It makes the news on a regular basis, woman raped in restrooms, men and woman attacked and purses/wallets stolen, etc. Even Ted Bundy used the rest areas to troll for woman to kill, here along I-5.

I'd rather be kept awake all night at a Flying J, etc. than take the risk. And that's too bad.
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Old 03-11-2007, 10:57 AM   #13
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Hi Bob; we were down there about 2 years ago and found that the reststops to be very fine places. armed guards were very helpfull. no camping signs mean: no tents or campfires. RV's are welcome.
when we were on our way to the keys, we went down the west side of lake ocoeechobee and #27 to 75 (alligator alley). it's a toll road. we paid 3$ and went west about 3 miles and pulled into a huge reststop. armed rent a cop on duty and very friendly. lots of room. we spent the night and did not have many neighbors.
when departing, you can go in either direction, so we just turned around and headed back east and down to the keys.
might add: the armed guards are in response to the bad guys taking advantage of tourist that are known to the bad guys to be unarmed.
the locals are armed.
on our way down, we heard on the radio that the state legislator had just passed a law upholding the "castle doctrine": ie the right to defend yourself even if you only think someone is threatening you.
someone else can enlarge upon this.
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Old 03-11-2007, 02:14 PM   #14
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Unfortunately here in Texas the legislature just pass a limitation to the "castle doctrine".

You must try to escape your home before you can shoot to kill. In other words you must be trapped in your home without a route for leaving before you can defend yourself. An odd law for a "right to carry" state.

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