How do you find big gas stations? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:52 PM   #1
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How do you find big gas stations?

When I tow my Casita on the interstate, how will I know if a gas station is "big" or not? When driving my truck, I just pull in wherever it says "GAS", but some of the stations would be difficult to get a trailer in to.

Every once in a while, I see the giant gas stations, like "TA" and "Flying J", but I never seem to know when I will encounter one. Or do you basically have to plan your trip in advance, or maybe a 17ft truck and 17ft Casita are still small enough I shouldn't have to worry about it?

I seem to have an uncanny knack for ending up going down dead-ends or in to residential areas when trying to find a "GAS" station that was supposed to be "0.5 Miles" away.
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Old 02-04-2018, 01:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by whoot View Post
When I tow my Casita on the interstate, how will I know if a gas station is "big" or not? When driving my truck, I just pull in wherever it says "GAS", but some of the stations would be difficult to get a trailer in to.

Every once in a while, I see the giant gas stations, like "TA" and "Flying J", but I never seem to know when I will encounter one. Or do you basically have to plan your trip in advance, or maybe a 17ft truck and 17ft Casita are still small enough I shouldn't have to worry about it?

I seem to have an uncanny knack for ending up going down dead-ends or in to residential areas when trying to find a "GAS" station that was supposed to be "0.5 Miles" away.

My Garmin tells me where gas stations are. I often set it to a station then change my mind when I see prices, and go to another.
There's no reason to worry about a fiberglass trailer and tow vehicle going into most gas stations. I've seen large pickups with 40' 5th wheel trailers in many gas stations. I've found it to be problem.

With any trailer you have watch where it's going.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:50 PM   #3
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One of the advantage of a casita is it will go about anywhere, gas should not be a problem , you can always pick the end pump so you have more room.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:58 PM   #4
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Personally, I keep the Pilot/Flying J directory within easy reach and plan my stops accordingly. Other travel centers may also have directories available, but my fuel discounts are available at the Pilot/Flying J travel centers and they have good accomodations.
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Old 02-04-2018, 03:04 PM   #5
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I have the Garmin start looking for stations ahead of time. I like travel centers like Flying J, Pilot, Loves, or TA. For us the issue is not so much getting to the gas pump but finding a place to park. We often make a pit stop when we stop for gas.
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Old 02-04-2018, 03:51 PM   #6
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I have the Garmin start looking for stations ahead of time. I like travel centers like Flying J, Pilot, Loves, or TA. For us the issue is not so much getting to the gas pump but finding a place to park. We often make a pit stop when we stop for gas.
I have a giant Garmin "RV" GPS ($450 in 2015), but it has always given me terrible driving directions. I'm almost afraid to use it when actually pulling a trailer. Maybe I can update's it software and maps.
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Old 02-04-2018, 03:56 PM   #7
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I update my Tom Tom about four times a year ( they send an email reminder for free update ).
You can also use Google Maps and Streetview to check out a location beforehand. May not be recent, but gives you a good idea. Can be used to determine if Riverside RV resort is really on the river or next to a scrap yard.
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
My Garmin tells me where gas stations are. I often set it to a station then change my mind when I see prices, and go to another.
There's no reason to worry about a fiberglass trailer and tow vehicle going into most gas stations. I've seen large pickups with 40' 5th wheel trailers in many gas stations. I've found it to be problem.

With any trailer you have watch where it's going.
:you ought to try it with a 30' motorhome and 18' tow'd on the back, but I manage and I wait until I have room sometimes blocking the whole front of the building until they come out and tell me to move and I say where do I go as I cannot back up and I cannot go forward until that guy who pulled in there and refuses to come out will move, they find him and away we go for anther day.,
So sooner or later you get out.
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Old 02-04-2018, 06:08 PM   #9
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We often do Costco gas. Typically busy, but access is no problem with a trailer.

I cannot imagine any of the large travel centers being a problem for any molded fiberglass trailer, either. They are ubiquitous on the interstates and tend to be well marked.

Even when all you find are smallish, corner gas stations, it's rarely a problem. A few have dead ends, limited maneuvering room, and/or steep, tongue-dragging access. Even so, with our Pilot/Scamp 13 combo, there have only been one or two we've given a pass. A pickup/Casita 17 is somewhat longer, but I don't think you'll find very many that are inaccessible. Think about it- if a U-Haul box truck can get in and out, so can you.

You do learn to scan quickly before entering any small business pulling a trailer.

Finding them? They tend to be clustered near the outer edges of larger towns and cities and near small towns along rural interstates. If we don't find one just by looking, my wife does her magic with google search and the map app on her iPhone. Never had a problem finding something.
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Old 02-04-2018, 07:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by whoot View Post
When I tow my Casita on the interstate, how will I know if a gas station is "big" or not? When driving my truck, I just pull in wherever it says "GAS", but some of the stations would be difficult to get a trailer in to.

Every once in a while, I see the giant gas stations, like "TA" and "Flying J", but I never seem to know when I will encounter one. Or do you basically have to plan your trip in advance, or maybe a 17ft truck and 17ft Casita are still small enough I shouldn't have to worry about it?

I seem to have an uncanny knack for ending up going down dead-ends or in to residential areas when trying to find a "GAS" station that was supposed to be "0.5 Miles" away.
Gas stations along the interstate are going to be setup for commercial traffic. That traffic always includes larger commercial vehicles that are likely taller than your trailer.

Of course if you were ever in a desperate situation where you had to exit and goes miles away from the interstate into some tiny station where you could not fit into the station you could fill up a gas can then dump it into your tank, putting in enough gas to get you to the next big station.

Relax, enjoy the journey, you are unlikely to get into an unsolvable situation for fueling up. Take along an empty small gas can for emergencies.
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Old 02-04-2018, 09:48 PM   #11
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In many states, there are signs before the exit detailing what is at the exit (food, gas, lodging). To avoid having to go way off the highway, if I cannot see a towering oil company sign at the exit, I continue until I see something promising.
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:24 PM   #12
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In many states, there are signs before the exit detailing what is at the exit (food, gas, lodging). To avoid having to go way off the highway, if I cannot see a towering oil company sign at the exit, I continue until I see something promising.

+10 If I cant see it from the exit, I keep going. Be sure to update your maps on
Garmin. Services get out of date pretty quickly. My last trip to AK, my Garmin maps were over ten years old. And even the Provincial signs were out of date. I would be relieved to see a sign, gas 2KM ahead, only to come on a station that was barricaded off and closed for a year or more. And it was July, so if you are not open during the week in the middle of July, when are you? I was on my motorcycle, pulling a small trailer, so running out of gas was always a concern on that trip.
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:47 PM   #13
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I don't think I've ever found a gas station I couldn't get into with my trailer in tow. Just remember you have to pay attention to where the trailer is.
This another case of looking for a solution to a non existant problem.
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Old 02-05-2018, 01:45 AM   #14
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This another case of looking for a solution to a non existant problem.
+10, never had a problem even with the class A pulling a car trailer. Knowing your rigs height for the roof clearance is way more important. Sorry, but I really have to wonder of folks towing trailers that have a problem judging side clearance, it's not rocket science and your mirrors are your friend.
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Old 02-05-2018, 04:58 AM   #15
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+10, never had a problem even with the class A pulling a car trailer. Knowing your rigs height for the roof clearance is way more important. Sorry, but I really have to wonder of folks towing trailers that have a problem judging side clearance, it's not rocket science and your mirrors are your friend.
But Dave, what if youíre purchasing rocket fuel? The Space Shuttle did not have side view mirrors!
That being jokingly said, I agree totally. Drive slowly and keep an eye on the side view mirrors, especially on the one on the inside radius of any turn you are making in a congested area, gas station or otherwise.
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Old 02-05-2018, 09:23 AM   #16
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But Dave, what if youíre purchasing rocket fuel? The Space Shuttle did not have side view mirrors!
That being jokingly said, I agree totally. Drive slowly and keep an eye on the side view mirrors, especially on the one on the inside radius of any turn you are making in a congested area, gas station or otherwise.
I just finished reading this thread. I have never seen a gas station where the height would be a problem. Those with not enough area for making turns easily happen once in a while, and usually can be avoided before driving in. With time you learn how to judge that.

And, yes, mirrors are your friend. Adjust them down low enough so that you can glance at the trailer wheels and see how far you are from the edge of pavement, a pothole, or especially a curb! (Or the gas pump guard posts!)
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Old 02-05-2018, 09:49 AM   #17
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what problem ???

I wonder if the OP's concern about finding a "large" gas station is about side clearance/worry about hitting something...or about causing a bit of a traffic jam/holding other people up.


If it's the latter it's of no concern to me. I consider having my trailer in tow gives me "diplomatic immunity" in that department. LOL


When I'm hooked up I'm a completely different driver....this includes having all the time in the world and never backing up once I have committed to getting into a spot.....from there I'll just wait for the spot to open up. Everybody else can figure it out/drive around me. (If I started to back up to move to a different spot/get out of someone's way I would just confuse everybody else).


With that plan/attitude, with our little trailers you can get into anywhere....and it's kind of fun to see the look on some people's faces surprised at the sight of you in what seems to them a really tight spot.


This must the be the tightest gas stop I've ever encountered: it was a half hour before closing time and I was very much on E.....when this station was built, in the 30s or 40s, a guy pulling in with a 17 foot trailer certainly did not enter in the design criteria......LOL (I drove in between the pumps and the office!)
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Old 02-05-2018, 09:56 AM   #18
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I wonder if the OP's concern about finding a "large" gas station is about side clearance/worry about hitting something...or about causing a bit of a traffic jam/holding other people up.


If it's the latter it's of no concern to me. I consider having my trailer in tow gives me "diplomatic immunity" in that department. LOL


When I'm hooked up I'm a completely different driver....this includes having all the time in the world and never backing up once I have committed to getting into a spot.....from there I'll just wait for the spot to open up. Everybody else can figure it out/drive around me. (If I started to back up to move to a different spot/get out of someone's way I would just confuse everybody else).


With that plan/attitude, with our little trailers you can get into anywhere....and it's kind of fun to see the look on some people's faces surprised at the sight of you in what seems to them a really tight spot.


This must the be the tightest gas stop I've ever encountered: it was a half hour before closing time and I was very much on E.....when this station was built, in the 30s or 40s, a guy pulling in with a 17 foot trailer certainly did not enter in the design criteria......LOL (I drove in between the pumps and the office!)
My concern is that I have never really pulled my trailer very far, I've never taken it on an interstate, and I've never had to get gas with it. I've never had to go to a dump station, or stay in a rest stop. I've never had to replace the tires or pack the wheel-bearings with grease. And in about 24 hours, I'm going to tow it 2000 miles.
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Old 02-05-2018, 09:58 AM   #19
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The only trouble I have had with my Scamp 13 was sever entrance or exit driveways and one in particular was very steep and off camber. Took the shine right off the bottom of the trailer ball and safety chains.
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:03 AM   #20
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I've had a problem a couple of times. It was more about knucklehead customers leaving their cars randomly about the station, than the station itself.
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