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Old 03-24-2015, 03:13 AM   #1
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Rest area protocol....

Sometimes while enroute I want to pull over and take a nap or stop for lunch at a rest area. I have found several rest areas, particularly on the other side of the Mississippi to be quite nice.
My questions involves following the entrance signs that seem to put our trailers as the same category as large 18 wheelers pulling 53' long trailers. I feel like a dwarf alongside some of these behemoths and a little intimidated. Over on the passenger car side there are large enough spaces to park but I always stay on the truck side. Other than above and feeling unsafe what are some thoughts or ideas as to stopping in rest areas? Do you stay on the smaller car side while towing or go to the truck side? Thanks for responding.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:21 AM   #2
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I may not be the best example to follow, but I stay with the other campers. I don't set up camp though. No awning, no jacks, just put the kids in the trailer, and set up the bed in the van. Then lights out.

As I understand it, the rule is: If you can go, then you can stay, but if you are immobile, then you gotta go.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:24 AM   #3
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So you follow the trucks or the autos ?
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:28 AM   #4
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Autos, (campers).
Why are you up so late Jim?
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:30 AM   #5
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Actually it is early for me, you are up late. I thought campers went with trucks at least some say cars with trailers to go where the trucks are. Maybe it it would be better to go on the car and side and ask for forgiveness versus permission?
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:41 AM   #6
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Most of rest areas in the west say trucks and trailers. I don't know why you should feel unsafe. Truckers are a pretty good bunch of people. On the truck side is somebody starts bother you make a lot of noise and a trucker or 3 will right there. I feel safer amongst the trucks than the autos.

Other protocol things to think about. Never let it appear that you're camping. No jacks, stabilizers, lawn chairs, etc. All you're doing is sleeping.

Usually when we're traveling down the road and need a few hours sleep a rest area fits the bill. If I need a meal a truck stop often provides a nice restaurant and again I often park with the trucks. There consideration when parking with the trucks, I don't go all the way to end of the slot. I park back a ways to give our friendly truckers a better chance to see early that the spot is taken. Everybody's day could be ruined with truck plowing into the back of the trailer.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:42 AM   #7
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Actually it is early for me, you are up late. I thought campers went with trucks at least some say cars with trailers to go where the trucks are. Maybe it it would be better to go on the car and side and ask for forgiveness versus permission?
At night the pan handlers come out, not from the trucks, the truckers have jobs.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:51 AM   #8
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Thanks Byron, when I say unsafe, more like intimidated. Some of those monsters are huge and I'm afraid sometimes of being hit, like a gnat on the back of an elephant. One time I was parked next to a wide load that had maybe 60 wheels and was maybe 90 feet long, bumper to bumper. They sit up real high and could easily just push you out of their way. At least on the car side I'm more visible!!
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Old 03-24-2015, 04:02 AM   #9
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Thanks Byron, when I say unsafe, more like intimidated. Some of those monsters are huge and I'm afraid sometimes of being hit, like a gnat on the back of an elephant. One time I was parked next to a wide load that had maybe 60 wheels and was maybe 90 feet long, bumper to bumper. They sit up real high and could easily just push you out of their way. At least on the car side I'm more visible!!
I guess I trust the truckers more than the pan handlers that come out of autos. Coming in and out of rest areas is something truckers do a couple times a day. If I see a wide load make sure the driver sees me, wave at him when I go by his truck. Trucks have to run a few minutes before they can drive off. The air system has to come up to pressure to release the spring brakes before they can move. This gives you plenty of time make a trucker friend and make sure he knows you're beside him.
Remember these guys have jobs, an accident in a parking lot can cause them to loose their job.
I watched autos come into the auto side at 50 or 60mph. Trucks don't come in like that.
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Old 03-24-2015, 04:38 AM   #10
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I parked on the car side at the rest area in Smyrna, Delaware. An attendant approached and told me I was suppose to be with the trucks. I explained we parked with the cars to escape the truck engine noise and to walk the dog. She said " they're suppose to turn them off", smiled and walked away. Here the spaces are small so I parked along the edge. Space is probably the issue. Raz
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Old 03-24-2015, 04:47 AM   #11
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I always go the truck side. On the passenger side I'd probably have to take two parking spots and that doesn't seem right to me.

On the truck side I will sometimes pull in behind another car & trailer combo if they leave room behind themselves in an effort to not burn another space if I'm just in for a "pit stop".

I will often pick a slot away from right across from the rest rooms to again be considerate of the truckers. If I was planning a longer stop I'd probably opt for this strategy first.
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Old 03-24-2015, 05:01 AM   #12
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Never had a problem with the truckers and the ones I've met were good folks.
Kind of a funny story from way back. Did a car trip to Monument Valley on the spur of the moment and was planning to spend the night at a hotel about 50 miles away, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Had no reservations and the place was full . Slept in the car till about 4 am when the smell of the cattle truck that had parked next to us woke us up. Guess I should have parked a bit farther away but who would have figured on that happening. It was a great sunrise though with the buttes in the back round .
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Old 03-24-2015, 05:06 AM   #13
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The Texas rest areas have large pull thru parking for trucks and rvs. The car parking is 45 degree angle into the curb parking and a trailer would block the path of other cars. Not really a choice. I park with the trucks when towing.

http://www.txdot.gov/driver/travel/r...nty+Northbound
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:01 AM   #14
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I always go to the truck side. Many rest areas have signs saying "car" with an arrow and another sign saying "trucks and cars with trailers." I've never felt intimidated. I believe it's Kansas (if I'm wrong, someone will correct me) that has a camping loop in the rest areas. Just a paved loop wide enough to park RVs on each side with space for people to drive between them. No individual sites. Besides Walmarts, church and store parking lots are useful places to get some sleep. We were on our way home from AZ and found ourselves in Springerville. Had no idea where to get some sleep. I spotted two police cars parked side by side having a conversation in a church parking lot. I asked them where would be a safe place to park overnight and they said right there in the parking lot. We did. I felt like they'd probably drive by once in a while during the night.
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:19 AM   #15
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I parked on the truck side. Did not want to park on the car side because you pulled into curb and it may be hard to back up. The Ohio and In turnpike had some awesome rest stops. Carl
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:23 AM   #16
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With a tandem axle I try to avoid turnpikes, the tolls are triple. But yes some truck stops and toll roads have coin parking with electric, something like $10 for 12 hours.
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:55 AM   #17
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When towing our teardrop or Uhaul I usually park on the car side, but down from the main area. I'll park sideways in angle spaces if there is plenty of room but won't do it unless there are a lot of empty spaces at the far end of the lot where I'll park. With the Casita I go in with the trucks. I don't get way up to the end of the space so that any truck next to me has plenty of turning room to get out of his space. I worked on those big rigs for years and drove them occasionally so I try to be considerate towards them. Notice that when trying to merge into traffic when you come out of that rest area or an on ramp that it's the trucker that will pull over and let you in. And if there is a cop or a broke down vehicle on the shoulder of the road, the trucks will pull over to the left lane but many of the cars won't. Everything we use comes to us by truck, appreciate them, it's not an easy job.
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:55 AM   #18
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We follow the rules since we are all too familiar with "courtesies" being extended and withdrawn because of people who don't follow the rules.
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:22 AM   #19
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I think either side...but I also think the most important action is to be on alert because you actually never know if something was going to happen.
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:36 AM   #20
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In the Southeast, most rest stops direct cars with trailers to park with the trucks, and like some others have said, I feel safer among the truckers anyway.
I also prefer overnight stops at truck stops like Pilot/FlyingJ with the truckers rather than Walmart parking lots where I feel very vulnerable

Some states, I think Virginia? have signs restricting time to two hours with no overnights.

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