Where to stop while towing Casita cross-country? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 10-25-2015, 06:41 PM   #1
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Where to stop while towing Casita cross-country?

Sorry this is a nooby question, but in the 3 months I had my Casita, I have only towed it once, and for about 25 miles. Soon I will be towing it about 1800 miles. I've travelled a lot in a car, and always drove until I was dead tired, and spent the night in a hotel. Now, I am going to go slow and safely. Do I just look for large gas-station plazas, and maybe sleep in a rest-stop (in the Casita)? I guess I will refill my truck ever time it gets down to 50% full, normally I would drive a lot farther. Can you sleep over night in a rest-stop in a RV, or do you have to go somewhere else? I would not mind staying in a Hotel, if I was able to pull in and out easily, with the Casita attached. I'm just wondering what kinds of places I should be looking for, or should I make reservations in advance (if I know where to stop in advance)?
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Old 10-25-2015, 07:32 PM   #2
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If we want electric hookup we find a campground for the night. Our route is pre planned and stop over campgrounds along the way are put in a list so depending on when we decide to stop for the day, check the list for what is nearby and call for a site availability.
We have overnighted at a truck stop, Loves or Pilot, first asking where to park. Did one night in a Walmart parking lot after asking the manager for permission. Some Cracker Barrels allow overnight parking. Some rest areas don't allow overnight parking. You can find more info at Allstays.com. Stopping for gas has become an ongoing joke with us, seems like every time I need gas I'll stop at the worst places, like no room for the trailer and at one the owner was chasing a shoplifter out the door. And if on an interstate highway I'll get off where the gas station is miles from the exit.
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Old 10-25-2015, 07:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoot View Post
Sorry this is a nooby question, but in the 3 months I had my Casita, I have only towed it once, and for about 25 miles. Soon I will be towing it about 1800 miles. I've travelled a lot in a car, and always drove until I was dead tired, and spent the night in a hotel. Now, I am going to go slow and safely. Do I just look for large gas-station plazas, and maybe sleep in a rest-stop (in the Casita)? I guess I will refill my truck ever time it gets down to 50% full, normally I would drive a lot farther. Can you sleep over night in a rest-stop in a RV, or do you have to go somewhere else? I would not mind staying in a Hotel, if I was able to pull in and out easily, with the Casita attached. I'm just wondering what kinds of places I should be looking for, or should I make reservations in advance (if I know where to stop in advance)?

We've done a lot of traveling in west. Sometimes driving late into the night. Most of the time we can find a Rest Area and just get in our Scamp and sleep a few hours. No rest area Walmart, or truck stop will work. All your need to do is get a few hours sleep. No need for electricity or water.
Our evening stop goes like this, find a place, use the rest room, go to bed. At or just before daylight we usually wake up. Get up and back on the road looking for a place to get some breakfast. Drive up to 2 hours before breakfast. After breakfast we drive for another 2 hours before looking for a rest room, sometimes a short nap. Then on to lunch.
Maximum travel speed is 60mph, typical driving speed is about 57 to 58 mph.

I suggest a good travel GPS that has fuel stops and eating places listed. I have a Garmin Nuvi. At less that 1/2 tank I start looking for a gas station. The GPS will often lead right to a close one.

Enjoy your trip. Relax, after a couple days you wont worry so much.
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:00 PM   #4
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when we get tired of driving, we stop at Walmart, CrackerBarrel , A truck stop, or a rest area. We have the Scamp with us with all the accommodations we need. Once inside with the curtains closed we can imagine we're anywhere in the universe!
We particularly like Walmart, because the lots are secure with cameras, they often have WiFi, or RedBox. They have a hot deli for supper and doughnuts and fruit for breakfast. Plus they are close to the highway and free, often with a few other campers around.

When driving by car we leave home in the wee hours of the morning and stop for breakfast about 4 or 5 hours down the road around 8AM.

When towing the camper we usually leave home around 6 or 7PM and drive until around 10 or 11PM then stop for the night.

Either way, its like having a headstart on the trip.

A long day in the car will cover about the same ground as 2-3days towing. Its a different style of travel and a different way of dealing with traffic.
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:12 PM   #5
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Bob's comment sort of describes our experience as well. The gas price is always lower at the next pump along the way. Murphy's Law at work.

Our overnight stops are not well planned but we use Woodall's AAA books, Allstays.com web page, KOA directory, state maps from AAA, Rand-McNally US atlas and sometimes the DeLorme state atlases. The Woodall's books do not need to be up to date, the campgrounds do not change much. I use yellow post-it's to mark pages, scribbles, dog-ear pages to mark places and sometimes even write things down in a note pad! If it is getting late, we try to call to make sure we do not find our target campground filled up.

I would not mind spending a night or two at a Wallmart, but my wife does not like the idea at all. The truck stops are also not places we care to hang out at, mostly because of noise, traffic and lights. It is not hard to find campgrounds just a few miles off the interstates. We did end up setting up after dark a few times, but it still worked out pretty well. Usually we estimate how far we want to get and find three or four possible places a day in advance. Then we narrow the selection as we get close.
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:45 PM   #6
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It depends on what your outlook is on your overnight/camping experience. We prefer to stay at state or national park campgrounds because they, usually, offer a semi-rustic experience with natural surroundings, camping basics such as picnic table, fire-pit, flush toilets, and if you're lucky, showers. We love to hike and they often have hiking trails nearby.

If we want something a bit more rustic we'll look for BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campsites which can offer all the amenities of a state or national park or have ZERO amenities, in which case you will be "boondocking" or camping in your self-contained camper which has, electricity, water and a pottie of some sort. Boondocking is often my favorite kind of camping because there are usually few other campers nearby and we can enjoy nature on her terms.

We've grown to like camping through the Harvest Hosts (HarvestHosts.com) club as we can camp at vineyards, farms, alpaca farms and other rural experiences throughout the lower 48 and Alaska, Baja, CA and Canada. There is a minimal fee for a year's membership and there is no charge for camping while a purchase is expected. This is not an issue for us as we are happy to compensate the hospitality of the hosts and we end up with something delicious or fun. Usually, there are no other campers, we are in the beautiful farm setting and we get to meet and greet the friendly owners, and their pets.

We're pretty low-tech when it comes to finding campsites. We bring a copy of Woodall's Campground Directory, available from most Camping World stores. The book is quite thick so we cut it in half (West and East U.S.)and use the half book for the region we are visiting. Usually, we phone ahead but campgrounds don't always answer their phone. Since we often camp off-season or mid-week, we haven't had a problem getting a site.

There are a lot of dumpy or less-than desirable campgrounds out there. None have been unsafe, though, and we just chalk it up to experience when we have to stay at these places as they are usually only for overnight stays. Campgrounds are often near noisy highways or railways.
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:53 PM   #7
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Be careful to not fully trust your gps to bring you to a real campground . On our cross country trip from LA twice when we put in campgrounds we ended up at a permanent mobile home park ,not fun when it's late at night and your dead tired.
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:00 PM   #8
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Love the HarvestHosts site & idea! Thank you!
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
Bob's comment sort of describes our experience as well. The gas price is always lower at the next pump along the way. Murphy's Law at work.

Our overnight stops are not well planned but we use Woodall's AAA books, Allstays.com web page, KOA directory, state maps from AAA, Rand-McNally US atlas and sometimes the DeLorme state atlases. The Woodall's books do not need to be up to date, the campgrounds do not change much. I use yellow post-it's to mark pages, scribbles, dog-ear pages to mark places and sometimes even write things down in a note pad! If it is getting late, we try to call to make sure we do not find our target campground filled up.

I would not mind spending a night or two at a Wallmart, but my wife does not like the idea at all. The truck stops are also not places we care to hang out at, mostly because of noise, traffic and lights. It is not hard to find campgrounds just a few miles off the interstates. We did end up setting up after dark a few times, but it still worked out pretty well. Usually we estimate how far we want to get and find three or four possible places a day in advance. Then we narrow the selection as we get close.
Yup. A $30+ night vs a free night. HMmmmm Which would you prefer?
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mikmay View Post
Be careful to not fully trust your gps to bring you to a real campground . On our cross country trip from LA twice when we put in campgrounds we ended up at a permanent mobile home park ,not fun when it's late at night and your dead tired.
For one thing I never stay in a private RV park. After a few years I know how to find campgrounds when I want someplace to stay for a week or 2. But I just want a few hours sleep I don't need any RV park or campground.
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Old 10-26-2015, 03:46 AM   #11
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Interesting thread and comments about where to stop. I've stopped at regular stations off a freeway and ask the person on duty after filling up if I could pull around back and get a few ZZZZs. Never had one say no and never had problems.
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Old 10-26-2015, 05:30 AM   #12
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when traveling long distances i depend on the kindness of strangers and use cracker barrels (a lot and i've only been told no once in florida where there was a city rule against it), wal marts, truck stops and rest areas. i try to avoid towing at night (can't see very well any longer) and i'm usually tired well before dark. a 300 mile day is my average. in those places that noise/lights are an issue i deploy the reflectix panels cut to fit the casita's windows. one accessory i find very usefull is a 20 dollar bill. i've found that if you pull into one of those mom & pop campgrounds along the freeway late in the afternoon or early evening and there are empty sites that twenty will usually get you a site regardless of their posted rate. in one night at these usually less than beautiful "parks" i can dump the holding tanks, catch up with internet stuff and recharge myself and the battery. one note of caution regarding rest area overnighting... when you pull in park so that the back of your trailer is close to the end of the big trucks. that way the sleepy truckers can see you before committing to a turn into what looks like an empty slot.

p@
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Old 10-26-2015, 06:02 AM   #13
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Lots of good advice here, thanks for all the suggestions! Clearly, I need to PLAN my trip, more than I normally do. I also have a Garmin "RV GPS", which I better start learning how to use.
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Old 10-26-2015, 06:28 AM   #14
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Camping World has the Good Sam campground guide that lists for $29.95. AAA has Woodalls campground guides that are regional, like the south, mid atlantic, northeast, that are smaller books and free if you are an AAA member. We also have a campground book that covers only state parks, another that is only Corps of Engineer parks. Sounds like a small library and no we don't carry them all when traveling. There are also County Park campgrounds in some states. Easiest way to find them that I've found is at Allstays.
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Old 10-26-2015, 09:47 AM   #15
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I would NOT recommend staying at a rest stop overnight, and most do not allow it anyway. Poor lighting and not so safe. A large truck plaza like Pilot, Jet, Loves, or Travel America are best to stop at. I always ask for permission and always get a it. I park at the outer edge of the lot, but still well lit. I get gas there too as a thank you as well. Some have restaurants too for breakfast the following morning. Full service towing products too!
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Old 10-26-2015, 09:53 AM   #16
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I agree with P@, use reflectix when camping in Walmart, Pilot, and the like, those sodium lights will light up the inside of your trailer like it is daytime. I also use an eye mask for daytime napping. I have a Walmart atlas (purchased from Amazon). Another helpful book is The Next Exit, which gives you lots information about what to find along the way about eateries and gas stations.

If you are a solo traveler like I am, it is hard to navigate and read the books so I familiarize myself with the next day's travel before bedding down for the night.

The first time I travelled cross-country I stayed at KOA Kampgrounds as they were convinient, safe and clean but pricey.
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Old 10-26-2015, 09:58 AM   #17
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Don't know where you will be travelling but this is what we have found so far. In Minnesota and Wisconsin there are city parks with water, dump and elect for about $15 a night. I haven't encountered them on the west coast, southwest or south. We have found camping at fairgrounds that runs about $25/night. If we are up north travelling with the trailer winterized, we stay at motels. They will generally have us park out back with other vehicles with trailers. A Good Sam's book can be of help. Your GPS is of huge help. We rely greatly on the computer suppose you have service. Just go to Google maps and zoom in on your area of interest. Type in campgrounds and see all the hits emerge. Zoom in and click on a campground, copy and paste to a search. You can get information, read reviews, get a phone number and make a choice that can easily be cancelled. For longer stays we prefer National Parks, National forest parks, Corps of Engineers parks, State parks and fairgrounds parks. RV parks have a much different atmosphere and there are few if any small campers at most all we have stayed in. We try to keep the travelling down to 250 miles a day or less. We pull at up to 70 mph if conditions are excellent but figure on an average travel time based on 45 - 50 mph or an average day of 4 - 6 hours or less.
Good luck with your travels and every day is an adventure. At the end of each day it is helpful to remember that the goal is to have fun and how is it measuring up?
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Old 10-26-2015, 10:07 AM   #18
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Casino's are another option. Some allow you to use the parking lot for free, others will change from $10 to $15 per night - some have power as well as a dump station. Some actually have a full hook up area but charge more for that. Some will also give you a voucher for a free breakfast.

Casino's also tend to have lots of security vs a highway rest stop or Walmart.

Not all Walmart's allow you to stay overnight in their lots. A good place to check is RV Parking in Walmart - Walmart Atlas.

Casinocamper.com has maps showing locations of casinos that allow camping and users information about them below the map.

Freecampsites.net is another handy website to use when looking for a spot that is free.
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Old 10-26-2015, 10:14 AM   #19
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We use the phone app: RV Parky. that works well for us. It will find state parks, federal lands, Walmarts etc. as well as commercial campgrounds. The app is free from the Apple APP store.
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Old 10-26-2015, 12:02 PM   #20
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Lots of good advice here, thanks for all the suggestions! Clearly, I need to PLAN my trip, more than I normally do. I also have a Garmin "RV GPS", which I better start learning how to use.
Planning = meeting schedules, meeting schedules = stress, stress = not relaxed and enjoying the trip. Meeting schedules = no side trips, no little know treasures to find.

I learned the pit falls of over planning a long time ago. Now our plan is go towards some place. Don't worry about when we get there, since the journey is the thing.
Worry about a place to sleep just doesn't happen in my world. I can always find a place to sleep.

Relax, no plans, just easy traveling with side trips and unplanned stops.
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