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Old 10-13-2022, 04:53 PM   #1
CLG
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Overnighting at Interstate hwy rest stops

We are traveling from BC to AZ soon. I am trying to convince my wife to overnight at rest areas, not private campgrounds. We would just be there long enough to make dinner walk the dogs and have a sleep.
I am wondering if itís ok to level rv and put out the slide.
How would starting and running genset be received?
My wifeís big concern is homeless people and undesirable people hanging around and bothering us. Iím trying to convince her there will be other trailers like us and truckers resting overnight. Iím thinking the rest stops will be perfectly safe.
Anyone have experience and advice?
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Old 10-13-2022, 05:02 PM   #2
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Do your research. Not all states allow overnight stops and enforce the rules. Some states have no idling laws which includes running generators. Do your own research based on your planned route.
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Old 10-13-2022, 05:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CLG View Post
We are traveling from BC to AZ soon. I am trying to convince my wife to overnight at rest areas, not private campgrounds. We would just be there long enough to make dinner walk the dogs and have a sleep.
I am wondering if itís ok to level rv and put out the slide.
How would starting and running genset be received?
My wifeís big concern is homeless people and undesirable people hanging around and bothering us. Iím trying to convince her there will be other trailers like us and truckers resting overnight. Iím thinking the rest stops will be perfectly safe.
Anyone have experience and advice?
https://www.boondockersbible.com/kno...in-rest-stops/
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Old 10-13-2022, 05:13 PM   #4
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Oregon and California

I have checked Oregon and California allow overnight stays in rest stops.
12 and 10 hours respectively.
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Old 10-13-2022, 05:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by CLG View Post
We are traveling from BC to AZ soon. I am trying to convince my wife to overnight at rest areas, not private campgrounds. We would just be there long enough to make dinner walk the dogs and have a sleep.
I am wondering if itís ok to level rv and put out the slide.
How would starting and running genset be received?
My wifeís big concern is homeless people and undesirable people hanging around and bothering us. Iím trying to convince her there will be other trailers like us and truckers resting overnight. Iím thinking the rest stops will be perfectly safe.
Anyone have experience and advice?
EA37TS gave you some good advice. Although many states don't "allow" overnight parking, you are allowed to rest (purpose of a rest stop) and usually won't be bothered unless it looks like you are camping with the slides out and generator running. Better to locate amiable retailers like Cracker Barrel, Walmart, Cabelas, etc .
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Old 10-13-2022, 05:37 PM   #6
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Not sure how much traveling you have done lately but Big Rig/ RV parking at most rest areas is limited so taking up a spot extending your slides running your generator in other words camping is taking up a spot for someone that needs a quick break. Just get a camp spot for the night.
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Old 10-13-2022, 06:24 PM   #7
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I would say running the generator after dark and extending your slide is no no, at least thats what I've found.
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Old 10-13-2022, 06:33 PM   #8
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I can appreciate the convenience of stopping at a rest stop overnight if you are travelling on an Interstate. But pulling off to a Walmart, Cracker Barrel, etc is almost as good and has some advantages:

Generally no time limits. I have pulled into a Cracker Barrel at 6:00 PM and stayed until 9:00 AM the next day and had dinner and breakfast there. FWIW the breakfast was great but the dinner- chicken fried steak, was not so good.

Depending on where you park at a Cracker Barrel you can pull out your slide, but I wouldn't run the generator. Most Cracker Barrel's have designated 30-40' parking slots for RVs and I would not pull the slide out there. But some have perimeter parallel parking where if oriented correctly you can pull out your slide. Check with the store to see. Walmarts, Cabellas, etc are in shopping centers and you park off to the side away from the store, so I would not pull the slide out there and definitely would not run a generator.

Walmarts and Cracker Barrels particularly are often right off the Interstate and about as easy to get into as a rest stop.

So if you are concerned about rest stops, try one of these.

David
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Old 10-13-2022, 07:07 PM   #9
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During our travels from Las Vegas to Alberta, Canada this past June, we slept at 2 rest areas for 2 nights. NEVER pulled out the slide outs. But I run the generator when needed for few hours. I even take a quick shower in the morning. I used the truck/RV area. Almost all trucks run their generators all night. We did that at a rest stop past Salt Lake City, UT and another rest area in MT. We have never used Walmart or Cracker Barrel. Most US Interstate rest areas will allow you to "Rest" overnight. I highly recommend NOT extending your slide outs.

Last year, we drove from Las Vegas to Dayton, OH. Slept at 2 rest areas as well until we reach our first campground. Just make sure you feel safe in the area. Only you can make that determination.
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Old 10-13-2022, 07:09 PM   #10
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Way too much noise and activity for me to stay overnight at a busy rest area even if there was adequate room.

Lots of activity all night long from what i have seen and that isn't conducive to getting rested.

What would be a usable benefit if more campgrounds had overflow areas at a reasonable fee for overnights.

The very few times we have tried Wally Docking the noise and traffic was bad and not restful either.

I understand the need to a place to sleep without paying full price for a camp site you will only use for less than 1/2 day and there is a definite need for that.

This conversation has been a constant since the forums started many years ago and still no better solution than then, perhaps worse with more and more places not allowing overnighting.
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Old 10-13-2022, 07:16 PM   #11
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County Fairgrounds in smaller rural based areas sometimes allow camping. Some have water and electric. We have found reservations are mostly required.
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Old 10-13-2022, 07:59 PM   #12
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County Fairgrounds in smaller rural based areas sometimes allow camping. Some have water and electric. We have found reservations are mostly required.
Great point, we have stayed in some with full hookups and 50-amp svc for about 1/2 the typical fee in the same area, usually pretty quiet
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Old 10-13-2022, 08:49 PM   #13
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freecampsites.net and campendium have a huge list of free campsites. We're heading out from Reno to Bisbee AZ soon and had no problem finding tons of free locations to overnight... BLM, Casino's, Cracker Barrel...etc.

I wouldn't hesitate to sleep at a rest area, but as others noted setting up camp/extending slides is likely to result in a knock on the door.
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Old 10-13-2022, 08:55 PM   #14
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Casinoís are good
Also, weíve parked in rural hospital lots
On the InterstatesÖweíve stayed at several gas station/truck stops. We only stop if the Google maps satellite view shows a gravel/dirt area away from the loud trucks entering & exiting
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Old 10-13-2022, 10:11 PM   #15
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In our youth, we stayed at wally world and rest areas because of our limited time schedules. It was always convenient, but the noise was a distraction. On our last trip, a couple of the campground were so close to the highway it was like being in a truck stop. So, I guess it's a toss up. If crunched for time, and allowed by law, I wouldn't hesitate to again stay at a rest area or wal mart.
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Old 10-13-2022, 10:58 PM   #16
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Utahn here, and we've traveled most of the terrain you should traverse for a direct north to south trip.

Our experience is that generally in the west rest stops either have truck/RV parking lanes, or they tend not to hassle folks overnighting as long as they come in in the evening and leave in the early morning. As folks have noted, keep your slideouts in if possible, and don't run your generator unless you have no choice.

As someone else noted, Campendium is your friend. Idaho, Montana, Nevada Utah and Arizona are all chock full of free boondocking sites, and many are either right off the road or easily accessible for big rigs. Just make sure you look at the reviews and the suggestions for max rig size. Most boondocking sites in the Intermountain West are BLM, although some are NFS.

If you're coming down through Jackson Hole and want to swing by Bear Lake/Garden City, UT I can offer you a nice concrete RV pad and electricity for a night. If you're interested, shoot me a PM.

Safe Travels!
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Old 10-13-2022, 11:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLG View Post
We are traveling from BC to AZ soon. I am trying to convince my wife to overnight at rest areas, not private campgrounds. We would just be there long enough to make dinner walk the dogs and have a sleep.
I am wondering if itís ok to level rv and put out the slide.
How would starting and running genset be received?
My wifeís big concern is homeless people and undesirable people hanging around and bothering us. Iím trying to convince her there will be other trailers like us and truckers resting overnight. Iím thinking the rest stops will be perfectly safe.
Anyone have experience and advice?
This may help. Be careful.

https://rvlife.com/rest-areas-rv/
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Old 10-13-2022, 11:09 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by ador View Post
During our travels from Las Vegas to Alberta, Canada this past June, we slept at 2 rest areas for 2 nights. NEVER pulled out the slide outs. But I run the generator when needed for few hours. I even take a quick shower in the morning. I used the truck/RV area. Almost all trucks run their generators all night. We did that at a rest stop past Salt Lake City, UT and another rest area in MT. We have never used Walmart or Cracker Barrel. Most US Interstate rest areas will allow you to "Rest" overnight. I highly recommend NOT extending your slide outs.

Last year, we drove from Las Vegas to Dayton, OH. Slept at 2 rest areas as well until we reach our first campground. Just make sure you feel safe in the area. Only you can make that determination.
Just read this about truck stops

https://www.doityourselfrv.com/overn...t-truck-stops/
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Old 10-13-2022, 11:15 PM   #19
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Hi CLG of mostly free camping all over USA.
We have traveled to over 23 states and used often.
Zero issues.

https://freecampsites.net/#!2162&query=sitedetails
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Old 10-14-2022, 12:21 AM   #20
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Trucks run generators now in place of the old option of running the engine all night. Its loud, trucks come and go all through the night and it's more like sleeping on a runway. If you're doing this to save money...big mistake. Don't use slides, don't break.out the chairs and grills. Just stop, sleep stealthy and move on. We use them occasionally but it's only for a few hours of sleep during those dead zones between campgrounds.
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