DO what you wish FlyingJ does not really care AS LONG AS YOU ARE QUIET AND do not inconvenience other drivers. AS for slides it depends on where you are in the lot and if it infringes on other peoples ability to park/use their area.
Same goes for Walmart and other areas mentioned
Please see my PM
Traveling with my best friend, my wife in a 1990 Southwind
Flying Js are truck stops, that's not to say they're friendly or unfriendly, they're places where truckers pull into to get fuel and their mandatory sleep hours. There is constantly trucks coming and going, backing up, re-positioning, maybe having tires changed or other work done on them and lots of refer trucks running (usually right next to you). We always try to pick a corner further out in the back to park, it's a little quieter. (Did that one time and then found out after we went to bed that the train tracks were 20' behind our bed.)
People on the forum have said that in some Flying Js there are specific spots for RVs. That could well be, I just haven't seen any of them yet and yes I stay in a truck stop a couple times a year..
In general, no, don't put your slides out unless you're parked next to a curb and can hang the over the curb where they're aren't going to get hit by a truck backing up in the dark. They're not expecting slide outs since none of the trucks have them and in the dark all they can usually see is the front of your MH. Sometimes if there's a large light post in the parking area we've been able to pull in next to the post and put the slide out. A truck can't back up there because of the post.
You're as safe there as you are anywhere else. No they don't worry about what time you leave because the trucks will be arriving and departing all night long.
Walmarts - we do the same as at the truck stops, park so the slides are over the curb and put them out where they can't be hit. In general there's more room in a WalMart than there is in a truck stop.
On Crackerbarrels - I'm assuming your MH is about 33' long and then you'll be towing something. We've tried to park in a CB twice and found the parking lots to be very cut up and small. I'd advise parking in the street first and then walking in to see if there's room. And remember, just because there's room to park, if when the breakfast crowd shows up and parks all around you, there might not be room to pull out until they've left. All it takes is one car in the wrong spot to block you in a small parking lot.
Nodwell RN110 out moose hunting. 4-53 Detroit, Clark 5 spd, 40" wide tracks, 10:00x20 tires, 16,000# capacity, 22,000# weight. You know the mud is getting deep when it's coming in the doors.
When you do park at highway rest stops, you probably already know you are supposed to be in the "truck" area. Try to park out of the way. When you park in the angled drive through spots, DON'T pull all the way forward - park so approaching trucks can see the rear of your camper, so they know that spot is taken.
Truckers can be a little grumpy, usually due to encountering campers who don't use common sense when parking, or simply don't know where and how to park. Also, sometimes campers are just idiots in truck areas - like telling truckers to shut off generators ... truckers on long hauls are living in their trucks and need the generator for the same reasons you want power for your camper, and sometimes those generators are running refrig units on trailers.
Safety wise? I've not run into any issues, except for the scammers who just "need $15 to get their keys back after being towed", or some variation of that. As others have said, just be observant.
2008 F-250 CrewCab 5.4L,
2004 21' Forest River Surveyor
All one does in these places is (or is supposed to do) is pull in, get a fast nites' sleep and get back on the road....early.
These are TRUCK STOPS that have the courtesy of letting RVs park (NOT CAMP) overnight. I never put the slide(s) out in these places. Pull in, have a quick dinner, maybe walk around (carefully) then grab some sleep. I (we) leave early, around 5 AM.
I've seen people who can spoil it for all. Pull into a Wal-Mart (like in AZ that I've seen) pull out the slides, get out the grill and stay there for a couple of days. Not good. Never understood someone who does this who can afford a $100-500 thousand dollar RV too cheap to go for the 30 bucks for a campground. Then they complain when signs go up : No overnight parking.
We stopped at a Flying J and it was full. We went in to ask for advice and the clerk said she always stopped at Walmart or Meijers when they traveled.It was quieter. We have done the same ever since.
You have to go in and ask.
I overheard the next clerk tell someone that they preferred that people did not use pullouts but did not do anything about it.
We usually stay clear of Flying J's when possible. Although they are convenient, they are usually very noisy as Trackrig mentioned. They are also usually very bright. I've never seen a Flying J that didn't have RV specific parking, but they are usually just long parking spots, no wider than a regular parking spot. The few times we have stayed at a Flying J, we have not put our slides out.
We prefer Walmart parking lots to Rest Areas and Truck Stops. We almost always something anyway, they are usually near the interstate (at least along I-95) and a lot of them have security driving around the parking lot throughout the night. Their parking lots are also lit, but not usually as bright as Truck Stops. We've stayed in some that are as noisy as a truck stops (truckers us Walmarts too) and we've stayed at some out of the way Walmarts that are very quiet.
We do put our bedroom slide out when staying at Walmart. We don't have to, but it is more convenient to have it open. We rarely stay more than 8 hours. We do run the generator if we need to run the A/C or heat.
If the Walmart is still open (there are a few that we've stayed at that aren't open 24 hours) if no one else is there, we will ask the manager. Sometimes if we see security, we just ask them. If it is a Walmart we've never stayed at before, we call ahead. We did get turned away once when calling. It was a Walmart on one side and a Sam's Club on the other. The manager told us the parking lot was too small.
Michael Girardo :: firstname.lastname@example.org
2009 Jayco Greyhawk 31FS Class C Motorhome with 2014 Honda CR-V Toad
2006 Rockwood Roo 233 Hybrid Travel Trailer (previously owned)
1995 Jayco Eagle 12KB pop-up (previously owned)
common sense dictates that stopping overnight in a parking lot is not the same as paying to be in a campground. No slides out, unless it's the only way you can reach your bed or bathroom, and then make sure you're at a curb and the slide is not exposed as others have suggested. Be sure to ask permission if you're not in a truck stop or rest area (be aware many states do not allow overnight parking in their rest areas). Some local communities have outlawed overnight parking in store parking lots because, as mentioned before, some arrogant and selfish RVers abuse the privilege. No matter where you stop, if it's not a 'real campground', be sure you are out of the way and you can get out of where you're parked in the morning! Have a great trip.
Two young retirees restless to GO!
Life is too short to wait too long to do all we want to do!!
Go and enjoy!!
I think using a truck stop for overnight is inappropriate. They are designed especially for truckers, who often live in their trucks for days (even weeks) at a time. They almost always do not have another option to stop. And now with electronic logs, they cannot drive further and "cheat." Taking up a spot at a truck stop leaves a trucker with no place to stop. Go find a Walmart, Cabela's, Home Depot, and the like and park there. Or take a novel approach and find a campground to park!