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Caseysplace
I'm very new to the RV world and plan on leaving from Montana to Florida in March. Because I'm self contained I plan on cold camping for the entire trip at rest stops, truck stops etc. My question is, is this a safe thing to do or am I taking a chance. Also I've never towed my 36' this far, so it's like I'm entering the unknown. Any suggestions?
RLM
QUOTE(Caseysplace @ Jan 29 2008, 08:44 AM) *

I'm very new to the RV world and plan on leaving from Montana to Florida in March. Because I'm self contained I plan on cold camping for the entire trip at rest stops, truck stops etc. My question is, is this a safe thing to do or am I taking a chance. Also I've never towed my 36' this far, so it's like I'm entering the unknown. Any suggestions?


First of all, MT is a truly great place to RV - that is in pleasant weather. Beautiful state. Lotsa Kodak moments there.

I make an assumption that you are boon docking (cold camping) just for an over night stay enroute to FL. If so, may I recommend that you pick a Wal-Mart parking lot or a full service truck stop like Flying J. For one, they are more secure than a rest stop and some states prohibit overnight parking in those. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that you won’t be the only RV parked at a truck stop or Wal-Mart. You won’t have to unhook the truck for an overnighter. Parking at Wal-Mart is perhaps a no brainer. Typically, there are restaurants within walking distance, and if not, you can get any number of ready to go late dinner meals there. Notwithstanding the sometimes tight fit at the pump, you can usually get diesel or gas at a Wal-Mart.

You might want to consider a regular commercial campground mixed in with the above choices. One night of full hook up service and cable is a nice break from boon docking.

The answer to your question “Am I entering the unknown?” You said yourself that you have not done this before so the answer is yes. But it’s part of the RV lifestyle. Your experiences on the trip can be valuable to someone else who would follow in your footsteps. Or is that…tire prints??

BBear
I agree with RLM, I would choose a Wal-Mart or a truck stop like Flying J over rest stops or service areas along the highway. I don't know what route you're taking but if you go through Ohio on their turnpike which I believe is I-80, they have three service plazas that have campgrounds that will accommodate up to a 40 foot motorhome. They also have electric, water and a dump station available for a $15.00 donation.

Here's further information on that:

Ohio Turnpike Service Plaza Camping

And, one caution if you do stay at a truck plaza and you have to park with the tractor-trailers, try to get an end space, because most leave their rigs running and the fumes even if you're closed up tight have a way of working their way into your trailer or motorhome if you park for any length of time between two..at least on an end you'll have less fumes.

Hope you have a great trip and post and let us know how you do!!!
Joe-n-Doe
QUOTE(BBear @ Feb 7 2008, 02:38 AM) *


And, one caution if you do stay at a truck plaza and you have to park with the tractor-trailers, try to get an end space, because most leave their rigs running and the fumes even if you're closed up tight have a way of working their way into your trailer or motorhome if you park for any length of time between two..at least on an end you'll have less fumes.



Strive for end spots at rest stops too; more room, less noise, and less park and go traffic.
jperera
You might want to check out this group on Yahoo. It is a list of overnight sites that people have stayed in. The information includes Wal-Marts and whether they allow parking or not, where to park in the lot, how to get there, GPS settings and general comments people have added. Right now the moderator updates the list through PDF files. He is working on a website that he hopes to have up in March I think.

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/OvernightRVParking

It is not a discussion group so there is really nothing but listings.
DXSMac
Here is another good place to check:

http://freecampgrounds.com/

This lists places that are free, or under $10.

JJ
Lindsay Richards
Wal-Mart sells a good Atlas for about $6.00 that also has all of their stores marked in the front and directions how to get to them. We have gone on I-95 from Bangor Maine to South Florida and there are plenty of Wal-Marts once you get into Mass. Would suggest buying their $100 gift cards while inside and using them for gas while you stop. Saves a trip and they ae usually one of the cheapest around for fuel. You might want to avoid some of the majpr cities also for traffic reasons.
Testudo
QUOTE
I'm very new to the RV world and plan on leaving from Montana to Florida in March. Because I'm self contained I plan on cold camping for the entire trip at rest stops, truck stops etc. My question is, is this a safe thing to do or am I taking a chance. Also I've never towed my 36' this far, so it's like I'm entering the unknown. Any suggestions?


Overnighting at rest stops is often illegal -- you have to check the laws for the applicable state. You could surely get away with stopping and sleeping for a couple of hours at a time. Two hours is enough time to make you fit to get back on the road. I would also have to point out that plenty of people get away with overnighting at rest stops -- even when it is illegal. I recall that in October of 2002, "DC Snipers" John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo successfully overnighted in plain sight at an I-70 rest stop near Frederick, Maryland for nearly three weeks while they were the object of one of the biggest man hunts of all time. So... Yeah, I don't think you'll be noticed while sleeping at rest stops. Just kick back and don't worry about a thing.

Truckers generally don't appreciate RVers and treat them as a nuisance. That doesn't mean that they wouldn't come to your aid if someone started beating up on you, though {shrug}. If you pull into one of "their" lanes, however, they _might_ be so bold as to suggest that you "move that hunk of junk on down the road".

I was a tent camper all over the (civilized) world for decades. Not once did anyone ever so much as bother me or any of my possessions (although I've met people who have suffered same and who have had relatives killed while camping). It wasn't until we got an RV a couple of years ago that I started packing "heat". Mostly, it was the other RVers that scared me {grin!}. When I realized they were all armed to the teeth, I felt I had to escalate {grin!}. Realistically, I have never assembled and loaded the weapon while we were camped for the night (not _yet_, anyway) but the day might well come when I pull it out and whack some other RVer over the head with it {grin!}.

By far the _biggest_ risk that _you_ will be facing is the act of putting the key in the vehicle's ingition and turning it. The American highways are deadly. I helped scoop 14 dead and injured vacationers off the side of the highway in 2006. All other vacation borne causes of death: getting hit by lightening; venomous snake bite; bad food; sceptecemia from splinters; carbon monoxide poisoning; etc. -- pales in comparison.

So putting everything in perspective, be careful out there on the highway and you will probably cheat death for another day.
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