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  1. #1
    Robbie75 Guest

    Default Sleep along the road?

    Hi
    This August I'm going to visit California and for the first time with a Camper.

    I was wandering if I must always sleep in a camper site or if is also possible to stop along some road or public parking and sleep there.

    Any idea?

    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default A roll of the dice

    Greetings Robbie75,

    Sleeping anywhere but designated camp sites is going to be a roll of the dice. Truck stops may prove to be the most forgiving, and rest areas will be OK for a few hours of rest, but roadside camping will be very much frowned upon, more so on the highways. Truckers do it on remote off-ramps, and the state police usually doesn't bother them because those guys have a precise time frame they must sleep, sometimes that includes a middle-of-the-nowhere exit ramp.

    The safest bet would be to look into either state parks with campgrounds, etc. Even if they don't have hookups, if the parking for the campsite is level enough.

    -Brad

  3. Default Road of the dice indeed

    I'll echo AzBrad's comment, and add a couple more...

    The best option is to find a campground for around $20-25/ night, which may include a pool, showers, etc -- depending upon the campground. This also gives you the option of cooking on a campstove. Get a good campground guide and bring it along.

    Some national forests and BLM areas allow you to camp off road. That is, you have to get some 100+ yards off the paved roads, or into specific areas, such as the Mule Mountains out near Blythe. Those are no charge camping areas, but there are absolutely no services and rather desolate. And in August, they can be VERY hot during the day (think 110F+) However, I don't know a listing of these areas, and you'd have to check the specific camping regulations for each area -- which can be done on their web site. And be aware, that depending upon local conditions this can change, such as if the fire hazard gets too high.

    Some folks talk about spending the night in a WalMart parking lot. But that is regulated by local city ordnances (not Wal Mart). If you pull into the WalMart and see "Overnight Parking prohibitied" signs, its a no-go. And of course, you are expected to be clean and tidy, and patronize WalMart for the option.

    Sometimes truck stops will let a person stay overnight, particularly if you talk to the manager. They may have pay showers, and may charge a nominal fee for use of their lot.

    The worst place to stay is a public rest area (such as along the interstates). They are busy, noisy, usually somewhat messy, and highly patrolled.

  4. #4
    Robbie75 Guest

    Default

    Well a bit different from what I thought... Thanks a lot for your replies people !!

  5. #5

    Default Stupid question?

    Forgive me for asking what most will probably think is a stupid question... but why is it so frowned upon? I appreciate the US is not in Europe, but it's a whole lot different over here...
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-06-2007 at 02:59 PM.

  6. #6
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default One main reason

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    Forgive me for asking what most will probably think is a stupid question... but [i[why[/i] is it so frowned upon? I appreciate the US is not in Europe, but it's a whole lot different over here...
    Several reasons why it is frowned upon out here in the US... safety. Stopping on the side of the road anywhere to sleep is not the safest thing to do in most places in the US. You never know when a car is going to not stay on the road and clip you while you're sleeping.

    Also, if the cars are too close to the road, they'll be easily spotted and tagged as abandoned. When the officer is surprised to see someone there. Chances are you'll get a loitering citation.

    If you're too far off the road, you're probably trespassing.

    Now, I'll be honest there are places where I would have no problem sleeping in the car. Many places in Washington, I really wouldn't have too much of a problem doing this. Then again, I know the people up there well and know there are plenty of places to pull off the road where people can't see your car as readily.

    But, even with that personal preference, I still don't recommend it. People have been carjacked, kidnapped, hit by a drunk driver, arrested for loitering or tresspassing... just too much risk. $20 and you're legal, and a bit more safe (not as much risk of being hit by a speeding car in a crowded campground, but I've seen stranger).

    Thats my take anyway.

    -Brad

  7. #7

    Default

    Sure, I get that you'd not want to stop by the side of the road in case you get hit (you wouldn't stop there here, either) but in a layby/rest area? Surely there's less chance of you getting robbed or whatever in a rest area, where people will continually be coming and going, than in a secluded area someplace? Just interested really, it's unlikely I'm gonna sleep in a car, I'm too old for that these days :)

  8. #8
    RoadTrippers A & R Guest

    Default

    Our experiences are:
    Flying J truck stops are fine for an overnite rest.
    Any signs that someone is camping or setting up shop and the Flying J security will run them. Ya gotta look low profile, just ducking in, resting and ducking out.

    Rest stops along the road are OK, but remember the temps are very hot even at nite. -And again just for an overniter "rest".
    Ya pull in, sleep a few ours, and pull out.

    Most are jammed packed so you should stop just at sundown or you won't find a place.
    6 hours max at any stop.
    If they didn't do this people would move in for good.

    So Carolina aggressively enforces about a 3 hour stop. And has Security at most rest stops.

  9. #9
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default State Laws and such

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    Sure, I get that you'd not want to stop by the side of the road in case you get hit (you wouldn't stop there here, either) but in a layby/rest area? Surely there's less chance of you getting robbed or whatever in a rest area, where people will continually be coming and going, than in a secluded area someplace? Just interested really, it's unlikely I'm gonna sleep in a car, I'm too old for that these days :)
    Craig,

    It's not so much a lack of Logic that prevents sleeping for more than a few hours in rest areas, but laws. Many states have had too many problems with transients using Rest Areas as homes, making the area uninviting and potentially unsafe for people with families traveling cross country or for truckers who use the rest areas.

    Safety is always a concern, but so is waking up with the *tap-tap* of a police officer's MagLight on your window.

    -Brad

  10. #10

    Default

    I understand that the reason you can't stop in many cases is that it's 'against the law' but I couldn't really understand why the law was there in the first place. I guess I can see how people permanently living in their cars could be a problem (we have a similar problem here with gypsies moving onto land that they had no right to be on and refusing to leave) but it just seemed odd to stop people sleeping in something designated a rest area! I guess it's yet another example of different countries reacting to a common problem in different ways. Thanks for the replies.

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