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  1. #1

    Default Virginia Interstate Rest Areas closing; others too

    Fellow travelers,

    An article in the Wall Street Journal this week noted the impending permanent closure of 19 of the 42 Interstate highway rest areas in the state of Virginia. The article went on to say that many states are closing Rest Areas in view of the combination of high operating costs and similar facilities/services being available at nearby exits.

    As one would expect, there is an organization dedicated to the study and preservation of classic rest stop design and architecture. It's at www.restareahistory.org. There you will find links to the various states with Virginia's link showing the areas to be closed, closure dates, and those remaining open.

    In the case of Virginia, nearly all of the "Welcome Centers" close to the borders will remain open, as will (very) widely scattered others. The message here is not to rely on your atlas or GPS's reports on rest area locations, as they're changing.

    With over 600 miles of fuel range in my truck, Interstate rest areas are my standard nature break/vending purchases/Chicken Dance locales. I hate to see them closing in droves.

    Foy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default cuts cuts cuts

    I'm actually kind of surprised I haven't heard about more rest area closings with all of the budget problems that so many states are having.

    I'd also start to expect to see some of them shut down temporarily as various states fail to meet their budget deadlines and move into "shutdown" status. I remember traveling in Minnesota a couple years ago and seeing road closed construction barricades up in front of all the rest areas, because of a government shutdown of all non-essential services. Since most states are dealing with severe deficits, I'd think you'll see some more cases like this in the near future.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Interesting

    Well, there may be services at other places but most require you to be a customer to use the restroom. That would be a problem for cheapie me!

    My state doesn't appear to be closing any which is quite a surprise with the budget issues. However, they have stopped the free wi-fi program as not enough people subscribed. Well, I never did either. I think it was free but limited to just a few websites related to in-state travel and road conditions. Not sure.

    Anyway....this is too bad. Hopefully the economy will get back on track and the rest areas will be reopened.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I have never been told that I have to buy something in order to use the restroom in a gas station/convenience store or a fast food restaurant.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It's a matter of courtesy

    If I stop and use the restroom facilities of a business when I am on the road, I ALWAYS PURCHASE SOMETHING THERE -- Seems like the only appropriate action...

    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Some do/some don't

    I've seen many a gas station, convenience store, fastfood place, or restaurant that have signs that say restrooms are only for customers. And, I agree with Mark, I think it's a matter of courtesy. Even if nobody was watching and ready to stop me, I would feel bad using something for free without at least buying a small purchase...even just a pack of gum.

    I would bet if rest stops close and increasing numbers of people stop at these types of business establishments to use the rest rooms without also making a purchase, you'll see more of those signs popping up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Courtesy

    I agree, its a rare case where I'll see a sign specifically saying "restrooms for customers only" or something else specifically saying you need to purchase something. In my book it distinctly falls into the common courtesy category where in most every case, I will make at least a small purchase, top off the tank, or do something else to support the business.

  8. #8

    Default I'm there, too

    I also will usually make a point of making a small purchase when accessing a business to use the bathroom.

    That said, it's a fairly rare occurrence for me nowadays. My truck's range means I can travel a full day and not need to stop for fuel. If I'm eating out of a cooler, etc, I need only to fill up at the beginning or end of a day. Other stops during the course of a day are typically at Interstate rest areas and are of fairly short duration. If closure of rest areas becomes commonplace, my stops will have to be longer in duration since in most any instance an exit stop at a business takes longer than a conventional rest area stop, and will become rather more expensive, too, if I maintain the position of making a purchase of even some nominal item.

    Foy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    777

    Default Always polite to buy

    *STEREOTYPE ALERT*

    Seems like the women folk are better at finding good "comfort" areas.

    I am told the bath rooms in service stations are not always up to civilized standards (being a guy and proud owner of the book "How to #### in the Woods" I wouldn't necessarily have noticed this defect). There are, however, other options more reliable to be found.

    I can't count the number of times I've been directed to pull into a grocery or "big box" (Home Depot is a personal favorite of Linda's) store's parking lot. Evidently this genre of retail establishment tends to have well-maintained facilities.

    We almost always pick something up on the way out.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Oh, that would drive me crazy!

    Not this woman! Way too much time finding one, parking, walking in. Gack! I'd rather go in the woods along some road, if need be. As a camper and avid backpacker in my youth, I'm well-versed in the teachings of your book.

    Or get a pack of gum to use a gas station/convenience store facility. Toilet paper on the seat protects good enough and, really, women don't need to actually sit.

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