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  1. Default Tired of Motel 6's and bedbugs, planning to sleep in my car for spring road trip!

    As a new member, I find this site quite exciting!
    Well, I drove 10,000 miles from June to September 2010- namely, Dallas to LA to Albuquerque; back to LA; then across country to Maine (on Canadian border); then back to LA, all done on interstates. I even drove 3600 miles in four days, one day topping 1100 miles! Just slept in my rental car (a VW- ouch!) This April, I again drive to Maine but in my own older SUV. I have read all the threads and there's a ton of good advice, especially as I mean to once again sleep at roadside rest stops in my car. Just don't want to take the interstates this time. So, some questions:
    1)Is it true that all truck stops have hot showers? Can just anyone buy a ticket?
    2)Can one buy ice easily en route? Like, one bag at a time? I intend to buy a cooler and fill it with good food (last time I mainly just fasted, except for coffee, which I may forgo this trip).
    3)Is there some danger involved with sleeping in my car at truck stops? (I've done many road trips in Europe, where this is never really a consideration, because no firearms...and truckers there are considered mainly a good thing, even a protection...)
    4)Will the weather possibly turn icy in mid-late April going from Georgia to New York? Also, is it particularly mountainous along the secondary routes? (Last thing I want, after Colorado scared me for life!)
    Since I plan to keep to a steady 55-60mph (Isuzu 3.2L engine, very thirsty) and will be in no hurry, it would be superb to know of any must-sees en route. I am also compiling a list of campgrounds but fear the nights may be too cold for pitching my tent. Do not want to pay fancy prices for being asleep and as I travel with two small dogs, the once-worthy Motel 6 is now so ghastly that it's no longer an option.
    So nice to join an online community of like-minded road trippers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,359

    Default Not Really

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fanny
    So nice to join an online community of like-minded road trippers!
    I'm not sure you have, particularly if you think that driving thousand mile days and sleeping in rest areas constitutes RoadTriping. The first is just flat out dangerous both to yourself and everybody else that has to share the road with you. Sleep deprived drivers account for around 2,000 traffic deaths every year and are no better able to handle a two ton car than a drunk. The second activity is illegal in most states, as is carrying a concealed weapon without a state-issued permit. You will find no support for any such activities among the regular contributors here.

    However, to answer your questions... Yes, pretty much all major truck plazas have showers these days and they are for rent, typically for about $5, but my pricing info may be out of date. If you plan to sleep in your car in their parking lot, it is customary to tell them of your plans to make sure that it is OK and to buy something in exchange, such as a shower and/or meal.

    Just about every convenience store I've ever seen has bagged ice for sale. And yes, it is possible that you will see ice or snow on the east coast in April, particularly if you follow the Appalachians rather than the coastal plain. I have seen it snow as far south as Baltimore in May

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-23-2011 at 08:37 PM. Reason: Typos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    I am also compiling a list of campgrounds but fear the nights may be too cold for pitching my tent.
    If it is too cold to sleep in a tent, how do you figure that it will be warm enough to sleep in your car? A car provides basically zero insulation from the cold, certainly no more than a tent will.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Truck stop showers are more like $10 these days, and professional drivers get priority when there is a waiting list.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,937

    Default

    Why not invest in the National Truck Stop Directory? You will then know exactly what is available at each and every truck stop. In 2009 showers were typically $8 -$15. You will see the list of where you can make your purchases, including ice, which truck stops have restaurants, and which truck stops make space available where you can legally and securely sleep in your vehicle.

    Lifey who spent many nights at truck stops

  6. Default

    Any Walmart Parking Lot.
    Off in one corner of the parking lot, there will be some RVs parked overnight.

    On my 18 day road trip, I slept in the car 3 nights: Rest Stop, Free Public Camping near the Grand Canyon and a Walmart parking lot.

    Motel 6 is nasty and expensive.
    I would rather spend and extra $25 and stay at a Marriot.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,937

    Default By no means all....

    Quote Originally Posted by RalphZero View Post
    Any Walmart Parking Lot.
    That may have been so in the past, but in 2009, I asked at several Walmarts, and was told every time that after closing time, usually around midnight, they cleared the parking lot. This was in larger cities and smaller towns.

    I did not bother to stay round and test it out.

    Truck stops are legal and secure.... and they are everywhere!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    It should also be noted that even at 24 hour Walmarts, some communities have passed laws banning "walmart camping." I can also think of several Walmart locations where overnight parking wouldn't be a particularly safe place. It is allowed in many cases, but you can't just assume that it is always safe and/or legal.

  9. Default No, I don't pack a rod!

    I don't carry a gun- I hate the things!- but I understand that criminal types do, and are to blame for the relatively high crime rate in this country. Don't want to get shot in my sleep at a rest stop, which in England are reliably safe.
    I ALWAYS pull over for the requisite forty winks when I feel tired or ever so slightly drowsy, and after doing as much driving as I have done both here and in Europe and North Africa, I have a pretty good handle on when it's time. I have never been involved in a road accident, though I have had to avoid a few goofy drivers and get out of the way quick.
    Thanks to all you others, who have provided good information. It's much appreciated.
    PS: I guess sleeping in the car seemed a better bet than in the tent, as it's up off the ground.
    Last edited by Fanny; 03-24-2011 at 07:38 PM. Reason: clarification of reply

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