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Navigating Truck Stops


HighwayRanger

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Greetings,

 

I have a question for you veteran RVers out there. The other day, we decided to try to refuel our dually while we were towing our large fifth wheel (something we try hard to avoid.)

 

So, we pull into a busy T/A truck stop on I-10 just west of I-15 in Southern California (the nearby Petro truck stop was set up the same way.)

 

After obtaining fuel, the entire flow of big rigs was channeled through a gated parking lot where you had to take a ticket. I'm sure this was intended to generate revenue from truckers who were going to get some rest there.

 

My question is this: should we have followed all the other lemmings through the gate, taken a ticket, then proceeded to the exit? Would we have to pay for the privilege? We ended up making a big, embarrassing u-turn, driving out through the entrance (copying the actions of one trucker.) The place was so busy that I didn't want to go inside and ask for directions.

 

Is this a common arrangement? I have not seen this setup before. It makes us want to really avoid truck stops in the future! And, no, there were no RV lanes available.

 

Just curious about the experiences of others.

 

Thanks!

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That TA truck stop is one of the few that "charges" for trucks to park overnight. The "parking" fee is waived if you buy xx amount of fuel or spend xx amount in the store/ restaurant or buy truck services like an oil change. The normal procedure is you get a "ticket" when you enter and return the "ticket" with your receipts when you depart. If you don't buy anything they charge you for parking. Think of it like a "parking" garage where you get the "ticket" when you enter and pay when you exit. This particular TA is very busy 24/7 and is usually always full. Entry and exit are a bit challenging and it's sometimes hard to follow the correct traffic flow. TA has a few of these "pay lots" in their system.

They also do not have a dedicated RV lane(s) so just get in line with the big guys.

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SIBERNUT, on 12 Dec 2015 - 12:17 PM, said:

..................and if you park with the big guys, be SURE to do a test pull before you leave or put a lock on your pin. Some people just suck, they can't help themselves.

 

Good advice anytime you park and leave your rig hooked up, not just at truck stops.

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Apparently, you were in Ontario. Yes, those are pay lots, but there's typically a two hour "free" window for food, restroom, etc. It's helpful to get a ticket and go through to avoid the congestion and aggravation going the wrong way will invariably cause. It's really easy and painless.

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I can understand your confusion. We have fuelled at Truck Stops across the country and I have never encountered this setup. Don't be afraid to use the truck pumps - so much easier if you have a long rig. You might want to apply for a Flying J / pilot card as this lets you start the pumps at the island, and gives a decent discount on fuel as well.

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One thing I will add although I'm sure everyone here already knows it. When you finish filling, pull forward to allow the next truck waiting to get in and start fueling up. Those folks work for a living and don't like us sitting in a fueling lane while going inside to pee, eat, shop or anything else. It makes no difference if you are driving a pickup or a Freightliner like we are, they will get a little ill. They also get mad at other semi drivers as well but tend to go overboard with us. They understand the reasons why I'm there (pumping 150 gallons or better at the auto pumps takes WAY to long....) but I do try to be considerate and not hold them up.

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I too was having difficulty this summer with getting fuel at a couple of truck stops. One was a Speedway and not sure the other name, but I pulled up to the pumps for trucks and had to go into activate pump and they asked if I had an account, said no I just need fuel, they stated that the pumps were commercial accounts only and that I had to use the diesel pump at the auto island. There was no way that I could make the turns at the auto island with a 36' fifth wheel. Is this typical?

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If your truck has the capacity I would suggest an auxiliary fuel tank in the bed. I hate navigating in busy fuel stations when towing so carry an extra diesel tank (70 gallons) and tool box combo which allows me to travel 3 days before filling up. We disconnect and use GasBuddy to find local stations. You will never recoup the cost of the auxiliary tank but your stress level will go down. Greg

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The state with SERIOUS penalties would be Arizona... They don't mess around..

http://rvdailyreport.com/owner/arizona-clarifies-diesel-fuel-tax-for-rv-use/ - as long as your RV is non-commercial, you are exempt in Arizona even if over 26,000 lbs. I do want to point out that they specifically mention that if the RV is owned by an LLC, it is treated as commercial and needs to pay the higher tax.

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I still would not do it. There is too much question on logistics, etc. Plus fighting a fine is never a winning proposition. I'd pay the extra, as the article recommends. I don't have any choice, in my case, anyway.

I agree! I never got the fact a person would buy a $300,000 RV then try to save money by only filling at the cheapest place. I know PFJ is not the cheapest fuel point, but the convenience and easy access to the RV pump wins.

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oscarvan, I fill my HDT (Freightliner) up at the truck pumps and it is not a problem with it as I will often put another 20 or 30 gallons in after the pump clicks off. I also fill my LGT (Ford F350) up at those same pumps to save time but you do need to make sure the nozzle is in as deep as it can go into your fill neck and even then, I stand there and listen to the sound. After a bit, you can tell when to stop the fuel flow before you get splashed by the sound.

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I agree! I never got the fact a person would buy a $300,000 RV then try to save money by only filling at the cheapest place. I know PFJ is not the cheapest fuel point, but the convenience and easy access to the RV pump wins.

Seriously? If i'm about to buy 150 gallons of fuel you will be sure that I shop around. 150 gallons at 20cents is $30. I'm not rich enough to just squander my hard earned $$ ......that 20 cents is the difference between Arco and the Pilot at Quartzsite.

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Use the "Gas Buddy" app to locate the least expensive fuel. There are no brownie points to be gained by paying more for fuel. Flying J is RV friendly, while the other truck stops don't really cater to RV'ers. You will be paying more for fuel at truck stops. I sometimes overnight at a truck stop but I never leave the rig alone, and I'm back on the road at the crack of dawn.

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