Good places to park and sleep overnight in your car?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Jeff Hawkins, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. Jeff Hawkins

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    I did a search and didn't find this question in the results, so I'll ask it. Sorry if I'm rehashing an old topic.

    I was purveying another thread today, and someone was talking about sleeping in their vehicle to save money.
    I'm aware of rest areas on highways you can pull and park in to do that for a couple hours, but how about longer periods? Where can you park overnight and sleep without paying $$, getting hassled, or a ticket, or feel like you're putting yourself potentially in harm's way? I know of some with RV's who park in Wal-Mart lots, or semi's that park on entrance ramps to highways, or people who park at a truck stop for a bit, but not much else.

    Anyone care to offer up their suggestions/ideas on this?
     
  2. Jason Foster

    Jason Foster Guest

    I remember that we had a thread where we talked about Wal-mart parking lots. I can't remember the exact thread. I think the idea was that many are 24 hour (which I guess meant it was staffed all the time), many have security cameras, RVs sometimes use them too, they are well lit, and often are on major roads.

    I don't remember if we talked about other places in that thread...and I couldn't find it with a quick search myself.
     
  3. Skip Talbot

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    [​IMG]

    That's where I spent the night on April 5, a few miles west of Falls City, NE on a gravel road. I know its not the safest place, but I can't sleep at rest stops, they are too bright and they are too loud. I've seen that others have cardboard cut outs to fit in their windows, and I'm definitely going to make some of those, but the noise is still too much with the trucks running and the people walking all around. I wouldn't wear ear plugs either. I'd rather sleep in the middle of nowhere than be completely oblivious to what's happening around me at a rest stop.

    I've slept in remote spots like this several times and haven't had a problem. I like to find a spot on the unpaved grid a few miles back from a town or a major road. The only people on these roads are the farmers that live there, and more than likely they won't be out on that road at night or notice that you are there. I stayed up a couple hours on the 5th checking my email and the models, and didn't see a single car go past. Its so quiet and dark out there too. You can hear the sounds of nature, and its really quite relaxing. I think I'd wake up if I did hear a car go past. At worst the only encounter I think I'd have out there is a farmer wondering why I'm parked there or if I'm ok. A friendly introduction goes a long way with the neighbors. If things go south though, I have the doors locked, my cell phone next to me, and the key in the ignition. I can simply jump in the driver seat and be off.

    I've also taken naps on the on ramps to the interstate too. I'll drive until I catch myself starting to nod off and then I pick the next quiet exit, one without a major town or just a county highway, and I'll exit and then pull off on the side of the on ramp that leads back onto the interstate. I notice a lot of truck drivers do this too. Its convenient because when I get up I can just hop in the driver seat and I'm back on the road in a few seconds.

    When I'm chasing solo marathon runs, this is my preferred method of overnighting. Its free, and its convenient. There is no check in or check out, and you are right on the road ready to go. I think the chances of having a negative encounter out in the middle of nowhere are pretty low, and some basic precautions go a long way. If its illegal to park on the on ramp, then I'll take my chances with the law. I'd rather pull off where I'm at and get some needed sleep than fumble around looking for a motel when I'm too tired to keep driving. If an officer has a problem with that and writes me a ticket, so be it.
     
  4. David Wolfson

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    Haven't personally tried this, but the major truck stop chains like Pilot and Flying J have big overnight parking lots for the commercial drivers. From what I read on blogs and such there's little problem squeezing in. And for a nominal fee you can get showers, 24-hr food, a public laundry, and such.
     
  5. Doug Raflik

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    Ive slept in hotel/motel parking lots many times with no problems. If you are bold enough, you could probably go in and have the continental breakfast to.
     
  6. Adam Lucio

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    I usually just pull into rest stops, Ive also done the cat nap in a motel parking lot thing. One time during a snow chase I even cat napped in a burger king that opened at 530am for 4hrs, the employees even brought me free breakfast.
     
  7. Lanny Dean

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    There is a real nice spot just outside of Garfiled KS. Right on the river, you can pitch a tent, sleep in your car whatever right under the bridge.

    Just outside of Yankton SD there is a cool little place that nobody will bother you. It is in a grave yard if you can handle that.

    West side of Scottsbluff Nebraska there is a little park that is very nice even has water and a bathroom.

    Kingman Lake, just west of Kingman KS is also another great place. It does not cost to camp and usually there is no one there. Plus it is close enough to the HWY (400) that you still have data back by the lake.

    When Randy Hicks and I were still chasing together this is how we saved money plus it really puts a different persepctive on chasing. Having started out sleeping under bridges and in graveyards or backyards back in the 90's to save money, this thread certainly brings back some memories!
     
  8. John Erwin

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    On long trips I've almost exclusively stayed at Truck stops. Flying J's in particular have great setups and usually have an extended parking area where they don't mind "overnighters". In return I buy gas there, pay for a shower and often use the restaurant for breakfast too.

    I have stayed in a few Wal-Mart parking lots too but their policies seem to be changing on this in some places. Usually if I've seen a few RV's collected in an area I'll assume it's OK.

    I avoid rest stops like the plague for anything other than daytime stops for lunch or dinner. Too many horror stories for me.
     
  9. James Hammett

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    Indeed...states that have strict sex-offender residency laws have hordes of them living at the rest areas (Iowa). Beware.
     
  10. Greg Campbell

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    If you're anywhere near a National Forest or Grassland, you can do the 'disbursed camping' thing at any pre-developed site. There are numerous Grasslands in the general area of the OK panhandle area, in western S. Dakota, and a few scattered elsewhere across the plains. Google Earth has a forest layer that is handy for finding things like this.
     
  11. Bryan Stokes

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    I'm with Skip. Dirt roads in the middle of nowhere are a great option. Years ago, I used to have a hobby that had me frequently driving on long road trips, similar to chasing. I've probably slept in remote locations like this at least 30 or 40 times and have never had a problem, as long as I drove at least 5 or 6 miles out into the dirt grid. As Skip said, it's very peaceful out there!

    Bryan
     
  12. David Goines

    David Goines Guest

    http://www.freecampgrounds.com/

    I stumbled on this website in a thread on here somewhere.
    Camp grounds are great and most of the one's that cost less than $10 will let you arrive late as long as you pay in the morning before you leave.
    Most national and state parks have showers and restrooms too. (atleast all of the ones I have been to in Arkansas do)
    If my chase day ends with me too far away from a campground, I normally default to sleeping in the front seat and a 24hr restaurant or truck stop. I do like the idea of driving out in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road though. I'll have to try that this year.
    Though, with the amount of chasers that will probably be in the alley this year, it might not be as easy to get some peace and quiet even out there. haha
     
  13. Chris Stumpf

    Chris Stumpf Guest

    I have been on quite a few long trips cross-country and have used hotel parking lots. Never had a problem and you also have access to a restroom if you need it. I try and find a place in the parking lot that is away from the entrance but still has a few cars parked near by. The parking lots are well lit which is a problem but I try to angle my car away from the lights.

    Another benefit of hotel parking lots would be the free wifi that most hotels offer. So it makes checking new model runs and other internet browsing just a bit faster than using my phone's data connection.
     
  14. Austin Marti

    Austin Marti Guest

    I really like this thread. It's nice to hear about what everyone does on the long chases when they're NOT chasing. Kind of something that never gets talked about.

    A lot of good ideas to pull from here as well. Thanks.
     
  15. john.sibley

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    The only place I've ever seen an official overnight parking area was on I-20 after you cross into Mississippi going eastbound. I've seen a Alabama Trooper go thru a rest area at 2:30 am with his lights and sirens clearing out the trucks. One driver was arguing with the cop he had just gotten there and was required to take a break.
    He pulled in in front of me.

    Just be mindful of the "No Overnight Parking" signs at rest stops in the south. Otherwise on a nice night the park benches are yours.

    And I've done the motel parking lot thing in Birmingham. We were in and out before the night staff noticed.
     
  16. George Grant

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    There's Toadstool Geologic Park contained within the Oglala National Grasslands in northwestern Nebraska. Cool, but remote:

    http://fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTSw8jAwgAykeaxcN4jhYG_h4eYX5hPgYwefy6w0H24dcPNgEHcDTQ9_PIz03VL8iNMMgycVQEAIzTHkw!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfME80MEkxVkFCOTBFMktTNUJIMjAwMDAwMDA!/?ss=110207&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=FSE_003705&navid=110130000000000&pnavid=110000000000000&position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&recid=10616&ttype=recarea&name=Toadstool%20Geological%20Park%20and%20Campground&pname=Nebraska%20National%20Forests%20And%20Grasslands%20-%20Toadstool%20Geological%20Park%20and%20Campground

    That's an ugly link. Here's a shorter one to Oglala Grasslands:

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/nebraska/units/prrd/oglala.html

    I don't know if I'd ever be chasing that way... but it's on the way to the Black Hills! ;)
     
  17. Jerry Prsha

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