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View Full Version : "Stopping for gas" panic attacks


polkadotsuitcase
07-11-2009, 09:47 AM
Last fall, my two kiddos (then 9 and 10) and I towed my parents' 30-foot travel trailer from NC to the Fort (sadly, hubby had to stay home). I've towed it many times before by myself, but this was the longest drive I've done. I'm fine towing, backing, setting it up -- but when I realize I have to stop for gas I start to go slightly bananas. Something about trying to find a gas station that I can get into and out of easily with the trailer makes my palms start to sweat. I seriously have to turn off the music, hush the kids, get a death grip on the steering wheel, push my bulging eyes back in my head...it's nuts.

Any tips on finding easy-to-pull-though gas stations?!

becky1960
07-11-2009, 10:12 AM
One thing you could do is to go online and find truck stops along your route, they have plenty of room to get into and out. You might have to time your stops but it should save a lot of headache's..

motofamily
07-11-2009, 10:17 AM
go to FLYINGJ.com they have a gas price link on the left hand side of the page if you click on the link a new page section loads and there is a list of fuel/gas stations and which exit it is and everything. I always go down 95 and try to stop in GA for diesel it is usually cheaper but sometimes stop in Northern FL to fill up. Most all flyingJ places are big ride friendly!!!!

Momofejlg
07-11-2009, 10:28 AM
We drove from Mass this April and after making one to many stops and not being able to get into a gas station , we finnally bought the book The Next Exit. ( recomended by someone on the boards) It was the best book to have , it will tell you what is at the next exit including gas stations that are RV friendly and that has diesel. It made a HUGE diffrence in our travels!:yay:

starbuc71
07-11-2009, 11:54 AM
Picture driving back from Gatlinburg Tenn. to Florida and getting stuck downtown Atlanta on interstae 75 at 4:30 on a Friday and having your gas light come on pulling a 30ft trailer whith a tow vehichle getting around 8 miles to the gallon. Then trying to get off the interstate and find a station that would allow the room I needed to pull in. Lets just say the wife was not happy with me for a few 100 miles.

Wistful_Thinking
07-11-2009, 12:39 PM
We almost plan our trip routes based on the Flying J locations. :rotfl:
They have special RV lanes for both gas and diesel. Easy to get in and out of and pumps on both sides. You might have to wait a few minutes for fellow RVers because there are generally only two RV lanes, but lots of other things to do while you wait. here is a link to their locations.

http://www.flyingj.com/flyingjPortalWebProject/flyingjPortal.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=flyingjPortal_portal_page_98

When your there pick up a free map containing directions to all the Flying J locations. Ours stays on the dasboard along with the one from Cracker Barrel. ;)

polkadotsuitcase
07-11-2009, 01:07 PM
Ah...see, I knew there was some insider info I was missing! Thanks for the tips -- looks like I need to do some additional planning before our next trip.

...and starbuc71, I think I broke out in hives reading your experience. That's exactly the kind of thing that gives me nightmares!

Thanks again -- huge help!

chartle
07-11-2009, 02:57 PM
You can also use Google maps with satellite view and street view.

Using street view you plan and visualize how you would move in and out of the gas station.

MadFF
07-11-2009, 03:59 PM
When I get to 1/2 tank, I start thinking about filling up. I start looking for "Next rest stop / gas **miles" and figuring how many miles I have left in my tank. At 1/4 tank, I pull into the next gas station. This gives me a little extra miles if I need them to find a good station.

I prefer highway rest stop / gas stations, as you know they will have room for you. Off the highway can be anything. Many times if you see a sign for gas that has multiple different brands on it, those stations hopefully are set up for filling people coming off the highway, so they will have more room at the pumps.

A few times we got "caught" at oddly setup stations. Especially in Florida, there were a couple really big stations that had their pumps setup so that you were facing the store/gift shop, instead of parallel to it. I had to do some tight manuvering.

I always get a little concerned when we have to travel a couple miles away from the highway, and make a few turns, in an area I don't know. We haven't gotten too lost yet!

mkrober
07-11-2009, 04:04 PM
I usually fill up in Ga at exit 3 or exit 1 just before crossing into FL since gas is usually cheaper. Both exits have multiple large stations that I've been able to pull my 26' TT into with ease.

Shan-man
07-11-2009, 04:16 PM
I use GasBuddy.com's gas price temperature map to decide where to plan my fueling stops. Just looking at the map you can tell that it's better to wait to hit South Carolina rather than looking for a decent price in NC, and that the prices in GA get a bit better past Savannah. You can see which individual stations have the best prices, if you want to plan that carefully. Anyway, great resource.

:santa:

DaveInTN
07-11-2009, 04:30 PM
We drove from Mass this April and after making one to many stops and not being able to get into a gas station , we finnally bought the book The Next Exit. ( recomended by someone on the boards) It was the best book to have , it will tell you what is at the next exit including gas stations that are RV friendly and that has diesel. It made a HUGE diffrence in our travels!:yay:
Yep, I was gonna recommend this book. Has come in handy for me MANY times.

djbogue
07-11-2009, 08:18 PM
I also recommend The Next Exit book. I use it going down to Florida every year. It is recommended by everyone on the RV.net forum.

There is also Exit Now Interstate Exit Directory published by Trailer Life Books and The Ultimate Travelers Exit Guide. (You can get it at www.milebymileplus.com). But I like The Next Exit the best.

Hope this helps.:goodvibes

Puget Peach
07-11-2009, 08:28 PM
You can also use Google maps with satellite view and street view. Using street view you plan and visualize how you would move in and out of the gas station.

Hmmm... I do this for the parks... :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

estherhead
07-11-2009, 09:29 PM
I don't even have an RV & I use The Next Exit. It is such a great resource. Just to find out what fast food is at the next few exits when we get hungry.

marble96
07-12-2009, 12:41 AM
I plan my trips around the Flying J's!

dtum
07-12-2009, 08:43 AM
We don't leave home w/o our Next Exit book. Towing a 5r and having a diesel truck we are really limited where we can go and the book marks every place an RV can fit in red (great for on the road food stops also). I wrote all the best places in the book a few years ago so this trip we knew where to go. Going to get a revised book soon because exits do change over time and I'll have to transfer all my notes! We like Flying J, but until we get pretty far south their aren't any. We found a great BP on 77 S that had the exit drive right into their driveway and when you left you just got back on. We marked that one in our book.

starbuc71
07-12-2009, 12:24 PM
I finally broke down and bought a gps. I bought a tom tom 740 live. It is so cool. It will even give you up to date gas prices with it's google seach feature. Well worth the money if your in uncharted territory...lol

dtum
07-12-2009, 01:01 PM
We did a lot of driving around Disney this past trip and couldn't have done it w/o our GPS. Ours doesn't do gas prices, but for yours....does it tell you diesel prices and if the gas is accessible towing a trailer? There are a lot of gas stations that we would never fit in when towing.

Duane
07-13-2009, 09:16 AM
Here is pretty good website that I use for I-95 information. It will list things like gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, road construction etc.

I-95 Guide (http://www.i95exitguide.com/index.php)

disney4dan
07-14-2009, 06:12 AM
These are all great suggestions, and we've used The Next Exit and I have done some pre-planning via Google Earth to look at the layout in the past. I like the TomTom idea with the gas information.

But I hear ya on some of the stations. I pulled into a truck stop somewhere in the Carolina's (can't remember) and they had arranged the set up so that only trucks were allowed out back, cars and RVs in front of the store. I got into the pumps OK, and there was enough room between the dispensers and the store to pull out, but all the parking spaces in the lot were full, and a bus had parked in the travel/turning lanes to let people in to get lunch. Knowing he was going to be there for a while, I thought I'd just go around the store and out. Guess enough people had done this that they had placed curb stones to prevent it.

Here we are, aimed toward the wrong way and needing to back up in front of the store in a VERY crowded parking lot and then attempt to thread the needle between the parked bus and parked cars. Boy, I coulda used Donny's help with this, but some other RV'er saw my predicament and cleared the path behind the trailer so that some car did not try to sneak behind me while I was backing up :thumbsup2. You should have seen the look on the bus driver's face as I pulled the trailer past the bus within one foot of the steps.

dtum
07-14-2009, 10:06 AM
That is some good manuavering! One thing we found is TA truckstops don't carry auto diesel and our truck can't fit the big truck nossel into our gas tank so we avoid TA. Also, seems whenever we find a subway at Pilot, etc. the parking is always backing in with the trucks. It's a real pain when the place is busy with truck traffic....Guess it's a learning experience each time.

kc5grw
07-14-2009, 10:36 AM
We did a lot of driving around Disney this past trip and couldn't have done it w/o our GPS. Ours doesn't do gas prices, but for yours....does it tell you diesel prices and if the gas is accessible towing a trailer? There are a lot of gas stations that we would never fit in when towing.

I can't speak for the TomTom but I have a nuvi 760 with the MSN Direct receiver. It has gas prices, but not diesel. I like having the GPS on trips, but when I'm pulling the trailer I also do a lot of pre-trip route planning to make sure the Garmin doesn't route me somewhere it shouldn't. I tend not to care so much when I don't have the trailer.

As for the PP comment about TA truckstops, that isn't true in all cases. I have been to a number that do carry auto diesel. I've found for the most part though that TA diesel is higher than either FJ or Love's.

stacktester
07-14-2009, 01:14 PM
I can't speak for the TomTom but I have a nuvi 760 with the MSN Direct receiver. It has gas prices, but not diesel. I like having the GPS on trips, but when I'm pulling the trailer I also do a lot of pre-trip route planning to make sure the Garmin doesn't route me somewhere it shouldn't. I tend not to care so much when I don't have the trailer.

As for the PP comment about TA truckstops, that isn't true in all cases. I have been to a number that do carry auto diesel. I've found for the most part though that TA diesel is higher than either FJ or Love's.

To me Flying J is the most rv friendly truck stop. They each have at least 2 lanes of fuel. You can fill up on either side of the rv as well. You can dump the holding tanks and get propane all in one spot. I usually carry a 5 gallon tank of Diesel as well just in case. I've had to pull in some pretty tight areas with a 5'er that I rather not have. Anybody ever going to the Keys be warned to fill up in Florida City and take 5-10 gallons of fuel due to the fact that there are very few places that you can pull into.

polkadotsuitcase
07-14-2009, 06:32 PM
Wow, lots of votes for Flying J! I guess there's one important question remaining...

How is the coffee at Flying J?

chanson2
07-16-2009, 01:13 PM
Thanks for the notice about the Next Exit book - I never knew of such a thing, but think it's just what we need. I am always nervous doing a road trip with our 30ft TT, esp since we use diesel as well. And DH is the type who loves to drive till the E light comes on!

chilipyro
07-17-2009, 08:42 AM
After traveling to Disney from CT, pulling a 35' trailer, I have to say that Florida was the most RV unfriendly state on the East Coast. I was surprised at this, with all the RVers down there. But every store or restaurant parking lot we came across seemed designed to keep RVers out (tight turns, narrow lanes, dividers between rows). There was on point where I actually found a large empty parking lot and unhitched, so that we could drive to a gas station without the trailer :mad:.

Driving down, I found truck stops to be more reliable than regular gas station, in providing easier pull in and out. But, many truck stops had large filling areas for trucks (diesel only), and small tight areas for cars.

I haven't tried using the Next Exit, but might for the next trip. I have given up using my GPS for fuel stops - on too many occasions, it has lead me to a fuel station that is out of business. I searched for a POI file for RV friendly fuel stops, but none exist. I am thinking that I should record the RV friendly fuel stops I run into on trips in my GPS, and start such a POI file myself. I am kicking myself now for not having done that on our Florida trip.

dtum
07-17-2009, 08:48 AM
We always plan to get gas before Rt 4 in FL becuause we have to make it to Disney from there. We have found a few places. The night before we leave we gas up (diesel) so we can make it back to 95. The Next Exit is worth it's weight in gold!

I actually did put the diesel station near Disney in my GPS so next time we know where to go.

manning
07-30-2009, 02:16 AM
I heard that Flying J has been bought by Pilot. They went chapter 11 around December.

polkadotsuitcase
07-30-2009, 05:49 AM
I guess that answers my question about the coffee, then -- we love coffee at Pilot! :)

Hopefully the merger won't change much about the easy in-and-out at FJ y'all have been telling me about!