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Overnight RV Parking at Flying J

March 31, 2008 by Jim O'Briant · 30 Comments  
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Flying J Sign, AlabamaThe Flying J Truck Stop (the company calls them “Travel Plazas”) sign is familar to nearly everyone who travels on major highways in North America. With small beginnings in 1968 (four locations), the company has grown to have more than 250 locations in the USA and Canada. Catering primarily to long-haul truckers, Flying J goes beyond the usual truck-stop services of fuel, food and showers to offer such things as banking, bulk-fuel programs, fuel cost analysis, truck fleet sales, insurance and wireless Internet connections.

Flying J has also recognized the RVing market. Most (but not all) of their Travel Plazas provide dedicated fueling lanes for RVs, including both gasoline and diesel fuel. Often there’s also a dump station. Most locations are equipped to refill RV propane tanks, and many RVers use Flying J’s paid Wi-Fi service. Flying J also offers RVers a complimentary “Real Value Club” card, which gives cardholders a small discount on fuel.

In general at Flying J, trucks are trucks and cars are cars and never the twain shall meet, and RVs generally count as cars there. This satellite view of the Flying J at I-5 and SR 12 in Lodi, CA clearly shows the separation between the auto (lower) and truck (upper )areas. I’ve been told by both clerks and managers at more than one Flying J that the company strongly prefers that RVers needing diesel fuel should fill up at the RV pumps on the automobile side of the Travel Plaza, not on the truck side. Trucks are their major business, and they want to devote the truck side of the operation to trucks.

Many Flying J’s also have marked parking spaces for RVs. These are near the Auto & RV fuel pumps, not on the Truck side of the operation. Flying J allows RVs to park overnight in these parking spaces. This vew of the Auto/RV area at the same Flying J shows the RV fuel lanes (above the canopy in the image) and 13 long marked RV parking spaces. As with fueling, Flying J also prefers that RVs park only on the automobile side, leaving the truck side to the truckers. There are a few reports of minor vandalism to RVs parked in the truck area, possibly by truckers who resent the RVs “invading their space.”

Because Flying J has dedicated RV parking spaces, it’s generally not considered necessary to ask permission to park overnight there, unless all the marked RV spaces are full and you would like to park in another place, such as along the edge of the parking lot. The general guidelines for “parking” rather than “camping” apply, of course — no items set outside the RV, and use of levelers and slides in accordance with accepted guidelines. (Refer to the my March 1 article on “Parking” vs. “Camping” for more details.) And as you can see, there’s probably not room for slide-outs in the marked RV spaces.

Some Flying J’s are properties purchased from other companies, and these often have no RV parking spaces, no dedicated RV fuel pumps and a cramped auto area that’s difficult for even medium sized rigs. The Flying J on N. Carrington Ave. in Kansas City, MO, is one of these locations. In the picture to the left it’s a little difficult to see, because of the low resolution of this satellite image, but there are cars parked directly in front of the building. These can pose a real issue for an RV pulling into or out of the canopied fuel lanes. The day I bought fuel at this Flying J, there were about 8-10 cars parked there, not just 2 or 3, which meant that we had to unhook our toad and back up in order to exit the fuel lane.

Flying J is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so there’s usually traffic, including trucks, coming and going. This can be relatively noisy, especially since most Flying J’s are located at Interstate Exits, but the presence of people in their well-lighted lots is also a plus for security. If you elect to park overnight at a Flying J, you can also get a meal in their restaurant, and pick up incidental items and some food items in their general store.

Jim O’Briant
Gilroy, CA
Moderator, OvernightRVParking Yahoo Group

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30 Responses to “Overnight RV Parking at Flying J”

  1. Rick Devoy on March 31st, 2008 8:25 am

    A nice, concise description of the Flying J operation! One thing to note, though, is that the smaller fuel stops in Canada can sometimes be hard to find, as they don’t necessarily have the standard Flying J sign. Your best bet is to pick up the latest copy of their free directory of locations. It’s got phone #’s and addresses to help you find where they are.

  2. Jim O'Briant on March 31st, 2008 9:38 am

    Thanks for your comments, Rick. I’ll vouch for what Rick says. He’s a member of the OvernightRVParking Yahoo Group, and a regular and prolific contributor of information on Overnight RV Parking locations. He knows whereof he speaks, as he delivers RVs from the factory to dealers all over North America.

    Jim O’Briant

  3. Martin Dockery on March 31st, 2008 1:40 pm

    Jim,
    i just went to your yahoo site, but was unable to access it, please allow vistiors..

    thank you

  4. Bob Harris on March 31st, 2008 2:12 pm

    We use the truck lanes for refueling all the time. They gladly accept our money. Got caught up a couple of times and had to unhook from our 40 foot mh to be able to get out. Never again. thanks for the article, very helpful. Bob

  5. Jim O'Briant on March 31st, 2008 4:40 pm

    To reply to the two comments above…

    Martin, the OvernightRVParking Yahoo Group is temporarily closed to new members. We are devloping a new website where our same information will be accessible via a searchable database. It’s set to launch very soon. Once the website launches, you’ll be able to subscribe to the websitem and at that time we’ll re-open the Yahoo Group to new members. However, you’ll have to be a subscriber to the website in order to join the Yahoo Group.

    Bob, I don’t think Flying J gets upset about RVs fueling in the truck lanes. I probably should have been more clear about that in my blog article. They are, however, pretty particular about RVs parking overnight in the truck parking area.

    Jim O’Briant

  6. Tim Teresa on April 1st, 2008 5:09 am

    The way I get this story is, truckers are working and don’t want some vacationer to slow them down that aint going any where any ways.

    To me it’s like a courtesy. Why are you in the 10 item or less lane with 15 items? Why are you in the semi area with a pickup and big trailer?

  7. D. Cote on April 3rd, 2008 2:36 pm

    This last trip west I noted that several tractors were parked in the RV section of flying Js. I mean semi- tractors (Trucks) They spent the night.

  8. TXBrad on April 3rd, 2008 9:59 pm

    Ref. Bob Harris\Tim Teresa comments.
    I know/talked with several full time \professional Motor Home drivers.They drive coaches for professional “stars”. Often coast to coast & w/ tow vech.
    They will not refuel ( even w/ Ffy J liking their money) on the truckers \side pumps, as “some truckers” have a thing about RVs. They get trapped in the island for long time, have had coach “keyed” etc. These truckers think they own these areas and it is for them\ truckers ! Same w/ overnight , unless it is an “RV ‘ parking area w/ no trucks. Plus they say trucks often run motors all night \ come and go all hours.
    They use Wal-Marts ( that ok RVs) and said most Target stores also OK RV\over night. First time I’ve heard Target Stores.
    Any one else heard\used a Target parking lot ???
    Like to see comments\posts on good experiences w/ other large chain stores. Any one tried the “Home Depot” \ Lowes ??? Also “heard”?? Camping World” , they often have spaces to park while having work done on an RV, wonder if they have room & let one spend the night. txbrad

  9. Jim O'Briant on April 3rd, 2008 11:39 pm

    TXBrad, thank you for your comments.

    As for your questions:

    I’ve received very few reports of RVers receiving permission to park overnight at Target Stores (and very few reports of denials, either). Many Camping World stores offer overnight RV Parking. Among home improvement stores, some Lowe’s, some Home Depots and some Menard’s stores allow overnight RV parking. Some Farm & Fleet stores and some TSC (Tractor Supply Company) stores do as well.

    My gross generalizatons in the above paragraph are useless, except as a guide to additional places where we RVers might consider asking for permission to park overnight. Every store is different, every city is different, and the fact that one Lowe’s (for example) allows overnight RV parking cannot be taken as an indication that another Lowe’s will allow it. In short, we should always ask permission before parking overnight in a retail parking lot, but we have a lot wider range of places to ask than most of us realize.

    Jim O’Briant

  10. Rory Sena on April 4th, 2008 11:17 pm

    Ok boys and girls, to make nice with the truckers and using their fuel lanes, make sure you have what you need to pay for fuel not all islands will take your credit cards. Also most Fords and Duramax’s will not accept the larger fuel nozzles, Dodge CTD will take the truck nozzles (not sure about ’02’s and up) When done fueling pull forward, clear the island so the nice working trucker can pull in and fuel. Pay and don’t go shopping, pull around then do your shopping. You will get more thumbs up from the drivers if you fuel smart.

    Rory

  11. Charles Messer on April 8th, 2008 8:46 am

    Recently Flying J and Pilot have stopped taking Visa cards on the truck island. I have a 40′ 5th wheel and pull it with a Volvo VLN 610.
    I prefer TA and Petro because I have never had a problem parking in the truck area overnight, they also accept my plastic. Lowes and Home Depot sometimes permit overnight when asked first…

  12. Jim O'Briant on April 8th, 2008 9:16 am

    Thanks for your comments, Charles….

    There’s been discussion about Flying J and various credit cards off and on for several months on a number of internet discussion groups. I believe that the issues have to do with limits that can be charged on certain cards, but I don’t know the details.

    Yes, many TA and Petro (and also Pilot) truck stops also allow OvernightRVParking. We don’t yet have as many of these in our locations database at http://www.OvernightRVParking.com, but we’re adding them as RVers report them to us.

    You’re also right about Lowes and Home Depot, though it appears that a far smaller percentage of them allow Overnight RV Parking. Again, we have some of them in our database, but because RVers don’t inquire there as often, we get fewer reports on them.

    Jim O’Briant
    Administrator, http://www.OvernighRVParking.com

  13. N1Wizer on June 6th, 2008 2:29 pm

    I would like to ditto Rory Sena from their April 14th entry. COMMON COURTESY is the key. Don’t be so self centered that you disregard others around you. I drive a 40 ft diesel and fuel at the truckers lane when I travel across country. I get nothing but compliments on my rig and friendly smiles. I pull in and begin fueling and while I’m filling my 100 gallon tank I clean my windshield and check my tires constantly monitoring my fueling. Immediately when I complete refueling I move my rig to an appropriate parking space then I go inside and look around. You have to realize you are vacationing and you are not on a time schedule as a truck driver is as he is working, so take that in consideration and give them the right of way. You aren’t putting yourself out you are just being courteous. Even when I’m on the open road and passing a line of vehicles, I look in my rear view and see a trucker coming up from behind I pull to the right lane and let them pass then continue on with my passing. Coutesy is the key…

  14. Frank H on June 23rd, 2008 1:19 pm

    I always try to refuel at Flying/J and have dumped and have stayed over night at Flying/J. I have noticed that there more and more big trucks parking in the motorhome parking lots, even to the point that it is sometimes hard to find a place to park after fueling. Also, what is with the slow gas pumps at the RV islands?
    I agree with N1Wizer<, we are on vacation and the truckers are working. Be nick let them by (out).

  15. RvTravelerNTechie on June 26th, 2008 11:02 am

    Like N1Wizer, we’ve never had a problem on the truck side of the Js. Our 45′ rig + toad can get into most of the RV islands but won’t fit in the RV parking of most travel plazas. We always fuel at the truck island, usually taking on 100+ gallons (could take 20-30 minutes at the RV islands). We use the farthest lanes if possible, always pull forward before going in for the receipt, and move out when we’ve got it.

    I always do a “walk around” check of the rig while fueling, and have found that by acting in a professional manner truckers accept my presence. I often get compliments or questions (fuel economy, travel direction) and never had a problem.

    We often park on the truck side as well. I usually check out the site in Google Earth to get the lay of the land, and have avoided some plazas that seem crowded. We always try to park at the far end of the lot and stay out of truckers way if possible. Again, we’ve never had a problem.

    Maybe if we establish a “truck plaza courtesy” list like for Wal-Mart , we’ll be able to dispel this Truck vs. RV thing.

  16. Mike Kackritz on August 3rd, 2008 8:47 am

    I was a truck driver for 23 years and ran over the road for 6 years and I have spent many of nights in the sleeper of my semi. I now have a 42 foot toy hauler that I pull with a T300 Kenworth medium duty RV toter with a 70 inch sleeper on it,my overall length is 65 feet so at most truckstops and Flying J’s their RV spaces are to small so I do park in the back and since I have a full self contained coach with bathroom and shower and food I don’t need to use the facilities at the truck stop so I park in the back row of the truck parking and if I am going to run the generator I try to park near a semitruck with the refer running and that way I don’t disturb the sleep of a driver in a flat bed or a dry van. I find it is always better to think about the truck drivers getting their sleep since they are doing this for a living and now I do it for recreation. I just hope everyone else would be so conciderate and then there wouldn’t be any problems.

    Mike

  17. Jane Low on August 3rd, 2008 12:33 pm

    I have been Rving for 7 years. During this time I have used Flying J as my primary fuel stop. I often use the auto pump as the Large Class A’s at the RV pump take considerably longer to fill their tanks compared to my Truck ( towing a 5th wheel). I simply am at the pump to refill the unit, Anything further is done away from the pumps as I realize others are or will be behind me in the line.I have stayed many times at Flying J’s for one night only or a portion of a night. I have had nothing but pleasant stays both with other rvers onsite and the Flying J staff.

    I have also had several occurances ( not flying J) when I was interrupted in my fueling because of a restriction of fueling, I was cut off at $100 of fuel with the rising costs of fuel I wasn’t able to fill my tank. Noticing that this limit has not been increased with the increase in price of fuel I ask the clerk. I was told to put the nozzle back into the pump and start over again. This restriction apparently was put into place to stop one from filling their tank plus a number of fuel tanks that the customers may bring with them.

    I have on occassion stayed overnight in a rest stop that allowed RVers. This was because I was too tired to continue or a short night due to an emergency at home. I parked next to trucks that were or were not idling and managed to get a few hours of sleep. I purposely did not park beside cars that I may disturb with my diesel truck or cut off by the length of my unit..

  18. Catchesthewind on December 17th, 2008 8:49 pm

    I am a full-timer driving a 38ft Winnebago Voyage towing a jeep. My preference for fuel is the Flying J. I would like to see, in new construction, a dedicated lane coming in to the fuel island and especially leaving the fuel island so you dont have to navigate around cars like a mine field. Due to the size of my rig I have a great affinity and respect for the long haul trucker. When I drive long distance point to point I take great umbrage at rest areas that forbid overnight parking. Its like they are saying go ahead and drive tired we dont care if you crash just dont sleep here. Thank You for letting me post my musings.

  19. Gilles Poulin on May 10th, 2009 12:55 pm

    I like flying j for fuel you know the diesel will be good”no water” we always ask for overnight parking.
    Only one thing ,some trucker used there JAKE BRAKE for no reason . I gues they like play arround….but the price in right.

  20. Joe on August 28th, 2009 8:44 am

    HI, Today I bought fuel at your Tye , TX location and I used the squeeze to clean my windows and lights and I cleaned a few bugs off the grill area of my truck . But I used simple green to spray on the area’s I’m going to clean to make it easier to get the bugs off. When I was done fueling my co driver went inside to get the fuel ticket. But the cashier would not give the fuel ticket to my co driver unless she purchased the squeeze that I used to clean the bugs off the window’s and lights and a few bugs that was on the head light and grill area. She said we used it on something other than the windows and would have to purchase it. Well under an act of extortion my co driver paid for the squeeze at $2.70. When she came back out and told me what had happened, I could not believe it .But when she showed me the ticket she also said that the cashier would not give her the fuel ticket unless she paid for the squeeze. And cashier claimed that I had ruined the squeeze by using it on the grill. But She never looked at the squeeze. It was still in brand new shape no tears or anything wrong with it. This is a first this has happened in over 20 years I have been buying fuel at the Flying J, and using other services like the checking account that I have with the tab bank. But when I went inside to right this Wrong, the cashier, I think her name was April would not refund the money back. She sayed that I used the squeeze on the grill and that I Had to buy this itemed she was not going to refund my money. But I told her she has not posted any signs not to use such items on the truck and I wanted a refund .Well she still was a cashier-zillia. And I wanted to talk to the manager she called the manager and then told me that the manager will not refund my money back either. Now the manager show’s up and was dumb founded that the cashier charges me for the squeeze and told her to refund my money. This is the first time I have ever had this kind of problem and I’ve had my cdl license for 33 years ago. Here is the ticket info 08-25-2009, invoice # 13003214, original Invoice # 13003199; location 05064, frequent fueler # …4202, for code 048374090074 at 2.49 plus tax, tax of .21 equals 2.70. It is not about money here it is the principal that I was charged for this item when there was no sign not to use this item on the grill. Also I didn’t mess up this item up by using it on the grill area. .So after this I’m going to rethink about buying my $55,000+ a year in fuel from the flying J and my checking account’s that I have at the tab bank.
    Sincerely, Joe Hall
    this is the e-mail I sent to J corp in utah

  21. Rick Abell on November 30th, 2010 11:31 am

    I read that Flying J now charges to dump. The fee mentioned was $10. Verify?

  22. Barney on November 30th, 2010 5:45 pm

    Rick –
    True… Flying J now charges to dump. $10 regular and $5 with the card.

    Does anyone know if Loves has dump stations?

  23. Gino on December 1st, 2010 5:00 am

    The Love station off I-65 near Falkville, Alabama, has a dump station.

  24. Simply Earplugs on June 3rd, 2011 7:41 am

    Nice Post…

    I saw this really great post this morning….

  25. shorty and barb young on June 3rd, 2011 3:17 pm

    I also had a problem at the Flying J on the East side of Kansas City. There was no space for rvs to park but there were many on the truck side when I took an out of the way spot at about 10PM, When I got up in the morning I found my CB antenna was broken off and thrown in the back of my pickup. We also park at Wal Marts, and I wonder how the truckers who are not delivering to Wal Mart, but still park there, would like it if I did damage to their trucks because they were taking up the spaces that rvs use?

  26. Free Overnight RV Parking = Finding “Freebies” | Wheeling It on July 30th, 2011 2:35 pm

    [...] Flying J’s - Many Flying J Truck Stops have a separate RV parking area where you can spend the night. [...]

  27. Sherry on July 30th, 2011 8:13 pm

    After driving a truck OTR for a couple of years, I can tell you that nothing annoyed me more than being out of log-book hours, exhausted and finding that a space I could have parked in is filled by an rv. I understand that rvers need places to park too, but they are not required to stop because of log books and can usually get into smaller spaces (like campgrounds) that big trucks cannot get into. As far as fueling on the truck side, common courtesy like fueling and pulling up and saving the shopping till after

  28. Sherry on July 30th, 2011 8:15 pm

    Hit the send button too early! Anyway, pull up, go pay, move out of the way and then shop. Most truckers would never complain if it’s done this way.

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