Overnight RV Parking at Flying J
The 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.
Moderator, OvernightRVParking Yahoo Group