Sleeping in a rest area

Discussion in 'Americas' started by bodine003, Mar 1, 2020.

  1. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

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    What I write below is not intended for those who already know Virginia is a mess, it is intended for those who may not yet be aware of how things are.

    Virginia is a police state. I grew up there and left in reaction to events which were unacceptable. The police there are all too often a bunch of redneck bullies with a badge. I know there are good cops there, but they are the exception. I'm not going to debate this - I know what I am talking about.

    I've spent the entire night in rest areas all over the country, dozens of times, on SEVEN cross-country trips, and except for Virginia and Tennessee, I have not been hassled once by a cop. Whether you're hassled or not depends most on the quality of people in the area where you are. You see, the police are a subset of the people in the area, and they are only different because they have a badge and the authority that goes with it.

    Things in the western US are generally much better in this regard : there is a "live and let live" attitude out west that is rare in the eastern US and VERY rare in the southern US. Like I said, some cops are redneck assh*les with a badge, and there are a lot of this type of cop in the southern US. Plan your travels accordingly, is my advice, and if you believe some southern ignoramus who claims everything is fine in the southern US, you have only yourself to blame for what you get.

    By the way I am caucasian ( so the typical southern racism would not play a part ) , I have short hair and no facial hair and I look like I could be a government employee. I have never been disrespectful to a policeman. So I am a long way from the "profile" of a person the police might typically want to hassle. So when the cops hassle me anyway, it is clear the problem is the cop, not me. NOTE : the police should not hassle anyone who is not "misbehaving", but the real world does involve people who have done nothing wrong being hassled and anyone with some life experience is aware of this.

    What motivated me to leave Virginia for good was the following event : I was living in Virginia, and my girlfriend had an emergency need to get to the airport so she could fly to be with her sister who was critically ill. I was in the process of driving the girlfriend to the airport in her 4-cylinder Volvo wagon, and I accidentally let the clutch out poorly and the tires on the drive wheels "chirped" as a result of my poor driving technique. A county cop walked up to the car as I was parking it, and charged me with reckless driving. Now, I had not done anything close to reckless driving, nor had I hit any pedestrian or hit another car. Yet this cop charged me as I stated. The day of court came and the judge sentenced me to TEN days in jail. I have not left anything out of this story, so if you're thinking I did something to deserve ten days in jail you are incorrect. But I did serve ten days in jail. When I was released the girl friend and I began planning to move out of the state and we did so. I can say that life in the state we moved to was far more pleasant and the police in that state were 100% reasonable and I never had a single problem with cops while living for ten years in the state to which we moved.

    Virginia has a state slogan "Virginia is for Lovers". The truth is quite different from the slogan.
    #21
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  2. AwDang

    AwDang Enabler

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    Wow!
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  3. No Rush

    No Rush Adventurer

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    Construction sites are another resource for sleeping. If you're fortunate they have a port-a-john! I make it a point to be gone by 0600.
    #23
  4. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Wal-Mart, or maybe someone did and I missed it.

    Many construction sites feature "no trespassing signs" ( they put such signs up because theft or vandalism are rampant at job sites ) and depending on the jurisdiction, merely being on the ( posted no trespass ) site could give law enforcement officers enough probable cause to arrest you.

    This would be a case of the police doing their job, and I would not fault the police in the least if they arrested me for being in a place which was posted with "No Trespassing" signs, because I would have been in clear violation of the law.
    #24
  5. zaxrex

    zaxrex Lost in the Ergosphere

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    It always blows my mind that LEO would prefer drivers to soldier on (dangerously, mind you) with a lack of sleep than spend a precious few hours to nap.

    I understand that some may take advantage of this, but... come on
    #25
  6. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

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    I agree with you 100%. The cops are supposed to work in a manner that enhances ( or at least does not detract from ) public safety, and forcing a person who may be so tired that he or she is unable to drive safely to drive away from a parking place in a rest area is directly counter to the "public safety" mandate. The next time it happens to me, I'm getting the cop's badge number and I am going to contact the state senator and make sure the senator understands I will do whatever it takes to publicize the event but am willing to first give the senator the opportunity to "take care of the problem".

    In my experience most cops won't force you to leave a rest area. All most cops tend to do is drive through the place and make sure nothing illegal or dangerous is going on.

    It's the cops who are ( to use the words of a state cop I knew who was a good man and a good cop ) "peckerheads" who force a driver who needs rest to leave the rest area.

    You know, the good cops don't like the bad cops either, because the bad cops make the job more difficult for the good cops.
    #26
  7. Rips Millar

    Rips Millar capt. mediocre

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    you guys are sure getting worked up for a thread that the OP started, left hardly NO explanation for, then hasn't been back...
    #27
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  8. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

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    We are providing information some people may find useful in terms of trip planning, or of entertainment value.
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  9. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I often wondered how it would be if I stopped at a rest area in my small motorhome then started drinking booze. Now over the limit to drive I am asked to move. Probably get towed and imprisoned in Virginia.
    #29
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  10. Rips Millar

    Rips Millar capt. mediocre

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    ok, i'm cool with that, carry on
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  11. Rips Millar

    Rips Millar capt. mediocre

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    I thought rest stops were only for gay blow jobs, who knew?
    #31
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  12. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

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    I've put some thought into a similar scenario to that which you describe though in my personal situation I'd be sleeping in the car parked in the private parking lot of a bar I frequent.

    The situation has not actually happened yet, but I like having good plans ahead of time, so I looked into it. The bar owners said they were ok with me sleeping in my car in their parking lot in order that I do not drive drunk. The county sheriff, with whom I am on good terms ( he is a genuinely great guy who also happens to be the sheriff ) told me that the car keys need to NOT be in the ignition lock and I need to NOT be in the driver's seat. If I am sleeping in the back of the car and the car keys are not in the ignition, the sheriff assured me his deputies would simply make sure I was "ok" and move on.

    But a rest area is public property and I would never personally drink enough alcohol to put myself over the legal BAC limit, because if I did I'd be putting myself into a situation where I would be forced to drive under the influence if the police told me I needed to leave the rest area. I suppose the alternative could be calling a taxi and having the vehicle towed to a motel where I would spend the night after being forced out of the rest area. But it seems a lot easier to me if I just don't drink alcohol when I am in that situation.
    #32
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  13. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

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    A lot can happen in a rest area, and not all of it is nice.

    Years ago in Oregon a pair of female serial killers were picked up by a long haul trucker and they all stopped in a rest area where I have myself slept. The female serial killers slit the trucker's throat and killed him. This story was told to me by a person who knew I sometimes "camped" in that rest area on weekends when I visited the area.
    I never slept very well in that rest area after hearing about that.

    Some months later in the very same rest area, I was sleeping in my car and around 04:00 my car started shaking. I jumped up in full "ready to rock and roll" condition, leapt out of the car with adrenaline rushing through my bloodstream and there was not a person to be seen for 75 yards in every direction ( the rest area was large and wide open, maybe 8 acres total ). A few minutes later I realized that with all other possibilities eliminated, I had undoubtedly experienced my first earthquake, and I laughed at how the unexpected can happen any place, any time.
    #33
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  14. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    It all varies by state.

    In Montana...you could probably camp out a week before anyone got interested. True story: Sunday breakdown; in a remote area on the Interslab. I had to call the cops because I couldn't call a tow company - no cell service; the pay phone at the rest area was...a low-rent independent company's and not working right. Took me from two in the afternoon to midnight to get a cop out, to verify the breakdown, to actually dispatch the contract wrecker.

    In Ohoho...you'd be arrested within minutes. And with good reason: The rest stops around Cleveland, I-90 and I-71, were full of drug vendors and gay cruisers. So...nothing, NOTHING that violates the regs.

    As to camping in general: What you can do in a motorhome (Walmart) or a van (sleep in a store parking lot or a rest-area space) you can't really get away with when you unroll your bedroll. I've had times in the past where I've set up a little one-man-pup tent in the back of a pickup, in a rest area. No one bothered me. If I did it on the grass, I have no doubt I've have been feeling John Law's toe, quickly.
    #34
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  15. bodine003

    bodine003 Long timer

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    Thanks for the replies. Just want to be able to snooze for awhile rather than go through getting of the interstate to find a place. Just thinking about heading to the Blowing Rock NC area in May. Guess I will plan to go the backroads and take longer, but can stealth camp.
    #35
  16. beemerphile

    beemerphile Unreconstructed Southerner Supporter

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    I got too sleepy to drive in Wisconsin once and stopped at a rest area. I was asleep on top of a concrete picnic table and a Trooper shook me awake. He said "Kind of dangerous isn't it?" I said "No, I"m not going to hurt you." He said "I meant for you." I replied "Not as dangerous as nodding off while I was riding, which is what was happening." He said "Be careful". I said "You too."

    My favorite impromptu rest arrangement was one night when it was raining felines and canines and I pulled the bike into one of the portable buildings that was for sale at a Lowe's store. I left out as the store was opening. The guy collecting shopping carts waved me g'day as I left If they had cameras they were not live-monitored at night.
    #36
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  17. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

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    What you said to that cop made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the laugh, and the great story.
    #37
  18. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    On my first big road trip across the country. My fist night ever in California, sleeping in my car. I experienced the same thing. The car was shaking. I opened the door and yelled at my friends to knock it off. They were sitting 30’ away, laughing. Yup, earthquake.
    #38
  19. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

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    When I first realized there was no one around my car, I briefly considered some sort of paranormal event had occurred ( or maybe space aliens ...! ). But I don't believe that "woo woo" stuff, and the earthquake quickly seemed the likely explanation. In my case there were no other humans in sight, so initially it was quite spooky.
    #39
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  20. patmo

    patmo Long timer

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    Leaving Florida on 75, just across the border is a rest stop where they actually have an area set aside for people to sleep in. It’s got some privacy because of trees and is fairly quiet. I used it one early early morning on my way from Tampa to Ohio, with no problem.

    I also stopped at a rest stop in southern Indiana one night on my way back from Colorado. Meant to stop for 15 minutes, but woke up 3 hours later with a dead battery from leaving the vent fan on. Took awhile to get someone out there to give me a jump. LOL
    #40
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