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Author Topic: Gas stations big enough?  (Read 608 times)

skydivemark

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Gas stations big enough?
« on: September 26, 2018, 11:00:57 AM »
We have a 33ft C class (gas).
I'm curious if anyone knows a good way to find gas stations ahead of time that accommodate RV's.
Seems, quite often we get off an exit to get gas only to find the gas station(s) don't have enough space to get in & out, especially when towing our Jeep.
Sometimes I try to guess where/when we'll need to stop and look at google earth, but that can be time consuming.
We have 2 brands (exxon & shell) we try to use simply due to buying their gas cards ahead of time (at 20% off face value - we buy $50 cards for $40 and save them for our trips).
2015 Thor Four Winds 31L
Clermont, FL

lynnmor

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2018, 11:08:37 AM »
While you don't need diesel, often the stations with diesel will accommodate large vehicles.

Bill N

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2018, 11:14:04 AM »
I have a 35ft Class A and a Toad and have never had a problem at most gas stations but you need to study the situation when you pull in.  Those that require the vehicle to point direct at or away from the building are normally the most difficult and those with straight drive through are the easiest.  For those that point toward the building I try to get one of the aisles that are on the outside to give me more manuever room.  Since you are probably gas, plan on seeing both types .  As for brands that may complicate the matter as in our area of the country those are not exactly the most predominant brands.  So I guess what I am saying is almost all stations are accessible with some more difficult than others.  But beware of creating a back up situation.  I have backed up only a few times and a maximum of about four or five feet and very slow.  Never had to unhook the toad and hope I don't have to.  Good luck.

Bill
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 11:16:55 AM by Bill N »
Bill & Joan N in Missouri
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RVRAC

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2018, 11:38:32 AM »
I am like you with a 31 ft Class C and a Patriot on a dolly, so I know what you talk about.  It is not easy as we are not looking for diesel.  I tried to look for a place when the tank goes down to 1/4.  I also look the night before to the book Next Exit to see what is ahead for the day. I write down potential exits if needed.   Then I look for where are the big stations in the exits ahead of me.  Next Exit is my best friend on this.  Look for the outside pumps, and wait if necessary.  It is important to decide how are you going to get out before getting in, otherwise you will be in trouble. This way it always work.  My 2 cents.
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2018, 11:45:37 AM »
I use the Gas Buddy app to find the price of gas in my vicinity, then I can select a station and click on the Direction button.  This brings up a full page Google map, where I can select Satellite View and zoom in to an overhead view of the station and it's access routes.

Routing and satellite view are not available on the website, only via the app.

https://www.gasbuddy.com

The app is free and available for Android and iOS.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 04:32:04 PM by Lou Schneider »

darsben

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2018, 11:54:59 AM »
I am in a gasser but pretty much just do truck stops and such  (Buckees) No fuss no problems in and out
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skydivemark

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2018, 11:58:35 AM »
Most of the stations that appear "unaccessible" to me are due to the way other vehicles - not using the pumps -  are parked, limiting turning area. Our previous C class was shorter and much easier, but this one has a much larger turn radius making it more challenging.
Yes, backing up a few feet is possible but I don't even think about it unless the toad is lined up straight behind.
I usually start looking at about 1/2 tank so if I have to go a few more miles or exits it's no problem.
These days, most chain stations also sell diesel and it's surprising how little room some have to get around. Some look like it would even be difficult for a pick-up towing a 20ft trailer.
I know of gas buddy but didn't know they have ariel view.  I try not to get over concerned with saving a couple cents per gallon. I'll pay an extra couple cents per gal for ease of maneuvering.
2015 Thor Four Winds 31L
Clermont, FL

Lou Schneider

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2018, 12:04:09 PM »
I try not to get over concerned with saving a couple cents per gallon. I'll pay an extra couple cents per gal for ease of maneuvering.

Same here, but there are times the savings can be substantial such as filling up on one side or the other of a state or county line.

Like yesterday, when I was returning home from a trip.  I could have filled up in Las Vegas but chose to wait until I got home to Pahrump because Gas Buddy showed the prices were 20-30 cents a gallon cheaper there, equivalent to getting 10% cash back. Same state, different counties.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 12:17:53 PM by Lou Schneider »

jymbee

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2018, 03:23:11 PM »
I know of gas buddy but didn't know they have ariel view.  I try not to get over concerned with saving a couple cents per gallon. I'll pay an extra couple cents per gal for ease of maneuvering.

While Gas Buddy has pricing info, you also can just use Google Maps to display the general area where you plan a stop and type in "gas stations". Up pops a list with markers you can zoom into with satellite view and get an idea of space. Of course the same search works for "restaurants', "campgrounds" etc. etc.

I share your concern about finding easy in & out stations-- especially w/ a TOAD. Even before we had the TOAD some stations were virtually impossible. I guess all the folks who report they never have a problem are just better planners than myself.  :D

jymbee

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2018, 03:26:05 PM »
Like yesterday, when I was returning home from a trip.  I could have filled up in Las Vegas but chose to wait until I got home to Pahrump because Gas Buddy showed the prices were 20-30 cents a gallon cheaper there, equivalent to getting 10% cash back. Same state, different counties.

Wow-- that much difference in prices is worth nothing. On the other hand, I know some folks who jump through hoops to get to a gas station that has gas for 2 cents less than other easily accessible stations. In that case, I have to ask them whether a whopping dollar +/- is worth the hassle?  :-\

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2018, 03:35:40 PM »
At a fuel cost of $0.35-$0.40 per mile ($2.75-$3.20 per gallon, if you drive an RV a 1/4 mile extra to get $0.02/gallon  cheaper gas, you are losing money.

But I don't thnk the question here was about price.   Accessibility is the key when you need fuel.  When we had a gasser, we avoided cities and metro areas and chose fuel stops on the outskirts of small towns. The stattion s are usually (not always) roomier and less crowded).  Also, stations with conveniences stores are more likley to be congested, plus they have the pump aisles oriented to face the store rather than parallel to the road.  Sells more soda and hot  dogs, but tough on big rig access.
Gary
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Jeff and Anita

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2018, 04:04:35 PM »
We have a 35ft gasser. We always look for Costco's (if you are a member). Most of time you can fit with no problem even with a tow. Trucks are always a good bet. We also avoid getting gas inside a city. To hard to get around on some of the small streets. Try to use stations out of the city limits.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 04:07:45 PM by Jeff and Anita »
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John From Detroit

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2018, 05:39:41 PM »
MY PILOT app is how I find 'em. though Loves and TA both have large "Truck/Auto" plazzas.  Also most Wal*marts but you need to "Scope it out" before you pull in.   My brother informs me some wal marts have hung height limit pipes to keep big rigs out (He was an OTR Semi Driver).

If you travel a limited area.. I know several gas stations I can get in and out of while towing my towed easily .. For example here in Mid-Eastern Lower MI( Flint to St Clair)

I have a PIlot Ill be passing when I change parks. at the other park The KROGER (Davison) is a pain but the Richfield/Center road Kroger in Burton is great as is the one in Lapeer (The best of the lot).

Several other stations as well are RV-Friendly.

But you won;t know till you do a drive by.

IN N.W. Detroit the Shell at 7 and Grand River is the most RV Friendly Gas station on the planet.. You approach fromn the S.E. On Grand river. do a fractional right into the pump island. continue out onto E/B 7 mile and if needed hang a right on Telegraph and another on Grand river to continue N.W. (or whatever way you wish to go)

Let me see if I can show it to you.
Google Maps 
You may have to zoom in and I could not find a street view option but the big mostly white "Grid" is the pump islands.. IT works well if you can get it on street view.

Suggestion... IN many cases you can "Fly to the station" via Google Maps or other map services as I did with this one.. Look at the pump islands.. Do this with a few stations local to you so you get a "Feel" for what you are looking at.  Then you either pull in or not.
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decaturbob

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2018, 05:49:51 PM »
Gas Buddy has a RV friendly version offered that is a group effort on a google map. I have used extensively in trip planning. One side note, Flying Js almost all have RV gas lanes. Between gas buddy and using google earth, I can usually nail gas stations my 32ft and toad can maneuver in.
proud to have a 2008 Tioga 31M MH

Trivet

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2018, 12:58:52 AM »
Gas Buddy has a RV friendly version offered that is a group effort on a google map. I have used extensively in trip planning.
I've been disappointed in gasbuddy's attempt at a list of RV friendly stations.  The vast majority of stations are either ones like Flying J, where you can assume it's probably RV friendly, or stations that don't look to me to be that much better for big rigs than most other stations.  In fact, I've clicked all around and have yet to see one that I thought, "What a great find."

It would probably be more accurate to call the listings "RV do-able, sometimes with difficulty and maybe with backing up."

NY_Dutch

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2018, 07:46:22 AM »
Over the past 10 years driving 33-34' gas motorhomes with toads, I have never had to back up or unhook at a gas station due to accessibility issues. On the Interstates, I do look for exits with multiple stations so I have a choice, and always plan my exit route before entering. Flying J's RV lanes are my preference, but not a requirement. Between the Good Sam discount at PFJ's and the 5% cash rebate on our Visa card, small price differences among gas brands are not a consideration.
Dutch
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skydivemark

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2018, 04:57:56 PM »
Over the past 10 years driving 33-34' gas motorhomes with toads, I have never had to back up or unhook at a gas station due to accessibility issues. On the Interstates, I do look for exits with multiple stations so I have a choice, and always plan my exit route before entering. Flying J's RV lanes are my preference, but not a requirement. Between the Good Sam discount at PFJ's and the 5% cash rebate on our Visa card, small price differences among gas brands are not a consideration.

Yes Dutch, I agree. Multiple gas stations close together helps make it competitive for many different types of customers. 
I'm glad I started this thread, it stirred up a good conversation with good opinions & strategies for getting gas.
Like I said earlier, I have preferences in brand but that is NOT carved in stone, just preference since we buy pre-paid cards at significant discount.
2015 Thor Four Winds 31L
Clermont, FL

ArdraF

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2018, 06:41:34 PM »
Most of the large nationwide truck stops like Love's and Pilot/Flying J have corporate brochures with a map showing all their locations and what each has in terms of things like gas/diesel, number of parking spaces (the larger the parking the more likely it can handle larger RVs), restaurants, etc.

Both the RVer's Friend and the National Truck Stop Directory are useful printed guides.  Again, the entries that show large parking generally are big enough for RVs.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Dragginourbedaround

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2018, 08:42:32 PM »
Quote
Over the past 10 years driving 33-34' gas motorhomes with toads, I have never had to back up or unhook at a gas station due to accessibility issues.
I have, and it had nothing to do with accessibility issues. It had everything to do with stupidity issues...mine.
Gene

2013 Winnebago Adventurer 37F
2011 Honda Fit

decaturbob

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2018, 06:40:52 AM »
I've been disappointed in gasbuddy's attempt at a list of RV friendly stations.  The vast majority of stations are either ones like Flying J, where you can assume it's probably RV friendly, or stations that don't look to me to be that much better for big rigs than most other stations.  In fact, I've clicked all around and have yet to see one that I thought, "What a great find."

It would probably be more accurate to call the listings "RV do-able, sometimes with difficulty and maybe with backing up."

unless its  Flying J, anything I find on gas buddy I verify using google earth as its easy for me to determine if there is required space for my rig by looking at the satellite image, in most cases I find I can
proud to have a 2008 Tioga 31M MH

JoelP

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2018, 05:12:52 PM »
Driving a gas RV means that finding a suitable station can be a source of ongoing stress.  I try to plan my day to make it to a Flying J RV plaza, whenever available.  In California, gas stations seem to be more confining than in Montana or Wyoming, for example. 

When I was in Cody recently I found an Exxon station that had a pull through arrangement and enough vertical clearance.  It looked to be perfectly suitable. My fuel inlet is on the left, so I pulled in to the right of the left most center island (one of two).  After putting $130 worth of gas in my tank 3 Harley Davidsons pulled in directly in front of me.  As I was climbing back in the driver's side door of my RV, the motorcycle that was most blocking my path moved somewhat out of the way.  I proceeded toward him to exit the station, but, unbeknownst to me, a young gal had pulled in to my right in a Jeep Cherokee. She left her driver's side door wide open, leaving about 1-2" between her door and the side of my coach, then went to her passenger side to fuel her vehicle.  As I was carefully maneuvering around the motorcycle I failed to also notice this vehicle on my right.  As I turned left my right side moved out just enough to catch her door and fold it badly.

Needless to say that I was 100% at fault because I was moving and she was not, but I post this to remind people to always have a very careful look around the opposite side of theri rig before proceding out of any station regardless of what may distract you in front of you.  It might be much tighter than you may realize.  Don't assume that people understand the lack of visibilty and maneuvering issues with your RV.

It was my first accident like this after 30 years of driving an RV and hopefully my last.  Perhaps this will help soneone to avoid a similar mishap.
Joel from San Jose

2010 Itasca Suncruiser 37F
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HappyWanderer

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2018, 06:48:00 PM »
That's exactly why you always do a 360 walk around before moving an inch. Every time.
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Senator

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Re: Gas stations big enough?
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2018, 06:58:03 PM »
I have a 39' 5er and have been known to uphook and drive a small amount to save .30 to .40 cents a gallon for Diesel. 

Virtually all truck stops that have diesel, you can get in/out no problem.  With gas, look for the RV pumps.  Do not be afraid to unhook  the towed vehicle, if you feel the need.
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