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Old 04-15-2007, 08:20 PM   #1
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I made my first fuel stop at a truck stop since buying my DP last December. The experience was memorable to say the least. I pulled into the TA Travel Center in Ontario, California. This must be the busiest truck stop in the U.S., because I had to wait in line with dozens of truckers for about 25 minutes, before I was able to pull up to an open fuel pump. Being new at this, I had no idea what I was in store for.

When I saw that there was no credit card reader at the pump, I went inside to pay. There, I had to wait another 15 minutes in line, while the truckers in line ahead of me conducted their business. I left the cashier my credit card and headed back out to my rig. I noticed that there were pumps on both sides of my island, so I went for the closest, the driver's side. When the pump didn't work, I put the nozzle back and went for the other pump. Still no luck...no fuel coming out at all. I went back inside, skirted the line of truckers waiting to pay, got dirty looks from all of them and asked the cashier why my pump wasn't working. I was told that both nozzles had to removed from both pumps before fuel would dispense.

I finally got the pumps to work and filled up my rig. I went back inside, waited another 15 minutes in line and paid my bill. I then climbed back into my rig, tracking diesel fuel everywhere, and left with my tail between my legs. The entire event took nearly an hour, and was anything but pleasant.

Is this normal? Is it easier to just use the automotive diesel pumps at these places?
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:20 PM   #2
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I made my first fuel stop at a truck stop since buying my DP last December. The experience was memorable to say the least. I pulled into the TA Travel Center in Ontario, California. This must be the busiest truck stop in the U.S., because I had to wait in line with dozens of truckers for about 25 minutes, before I was able to pull up to an open fuel pump. Being new at this, I had no idea what I was in store for.

When I saw that there was no credit card reader at the pump, I went inside to pay. There, I had to wait another 15 minutes in line, while the truckers in line ahead of me conducted their business. I left the cashier my credit card and headed back out to my rig. I noticed that there were pumps on both sides of my island, so I went for the closest, the driver's side. When the pump didn't work, I put the nozzle back and went for the other pump. Still no luck...no fuel coming out at all. I went back inside, skirted the line of truckers waiting to pay, got dirty looks from all of them and asked the cashier why my pump wasn't working. I was told that both nozzles had to removed from both pumps before fuel would dispense.

I finally got the pumps to work and filled up my rig. I went back inside, waited another 15 minutes in line and paid my bill. I then climbed back into my rig, tracking diesel fuel everywhere, and left with my tail between my legs. The entire event took nearly an hour, and was anything but pleasant.

Is this normal? Is it easier to just use the automotive diesel pumps at these places?
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:07 PM   #3
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Craig, sorry to hear that your 1st experience at a truck stop was so eventful. It is not uncommon to find pumps on both sides as the truckers at times have 200-300 gallon saddle tanks and he wants to get out as soon as he can. To you time spent is an inconvenience to him it is money as he only earns when his wheels are turning. Most generally you will find a phone near the pump on driver's side that is a direct line to the fuel desk. Tell them you are a private coach and would like to pay with a credit card and ask if they will activate the pump. Some will say yes, others want your credit card # before activation-either way you only have one trip inside to pay the bill. After you fuel up it is common courtesy to pull your rig forward far enough so that the guy behind you can start fuelling while you are settling the bill. I have a40' coach and tow a 20' trailer and most generally prefer to use the trucker pumps vs. over with the cars where you can see some real lolly- goggers.

You want to have a real time warp go into the RV island at a Flying J where the guy ahead of you fuels up and then washes his windows, and they are really dirty, and then goes inside to pay without moving up as while he is inside he is going to shag down someone to fill his propane tank and then he goes back inside to pay for that, again w/o moving up and when he comes back out you think finally I will get to get my diesel. Not so fast Craig my boy, that retired dude ahead of you still will want to use his coach bathroom before he pulls out. You will see none of this BS at the trucker pumps,

Oh, and did I forget to tell you, over on the RV and auto side many stations have credit card limits of $50 or $75 so you get the chance to stop and start the fuelling process several times if you have a large tank and it is thirsty. The fuel nozzels are high speed on the trucker islands and generally not so on the RV/ auto side as the trucker nozzel will physically not fit into many diesel cars and pick-ups.

Good luck with your future fuelling experiences. P.S. while fueliing with the truckers you can find out if they are heading your way or the opposite direction and exchange views with them about the road just travelled as to weather, construction, accidents, etc. If you have not checked prices ahead of you ,you can bet he has and he will tell you where to stop/not stop. Ken...
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Old 04-16-2007, 06:40 AM   #4
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Ken Said it all. Some chains are more RV friendly than others. We have preferred Flying J. If you get a Flying J Frequent Fulers card most of the time you can swipe the FF Card, then your credit card, and the pump will activate without going inside. After fueling, pull forward, go in, wash your hands, and pick up your receipt off the carolsel. This is as good as it gets and still will take 30 mins., but you will get 1 cent discount.

PS tip. Have the DW watch how to exit back to the street. On the trucker side it may not seem as clear as you would think, and you do not want to end up at the end of a blind alley towing a car.(don't ask how I know this)
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:51 PM   #5
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Craig - Ken and Steve covered the situation. I have found that Flying J always, without excetpion (on my travels), to have the cheapest deisel prices. Sometimes other truck stops may equal FJ but I have never seen another truck stop in the same locale to be less expenxive. Something to remember though, FJ may post a cash price and a higher price for credit cards. If you make certain they know you are an RV, they will give you the cash price. It is deducted on the receipt after you pay. This is on top of the penny per gallon discount you get if you have a Flying J card.

It sounds like you learned all the lessons on your first stop. Just remember to pull forward and clear the pumps after you fuel up and be careful not to assume you can always go where the trucks go. They have the ability to back up and you don't if you have a toad. Don't get into a position where you might need to back up.

When I fuel up, if they won't accept my information from the phone, my wife goes in with the pump number and credit card while I wait for the pump to be turned on. While waiting I put the time to use by washing the windows.

One more thing, most truck stops aren't as busy as what you encountered. They are all busy but I don't believe I usually have to wait in line more than 5 minutes to pay.
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:22 PM   #6
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I agree with all that has been written.

I do empathize with your first experience. I had almost the identical thing happen to me. The satellite pump was definitely a hard lesson. I have found most truckers to be polite and helpful if you are appropriately respectful. I still haven't figured out how to keep the diesel fuel and oil off of my shoes.

Flying J's seem to be the best. But, as written, don't use the RV slots. The only advantage is the air for tires and it is a tiny compressor. I have seen many w/lines out on the road. This is usually anytime after 5 p.m. on a return route from the south or vice versa.

Oh, one more thing, no matter how tempting and convenient, do not eat at the Flying J buffet. That is unless you want an internal alarm clock to get you up at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m., 5 a.m. etc. if you know what I mean. Bob (rebelsbeach) can confirm this opinion.
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Old 04-16-2007, 02:33 PM   #7
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Thanks guys for the freindly responses. Although I didn't mention it in my original post, I did pull up and clear the pumps before I went inside to pay. I kept the trucker behind me waiting long enough, so I didn't want him to hate me even more!

I've heard good things about Flying J from other friends as well. We're heading off to Las Vegas this weekend, and there's one along the way. I'll stop and give this truck stop thing one more try. Thanks again for the helpful tips and information, and I'll make sure I steer clear of the Flying J buffet!

Thanks again!

Craig
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:06 AM   #8
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The satelite pump is so you can fill from either side.If your fill is on the left or main pump you don't have to activate the sattelite.My fill is on the right so I start the main pump and lay it on the ground.I then activate the satellite and fuel up.
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:27 PM   #9
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I've never seen one where you had to have the satellite off the hook to make the main work, but the opposite is quite common. And it may take a bit of experience to be able to quickly identify which is main and which is satellite.

The FJ Rv card may enable you to use the card swipe at FJ truck islands, but don't count on it at every FJ. I received the dreaded "See Cashier" message just the other day at an FJ in South Carolina on I95. Had to take the long walk inside to get the pump on and again to pay for the fuel.
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Old 04-17-2007, 05:00 PM   #10
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As soon as I pull up to the pumps I send my wife inside with the cash or credit card and get the process started. The two pumps in my case make fueling much faster as I have a tank on each side.

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Old 04-17-2007, 05:01 PM   #11
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We too use Flying J when we can along with the Frequent Fueler card. I have to agree that the RV island is often slow and sometime difficult to maneuver. The Trucker islands in Arizona appear to have an 8 cent/gal additional tax.

A friend who is a doctor gave us a box of surgical shoe covers (booties). I slip those on before I step outside (even if I do look like I'm wearing powder blue slippers). Then I can trek through the oil and grease, then pop them off my shoes before I go back inside with no stains or smell. I also use latex gloves to handle the always oily hose.
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:29 PM   #12
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In Arizona if you tell them inside you are filling an RV at the truck island, you will not have to pay the additional tax that the truckers do. Wonder if I tell them I'm filling my reefer tank?

Usually if the FJ Card is swiped and then the CC you will get the cash price automatically, plus the one cent off per gallon.

I too use Flying J exclusively for the fuel quality. A friend who has 1,230,000 miles on his "Pete", has never had a fuel injector problem.

Everyone else has done a good job regarding pump etiquette
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Old 04-23-2007, 03:21 PM   #13
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Do you know if this additional tx works the same in the state of Ind. My friend came through their and said he had to pay 8 cents a
gallon more because he was not a truck. Will not buy in that state again. I don't know if he is right or mixed up. Have any of you had this happen?
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Old 04-23-2007, 03:29 PM   #14
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williejo, your friend is probably correct. Generally the posted price is for what IN considers "Exempt" truckers and most of the time the price is so stated on the signage for the fuel stops. All others pay an upcharge of so much per gallon. Up until about 5-8 years ago IN was one of the cheapest places in the country to fuel up; but, somewhere along the line that changed radically, Ken,'04DSDP...
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