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Old 04-16-2010, 02:36 PM   #1
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advice on getting in/out of gas stations

Last summer we bought a 30' ft motor home (gas). We love it! Whenever we find a gas station (loves or flying J or any other), we have a hard time getting out. This summer we are planning to tow a car.
Any advice on getting in and out of gas stations without hitting anything? Last trip we scraped the rear panel on something.

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Old 04-16-2010, 02:59 PM   #2
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Our previous MH was a gasser 30' and we towed a car. I always tried to pull in to the outside pumps and watched for stations with an easy out, like a drive way in and a drive way out. I avoided stations that had the pump islands set up towards the store where people would be parked. So if there is a station with an entry before and after the pumps pull in to the pump closest to the street. We now own a DP and if a trk stop is not close when I need to fuel these are the types of stations I use. Haven't had a problem and I'm 40' plus the toad. Good luck

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Old 04-16-2010, 03:06 PM   #3
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Swing wide!
Seriously, don't use the standard gas pumps if you can avoid this. Most stations that cater to RV/truck have a separate pump that gives you an easier in and a wider berth to come out. When you are towing this becomes much more important. If you have a diesel rig then ALWAYS use the truck lanes. If you have a gas rig then you are just going to have to be a bit more selective about where you stop and, if necessary, just sit and wait until you can find that clear shot in and out. I use Flying J almost exclusively as I know I will be able to get in and out easily (with a few franchisee locations).
If I can also get propane, something to eat, find a convenient overnight parking area, get a discount on the fuel and not have to pay the higher credit card fees, then all the better!
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:11 PM   #4
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If turning is what you are having difficulty with, this video might give you some pointers. Better RVing: RV Driver Confidence Course – Part 5: Turning in Your Motorhome - Low Bandwidth Version
Bob Russo
Formerly had 07 Neptune 36PDQ, ISB 325, Allison 2500, Source Trailing Arms and Ride Enhancement Kit, Demco KarKaddy 460SS.
Currently no Motorhome
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:14 PM   #5
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I usually use Flying J when possible. I've never had a problem and I tow a Ford Explorer. I usually try to use the regular gas pumps as the RV islands is usually backed up, I guess that because RV'ers think they are suppose to use the islands.
The main thing is to just be careful and try not to get too close to the pumps and make wide turms when leaving. Don't get too upset if you have to wait on a car or something once in a while.
Jerry & Patsy Potter, Taz & Jake Jr.
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:23 PM   #6
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We try to avoid locations where you pull into the fuel islands directly facing a close building, but we have no problem with most FLying J RV islands even though we are 40' with a toad.

Regardless of where you fill-up (a 30' rig shouldn't be all that limited in locations) you need to realize that many rigs, and especially gas rigs, have a significant "tail swing" where the tail end swings out to the right when you make a left turn, and to the left when you make a right turn. You want to avoid making any significant turn movement until your rear end is clear/past anything beside you. I have seen accidents with trailers and MH's in left turn lanes where the driver did not account for the tail swing of their rig. That is also a very common cause of gas station scrapes.
Paul (KE5LXU) ...was fulltimin', now parttimin'
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:49 AM   #7
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scrim, since you have a gasser, you won't be able to use the truck lanes since they usually only have diesel. I usually go to Flying J when possible since they are the only ones I know of that have separate RV lanes. However, if the RV lanes are too busy, I use their auto lanes. As AFChap says, even though their pumps are perpendicular to the building, they allow enough room to swing at the end of the pumps. We have a 37' MH plus toad.

If FJ isn't available, I usually look for a station that has the pumps parallel to the road. As someone else said, pick the outside row of pumps.

I am also willing to pay a little more per gallon for my gas. That way, I am more likely to get a station that is less crowded.

I also use MSN Gas Prices web site to find stations along my route. I know how far I am traveling and can calculate about when I will need gas. MSN will give you the location of gas stations, price and an aerial view of the area so you can see in advance how big the station looks. Not all stations are listed, but it will give you an idea of what is available in a particular area.

I also use the MSN site in conjunction with Google Maps. Google gives you a bigger map on the satellite view that usually has better resolution than MSN, plus you can use "Street View" (if available) to actually see the gas station and how the pumps are situated in advance.
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:17 AM   #8
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The advice to be aware of tail swing is great. Just be sure to drive past where you want to turn before turning the steering wheel. And, what side is your propane fill?. Be aware that most Flying J locations are set up for left (drivers) side fill. If your propane fill is on the right (passenger) side, you need to enter the RV fuel lane backwards. Needless to say, this isn't a good idea on a busy day. Sometimes you can access the propane fill from the Truck fuel lot, but you need to be careful not to block any 18-wheeler lanes.
George Schweikle Lexington, KY
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:59 AM   #9
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Slowly, carefully and use a ground guide DW / DH / DS /DD if necessary to be sure you clear unseen obstacles.
Ken, DW & Oscar the Beagle
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:09 PM   #10
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All the advice is good. I notice that you list having an Itasca Sunova. If it is a newer model, when you are in the driver's seat you are most likely sitting over your wheels. When making a turn you have to consider what is in front of you and make sure you have clearance. If that is true, then when you "butt" gets to the point you want to be, start your turn then. Example: When turning left from the left lane of a cross highway, pull straight forward until you "butt" is opposite the lane you want to turn into and then start making your turn. If you do that, when you make your turn and check your mirrors you will notice that your rear wheels never cross the opposing traffics center line. Same applies for entering and leaving service stations, but as stated always make sure of two things. Clearance in front, and clearance for the tail swing. In a worse case scenario you would have to unhook the TOAD to back up and make the clearance. Never back up with a TOAD attached. You can ruin the front end of the TOAD.
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:08 PM   #11
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My rig is 62' long and once in a while when I'm not watching the fuel gauge like I should I must use the gas Islands for fuel. The biggest thing is to visualize what you have to do. If it don't fit move on. If it does move slow don't let the others force you to move too quickly, that is when trouble happens. Use the mirrors and even get the wife out to see what you can't.

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Old 04-19-2010, 09:45 AM   #12
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Flying J usually has dedicated RV pumps (Offer both gas and Diesel) but I too have found some stations not easily gotten out of.

Suggestion at any gas station is 2 parts

First,,, Do a "Drive by" At a truck stop you can park and walk about.. Check your path.. for example one gas station near where my house used to be was very nice.. If you pulled in off a road called Grand River.. You made about a 30 degree turn and pulled up to the pump.... pulled out on 7 mile by driving straight ahead.. I mean talk about easy in-easy out

Another station about 1/2 mile away was nearly impossible to get out of and for some strange reason busier than blazes... they both charged the same price.

Now.. the second part is to always take an OUTSIDE pump.. that way you only have space on the non-pump side of your rig.. Way easier than an inside pump where you are going to have a car beside you.

Or, the dedicated RV pumps

If you get in a J that's hard to get out of.. Sometimes I 've had to wait for a shopper (Not a fuel buyer) to move his ride.. Complain and suggest some NO PARKING areas so you can exit easier.. Remember You are not the only RV driver at a J.. They are very popular and if enough of us complain they will take action rather than loose our business.

Truck islands are easier to get in/out of but....

1: usually do not have gas,, just diesel

2: Many states think "Soak the truckers" tax wise (This is stupid cause truckers don't pay tax, CUSTOMERS pay tax, that's you and me folks.. The tax is included in the delivery charges and results in higher prices for everything) So the Truck pumps cost more than the RV pumps.
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:10 PM   #13
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Gee, reading this makes me wonder how I ever was able to deliver the gas to those stations. Today, in the motorhome, I look at the layout as I am approaching to see the station setup and how many vehicles are in there. That is something I always had to do when delivering fuel, i.e. where are the gas fills. I try to pick stations that the pumps are parallel to the highway so I don't get blocked in by cars parked in front of the building. I approach at a angle and am less likely to scrape the drop receiver going thru those dips and bumps. And I avoid stations with extreme dips at the entrance. You learn to do all this stuff very quickly. Have yet had to unhook the toad.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:47 PM   #14
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2: Many states think "Soak the truckers" tax wise (This is stupid cause truckers don't pay tax, CUSTOMERS pay tax, that's you and me folks.. The tax is included in the delivery charges and results in higher prices for everything) So the Truck pumps cost more than the RV pumps.
I may not be reading this properly so please excuse me if I got this wrong. The price you pay in an RV (no matter the State taxes or lack thereof) will be exactly the same at an RV pump as at a truck island. If you have a diesel coach I would always suggest that you use the truck island at any of the major truck-stops as it will save time (these pumps are much faster than an RV/car pump) and stress as getting in and out is so easy.
With Flying J you also still get the cash price with a credit card as well as the 1 cent RV discount. In places like AZ where truckers pay 8-9 cents more than RVers you get this discount (tax reduction) as well as long as you swipe your RV card first.

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