I'll put in a word for interstate rest stops. Rules vary by state. Seems to me, the general rule is, rest areas are for resting, not camping. If you put the slides out, the jacks down, the awning and flamingo's out, somebody is gonna say something. On the other hand, if by all outward appearance you're just parked there, you should be OK. Florida, for example, has a three hour limit but I've done plenty of combat naps at Florida rest stops and never fielded a request to move on. To be clear, I stop after dark, and leave before sunrise. It really is a nap. I've also been known to stop for a nap during the daytime; nothing wrong with that either
Here's some advice, from a guy who survived the 1000-mi/24-hr motorcycle challenge, if you want it --
1. You don't have to speed, OD on caffeine or go sleep deprived. Just stay focused and efficient with your time.
2. Diet matters; heavy meals, especially meals with a lot of fat will slow you down due to sleepiness. Graze, think about fruits and veggies more than cheeseburgers. Snack-n-go beats waiting for your check.
3. Think about when your "low point" is at night. For me it's 4am; I can stay up late, or get up early, but I gotta be sleeping at 4am otherwise I'm toast all day. No matter what kind of hurry I'm in, I plan on at least 4 hours of sleep every night, as long as that includes 4am, I'm good to go. Figure out what your
critical sleep period is, and respect that.
4. Make liberal use of combat naps. Soon as you start yawning, or noticing your concentration starting to wane, pull over and close your eyes for 20 minutes. You'd be amazed how much good that does ya.
5. Best time to be on the road is at dawn. Very little traffic, fuel stops are pretty much deserted. Worst time is late afternoon when you're tired, hot, and dodging semi-truck traffic. Be efficient in the morning; get up and hit the highway.
6. Nursing a bottle of water works almost as good as nursing a big cup of coffee, without the caffeine crash. I'm not against caffeine, I'd just mix it up a little and keep some water handy.
7. Pit stop. Focus on rapid turnover when you stop for fuel. I'm starting to get away from combining rest stops and fuel stops, seems counter-intuitive but I'm not the only one doing that; I think fuel-stop discipline adds up quickly. As does the converse.
8. Speaking of which. Truck stops, out in the country, are almost always ez-in, ez-out with a minimum amount of thrashing around in traffic, maximum amount of maneuvering room. If you're planning to pull over, avoid urban areas like the plague. Driving around city traffic rejecting suburban fuel pumps is the biggest time suck ever.
To be clear, I don't do any of that stuff anymore, except for the competition I mentioned. Too old and too retired to bother. But I remember what it was like. Remember the mistakes I made, especially the ones that durn near killed me. Don't do that, if you can help it.