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Bay Area Truck Stops

Some details concerning truck stops, diesel fuel, and parking.

Truck Stops

What can I say about San Francisco Bay Area truck stops? The short answer is: there aren't any!
Thanks to astronomical land prices and heavy regulation, all of the major truck stops are out in the Central Valley, along Interstate 5.

There are internet and published lists which show the Bay Area as full of truck stops. It just ain't so. Most of those are fuel islands only, with no parking area; maybe a snack shop if you're lucky. Because of this, many truck repairs are handled by mobile service units.
Here's some practical information on what is avaiable in the region. This may also be of use to recreational vehicle drivers (RV'ers), who face many of the same parking restrictions and maneuvering-room requirements.

In the immediate Bay Area, there is the tiny (no parking) Oakland Truck Stop on San Leandro Street in Oakland, just south of Hegenberger. (Trucks used to under the BART tracks, right across the road, however new construction has eliminated that entire road-shoulder.)
So far as I know, the only other local one is a Flyers (formerly Olympian) in South San Francisco, at Grand Avenue and Gateway Blvd. They do have limited overnight parking. (Exit 101 at Grand, and head east to the second intersection.)

Heading south on 101, you reach the mid-sized Garlic Farm in Gilroy, at the Monterey Street exit on the south end of town. There's also a mid-sized Pilot truck stop in Salinas, at the Monterey Peninsula (Sanborn Road) exit. Nearby is the small but full service Valley Truck Stop, at the intersection of Tervin and Vertin Roads.
Going north on 101, the old Rineharts truck stop in southern Petaluma is gone. So the first actual truck stop is way up in Ukiah! It's Jensen's 76, at the north end of town.

Heading northeast on Interstate 80, the old truck stop in Cordelia (west of Fairfield at I680) is gone. There is only one truck stop left, until you get across the mountains and clear into Reno! The mid-size Sacramento 49er Travel Plaza in northern Sacramento is hanging on, despite major development pressures. It's north of the freeway at the West El Camino Avenue exit, but there's not much signage. (Note! A small new truck stop, the Sidhu in Dixon, has been expanding. It's north of I80 at the Sievers Road exit.)

Heading east on 580, there are no large truck stops until you reach Interstate 5, and then head a few miles north or south. There is one place to fuel up and take a break, the tiny (recently improved) Tracy Truck Stop, a block north of I205 at the Tracy Blvd. exit. The top of the Altamont Pass has two large (if barren) Brake Check areas, which are de facto truck rest stops.

(The SF Bay Area has enough freeways that it's run out of standard designations, and boasts an I238.)

Local Parking

Most Bay Area cities have total No Commercial Vehicle Parking and/or No Overnight Parking ordinances, and some even limit cars to those with specific neighborhood permits. Most shopping centers are packed in the daytime and patrolled at night. Very few motels have truck parking, either. If you can't get back to I5, it's better to park in your local customer's own lot, or in a not-too-fancy industrial area.
It's not politically correct to describe certain neighborhoods in too much detail, but for those unfamiliar with the Bay Area, a general rule might be to avoid parking overnight in San Francisco, or Oakland and East Palo Alto. (Lots of good people there, and a few who'd love to tag your rig with spray paint, or much worse.)
Note! I would have said, park along any freeway turnoff ramp, but the CHP is cracking down in some areas. Forget a power nap or even a quick break along 101 south of San Jose, you could get busted, and hard! They have been concentrating on the stretch from San Jose to south of Gilroy. (No explanation given, but a CHP officer told me I could get a $400-plus/2 points ticket, for parking "on" the freeway -- 100 yards down a quiet rural exit ramp, on a wide gravel margin 10 feet off the pavement . . . )

As for roadside pullouts, there are places you can try, popular with out-of-town truckers, at which the CHP will probably not bother you. Best is along 880 northbound in Oakland, at a wide paved area alongside the Oracle Arena. Exit at 65th Avenue, and proceed north about a quarter mile. (That area has the coliseum complex between the freeway and any houses or foot traffic, thus it's pretty quiet.)
The squeeze on Bay Area truckers continues. The popular wide margins at the rural 580/Eden Canyon Road interchange have just been heavily posted with No Parking signs.
There are wide dirt margins at the western end of the San Mateo Bridge (highway 92) in Foster City. No exit, simply park well off the freeway, which makes this iffy.

I'm told the situation for Recreational Vehicles isn't much better. The San Francisco RV Resort, in the Sharp Park district of Pacifica, comes highly recommended. Plain but clean, and the beaches are spectacular. (I should know, having grown up nearby.)


There are plenty of places to fuel up. Be careful about places that advertise diesel pumps, when in fact they are too small for bobtails or RVs, much less big rigs.
You can look up the main cardlock places easily.
Check the average local prices here, and look up specific places here. (Ouch!)

Golden Gate Petroleum has several facilities around northern California, including big-rig-sized fuel bays in Richmond, Hayward, San Jose, and elsewhere.

Local Access

The bay is surrounded by hills, and many of them are built up into residential areas, even if it doesn't look like it from a distance. For all but the newest neighborhoods, the narrow twisting roads and massive overhanging trees make truck access next to impossible. Parts of San Francisco have extremely narrow and/or steep streets -- including some in commerical areas! If you have such a destination, check it out in advance -- and don't take the word of a homeowner who drives only a four wheeler.

Public input is welcome. Email Paul Carlson at, CuebonCountry \at\ aol /dot/ com and please make your subject line distinct.

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