RESERVE. My company reimburses parking, so I reserve regularly. Was about to tonight, when I found a nice free one.
I always used the index card system and 2 separate index card file boxes. One for customers with directions, phone numbers and information needed at their facility and another for truck stops with information on fuel, parking and restaurants and also if there were scales with parking if needed. These along with a newer Rand McNally Trucker's Atlas has saved the day many times over.
Something I have learned from my 3.5 years of driving, the further south and east you go, the more "solar powered" drivers there are. since you're new you may not have heard this term yet. it's pretty self explanatory but basically they're drivers who shut down before the sun goes down and they don't start until it comes back up. There are divisions / loads that require this (over dimension loads) but i'm not talking about them.
I have found that when driving in the south (i40 or lower) as well as the east coast, you need to be shutdown well before the sun goes down or else you'll be buying a reserved spot or creative parking. the ne, there is no good time... just hope n pray you can find a spot or buy a reserved in advance. west coast and northern states are usually a lot easier to find parking. When I did reefer for Pride (pride not prime), we ran the i80, 90, 94 and sometimes the 70 a lot. i could almost always find parking well after dark. certain states like PA can be bad.. Chicago area is a nightmare. seattle.... hahahaha ta in northbend i always tell drivers don't ever expect to find a free spot there. if you passing through and find one and can shut down, great otherwise plan to buy a spot and by no later than 1-2 pm.
For the most part you'll figure it out with experience. but until you do, make sure you have back up plans. even for us drivers who have the experience and usually know where to park at certain times, sometimes those plans fail on us too.
I tend to avoid buying a spot until it looks like i have no choice. I'll have the location i want to shut down at in mind several hours (usually when i start my day but things can change those plans, like traffic jams) beforehand and then in a case like pilot j for example i'll have the app open, set to the specific location and i'll refresh the reserved parking page every 30-60 minutes and if it starts getting close to 0 (like if i started it with 13/15 left then it starts looking like 3/15) and i'm still a ways away, i'll reserve a spot. if it stays close to lots of reserved available i won't reserve one until i get there and can't find any free ones. keep in mind i'm o/o and have to pay for this out of my pocket. when i was with pride i was a company driver and they reimbursed (or sent an efs code to pay) for spots.
hope i have helped.
A refrigerated trailer.
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My company will reimburse parking so if I am going somewhere unfamiliar I will reserve a spot.
Massachusetts is impossible, I try to never have to stop there.
In NY there are text stops, little parking areas with no facilities you can usually find a spot at in an emergency