|Iowa 80 at some point in the past - this is before I was ever there so at least 20 years. Around that, judging by the trucks.|
An email update from a trucking trade publication noted that the Iowa 80 Truck Stop's annual jamboree is going on next week. The Iowa 80, in Walcott, on the west side of Davenport, is said to be the world's biggest truck stop. I've been there quite a few times, although I just as often stopped at a Pilot across the interstate to fuel up because it was easier and quicker. For the Iowa 80 you have to go down a side road a little ways, and wait while trucks back in and pull out. It's just so busy and so huge. If you need to go inside you might have to park a quarter mile from the restaurant/store/all kinds of other things in that place.
It has what might be the most well equipped store for trucker stuff. The people who gussy up their trucks could be seen wandering the aisles. If you've ever seen a real shopper walk into a Wal Mart and pause as they get inside the door while they mentally map out their adventure....
When I was driving flat bed I always stopped at Iowa 80 to get bungee cords - those rubber straps with the hooks at each end you fasten down tarps with - because they were so cheap. I'd buy one or two boxes of fifty for probably $25 each.
There is, however, a pretty good restaurant there. Cars can park up front by the building.
The truck stop life. When you're on the road like that, you're basically driving all the time. Anything you do besides driving, like eating, showering, washing laundry, takes time out of sleeping. Often you don't have time to stop and eat. You have to grab something to go. But when you can squeeze in an hour, or when you have time at the end of your driving day, there are certain truck stops you stop at. They are your familiar places. Someone to wait on you, a warm, always tasty meal. Conversation if you want it. Just a few minutes when you're not going. Not under pressure. Not having to do anything but just sit there and not have to do anything for a little while.
That's what the note about the annual jamboree at the Iowa 80 reminds me of. That's why, now that I'm no longer driving over the road, when I'm home here and want to go out to eat, sometimes I just go to a truck stop.