Friday, May 27, 2011

Top Five Truckstops

We're presently on our way to the Chicago area, and with a little time to spare, we stopped at the TA truckstop in Morris, IL on I-80 at exit 112. We've stopped here before to enjoy the restaurant's delicious baked goods, but decided on a meal this time.

This led to a discussion of what our top five truckstop places to visit are throughout the country:

5. Little America, WY: We've not yet frequented their sit-down restaurant, but what's not to love about ginormous 50 cent soft-serve ice cream cones, crown molding in the bathrooms, marble floors and bathtubs in addition to showers for the passing-through trucker? I-80 exit 68 usually gets us to stop!

4. Pollard Flat USA: this hole in the wall truckstop in northern CA (I-5 exit 712) has few amenities but some of the best food on the road. It used to be "the place to stop" back in the day but has since become rundown. Ben's trainer introduced him to it almost 2 years ago now, and we love to stop when we get a chance.

3. Jubitz, Portland, OR: this truck plaza features a great restaurant, hotel, movie theater, chiropractor, hair salon, convenience store, post office, and probably several other amenities we're not even aware of! Their food is delicious!

2. Morris TA and R Place Restaurant, Morris, IL: this is the aforementioned truckstop that started the whole conversation. Just take a look at my salad!

Their puff-pastry "pillows" filled with sweet cream, strawberries and 8000 calories are divine, as are their turtle brownies. The atmosphere inside the restaurant is great, an they even have a "truckers only" side that CDL holders can be seated in, which offers faster service so the driver can enjoy a good meal and get back on the road.

1. 7 Feathers/Creekside, Canyonville: this truckstop/RV park/restaurant/casino/hotel is operated by the Umpqua Indian Tribe in Oregon (I-5 exit 99). The menu features northwest cuisine with local fresh ingredients that changes with each season. There are walking paths around the RV park, free wifi, a shuttle bringing you from the truckstop to the casino across the way, and it's all open 24/7. When we were on the I-5 dedicated route, we stopped in once a week, never disappointed with any food choice!

Headed to: Denver, then Daytona Beach!
Miles this week: 5100

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Just because people follow you doesn't mean you're headed the right direction...

One could consider the above title true on multiple levels, be it politics, religion, or in my case, taking a detour.

Early this morning, I had just crossed the Kentucky border from Tennessee, heading north on I-75. At exit 11 in Williamsburg, all traffic was diverted to the ramp by state troopers, but no alternative route was given. There had been an accident, bad enough to shut down the interstate. I began following some other folks who had also been directed off the main drag, quickly trying to find an alternate route between our GPS Jack and our sat-com (we call her Joan). I decided on KY 204, as it paralleled I-75 from what I could surmise from both devices.

This proved to be an interesting adventure, one I hope not to have again anytime soon. In my hasty decision, about 6 cars decided to follow for what turned out to be a 30 minute detour on a curvy, hilly, backwoods road that no truck should venture on. When I made the first selective turn, I told myself, "You're making this decision and you better be ready, because there's no turning back." I also offered up a prayer asking for guidance and St. Anthony's intercession so I would not become lost.

Let me tell you, those 6 sets of cars that seemingly chose to follow the trucker "cause they'd know where to go", were troopers, patiently driving behind my 25-30mph pace on that backroad.

However, at the junction of a US highway, I had to make the decision to turn left or right. Both ways would lead me back to 75, but the question became, "Should I take the shorter route and get back on the interstate just north of Williamsburg, only to not have yet passed the accident and have to still find another route? Or, should I continue my detour further to hopefully get far enough ahead of the hold-up?"

Opting for the latter, only one car of the six decided to stick it out with me. The others either continued on 204 or turned right. Thankfully this US highway was much wider, smoother and easier to navigate through than the state road!

I finally made it to I-75, realizing I did in fact make the best choice. Deducing from the nonexistent traffic coming from the south, had I not turned left when everyone else turned right, I would have gotten all caught up in the delay. The lone car that followed me gave a friendly wave of thanks as he passed by on the interstate.

Crisis of finding oneself lost: averted, oxymoronic as that may be!


Present location: Kenosha, WI
Headed to: Denver, CO
Recent friendly encounters: a night spent with the MI Martineks (John, Melissa, Ben, Maddie and Amelia), and supper with Joe, Andy and Tex in Richmond, IN

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