Since we rub shoulders--or axles--with the big boy trucks when refueling or taking breaks at Rest Stops, passing The World's Largest Truck Stop without stopping just didn't seem right.
So, here we were at Exit 284 along I-80 at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop near Walcott, Iowa. We found a parking spot in one of the 800 parking spaces for trucks (250 for cars and 20 for buses) and counted ourselves as one of the 5000 trucks that stop here on an average day.
We didn't have time to catch a movie at the 60-seat theater or tour the trucking museum, and we didn't have any need to visit the Dog-O-Mat dog wash and were not hungry enough to grab a plate and walk along the 50-foot-long salad bar in the 350-seat restaurant.
But we did take a brief tour of the retail sections of this facility. As we passed under the 1918 Oldsmobile hoisted above the cashier island, we began to sense the cavernous quality of the 67,000-square-foot store.
In the back of this store was an 18-wheeler, parked inside the store and just barely visible in the photo on the left. The area shown here was typical of any large gift/ souvenir shop in any travel destination.
The next showroom featured anything and everything "truck." The Super Truck Showroom features everything from chrome bumpers to lights to cleaning supplies. In the background is the tractor trailer.
A 20-by-40-foot wall of lights enable drivers to see what every single type of light sold will look like lit up.
The Custom Shop features a vinyl graphics shop, custom t-shirt shop, laser engraving and an embroidery center rolled into one. Drivers can see their designs become a reality.
Bill Moon is the person given the most credit for trans-forming this operation from a small facility into the largest, most respected truckstop in the world, earning the designation from The Travel Channel as #9 in their show entitled "Top Ten Truck Stops in the World."
We didn't venture up to the Truckers' Loft--that would be pushing our identifying ourselves as truckers. Of the services available (barber, and chiropractor), we found the dentist as being the most unusual.
Then there's Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut Express and Orange Julius in the Food Court and a Blimpie's located at the fuel pumps.
We saw posters announcing the upcoming 28th Annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree, begun by Mr. Moon as his family's way of thanking their driver customers and continuing today as a celebration of the trucking industry.
Sorry to miss this mid-July celebration.