Truck stops are a truck driver’s home away from home. They provide conveniences for truckers when ‘on the road’.
It’s not possible to just whip a truck and trailer into just any restaurant or grocery store you should see along the way.
Big trucks need lots and lots of room to maneuver safely and park and that usually requires the space that a well appointed stop provides. And that’s where the truck stops come in.
Ask any trucker and they’ll tell you there can never be too many truck stops. In certain areas of the U.S. and especially in Canada, there’s a serious shortage of them. Centers often tend to be too small to service large numbers of drivers and their rigs.
Bits and Pieces of Trivia
- Major chains include TA, Pilot, Petro, Flying J, Bosselman’s and Loves Truck Stop. There’s also plenty of independents, too.
- Pilot bought out ‘Flying J’.
- T.A. and Petro are partnered.
- The list of independent truck stops seems to dwindle year after year. It’s rough for them because they can’t offer the great benefits and perks as the major chains, such as fuel discounts, point system cards, discounted deals on tires, truck parts etc.
With a points card, you could fuel up in Wyoming in the morning, get points or a coupon for a free shower when you stop in the evening in Nebraska….something the small independents just aren’t able to offer.
- Many stops have chain restaurants which are take-out, such as Taco Bell, Arby’s McDonald’s, Wendy’s or Subway. These restaurants are privately owned and operated, as the costs of running their own restaurant in some locations, can be prohibitive.
Must-Have’s in a Good Truck Stop
These are absolute necessary standards of good truck stops.
If the place doesn’t meet these standards, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, end of story.
Truckers deserve the best. They put in long hard days and a very tough, stressful job. The very least they can expect from a good facility is cleanliness and decent, not-overpriced food.
If you’ve encountered any place that offers anything less, don’t ever give them your business again if you can help it.
This trucking industry doesn’t pay enough money, for any trucker to waste his/her money on food or service that isn’t up to par.
Truckers work hard for their money, and if the facility doesn’t show the respect drivers deserve by providing the basics, they don’t deserve the business.
- Cleanliness. Must be clean restrooms, shower facilities and restaurant.
- Parking. There’s not much value in a truck stop, if there’s limited parking!
- Location. A safe, convenient location to major cities and highways.
- Food. Good ‘well-priced’ food. No trucker wants to ‘roll the dice’ and eat lousy food when on the road. Petros have a decent salad bar, reasonable priced and consistent quality in their restaurants.
Features of the Major Chains
- TV and game rooms
- Chrome and parts shop
- Laundry facilities
- Mobile phone outlet
- CB repair and retail shop
- Hair salon
- Truck and trailer repair shop
- Fuel facilities with point system
- Restaurants. Sit-in, take-out, grocery items, snack items, as well as restaurants with ‘healthy food choices’
- Wireless internet connections
- Discounts and deals for frequent users on point system
- Good quality on site overnight accommodations
- Permit services
- Cat scales
- Assorted other retail specialty shops such as gift stores, candy shop etc.
Pros and Cons of Chain Truck Stops
Pros — Most of their restaurants are decent. -Repair shop facilities are good. Cons — Inconsistent service from the various locations. Some locations are run down and old, in need of renovation and up-dates to facilities.Loves
Pros — Clean facilities and restrooms.
Well-priced diesel fuel
Points/discount program.Cons — Fast food service only, no eat-in facilities
Limited number of locations
Pros–Very good restaurant facilities. This is what makes this chain so popular.
Very roomy parking lots. This is also a nice perk for truckers who like to get their exercise, power walking around the parking lot.Full service for everything a truck driver needs when on the road. Walking trails and ‘StayFit Fitness Rooms’ Cons — Some say fuel is an extra cent per gallon….. really, to offset all the great convenient services they offer.
Pros — Very large chain in the U.S., some locations in Canada, competitive fuel prices, lots of well-situated locations
Cons– Parking lots are often too small
Bosselman Travel Centers
Good repair shops, restaurants, decent food, clean and efficient serive
Pros — Well priced fuel
Cons — Parking lots are not well set up, parking spaces need to be bigger.
Smart Trucking Tip…. Finding Good Truck Stops!
If you’re in an area that is unfamiliar and are looking for a decent place to stop, get on your CB radio and ask the local truckers where the best place is.!