Ever since I was small, I’ve LOVED what us British call ‘Service Stations’. Basically they are glorified petrol/gas stations but they will have a separate building with a food court, gift shop/’newspaper shop’, nice toilets, maybe a small games arcade etc. They remind me of the excitement of going on holiday in our caravan. I recently stopped at Iowa 80, which claims to be the world’s largest truck stop!
Yes, Iowa 80 is obviously aimed at truckers, but so many people wandering around looked like tourists, just like me, having a little nose! Iowa 80 serves around 5000 customers daily and has been open every single day since it first opened back in 1964! Fun fact: the equivalent of 55 miles of toilet roll is used each month! (Source: www.iowa80truckstop.com)
Predominantly, what makes it the ‘world’s largest truck stop’ is the fact it has parking space for 900 trucks! But it also boasts an impressive list of services and amenities, which include:
- A truck wash
- Gas station
- Truck weighing station
- A dog wash
- A fitness room
- Washing machines
- Private shower rooms
- A library
- A movie theatre where drivers can choose what they want to watch (one screen so first come first served on choosing the film!)
- 24hour truck repair garage
- A dentist (not 24hr)
- Chiropractor (not 24hr)
- Barber shop (not 24hr)
- Gift shop
- TV room
- Convenience store (food, drink, snacks etc)
- 6 restaurants (fast food or the choice of a full sit down restaurant)
- A custom shop (Embroidering: t-shirts, hats, hoodies etc. Graphics printing, business card printing etc – not 24hr)
- A Super Truck Showroom
Super Truck Showroom
The Super Truck Showroom is a giant truck accessories shop, complete with 2 truck units and 1 full size truck and trailer, with the purpose of showing what some of the products actually look like once on a truck! The big yellow truck (on the turn table!!) can also be climbed inside!
You can buy new chrome stacks, light bars, general maintenance supplies, cleaning supplies, work clothes, new music CDs, DVDs, books (mainly fiction stories that male truck drivers would enjoy), 12v gadgets such as waffle makers and kettles, a new phone, even a guitar if that’s what floats your boat! (All the practical trucking gear is in the Super Truck Showroom, all the usual souvenirs are in the gift shop!)
Iowa 80 Trucking Museum
Opposite the Iowa 80 Truck Stop (literally a walk across the car park) is the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum. It’s free to visit however donations are appreciated! The museum shows a collection of old trucks that date back to the early 1900s!
If you think of trucks and vehicles nowadays, they are designed for maximum comfort. Seats that have lumber support, temperature control, entertainment systems, all things that make long journeys slightly more comfortable. Rewind back to 100 years ago and the trucks literally had bench seats and wooden knobs on the tyres as a way of being able to get traction. Top speeds seemed to average around 35mph!
Iowa 80 Information
I-80, Exit 284, Walcott, IA 52773
Truck stop: www.iowa80truckstop.com (open 24hrs, 365 days a year)
Trucking Museum: www.iowa80truckingmuseum.com (hours and days vary depending on the day and the season)
Each year Iowa 80 hosts the ‘Truckers Jamboree’, a free event to celebrate all things truck related! The Jamboree includes: display trucks, a cook out, live music, carnival games and several other displays and events throughout the weekend. (2017 dates – Thursday July 13th – Saturday July 15th)
I-80 is almost 3000 miles in length. It runs from New Jersey, all the way across the country to San Francisco, California. It goes through 11 States and Iowa is bang in the middle, there are 5 States to the West coast and 5 States to the East!