mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

In praise of the truck stop...

When I travel, I like to stop a few times. This is because of two related factors. First of all, I'm a caffeine addict (my doctor thinks I have sleep apnea because of the amount of caffeine I drink). So when I'm driving, I like to be sipping on a cup of coffee or a frosty diet soda. This leads to reason two for making stops - having to pee.

My prefered place to stop is a giant convenience store - WaWa, Sheetz, Tom's. Cheap gas, cheap snacks, a wide selection of beverages. But the way I drive from NJ to MD and back only has those kinds of places towards the beginning and end of my trip. Smack in the middle, though, is another great American roadside invention - the truck stop.

Sadly, most of these are run-down, the kinds of places I avoid. But a few are quite decent, and they combine the important elements of a good travel stop - cheap gas, plentiful and clean bathrooms, and a wide variety of cheap food, including energy drinks in disturbingly large containers (like a 12 ounce Red Bull or a 24 ounce Monster). Evidently, truck drivers are not fueled by meth, but by energy drinks in the kind of packaging usually reserved for malt liquor.

My favorite of late is the Harrisburg Wilco Travel Plaza, mostly because it sells Stuckey's nuts. You can even find God there, to the left of the Perkin's Restaurant. I've also stopped at a couple Pilots in a pinch with good luck (although I recommend avoiding the chili dogs, which caused me a bit of heartburn on my drive to Indiana. I'm thrilled to see that they are building a Love's along I-78 in PA, an area with a shortage of cheap gas and eats.

Sure, roads like the NJ Turnpike have their cute little corporate rest stops, with overpriced food and gas and and an army of flip-flop clad tourists. But I'll take the open, poop-scented truck routes of PA any day, and their truck stops and convenience stores.


At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Laura said...

I have made that drive more times than I can count (dating a guy in MD for 2 years long distance!), and I LOVE THE TRUCK STOPS TOO! The problem is, I get suckered in to looking at all the CRAZY items they sell and lose a lot of time (but do know the number one song on the day I was born and what Tom Cruise was doing that day!).


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