Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Midwestern Travel - World's Largest Truckstop

Let's visit the heartland shall we?
I don't want to bore you to sleep but there really isn't more mundane stretches of road than those that run through the Midwest.  I'd like to tell you that cornfields are beautiful and the aged barns are picturesque.  The aromatic smell of fresh skunkish cow dung blowing in the summer breeze may be a highlight depending on who you are - my aunt actually loves it but this is from the lady who also said childbirth was the most relaxing experience.  

Let's be real.  
After a cornfield or two and the wafting fresh country air, it's like the Flintstones scene sequence over and over again.  Anyone that has ever driven through it will be able to relate.  

If you're lucky, you might just happen upon The World's Largest Truckstop - Iowa 80.  This is the highlight of our trip from Northwest Indiana to North Central Iowa - over the river and through the woods to see my 91 year old grandmother.  Growing up, between I SPY and the picnic game, it was only the Mississippi River bridge that we looked forward to on the trip.  Now my kids have this enormous money maker to get excited about asking 87 thousand times, "Are we there yet?"  The river comes in a slow second.

Not only does this place boast the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo, Wendy's, DQ/Orange Julius, Blimpie, and an entire sit down buffet restaurant, they recently replaced the arcade with a Caribou Coffee (kids aren't as happy as mom about that change).  The gift shop includes a movie section, kids section, tchotchke section, jewelry section, clothes and magnets from every state.  They have old model cars and trucks on display throughout the place, one up on a pedestal above your head as you walk in. That's only what we saw today.  Last year, the Ice Road Truckers were set up there and we  had to go looking for my mom because she went out to take pictures for my dad.  You know you're from the Midwest when you're excited about the Ice Road Truckers being there...

Upstairs is where they have showers and laundry but also the modern conveniences of a dentist, chiropractor, masseuse - which may or may not come as a combo deal.  We've never had the need to go upstairs and honestly, I hope we never do.  The main floor is enough to take in on one trip and you never know when you might meet a surprise guest or find some kind of festival going on.  It's all very exciting if you ask my kids...and my mom!


Ronni said...

I've been to that truckstop. It's pretty hardcore! :)

Traci said...

I like that it's a "world's largest," because that's our thing when we travel. But I LOVE that they serve real coffee!

Angela Tague said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Iowa! I love your blog and have nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award 2012. Check out my post: http://wholefoodsliving.blogspot.com/2012/05/kreativ-blogger-award-2012.html
Thanks! ~Angela, Whole Foods Living

Molly crazedinthekitchen said...

We've been there--many many road trips to Iowa over the years (Cedar Rapids). I'm pretty sure my sister accidentally shoplifted a magnet from there when she was about 5.

Sarah said...

Oh, and the Flying J is down there too! It's huge & I remember seeing it when we were roadtripping from Wisconsin to Kansas!


Melanie Coffee said...

Ha!!!! I LOVE this! When I saw the headline I was like, "Oh! I've been there!!" It's a weird sort of respite among the, as you cleverly say, fresh skunkish cow dung. :) And, wha??? There's a Caribou now? I'll be sure to check it out when we're in that neck of the woods, er, cornfields.

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