I grew up in South Georgia, and both my Grandmothers, most of my Aunts and Uncles and a whole bunch of my cousins still live there. We had the pleasure of going through the town in which I spent many of my formative years this past week. I got to visit for about an hour with both of my Grannies and had a beautiful meal with one of the funniest, sweetest cousins you could ever want. My other cousin drove about a 90-mile round trip so she could jump out of the car, hug my neck and run off.
Only family does stuff like that.
We just had our 10-hour break, so it was a quick visit, but extremely nice to see family we don’t see often.
We were fortunate to find a spot at the Pilot, and were able to stop by 3:30 p.m. so we could get showers and spiff up for the fams. George registered the (empty) trailer and we bobtailed out, leaving it to save our spot for the night. By the time we got back two and a half hours later, the lot was completely full and sharks were circling.
I hadn’t been to Warner Robins for a couple of years — I was absolutely horrified at how big it’s become. I couldn’t find my way around until I got on familiar ground, which started down around Carl Vinson Parkway. Back in the day, the Sheriff’s Department was the only thing out that way. The Cove Lounge is gone, there’s a gazillion houses everywhere and not a peach tree in sight. When I was a kid and we’d come from Atlanta to visit, the stretch of 247 between 75 and town had nothing but peach trees on either side of it. I’d get dizzy looking out the window at the rows and rows of peach trees, but I loved seeing them, because I knew it meant I was close to my Grannies.
No peach trees. I was sad.
As we got further into town, I could point out almost every other business and say, “Hey! That’s so-and-so’s place, I went to school with her!” I was both delighted and sad to see Nu-Way was still there, but closed for the day. I strongly considered breaking into McCall’s for a “Death by Chocolate” cake. (Yes, I said cake, I mean the whole damn thing; if I’m going to jail in my hometown, it’s going to be for something good.) I even had a story prepared for the WRPD that I was pretty sure would fly, because about 25-odd years ago I told WRPD all kinds of stories. And they either believed I was abducted by aliens and forced to drink a quart of whiskey, or they pitied my poor, embarrassed family enough to have the decency to act like they believed me. Bless their hearts. That was back in the day when you could be stupid for a minute when you were young without being labeled a terrorist.
Ah, but I reminisce. It was really nice to see the people I went to school with are successful. A lot of them stayed in town and took over family businesses and I’m proud they’re able to keep traditions in our town alive. I know and understand their concerns with traffic and big trucks — the older parts of town are not equipped or designed to handle big trucks. I get it. There are truckers who have no regard for their surroundings, and will leave piss bottles and trash all over the place. I wouldn’t want them staying in my yard, either. I really do get it.
The point is, Warner Robins is a great town. I’d love for people to visit and spend money there. Hell, go have a mani/pedi at Hollywood Hair and Nails, mosey on up to Crosby Furniture and pick out a big, comfy chair. Have a drink at Cricket’s (which will forever be Molly’s Lounge to me), drop your kids off at Children’s Friend, enjoy a round of golf at Houston Country Club.
It’s a nice place with a misguided City Council. I believe in my hometown, and I’m related to enough people in it to sway a vote, if you know what I mean. (Kidding! That never happens any more!) I think with the open end they’ve left for dialogue, and their willingness to hear what the truckers have to say, a compromise can be reached.
My mother-in-law wrote a nice, concise letter to the City Council. It was precisely the type of letter that needs to be sent. It offered a purpose, a personal interest in the problem and a solution that could be agreeable to both parties. I hope a lot of people write letters to City Council and I hope they re-think their ban on truck parking. Eventually, someone is going to get fed up enough with being hassled and ticketed for parking, they’re going to take this to court and win. Federal law mandates a 10-hour break and makes no provisions for where it happens. It’s my understanding that Federal Law supersedes any State or City Law. Isn’t that how the Feds are still busting people for pot in California? They can’t have it both ways, something has to give.
I’d like to encourage my hometown to set a precedent for the rest of the country. Find a way to not only make it work, find a way to make it work for both the trucker and the city. I understand the fears you have surrounding a big truck parking lot and I know the type of activity it attracts. I live in a truck enough to know good and well there are lots with some shady stuff going on, but I also know it’s possible to have good, clean, safe areas. I encourage you to use the resources you have within the city, ask the large scale delivery places to sponsor lots — it’s to their benefit to have a place drivers can park.
Walmart can afford to throw some money towards a project like that, and they loooove to have their name on commemorative plaques. Truckers Against Trafficking is an excellent organization that I’m pretty sure would also support clean, safe lots and they could care less about commemorative plaques.
Truckers talk to each other. They pass information on that is pertinent to making your day better. All you have to do is listen to the CB for a few minutes and you know where the law is posted up, if the scale house is open and what lies ahead for you on the road they just passed. If word gets out that Warner Robins is truck friendly and has good lots on the outskirts of town, I’d be willing to bet they’d make an effort to keep out of your city as much as possible and take care of the lots.
Of course, there are going to be litter-bug A-holes, but I guarantee the first time the WRPD writes someone a ticket for $1,500 for littering on a lot, it’ll be up and down the I-75 corridor via CB within an hour. It’s all about setting precedents.
C’mon, Warner Robins. Show the truckers some love.