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Todd Dills

Reader to truck stops: Better optimize, expand parking space; And an eats tip in AL

| August 06, 2014


Two notes from readers around the country here. The first one comes from Rick Fine of Pueblo, Colo., who believes the truck stop chains might be doing more to increase the availability of parking around the nation. While all the major chains have been expanding, it’s often by acquisition, essentially adding little if anything to overall options for parking in terms of volume. That’s not entirely the case, however, as I know there has also been quite a lot of building going on. Nonetheless, here’s Fine’s note:


Shower report 2014

Wendy comes back from a cross-country trip ready to crown one truck-stop with the superlative of "best showers"...

There should be a push for all the major chains to make an effort where possible to increase the size of truck parking areas. Create a special area for bobtails to park and don’t allow people with travel trailers or RVs to take valuable truck spaces. 

There’s nothing worse than after a long hard day’s driving to pull into a truck stop and find full spaces taken up with just a tractor or an RV.

Fine goes on to point to the natural-gas filling lanes that have cut into the parking spaces at some stops, too, with little use as yet. Any good examples out there of lots well-optimized to the traffic they get and/or doing any of the things Fine recommends?

Eats tip from a reader
This one took a different tack:

I started in the restaurant business in the ’70s. Back then we were a waitress (not a server) and you could be yourself as the people you served were not as thin-skinned as they are today. Due to a problem with my arm I had to go into management. I say had to as tips were fantastic and a regular shift was all I had to worry about before this move.

Over the years I have seen the transformation of the fun-loving truck stop into a travel center geared around tourists. Of course, that backfired when people quit taking vacations. Today you have a handful of large truck stops with a 24-hour restaurant. The food is either thawed or “just add water.” I really believe the dishwasher could read and fix [it himself]. It’s everything but homemade, and I am fairly certain bad for you.

So when I tell you I felt like I drove through a time warp maybe you will understand. Nothing makes me happier than to get a load that will take me through Tuscumbia, Alabama. On the 72 E  is Arnold’s Truck Stop, which has Jody’s restaurant if you like good food and friendly people. The prices are fair to boot. Just thought it should be shared that you can still find what used to be the norm. ….

Ever been there?

  • Mario Rodgers

    Sorry but I WILL park a bobtail in any legal spot. What I hate are spots taken up by pickup trucks.

  • Donald Rich

    What’s the different? They both could be parked

    Somewhere else.

  • jesse wood

    mario you won,t park a bob tail in a truck parking spot at the flying j in phoenix, they will make you move to a bob tail spot

  • USMC 69-75

    What I hate are arrogant, ignorant self centered people that don’t give a rip about their fellow drivers and park their bobtails in a slot for trucks with trailers. Legal or not……..PROFESSIONAL CURTASY”

  • boxarrow

    Ate there today. Have been stopping there for 22 years. They used to have the best steak on the road. I don’t know what happened to that but they have great food and semi healthy. Black eyed peas that tasted like they were from your garden out back. Fried squash that was cooked well and not crunchy. Backed chicken, corn on the cob and plenty more veggies to chose from. Homemade peach cobbler. All this for $7.79 + drink. Can”t beat it anywhere on the road.

  • guest

    Agreed…only an ASSHOLE would hog a parking spot with his bobtail…….

  • Mario Rodgers

    I am governed by the HOS same as you, asswipe. If there are spots for bobtails, and not all truck stops have them, and there is one left, which there usually isn’t, then obviously I will take it. Barring that, I will go for a corner spot(the kind that face each other at 90 degrees). Barring that, a TA reserved spot. Barring that, any spot I can find. Don’t cry like a fucking pussy just because it gets a little competitive out here late at night and the clock is ticking away and I got luckier. And holy shit. I’m the ignorant one when I’m just trying to do my job and YOU seem incapable of illustrating your point without sounding like an ill-educated moron? Go mind your own fucking business and bang an STD with legs.

  • Mario Rodgers

    Phoenix can fuck itself. Arizona has plenty truck stops on I 10. I don’t even fuel there.

  • Bill Dee

    I’m so darn tired of the so called “FAST FOOD” it’s not funny & plum sick of “SUBWAYS”! ! ! Jim’s T/S outside of Buffalo. One of the very best & u/can smoke too.

  • mousekiller

    Unfortunately some who post here are the real problem with trucking today. Can’t communicate with out the foul language. First of all. Just to inform the communication challenged, every truck stop is private property. They can designate who and where you park or not have a care in the world where you park as long as it is not in the grass.. to me it matters not if your bobtail or pulling a trailer. Your a trucker limited to the same HOS as the rest of us and entitled to a parking spot no different than any other trucker. You just got lucky.

  • USMC 69-75

    WOW, IQ of Oh, I’d say about 10 (trying to be generous here) . Your vocabulary has even a lower rating, but your LACK there of, of “Professional Curtsay” is nothing short of just appalling.

    Now for your trucking 101 lesson…..if you are “bob-tailing” you are NOT governed by the SAME HOS rules as a truck / trailer combo… failed!
    Now take your whinny bob-tail widdle tonka truck and go back to your sand box, and leave the real trucking to the PROFESSIONALS. No whining about it facts are facts…..Stupid people don’t realize they are stupid, so you have to tell them…..YOUR STUPID!
    P.S It is as much my business as it (might) be yours.

  • USMC 69-75

    Sorry, mouse, but bobtails are not limited to the same HOS as a combo! Unless you let the DOT make you so, but that is because the drivers today won’t stick up for their rights! Bobtails don’t need a log book, POV, park in the car parking area if your tired, want to eat, or take a head call and leave that long spot for a professional, that IS out of hours.

  • mousekiller

    BOB TaiI units…..I am talking about tractor not hooked to trailer. Not the CA bobtail that is considered a straight truck and yes they too can be under the HOS if it is a CMV going over 100 air miles from domicile . But no matter, I don’t care what they drive .I would rather see them parked and getting some rest than kill some one driving tired on the same highway we use. It comes down to the luck of the draw and in the past we did not have this serious of parking problem.
    But since we pay so much in road and fuel taxes that are given to states to build roads and rest areas that are now closed. Those that parked in rest areas now have to park elsewhere. We share the road and the safety aspect too.
    Well you gotta park some where.

  • Prospector

    Of course someone bob tailing has the right to park in a space designed for a combination but the point is that their options for parking are in fact 10 fold compared to a combo. The fact that you can travel without a logbook really doesn’t come into play as the rules change more often that a lot of you shower.
    It would in fact be common courtesy to eliminate every option available to you if you don’t have a trailer before you take a valuable spot from a combo

  • mousekiller

    I agree prospector but in reality look at the new drivers that are coming into the industry.
    Limited communication skills. Near complete lack of personal pride and hygiene. No sense of camaraderie any more. Helping out another driver is a lost art.
    The one thing important that we are losing in this industry is consideration for the other drivers.
    So seeing a truck and trailer parking spot taken with a bobtail and bobtail parking is available is part of the new breed.
    But in their defense, was that bobtail spot there when he first got there? What has changed in the last 30 minutes or hour?? Some things are not what they appear to be.

  • localnet

    The food out here SUCKS! And all of these Denny’s, talk about crap food and even crappier service… And TA, ever order French Fries? You get a saucer with 18 fries on it for around $4! As was stated, all frozen and thawed, yuck! Remember the old 76’s? Boy I miss those, as most all of them had a real cook, and homemade fresh food… Those days are long gone… Now I get upset when I can’t find a Subway, about the only healthy thing out here other than a salad bar… And don’t get me started on the soup!

  • USMC 69-75

    Mouse, I agree with all you stated, but facts are facts… show me one truck stop at Oh, say, 10 pm that has a full parking lot of autos. There is no reason that bobtails can’t park in the outer areas of the parking lot, leaving the spaces for tractor trailers to park. They can’t park in the auto lot. It boils down to two things that have gone to the way side in this country….Professionalism, and comm sense! First come first serve….maybe, but being considerate of your fellow drivers and parking someplace where you won’t hinder their ability to park safely…….uncalled for, and very low life. They know who they are, I don’t have to point them out. Their foul mouths will do that for them! You hear them all the time on the radio, why I don’t listen to a cb anymore.

  • Deez Nuts

    If you are bobtailing you can easily pull around front and park with the cars, hell you can park at the local walmart, McDonald’s or any other place that has parking. Taking a full spot just because you can is a dick move.

  • mousekiller

    One reason no bobtails are allowed in some of the  TS  parking lot for cars is quite simple. The parking lot is not laid the same as the truck lot. The car lot does not have to be 10 inches or more  thick for the light weight cars. No trucks allowed for a very good reason.  They also do not wish to clean up trash and pee jugs in another spot,.
    I agree that changes need to be made. However until we the nations back bone  make those changes the public will not see us as the good guys nor will the leo’s and politicians. I have said for years that we, the older drivers did not do enough and some did nothing to  prevent this downward spiral in trucking  and now we all are suffering from it. We do not police our own industry. Now we have to share the public’s view of the dumpster diver drivers that seem to be the only drivers ( steering wheel holders) the public sees.

    If you got it a TRUCK brought it
    Wrinkled is not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up =========================================
    There is No Such Thing as
    Government Money, only Taxpayer Money. ==========================================
    A government big enough to give you everything you want,
    is strong enough to take   everything you have.
    -Thomas  Jefferson

  • USMC 69-75

    True, true, and true….but all that said it all boils down to what I had stated……BIG lack of Professionalism and common (SENSE AND COURTASY).
    I always park in the auto areas, even rest areas when I bob tail. Never had a issue with anyone!
    Those few TA need to tighten up or post and make room for bob tails. I see that some T/A’s now offer call in reserved parking … lame is that, blows first come first serve theory out the window…. Glad I don’t have to deal with this issue anymore, I run just my home state anymore, home nights and weekends. But I still bob tail now and then!
    The lack of the above is one of the several reasons, I gave up over the road, the BIG lack of!!!!

  • mousekiller

    I agree USMC, but lets face it . We the drivers cannot change it. The new so called drivers that have no pride, no consideration cannot accept direction. At the FJ Pilot in Indy there are probably 10-15 designated bobtail parking spots located in two different locations near the fuel island. Last night only 7 were taken, The other bobtails were in the parking lot taking up slots for full trucks. I walked around and did not see any signs stating there was bobtail parking or where it was. A simple sign when entering the lot prior to the fuel island would help. One at the fuel desk too. I agree it is frustrating. It is also inconsiderate, Some of these steering wheel holders don’t have a clue as to what is going on around them. I have been known to unhook my truck from the trailer to make is easier for a driver to back in next to me. No biggie, no trouble. You just don’t see that anymore.
    Petro and TA have the reserved parking. the rate varies as to the time you call to reserve. The later you call the more it costs.
    Very seldom do I see all the reserve spots taken. I hope to last two more years so the better half can retire. Then it is done. Retirement. After nearly 45 years of this it is time to relax. RV tag on the truck and I am out of here pissing off cops by blowing the scales. Until then I will have to do the best I can.

  • USMC 69-75

    Sadly MK, you can spot the newbies right off! Driving around with (driving lights/ FOG lights) on, most of them blinding oncoming traffic, DON’T CARE. Gives you the high beams when you pass them, to lazy to flip a switch, or they can’t find it, DON”T CARE. Then my favorite are the lazy wheel holders that can’t even flash their trailer lights in gratitude for giving them the all clear by turning your headlights off, DON”T CARE….. Real pros today?
    Then you have those that go thru a scale house with a posted speed of 30 MPH and they are so paranoid that they go 20???? The list goes on, but I have things to do, places to go, and people to see!!!! Keep safe, and motor on!
    I’m sure some of them will show up and call me a whiner, because they know the truth, it hurts, but they have to inflate that widdle ego of theirs, by calling names! ROFL

  • mousekiller

    I am 100% agreement with you. Trucking has changed so much it is hard to find real drivers today. If I get the brights I do not flash trailer lights. Most driverscome over after passing way too close and put the ones they passed on a tailgating situation.
    I really hate to see how far down hill the quality of driver had fallen. The laziness displayed and the foul mouth. I have my CB on maybe twice a month. I use ham radio. So much better people to talk to99% of the time.

  • mousekiller

    We had fewer parking problems with the old HOS. The new HOS is a putting trucks on the road at nearly the same time every day and that 30 min break is not even a good joke.
    We need to get rid of the HOS as it is now and return the trucking to truckers.
    On top of this the TS chains have seen fit to reduce the over head by either eliminating the restaurant and bringing in junk food. Profits first health last. It hasn’t been too long ago that the Big chain Petro and TA bragged about being healthy and putting truckers health first.

  • Magilla

    Maybe they changed the rules but I was at the understanding that I could drive my bobtail ( class 8 tractor ) coast to coast just like a car , no logs , as long as I wasn’t under dispatch .

  • Magilla

    What he said plus , when you boys get your fuel don’t go inside and shop while your truck is settin at the fuel pump , some of you boys are even to lazy to pull forward before you go inside , heres a tip park at the rear of the lot and walk so we all can see you in your glory , you know what I’m talkin about , T shirts way to small shorts with your crack out and thongs , sorry I got that wrong , flip flops the tong is on your butt cause I can see it cause your to lazy to pull your pants up . Talk about lazy this last winter I was at the Petro 2 on I-94 in Mn. and this PROFESSIONAL truck driver opened his door and pissed right there off his top step thank god he had his tidy whities on , pissed right on all the trash he threw out the window so I’m guessin he wasn’t going to pick all that up before he took off , what a piece of crap steering wheel holder he is .

  • mousekiller

    Several things. One is the carrier your leased to may have a time and or mileage limits even if you own the truck. If no company restrictions.
    You can not be going after a load. You cannot have cargo in trailer if pulling a trailer.
    You cannot be under dispatch. That is pretty much it.

    However far too many cops just don’t understand it and think you have to log everything.

    I got a cop removed off the road that violated that very rule. He was not worth the $5 million dollars suit I was going to bring.

  • USMC 69-75

    Yupper….. Makes one proud to be a trucker anymore!

  • Big R Phillips

    I agree Prospector! I park at a Pilot here in Atlanta. Most of yall know it if you come this way on the regular. Ext#16 off I-285. Yeah a real super travel center right? Maybe 50 parking spots! But i pull containers and at the end of the day i’m bobtail most of the time. So i know i dont need that much space. Its pretty much get in where u fit in for the most part. But the managers understand for the most part what we’re up against. So they dont fuss when u park on the yellow stripes as long as u dont park on top any tank covers or block the fuel truck from doing its job. But it makes me mad when i see mostly bobtail fleet trucks like JB Junt,CRST,etc..u get my meaning! They park any and every where. Also dont forget about the half hour breakers that take up spots (no offense just saying) and they too are forced to get in where u fit in. So having said all that, my point is to say to all u bobtail and straight truck drivers? Think about others than ur selves. If u can, just take up only the realestate that u need for ur truck and park straight. And most of be considerate if u can move to let a bigger truck park. Ohhhh and one more thing that burns my ass? If u see a driver havin trouble getting into a spot or he might hit ur truck because he’s tired or a rookie or whatever reason? Get ur ass out of the damn truck and help them! We all have to look out for each other out here! I was so glad when a guy got out agladelped me in the pouring rain on a blind side parking spot at 1am in the morning when i was freakin spent! And guess what? As soon as i was about to put up my curtains, another driver came in beside me and i jumped back out with my umbrella and flash light and helped him. AINT GOD GOOD? That guy was so glad i helped him he wanted to buy me breakfast! But i was too tired to chew…lmao. Yall take care and God Bless!

  • pissed off

    okay smart ass what about the expedite drivers…. we are the hardest working ones. well these weenies take a 10 hour break we’re expected to go 18 to 20 hours on a trip because some neanderthal forgets to ship something on time.

  • pissed off

    And one of Phoenix’s finest will make sure you do they moonlite as security there and carry guns too

  • pissed off

    You sir are wrong! !!! Show me where that tractor weighs less than 10,000 # and I’ll call you a Liar…… bobtails have to conform to the same h.o.s. as a semi tractor/trailer strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.