Willie’s Place

| April 20, 2012

I learned today about the truck stop in Carl’s Corner, Texas, formerly known as Willie’s Place. Learned by visiting it for the first time.

Diane and I woke up this morning at this truck stop. We spent the night there on our way to this afternoon’s pick up. It is a Petro now but not so long ago it was Willie’s Place, named for Willie Nelson, the renowned country singer who owned it. It was sold in a foreclosure auction for $6.4 million on March 1, 2011 (story here).

We have driven by many times and I regret now that we never stopped while it was Willie’s Place. I found this great blog post that describes the truck stop when it was Willie’s Place. Check it out.

I asked two staff people about the history. One was unfamiliar. The other got sad as she provided details. The Willie Nelson theater is closed now. I could not even get into that part of the building to see where many good times were had. The area that used to be a bar was also inaccessible. If people had not told me the theater and bar had once been there, I would have never known. There is no trace of them now.

Diane and I loved the truck stop, even as it is today. Its interior design was refreshingly different and more pleasant than what the truck stop chains usually feature. The place was immaculate throughout. It was obvious that some major interior remodeling had been done, especially with the showers and laundry but the place still has much of its old flavor.

I feel sad as I realize today what we missed before. I talked with some drivers who frequented Willie’s Place when it was Willie’s Place. They spoke of it differently than they speak of other truck stops. They described it with emotion, using a warm tone and glowing words. It was a great place to spend time on the road, they said.

The truck stop sits alone in the Texas prairie. The tasteful exterior and interior designs have Texas all over them. The image of a theater in this setting filled with over-the-road truckers and a great country singer on stage, all bonded as one in the music, is so right in so many ways – and it is an experience Diane and I will never have. I envy the truckers who did.

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