Truck drivers can go miles on end without stopping for a break. Access to even basic amenities, like restrooms, can be a challenge that truckers must plan ahead for.
For long-haul loads, our country’s interstates may as well be deserts given the vast stretches of emptiness. However, occasionally the promising sight of a truck stop appears. An oasis for truck drivers.
The following are three truck stops in America’s heartland that are premier, must-stop, facilities that any long-haul driver should make a pit stop at when in the area.
Iowa 80 (Walcott, IA)
Iowa 80 makes it clear on its website—it’s the world’s largest truck stop. Usually, such a statement is met with eye rolls. We all know a local pizza joint or two who claim they offer the best slice of pie in the world. However, this behemoth truck stop in Walcott, Iowa truly backs up its self-proclaimed title.
Iowa 80 welcomes truckers in need of some R&R to over 900 parking spots. The overnight truck stop has been operating 24/7 for 58 years and serves over 5,000 people a day. While open to anyone, Iowa 80 likens itself to Disneyland—but for truckers. Its facilities feature eight restaurant choices, including the Iowa 80 Kitchen which is open 24/7. Whether truckers are craving homestyle meals, a 50-foot salad bar, or fast-food favorites, Iowa 80 provides a bounty for any appetite.
But it doesn’t end there.
Iowa 80 is not just a haven for hungry and tired truckers. The truck stop also offers a laundry list of amenities—including actual laundry services!
If truckers are in the mood for a movie, they can pay a visit to the truck stop’s theater. If they think the book is better than the movie, they can stop by the in-house library instead. If neither sounds suitable, maybe Iowa 80’s trucking museum, chock full of antique trucks and memorabilia, will be of interest to them.
Aside from leisure, Iowa 80 also offers selfcare services such as a dental office, barber shop, chiropractor, workout room, and, in case truckers have a furry companion, a Dogomat (pet wash).
And lastly, before truckers leave this oasis along Interstate-80, they can spin their wheels through the truck wash and ensure their rig looks brand spanking new.
Big Apple Travel Center (Joplin, MO)
In 2021, truckers voted on the Trucker Path mobile app to cast their opinions on the top 5 best truck stops in the United States.
The results bestowed second place honors to the Big Apple Travel Center in Joplin, Missouri. While not as vast in amenities as Iowa 80, Big Apple prides itself on providing visitors a clean and friendly facility with an emphasis on the essentials.
Big Apple offers plentiful food options. Usual comforts, like pizza, burgers, and cheese curds, are served, however the truck stop also dabbles into worldly cuisine, featuring an Indian restaurant. While truckers fill up on Indian momos, their trucks can be topped off with fuel and, if battery-powered, charging stations are also readily available. A CAT scale, or weigh station, is also at the stop.
Restrooms and showers are also readily available to truckers who need freshening up. While a Dogomat is nowhere to be found, Big Apple does advertise a dog park as well on its property for any restless pets who need to expel some energy.
Bert’s Truck Plaza (Wellsville, KS)
Wondering which truck stop nabbed first place honors over the Big Apple Travel Center?
Bert’s Truck Plaza is right off Interstate-35 and about 40 miles southwest of Kansas City. Similar to Big Apple, this Wellsville, Kansas truck stop prides itself in offering all the amenities truckers need in one stop. Clean restrooms, a two-bay truck wash, spacious parking, and private showers are all simple, but crucial, staples that earned Bert’s the number one truck stop in 2021.
Aside from these usual amenities, a sizeable lounge is accessible for drivers to kick back and relax at their leisure. In the meantime, they can catch up on their laundry using the machines the facility has available to them. And of course, food options certainly play a role in Bert’s popularity among truckers. From fried chicken to street tacos, several vendors set up shop in this space for truckers to choose from.
Buzzwords such as clean, great service, and awesome food are echoed through dozens of online reviews. Bert’s maintains a 24/7 schedule, leaving its doors open for drivers to make a pit stop at any time.
Check out Trucker Path’s posted results for a complete look into the voting process and which other truck stops in the country made the list.
The job falls on truckers to haul 72.5 percent of all freight transported in the U.S, per American Trucking Associations. Such a responsibility surely brings stress along with it. Truck stops help with breaking up long-haul trips and providing truckers some valuable time off the road to recharge and rejuvenate.
Contact one of our team members if you have questions regarding this topic or any others in domestic logistics.