Pilot Truck Stop, Interstate 95, exit 100, Elkton, Maryland February 10, 2017
My recharge is almost done and I have a load assignment that will take me back to New Jersey to pick up a load for Missouri. It will be a start around midnight, which is the preferred timing since it puts me at truck stops and rest areas in the late morning or early afternoon. Parking is mostly vacant at those times. I’ll take a nap, soon to adjust my driving day. Meanwhile:
Late at night, about four days ago, I was approaching Eastern Wyoming and my first eight hours were running out. I needed a 30 minute break to get 3 hours more, so I stopped at a rest area about 130 miles West of Cheyenne. This was be my last chance on I 80 before a rest area near the Wyoming/Nebraska border -one that I calculated would be about the right place to stop for the day. If that truck parking lot was full, there was no other rest area or truck stop down the road that I could get to before my 11 hour driving day had expired. I like to have at least one more opportunity for just such emergencies.
Rest areas vary immensely in size and facilities. If this one at the border has a lot of parking (or long driveways) there would be no worries. If it is one of those with a single row of parallel parking, then I might have trouble. How can I decide?
Google Earth! I was able to make an internet connection and look up the place, as you see below.
This is the rest area in question – over by the border.
You see there are only six diagonal spaces and they are full. There are three trucks parked where they shouldn’t be – “Outliers” I call them. And another on the way. Add to that, this picture was taken in full daylight and I was to arrive late at night. Despite that we are “way out west”, all indications are that this is not the place to expect to find anchorage for the night.
When I look up rest areas on my phone app, I get a list for the stretch of highway in one state, in this case I-80 in Wyoming. At that point, I seemed to remember that there is a tourist welcome center near Cheyenne. If it is not on I-80, then it had to be on I-25, because those are the only two Interstates in Wyoming. And it turns out that the Welcome Center is three miles South of the I-80/I-25 junction. I remember that one as having ample parking and it did. I looked it up just now and you see it below.
Where I did find anchorage for the night. Plenty of legitimate parking spaces – and lots of room for Outliers, too.
The Doors at the End of the Universe
I arrived on time at the New Jersey soup factory with my forty thousand pounds of frozen green beans. They have a little out-of-the-way corner where there are four unloading doors jammed close together. It is down at the end of a blind alley. The red arrow points to the doors in the picture below.
Go unload back there where the spooky, floating red arrow points.
You might think that I could pull around to the left and back in. I thought so, too. There is a locked gate not far from the turn and I finished lined up to back straight into the corner of the building. That is why that building has that guard rail, I’m sure. Then we played a game of move-look-move-look for half an hour to get back out. What you have to do here is back in and around the corner to the right. Once there, we find the doors so close together that my open trailer doors wind up about two inches from those of the next trailer. I have to stab them that close from over sixty feet away, looking in a mirror. See photo below.
Hard to see, but the open trailer doors – way down at the end – are inches apart.
It was snowing heavily when I got empty. It followed me constantly from Oregon to New Jersey. This was the longest trip, yet – just over 3000 miles -and I don’t think they can get much longer.
Now for something completely different
What does this picture of Jupiter and it’s moon IO have to do with truck driving?
Well, nothing really. I found this photo I saved years ago and was so struck with its majesty that I felt compelled to share it. There is so much going on here that it boggles the mind – well my mind, anyway.
First, Jupiter itself is a huge planet with a tremendous, thick atmosphere. The features you see are all clouds in that atmosphere. That big spot is a hurricane whose size dwarfs that of the Earth. The moon IO is a world to itself that is actually far more geologically active than even the Earth. It is captured with an active volcano erupting and sending a plume of gas (that blue wisp) up into space to be illuminated by the Sunlight. Io is much smaller than Jupiter but you are seeing it from much closer, with Jupiter far behind. I have cut and pasted images of Jupiter, Earth and Io – in proper scale to one-another below.
Just for comparison, here are Jupiter’s moon Io, the Earth and Jupiter itself, all to scale.
I find these things interesting and I’ll just sneak them in this once.