Memories and Musings

Truck Stop Nirvana

1971: Illinois Rte. 120. On the way out. Before joining the cook's world.
1971: Illinois Rte. 120. On the way out.
Before joining the cook’s world.

The big rig was somewhere to the west of me lumbering through the distance, marking its effort with the calisthenic, rhythmic moans of its job to haul its freight to some appointed dock elsewhere in America. The pitch of its sound starting with the crunching, metal thudding wrench of the gear box and then ascending under the ability of each gear to take it to a little greater speed until the trucker took her up yet one more gear.

I’ve ridden in many eighteen wheelers. I’ve heard the roar of them passing me by as I hitch-hiked from one blue lane to a faster but bleaker expressway, the wind gushing past me with a force often strong enough to blow me backward several feet, my eyes stinging from the assault of a hundred highway cinders pelting my shivering skin, my resolve to get a ride deepening, my hunger gnawing at me. There had to be a truck stop somewhere up the road.

The road can be a lonely place and one of the few respites on a journey is the one you find when you pull into the driveway of one of these joints, noting its success by how many trucks are parked outside. You enter the theater of a great truck stop. The vivid departure of the road’s monotony is electrified in an aural, visual, scented and beckoning world. The retro reassurance of home cooking is what I dream to find. The language of the menu is what I long to read. You must think about taking a two lane, blue lane highway road trip and taste the rural flavors of our country before they are broken by the chains of fast food. Have the blue plate special.

Maybe I will do it again myself.

© 2023 Norman Van Aken. All rights Reserved.