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Drivers rate best truck stops in America

Fan favorite Iowa 80 tops list in FreightWaves survey

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Whether truckers are stopping overnight, need to fuel up or want a safe place to ride out severe weather, truck stops are essential to every driver’s journey. In an informal social media survey, FreightWaves asked drivers to rank four of the largest and most unique truck stops in the U.S., including chains and independent businesses. Here are the results.

Iowa 80 (Walcott, Iowa)

With 900 parking spots for tractor-trailers and a wide variety of services, the Iowa 80 has earned the title of the “World’s Largest Truck Stop.” It also earned the top ranking in the FreightWaves survey, with 63.3% of the votes.

At the Iowa 80, truckers will find a laundry facility, showers, CAT scales, truck maintenance, a movie theater, a dentist and more. They can even give their furry friends a bath at the Dogomat Pet Wash.

(Photo: Iowa 80 Truck Stop)

Food options at this massive travel center are virtually limitless. Wendy’s and the Iowa 80 Kitchen are open 24/7. The Kitchen features homestyle meals and a whopping 50-foot salad bar. Other eats include Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Chester’s Chicken and Blimpie.

As one of the best truck stops on Interstate 80, it’s no surprise that the Iowa 80 serves around 5,000 customers a day, according to its website. Founded in the mid-1960s, it’s about 15 miles west of Davenport, Iowa.

Jubitz Travel Center (Portland, Oregon)

For truckers traveling through the Pacific Northwest, the Jubitz Travel Center in Portland is considered a perfect spot to take a break and relax. It ranked second in the FreightWaves survey, with 17.5% of the votes.

The campus has 15 acres of parking with 250 free spaces for big rigs, as well as 18 spaces that drivers can reserve and pay for ahead of time. There’s also a separate area for bobtail trucks. At Jubitz, truckers will find a lounge just for them, a 24-hour scale, nine fuel lanes, a truck wash and a convenience store. Located off Interstate 5 near Portland International Airport, Jubitz has grown from a local fuel stop to a nationally recognized landmark.

(Photo: Jubitz Travel Center)

What sets Jubitz apart is its private showers and Jacuzzis. To truly mimic a spa experience, Jubitz offers fluffy, oversized towels, in addition to massages to help drivers feel super relaxed after a long day behind the wheel.

Jubitz also has a barbershop, pet wash and postal service, and it offers both DOT and non-DOT drug testing. For entertainment, drivers can grab a seat at the movie theater or eat at the Ponderosa Lounge & Grill.

Dysart’s Restaurant & Truck Stop

In third place, Dysart’s Restaurant & Truck Stop in Hermon, Maine, received 16.7% of the votes in the FreightWaves survey. Located just off Interstate 95 near Bangor, Dysart’s is a family-owned business with two restaurants and eight convenience stores.

Opened in 1967, Dysart’s offers small-town charm and award-winning food. While drivers fill their stomachs, they can fill their trucks with fuel, take a shower, send mail or visit the truck center for repairs and parts. There’s also a bakery offering homemade pies and goodies.

Dysart’s was featured in a “Saturday Night Live” spoof. Dysart’s once shot a commercial including two Maine regulars, Jack and Sonya. During filming, one phrase was tricky to say: “buttery, flaky crust.” “SNL’s” Kate McKinnon and Will Ferrell reenacted Jack and Sonya’s blooper reel using the line “crispy pastry crust.” View the two videos side by side on Dysart’s website for a laugh.

Big Apple Travel Center (Joplin, Missouri)

Drivers ranked the Big Apple Travel Center in Joplin, Missouri, fourth in the FreightWaves survey, with the remaining 2.5% of the votes. Based on a non-FreightWaves survey from February 2021 using driver reviews from the Trucker Path mobile app, truckers said this stop off of Interstate 44 was the second-best independent truck stop in the country.

(Photo: Big Apple Travel Center)

Clean facilities, good service and quality food are Big Apple’s priorities. The Big Apple Travel Center offers full-service diesel, convenience store snacks and drinks, showers, charging stations, and free Wi-Fi.

The best thing about the Big Apple Travel Center is its authentic Indian cuisine. Rasoí serves rice pudding, pakoras, curry, butter chicken, tandoori chicken, samosas and much more.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.