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Iowa isn’t a place that is usually known for its destinations. I grew up there, and can honestly say that I didn’t look back when I finally left that place in my rearview mirror, setting out for parts unknown.
That’s why I was so surprised to see my old hometown listed on so many Top Roadtrip Destinations lists as home to the Iowa 80 Truck Stop. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t feel bad — I didn’t know what a big deal it was either until I moved away. Let’s take a closer look at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop and see if we can figure out what makes it so unique.
A Truck Stop City
I grew up in Walcott, Iowa, right around the corner from the Iowa 80 Truck Stop, but when I lived there, I had no idea how big the facility was. It has the title of the World’s Largest Truck Stop and has lived up to the moniker. In addition to a traditional truck stop with things like showers for the truckers who come through, the Iowa 80 also has eight different restaurants for you to choose from, a convenience store and a gift shop. Now, these are all things you would expect to find at a truck stop, but that’s where it gets fascinating.
Iowa 80 is a city. Within its borders, you can find everything from a chiropractor and a dentist to a gym and even a movie theater. You can also bring your favorite furry friend in for their spa day. There’s a reason that it keeps popping up on different Top Truck Stops lists across the internet. If I’d known that when I lived there, I might have made the time to stop by. The stop itself is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has been since they first opened their doors in 1964.
Attractions for All
If you enjoy trucks, Iowa 80 has one last treasure for you to discover — a museum filled with rare trucks from a 1929 REO Speedwagon EX to a 1919 Pierce Arrow, all lovingly restored and beautifully maintained. You can even joy a short film about the history of trucking in the REO theater.
The best thing about this museum is that admission is free. It is supported solely by donations from travelers and truck enthusiasts. If you enjoy yourself, feel free to leave a donation, but you can still enjoy all of these pieces of history even if you’re traveling on a tight budget.
The next time I head back to Walcott for a family reunion, I am planning to make a slight detour to check out everything the Iowa 80 has to offer, and I suggest you do the same. It has something for everyone, whether you’re a long-haul trucker who needs to have a tooth pulled between fill-ups, or you’re a traveler far from home who needs a warm meal and a hot shower. Now that I know everything that the Iowa 80 has to offer, I’m sorry I never took the time to visit while I lived there.