Gas Stations Matter on 4th of July Road Trips
More people than ever before will be hitting the road for this 4th of July weekend, and nobody wants it to be a boring trip. Beef jerky, kolaches, and fountain drinks with that soft round ice can make any trip better, and we feel compelled to give some love to the travel stops that make us happy.
On long road trips as a kid, my sister and I always marked our progress by how many times we had eaten along the way. Our parents would get us a donut, then we would drive for two hours. Then we'd stop for some sort of imitation cheese snack with sticks for dipping, then two more hours of driving, then we'd have lunch at McDonald's, and drive for three hours and before stopping for a fountain drink with good crunchy ice and chase it with beef jerky. Eventually we'd get to the hotel and go out for pizza. We didn't have screens to command our attention on road trips back then, so we kept ourselves entertained with food.
Convenience stores used to have gas, nuts, candy, and Cokes, and that was about it. And sometimes, in order to use the bathroom, you had to "see the attendant" for they key and go outside to unlock the door that was so rickety it didn't really need to be locked in the first place and it felt like a film crew from Survivor should be taping the whole thing. Things have changed. Now, all the big travel stops have shiny restrooms that don't usually smell like your grandma's attic. And they've got kolaches and deli sandwiches, and sometimes entire sections full of clothing, yard art, and weird signs that say things like, "Keep OUT. Unless you're dropping off beer or ammo." Sometimes you can knock out your Christmas list on a July road trip.
Love's Travel Stops are one of my favs, and those are located in Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and Ontario, OR. Many of the other big ones, including Exxon and Shell have also gotten "uptown," as my granny would say, and made stopping for gas kinda fun.
AAA says more Idahoans will be traveling this weekend than ever before, and that's away from home by 50 miles or more. That's 2.9 percent more than last year, and it's more than any year since AAA has been keeping track. 44.2 million people will be driving across America, and most of them will be looking for the nearest Maverik location right along with us.
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