HIGH PLAINS TRUCK STOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT SHOEMAKERS    |    GALLERY


PHOTOGRAPHY
BY DAVE NANCE
   

   PLACES  :   HIGH PLAINS  :   HIGH PLAINS TRUCK STOP  :

   ABOUT SHOEMAKERS    |     GALLERY

CONTACT

 

the old same place

text and images © 2004 by David B. Nance

 

 

 

 

 

   


Shoemaker's Truck Station is located at I-80 and U.S. Hwy. 6, just west of Lincoln, Nebraska. I have stayed at the motel there a few times on my way back from trips out to Colorado .  

Besides the motel, and the restaurant (with a wonderful collection of old gas pumps), Shoemaker's is a large, full service truck stop.  There are 16 or so gas islands for trucks, and paved, lighted parking for over 100 rigs - and when I've been there, it's been pretty much full.  There are scales, a trucker's lounge, a trucker's store, showers, laundromat, truck wash and wash-out service, and the full range of services truckers need to stay connected and ready to roll (FAX, FedEx pickup, check cashing, money transfer, loadboard, drop boxes). 

In his book Roads: Traveling America’s Great Highways, Larry McMurtry aptly compares the Interstate highways to the great rivers that were so central to this country's growth in the 19th Century.  The cities that lie on these roads, though, are not connected to them in the same way that the river cities were to their arteries.  The real analogues to the river towns are the great truck stops and other clusters of commerce that lie right up against the interstates, right at the exits.  It is here, in these places, only 60 seconds or so from the 80 mile-per-hour stream, that the feeling of endless coming and going, and of constant movement, colors everything and defines the culture in almost every respect.  

 


While looking around on the web for information about Shoemaker's, I ran across this, from Carl Davidson's "Heartland Journal":

 

Twilight over Shoemaker's"I'm eating chili one night at Shoemaker's Truck Stop outside Lincoln, Nebraska.  I like the place for its collection of old-time gas pumps from the 1930s, reminding me of my father's garage back home.  I ask the farmer next to me how he's weathering the crisis.  He's doing OK because he stays out of banks.  Deals strictly in cash, no loans or credit.  Luckily, he got two crops ahead so now he's able to wait for the right price before selling.

"What does he do when the crops are in?  He goes to Haiti once a year and digs wells for free.  'I figure poor people need clean water before they can do anything else,' he says.  'Hell, one woman was so excited to get one dug she named her baby after me.  If we want to die happy, we've got to leave some good behind us in this world'. "

Carl's piece, "Truck Stops, Windmillls, & Sassafrass Tea", is a thoughtful and thought-provoking ramble on travel, truck stops, politics, people, and other things. Check it out. 

 


Phantom 309 pulls out of Shoemaker'sGo out to a truck stop at night, out on the asphalt near the rigs as they rumble around, and it's easier to feel some of the mystery that attaches to the trucks.  The drivers are almost invisible in their cabs;  looking at the rigs, the lights and the reflections off the chrome, and listening to (and feeling) their engines and air brakes,  they can come to seem like independent creatures, living in their own world, which we are only visiting.   In the classic country ghost story - tearjerker "(Big Joe and) Phantom 309", by Red Sovine, it is not merely the driver ("Big Joe") that is a ghost, but the truck as well.

 


Texaco station, Cope, ColoradoShoemaker's is a Texaco gas station on an east-west highway on the High Plains.  So was this place, which was located on in the little town of Cope, Colorado.  

The vast difference between them, though, reflects the shifts that have taken place over the 50 or so years that separated their establishment.  For a little more about this place -- which had been closed by the mid-1990's, and torn down by the late 1990's --  look at my page on U. S. Highway 36

 


Miscellaneous links of interest:

American Highway Project - documenting the vanishing world along the American highway

 


PHOTOGRAPHY
BY DAVE NANCE
   

   PLACES  :   HIGH PLAINS  :   HIGH PLAINS TRUCK STOP  :

   ABOUT SHOEMAKERS    |     GALLERY

CONTACT

 

the old same place

text and images © 2004 by David B. Nance