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 .
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).
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
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
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.
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 -
Joe and) Phantom 309", by Red Sovine, it is not merely the driver
("Big Joe") that is a ghost, but the truck as well.
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,
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
Highway Project - documenting the vanishing world along the American