The Quad City Times article about Iowa closing some Interstate 80 rest areas intrigues me. Mostly because I just returned from a road trip to Texas, and in nearly 1900 miles of driving I stopped at one rest area. Let me clarify, one rest area that didn't contain a restaurant, gas station and convenience store.

The Kansas Turnpike has some nice rest area facilities right on the road where you can get a Big Mac, a Snickers and an ice cold Coke without getting off the highway. That beats stinky 60's era bathrooms and vending machines any day. Which is what I conjure up in my mind when I see the blue rest area signs along Interstate 80 in Iowa.

Why would I stop there unless I absolutely had to? The road to Texas is littered with gas station convenience stores like Kum & Go, QuikTrip and OnCue. Some of the OnCue facilities actually include a dog park. Most of the time the bathrooms are cleaner. Plus, if you need a cold drink or have a thirsty car, you can take care of those things at the same time.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying close all the rest areas down. Having to exit the interstate, find a business to pull into, all to answer a text or make a phone call does sound inconvenient ... especially if that's all your doing. And the Times article does talk about how there's a shortage of truck parking. So rest areas may still serve a purpose.

I, however, will not miss them. Especially when there's a gas station with clean bathrooms and a package of Twinkies with my name on them down the road.






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