Beating a Path
The Pilot in Austintown Ohio (I80 exit 223) is one of my favorite truck stops. It isn't for the Mc Donalds inside or even the Dunkin' Donuts across the street. No, it is for the trail behind the truck stop. When I first found the trail it by seeing it and then walking over to a street and running back to it. Now, as you can see truckers have beaten a path to the trail. The path is by the northwest corner of the truck stop. Just go by the fenced off pond and walk on back to it.
The idea that trucker's have beaten a path to the trail is a great thing. The fact that we have such easy access to this trail brought up the idea of truck stops with incredibly easy access to trails. Several come to mind for me. One of my favorites is in West Salem, WI (I90 exit 12) Park at the Cenex truck stop and you will see the La Crosse River State Trail directly across the street. It is more than easy trail access that makes this one of my favorite stops. It is also the proximity to the city of West Salem. It is a small Wisconsin town and a good place to take a 10-34 break.
Danny George of the other Truckin' Runners brought up the Flying J in St. George UT. Matthew Buchannon brought up the Sapp Brothers Truck Stop in Commerce City, CO. Jacques Lussier reminded me of the great trail behind the Love's in Clive IA (Des Moines area). Just walk between the truck stop and the Menards and you're on the trail. Kenn and Beth Zelten told us about the Van Patten Forest Preserve within a mile from the TA Truck Stop in Russell, IL on I 94. It has great trails through out the preserve and is the north trail head for the Des Plaines River Green Way. The preserve and the trail are also accessible from the south. There is a small C store at the southeast corner of the US 41 – IL 173 intersection where you can easily access the preserve and the trail.
One of my regular stops is the Constitution Trail in Bloomington, IL. It is less than a quarter mile from the back of the Pilot (I55 exit 160). It is a shorter trail, but can still give you a 5 mile out and back run or walk. Recently a Love's and a Kwik Trip have opened up in Fon Du Lac, WI (I41 exit 97). This had been my little secret. There is a small truck stop there that is only open from 06:00-18:00. The secret is out. The Kwik Trip actually put in a path to the Wild Goose Trail and marked it. The trail is less than a quarter mile from the Love's. You can also access it at the intersection of WI 26 and WI 33 between Horicon and Beaver Dam.
There are a lot of trails with incredibly easy access to truck parking. Keep your eyes out. Ask people about them. Then go use them.