The Trucking Solutions Group recently had a conference call with a researcher on the truck parking shortage. The parking shortage is real when you need a spot and one is not where you expect it. It is my belief that part of the problem is the inexperience or unfamiliarity of many drivers. This industry churns drivers. Many are out of the industry long before they know enough to make the job a little easier on themselves. They know where the major truck stops are, but not much else.
The other week my day started in Franksville, WI with a load that delivered in Beaver Dan, WI. My next pick up was a load out of Green Bay going to Monroe, OH. My goal was to make it through Indianapolis. Then take I70 east towards Ohio. I74 would be the shorter route by about 10 miles. Unfortunately there is a dearth of truck parking along I74. I70 has a lot more options. Chicago was the wild card. If I could make it through the windy in good shape, I could make it past Indianapolis. The unfortunate timing was unfortunate. I would be hitting the Chicago area near rush hour and would probably be delayed. After skipping the high dollar toll at the top, I got on the tollway. It didn't help enough.
I hit the 140 mile marker on I65 with about 40 minutes of drive time left. There would be truck parking available at the 139mm or the 130mm – if I was willing to pay for it. I tried one of my regular stops and it was full. Then I remembered a little breakfast place called Flap – Jacks across the street with truck parking. They had room for me The breakfast was good and it cost $9.16 cents. Throw in a $2 tip and it was $11.16 or a little less that paying for a spot would have cost.
There are small diners and restaurants throughout the country that provide parking. Veteran drivers know where a lot of these places are. I frequent Tabbert's in Rosendale, WI. I pay for my supper at the 5 & 20 Diner or the Sunrise Cafe in Shipshewana, IN with the money that I save by avoiding the Indiana Tollway. There is a Diner near Delavan, WI on I43 with a ton of truck parking and great food. Make sure that if you park at these places to patronize them and leave them at least as clean as you found them.
These places are not the solution to the truck parking problem. They are a small part of it. So are shippers and consignees that allow us to camp overnight. There is no one solution. My one suggestion is to say thanks – I appreciate you letting me park here. Sure, experience knowing where these places are matters. Saying thanks, is also a part of the solution.