- Father and son share a love of life on the road, even if it makes visits rare
- This driver always makes time to mentor the next generation — whether at home or on the road
- This driver helps rookie truckers learn the ropes
- Home-schooling in a truck means the country is a classroom
- This driver sees the world through Google Glass
- A career trucker brings his tales of the road to people in hospice
- How driver Paul Sedlak finds motivation to reach his fitness goals
- I Love Trucking: More than a job, driving is a way of life
- Big Rig Books: Driver delivers books to underprivileged kids
- Driver Chris Jackson captures moments of beauty on the road
Having It All
Drivers always knew that they would get a great meal at the “R” Place restaurant when they pulled into the Morris, Ill. TA. Now they have even more reasons to visit.
“We had a truck service building, but it was small and there was a limit to the services we could offer,” says Brent Schroeder, fuel manager. “Now we have a brand new truck service center, and drivers can get preventive maintenance and general repairs here. Drivers are excited, because we are the only full-service truck maintenance provider in the area.”
How excited? On the first day the truck service center opened its doors, a crowd of drivers were already waiting to take advantage of everything now offered onsite.
“We can do everything,” Brian Gashi, truck service center manager says. “We have 14 top technicians, a huge assortment of new and used tires. We do a lot of PMs, some diagnostics and general maintenance. We’re a Freightliner ServicePoint. The center is a good size and super clean.”
Drivers were also impressed with the new diesel fuel pumps, which are designed for quicker and easier fill-ups.
“We have the best restaurant on the road,” says Schroeder. “We have a new shop and new pumps. And we’ll get new bathrooms and showers later this year. We need to spread the word to drivers that Morris is the place to stop for all their needs.”
Built to last
“We started from scratch when we put up the new service center,” says Gashi. “I watched the whole thing go up and worked with the contractor to get everything exactly right.” He was just as meticulous in creating his team. “All of my people are new to the Morris TA, but they have plenty of experience and are top technicians,” he says. “Everyone has really come together to do the best possible work here.”
It can be pretty tough to stay grumpy once you walk into the Morris TA. Employees are upbeat and happy, and plenty of drivers are regulars who have become friendly with the staff.
“The cashiers and the regulars start talking and joking around and soon the non-regular drivers get pulled into the conversation,” say Schroeder. “It’s a very welcoming atmosphere.”
Raved about by drivers all over the country, the “R” Place restaurant is decorated with antique toys and doodads. More important, it offers healthy portions of home-cooked meals, a large selection of specialty dishes, and a much-loved bakery. Many have attempted to devour the Ethyl Burger, a 4-pound meal made up of a 1 lb. homemade bun, 2 lbs. ground beef, 8-10 slices of cheese and a pound of toppings (pickles, onions, lettuce and tomato).
For those who dare
Tables can share the Ethyl, but anyone who decides to tackle it alone will get the $21.99 burger free of charge, as long as they follow the rules. The Ethyl is served with a timer. They must finish within an hour. No sharing. They must have at least two toppings. Successful diners also get a ball cap and have their picture posted on the “R” Place wall. The record for eating the whole thing is six minutes, set in 2006.
Morris, Ill. TA
Where: I-80 & Rte. 47, Exit 112B
Phone: (815) 942-5690
Fax: (815) 942-4371
Truck Parking Spaces: 200
Restaurants: “R” Place, Quiznos