- 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
In Tune With Drivers
Walk into the Nashville, Tenn. TA and chances are you will come upon a group of drivers sitting around with guitars, singing their hearts out. And anyone can join in the fun. After all, when you’re located in the heart of a place known as Music City, it makes sense to have your own music room.
“Every other Thursday we have a karaoke night outside,” says Store Manager Virginia Kirk. “We have a big cookout, people get up and sing all kinds of music — but mostly country — and it’s just a really good time.”
The relatively new music room at the location has inexpensive guitars, sheet music and more for sale, alongside a CD rack filled with classic country music. It is one of the best places in the country to find music from artists like Red Sovine and Dave Dudley and Red Simpson who specialized in trucking songs back in the 1960s and 1970s. Gary McClanahan, who manages the music room, says, “We’ve got the music that people can’t find anywhere else. And that’s what people expect from Nashville. Hollywood has the beautiful people. Nashville has the musicians.”
The sweet tea in the restaurant is fresh and homemade. For Northerners who don’t know what that means, sweet tea is iced tea made with a healthy amount of sugar. The fried chicken is made on the premises and can be ordered to go. The doughnuts are from Krispy Kreme. “We’ve had people come off the highway specifically because they saw our Krispy Kreme sign,” Kirk says.
Since it’s situated just down the road from LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans, football season is huge. The store carries loads of Titans merchandise, and on game days the car parking lot is full of tailgating fans waiting for kickoff.
What drivers need
With 10 diesel pumps available, there’s rarely a wait for fueling. Recent renovations have made the location easier to navigate, and word is spreading among drivers that the location is clean, safe, fun and has a staff that cares about offering the best in service.
Back to that twang
A mural in the restaurant pays tribute to Nashville’s country music history with images of Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash and others. “Years ago all of the big country artists would stop in here,” says Kirk. “Dolly Parton, Jerry Reed — anyone you can think of. Some of our drivers have been coming here for 30 years have stories about seeing the stars here.”
Marie Duke has been working at the Nashville TA for 26 years, and the drivers adore her. “I’m ‘Granny’ to everyone,’” she says proudly. “It’s wonderful. If they have problems, I listen, because they are out on the road alone most of the time. You know, these drivers are good people and the world needs to realize that without them we wouldn’t have anything. They need to praise the drivers more!”