- 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
Music City Revival
It was barely a year ago when massive floods devastated the Nashville, Tenn., area and put the downtown TA underwater. In February, the completely overhauled location opened its doors, much to the delight of two former drivers who made sure they were the first to arrive. Both are Nashville residents who read about the reopening in the local paper. They announced that they were the first customers back when the Nashville TA originally opened in 1978, and they wanted to be the first customers this time around too. They saw a whole new travel center.
The clean, crisp interior of the new TA invites drivers in to see what Music City is all about: good music, great food and friendly people. The all-new Country Pride restaurant has an updated look, but employees were able to save the country music mural of Minnie Pearl, Johnny and June Cash, Hank Williams and other country greats. Long a signature feature of the Nashville TA, the mural of these music giants inspires some guests.
“I got serenaded last Saturday morning by a driver,” says restaurant manager Terry Lacuniak. “He took out his guitar and said he’s glad that we’re back so he can play his music in Nashville every weekend again.”
Ready to roll
When the floods hit the location, Virginia Kirk, travel store manager, worked day and night for many months to help it get back up and running. If you ever get Kirk to stop moving long enough to say a couple of words, it will most likely be to help out a customer or to boast about all of the changes that have been made at the reopened store.
“It’s great to see all the driver’s reactions and see how happy they are to see the place,” says Kirk. “We have the fuel up. We have everything up. It’s just amazing what all the people did to get us back open.”
Along with new, faster fuel pumps installed at the fuel island, the Nashville TA is one of the first to carry bulk DEF fluid at the pumps. Drivers who used to stop and fuel up here are happy with the results.
“The drivers love the changes, and I love the changes,” says fuel desk cashier Donna Dement. “The reaction has just been wow, capital W-O-W.”
The new layout offers plenty of wide-open space. It’s easy to find what you need for the road as you stroll around the roomy, well-organized store. As wonderful as everything looks now, there’s a reminder of what the location dealt with last May. A collection of photographs taken during the flood has its own spot on one wall, and shows the TA in high water, with entire trucks engulfed.
“One driver came in and looked at the pictures of the flood. His jaw just dropped when he saw that it was all once under water,” says Kirk.
The revitalized location has a great game room, complete with Guitar Hero (naturally, since it is in Music City). The driver’s lounge, with its comfortable seating and large flat-screen TV, was standing room only for the Super Bowl.
And for UltraOne members who want to get a bit of a workout in during their stay, the Nashville TA has a new StayFit fitness room. Paired with the StayFit restaurant choices and travel store snack options, the fitness room helps drivers stay on the road to a healthy lifestyle.
Six strings week
To celebrate the grand reopening, the Nashville TA held a weeklong celebration in March. Drivers who visited saw John Ratzenberger film another “On The Road” video, exploring the travel center. Dave Nemo did a live radio broadcast. Country singer Aaron Tippin showed up to sign copies of his trucking album, In Overdrive. Trucking entertainment veteran Joey Holiday came by to sing.
“It’s just really great and a really big change if you had been here before it was flooded,” says one driver. “It’s a place that I’ll be sure to stop at now, and I can enjoy the people and the country music too.”
Nashville, Tenn. TA
Where: I-24, James Robertson Pkwy., Exit 48
Phone: (615) 244-3682
Fax: (615) 244-9419
Truck Parking Spaces: 167
Truck Service Bays: 6
Restaurant: Country Pride
Amenities: StayFit Fitness Room, DEF Island Fueling