By the time we left the unfriendly Arkansas casino, it was the end of the day. We’d already spent the better part of the day driving, and we were tired. Now we had no place to sleep, and no backup plan. So we drove until we found something that would work (aka: was safe, hassle-free, relatively quiet).
Rest areas are sometimes good in those kinds of situations, but the rest area we passed was full. We were exhausted and having a hard time staying awake. Thankfully, we found a truck stop. Most truck stops are open 24 hours. While busy, well-lit, and a bit noisy, the plus to that is that the restrooms are available to you when you need them. You’ll usually find a spot where the trucks (18 wheelers) park off to the side that’s a little quieter. (They sleep there in their big fancy rigs.) Truckers sometimes get a bit of a bad rap, but (like everyone else) for the most part they’re good people. When car or van-camping, as long as you’re quiet and leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone.
So we parked in the truck stop and camped overnight next to a bunch of semi-trucks that were sleeping there also. We were so tired that the noise and lights didn’t bother us one bit. We were surprised to find that it was actually fairly comfortable, and very convenient.
Showering while on the road
It turned out to be a great find, with a wonderful silver lining to the experience (after our frustrating experience with the Arkansas casino). As it turns out, truck stops have cheap coffee (bonus!). But the best part about this experience was our discovery that you can buy a private shower for ~$11 at the truck stops. We totally indulged.
I have to say that it was the best $11 we’d spent in a long while. For that bargain price, you get a huge private bathroom (not a locker-room style shower, but an entire bathroom as a separate and very secure room with a locking door that you have the key to). It was big enough that we could share it. They provided clean towels and a wonderful and seemingly endless supply of very hot water.
It’s definitely a road-travel tip that we’ll take advantage of another day. With all the road trips we’ve taken in the past, I’m surprised we’d not come across it sooner. There’s nothing like a clean, hot shower as the perfect start the new day.
And we were just a short drive to St. Louis to stay with family for a couple of days. A nice easy driving day, and a clean hot shower. What a great day!