Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today's Topic: Service Plaza Names

Well, we completed our sojourn in the deep (cold) south with a trip from Georgia up to Illinois, where they have plenty of snow, thank you very much.

Picturesque barn in Illinois


I really wanted to stop at the Amishland Buffet Shops but Mr. Trucker was NOT cooperating...

What do you suppose a Buffet Shop is?

We left Hampshire, IL this morning and Mr. Trucker decided to follow his Garmin GPS's recommended route, which took us on I-90/I-94 through downtown Chicago at morning rush hour. The Garmin is supposed to alert us to traffic delays and she wasn't telling us that there WERE any (delays, that is), so we were lulled into a false sense of security. Hah! 

Ahh. This looks like it's gonna be a piece of cake!

Getting thicker now. There goes the train.

Hmmm. This is starting to look very bad.


I shoulda took the train!
Eventually we made it through Chicago and out the other side into Indiana, where we start to encounter the first of our East bound Service Plazas. We're becoming quite intimately familiar with Service Plazas. Some of them are pretty basic, just little buildings with restroom facilities, but others are quite fancy, with fuel pumps outside, and inside: convenience stores and overpriced fast food restaurants. There are even the ones on the turnpike in Ohio that have showers and TV lounges for travelers to use. But what fascinates me about these places are the names, or should I say, the people they're named for.

There's the Knute Rockne plaza in Indiana, which I think is pretty obvious to most everyone who's ever heard of football. Then there's the Gene Stratton Porter travel plaza (also in Indiana). That name just screams "Country and Western Singer", doesn't it? But it turns out it is named for a female author from the late 19th century, who was a native of Indiana. 

In Ohio, we have the Commodore Perry service plaza, which I apparently misidentified in an earlier post as being named for the guy who started the singing group "The Commodores", and I may have also said he was cousin to Steve Perry of the band "Journey". Turns out it was actually named for a real Commodore of the United States Navy, who was famous for leading an expedition to Japan in 1851.

In New Jersey, the Joyce Kilmer travel plaza caught my eye. I mean, Val Kilmer's an okay movie actor and all, but is he THAT famous that they had to name a travel plaza after his mother? What's that you say? Joyce Kilmer ISN'T Val Kilmer's mother? Joyce Kilmer was a MAN? You're kidding! He was a poet? He's famous for the poem "Trees", you say? I remember.  That's the poem that goes: "I think that I shall never see, a billboard lovely as a tree...". What's that you say? That's NOT how it goes? Well how DOES it go? Oh..."I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree...". Well, I'll be! You learn something new every day. 

Okay, so maybe I'm not the authority on the naming of these places, but it sure is interesting, isn't it? Our ultimate destination with this load is Aberdeen, Maryland. We are currently somewhere in Pennsylvania and will be stopping for the night in about an hour and a half. 

In lieu of Today's Silly Sounding Place Name, we will have Today's Interesting Geography Fact: North Lima, Ohio is not only NOT north of Lima, Ohio, but it is not anywhere near it. Go figure!


  1. Margie...seriously, I think you need to consider taking this blog and making it into a book at the end of your journey with Mr.'s so funny! Keep on writing...keep on trucking SAFELY!!! God bless! PSP from GB

  2. Loving the poetry lesson, and history lesson, and geography lesson! And of course love the picturesque scenery. Sounds like you're having fun. We're expected to get 5-10" of snow tomorrow. Get those snow blowers fired up!

  3. You may recall, I lived in Upper Sandusky Ohio for awhile, and when I told people where I lived I always had to point out that it is not anywhere near Sandusky Ohio....
    Hope you guys are safely away from the snowstorm......