Things I’ve Seen While Driving Truck
This site is mainly dedicated to the theme and amusement park industry but every once in a while, I’ll post a video related to what I do for a living which is driving a tractor-trailer, more commonly known as an 18 wheeler, across the United States and Canada. These first two videos are of different things I’ve seen while driving truck. They’re both videos containing pictures I took over the years. The first one was posted to my YouTube channel in 2008 and is fittingly set to the song called “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Hank Snow. Unfortunately, some of you may not be able to see it as YouTube has blocked it in some countries.
The second video was posted in 2013 and used music that was provided by YouTube via their audio swap tracks.
Here are some videos of some very exceptional truck stops I’ve been to. The first one is of the Gateway Travel Plaza in Breezewood, Pennsylvania, USA. This was originally just a restaurant with a bunk house on the second floor and service station that opened just after the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1941. Since then, the truck stop has gone through several expansions to include an enlarged Gateway Restaurant which serves decent food, a large gift shop & travel store, two fast food restaurants with Subway and Dairy Queen on the first floor with a gas station out front. The second floor is mainly for professional truck drivers and it includes a large arcade with pool tables, theater room, coin operated laundry machines, Radio Shack store, and 16 private showers for truck drivers. Out back, there’s 200 truck parking spots, 5 service bays, a CAT Scale to weigh trucks, and at-least 10 diesel pumps.
The next video is of the Iowa 80 Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa, USA. This truck stop is simply something many of you have never seen and it may surprise you to know that this massive place grew out of a small white building that was only a restaurant that catered to truck drivers with a few diesel pumps outside in 1964. It now has grown to include a 300 seat restaurant called the Iowa 80 Kitchen, several fast food restaurants including Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Orange Julius, Caribou Coffee, Pizza Hut, and a Dairy Queen, a large gift shop, a travel store, and a Super Truck Showroom which has all the chrome you could ever want to put on you truck plus one full-sized tractor-trailer and a bobtail, the front part of the truck also known as the cab of the truck, mounted on a turntable, and a custom embroidery and vinyl shop all on the first floor. The second floor mainly contains amenities for the professional truck driver which include a dentist, barber shop, chiropractor, coin operated laundry machines, a fully functional theater with theater surround sound system, two large TV rooms (smoking and non-smoking), and 24 private showers. Outside is a large trucking museum, a three bay Truck-O-Mat truck wash, a seven bay truck shop with separate bays to install the chrome you just bought, a Dog-O-Mat dog wash station, two CAT Scales to weigh your truck, a fuel center with 10 diesel islands and a Blimpie restaurant and travel store inside the fuel center, and 870 truck parking spots.This place is well worth a visit just to see it.
These are videos I took while driving with a camera mounted on the dash or in the passenger side of the truck. The first one is of the historic Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-70/76) from New Stanton, Pennsylvania, USA (near Pittsburg) to the Susquehanna River just south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA the capital of the state of Pennsylvania. This Penna Pike as the locals have come to call it is historical in that it was the worlds first paved, controlled access, toll road when it opened to the public in 1941. It also uses the right of way that was to be the South Pennsylvania Railroad which was going to be the direct competitor to the famous Pennsylvania RR. In this video, you’ll travel through the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside and through several tunnels including the Tuscarora, Blue Mountain, Kittatinny, and Alleghany Mountain tunnels. The video ends with a view of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power facility. Look closely and you’ll see that only two of the four cooling towers are working and that is because one of the nuclear reactors (unit #2) had a partial meltdown on March 28, 1979 when a cooling malfunction led to the partial meltdown of that unit. Later on, when it was safe to send in robotic units to inspect the unit, it was discovered that we came dangerously close to a full-scale meltdown. Thankfully that didn’t happen thanks to the safety back-ups that were installed which is something that the plant in Chernobyl did not have. I hope you enjoy the video.
The next one is of my trip through “The Gorge” on Interstate 40 (I-40) from Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, USA to the Tennessee state line. This stretch of highway took about 4 years to build from 1956 to the early 1960’s and is part of the original Eisenhower Interstate Highway System. That name was given to those Interstates that were built and approved of during the President Dwight D Eisenhower administration who approved of the then new Interstate Highway system. This area has had a few large landslides in its history and you can see where they occurred with the presence of the large brick walls along the highway, the last of which occurred on October 6, 2009 and took almost two years to clean up and repair.
I’ve been over hundreds, if not thousands, of bridges in my career as a truck driver and here are my videos of some of these bridges. The first one is of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge linking St Petersburg to the north to Bradenton in the south in the state of Florida in the USA. This cable stayed bridge was a replacement for the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge which fell victim to a terrible tragedy at 7:38 am on May 9, 1980 when a freighter called the Summit Venture, in a blinding rainstorm, lost all electrical power coming into the mouth of Tampa Bay and obliterated the southern bridge pier which caused the complete collapse of the southbound span of what was then US Highway 19 which traveled over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The ship was forced into the bay due to the incoming current where it then dropped anchor. The tragedy claimed 35 souls including a Greyhound Bus load on their way to Miami. The old spans have since been completely demolished but the approaches are still in use as the worlds longest drive on drive off fishing pier. You might be able to see them on the left of the video screen as you’re on the main bridge. Here’s a great video describing what happened and when with the original Mayday calls and ships communications between the freighter Summit Venture and the US Coast Guard.
Here’s my video of the bridge.
My next video is in the State of Florida as well and is of the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge just east of Jacksonville. It is named after Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, Florida’s 16th Governor from 1905 to 1909. Broward County in South Florida on the Atlantic coast was also named after him as well. Construction on this cable stayed bridge started in 1985 and was opened in 1989 and was called the Dames Point Bridge until it was later given its current name. It carries State Route 9A and the eastern part of the Interstate 295 (I-295) bypass around town.
Next, we’ll take a trip over the Cairo Ohio Bridge that links Cairo, Illinois, USA to Wickliffe, Kentucky, USA. This Cantilevered Truss bridge opened in 1937 and carries US Highways 51/60/62 over the Ohio River just a half a mile or so before it merges with the Mississippi River. It is a bit harrowing for truck drivers as the bridge isn’t much wider than the road which means that there’s very little room to move over for another truck coming the other way.
Next up is the famous Mackinac Bridge that connects Mackinaw City in the south to St Ignace to the north in the Upper Peninsula in the State of Michigan in the USA. This suspension bridge nicknamed “Big Mac” by the locals, opened on November 1, 1957 and is currently the third longest bridge in the world. You can also see two of the Great Lakes here as well with Lake Huron on the left and Lake Michigan on the right.
Last is a trip between two countries over the twin Thousand Island Bridges with the actual border crossing edited out for security reasons. These combination Cantilevered Truss and Suspension bridges opened to the public in 1937 and connects Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada with Alexandria Bay, New York, USA over the St Lawrence river carrying Hwy 137 on the Canadian side and Interstate 81 (I-81) on the US side.