We’ve been traveling cross-country from Florida to Las Vegas, Nevada for nearly thirty years. We’ve watched I-10 age, US-93 from Phoenix to Vegas go from two lane twisty highway to divided fourlane, and truckers ride the crest of the obesity wave that is engulfing us all.
Thirty years ago, the Iron Skillets at the Petro Stopping Centers were dishing up all you can eat chicken fried steaks, and the smaller truck stops like Love’s were loaded with Taco Bells.
Today, the most popular franchises are the Subways and Blimpies and Quiznos, and we’re seeing truckers eating salads and veggie subs far more often than ever before. Last year we think we saw a tipping point. The percentage of morbidly obese truckers on American highways may actually be decreasing.
But we’re also seeing far fewer of the non-franchises, the one-of-a-kind places that used to make a road trip a road trip and not just a long drive. We’re not as anxious to take chances, we’re more willing to shut ourselves off from the world, and the road is making it easier to not see anything unique from Palm Beach to Henderson.
Even the trip over Boulder Dam is being circumvented. Post 9/11 security concerns caused the federales to site inspection stations on either side of the dam, until a giant flyover can be constructed to overlook the dam, entirely.