Closing in to Chicago, realizing there is not much to see in Iowa, we decided to take the interstate (the big highway that never goes through any town). And just as the weather got a bit windy and the sun started shining more, there it pops in our way: a small sign that read “World’s largest truckstop, Iowa 80”. We’re officially driving a pick-up truck, so we decided to stop and take a look. The parking lot was indeed huge:

Iowa 80 currently serves 5,000 customers per day and has parking spaces for 900 tractor-trailers, 250 cars and 20 buses

Circling around like a little ant around elephants, we found ourselves in front of the Truck Museum, which we instantly decided to visit. I was attracted at first by the trucks placed outside which were on display thanks to their owners, all well past their 50s (guarding them and telling their history to whoever asked), but the museum had the exhibits inside, all accompanied by the history and some interesting facts. We’ve seen quite some unique trucks, some very rare, some being the only surviving truck of its kind, and also one electric truck which served Chicago well from 1902 until 1946! Electric!
I’ll let you enjoy some of the trucks we’ve seen, and then tell you how our jealous truck, Frank, decided to fail.

And later on that day, about 40 miles away from Chicago (and our host John) we got off the Interstate, to find cheaper gas. Used to buy gas with $2.30/gal up to $2.6/gal so the price of $2.9 – $3.1/gal was a bit off the scale. So we drive through Joliet, IL just to find more expensive gas which scared us and sent us back to the interstate. Right after the ramp on the interstate, Frank huffs and puffs and loses all power driving in the center lane. I quickly pull over to the right side, using my ‘racer skills’ after crossing 3 lanes, and here we are – sitting ducks. I am 90% sure that we ran out of gas, so I rush to the nearest gas station (about 1mile away) to get some. One gallon didn’t do it, so before I kill the battery, I rush back to get another gallon. That didn’t work either, so we decide to push the car downhill from the interstate to the ramp (about 200m). Said and done. Our host John, texts us the non-emergency police phone who help up arrange a tow truck to pick us up. One our later and $60 less, we are parked in front of the only service shop open on Sundays – PepBoys. The service, ran by a Lithuanian guy, fixed Frank the next day for ‘only’ $300, discounted from $580 (stuff I would manually replace for the mere cost of parts, worth about $150). For this money they replaced the distributor, which was causing some problems all along the way. Frank now drives smooth and a lot better than I ever imagined this truck can run.

PS: we’re now in Chicago

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