A Likely Story - What Parking Problem?

Roger Clark
September 2021

By Roger Clark

I hear a lot about the parking problem at truck stops. But I don’t see it. What I do see are drivers—dozens of drivers—playing musical chairs every evening, looking for a parking spot. No matter the color, creed, sex, or political party, they make at least three complete circuits before blocking the fuel islands. 

When the inevitable gridlock occurs, along with a hood or two ripped off for good measure, tardy drivers head for the get-off ramps, rest area acceleration lanes, and the hapless Walmart parking lots. No matter how unsafe, inconvenient, or rude, they insist it couldn’t be helped. It isn’t their fault. It’s not their problem.

 So, a parking problem? What parking problem? They did the best they could, they say. They’re sorry if you’re offended, they say. And no, they say, they are not going to move, just because you’re on time, parked in a proper place, and using commercial property the way it was intended.

So, it’s our problem, not theirs. It’s our schedule being wrecked, not theirs. It’s our attitude that sucks, not theirs, because we did it by the book. We did it right. We did it early. Therefore, we are to blame, not them. It makes perfect sense. To them.

 They should never be challenged. They should never be expected to plan their day, route a trip, accommodate the ELD, or extend a hand of courtesy. They should never have to learn how to park, when to sleep, or where to find alternative places. 

It amazes me, but truck stop management agrees with these bozos. After all, these driving school dropouts might purchase a hot dog or keychain in the travel store. They might even use the restrooms, instead of weeds behind the parking lot. Or not.

Managers at the Big Four truck stop chains have all received the same memo. Abusers, lawbreakers, runners, and wreckers have the right-of-way, regardless how it inconveniences the paying customer or innocent travelers. There’s always a surplus of oil dry, after all, to pour over discarded urine bombs and overflowing trash cans.

 My daddy taught me never to complain unless I had a solution, and here it is. For every one of the Big Four truck stop chains, there’s a rural fuel stop with surplus parking. They’re listed in any one of four national truck stop directories and, unlike the Big Four, appreciate your business.

Here’s another novel idea, Bunkie. For every major truck plaza AND rural fuel stop, there’s an industrial park with wide drives and spacious parking. Still not sure, Crash? About half the weigh stations all across the country that allow, or even encourage overnight parking.

I was concerned about foreigners driving trucks in the USA. But now I have become more worried about American drivers coming out of the woodwork. Who are these clowns—really? They can’t read a map, shift a gear, or get out of their own way, whether it’s a fuel island or the hammer lane.

If there’s a hundred trucks backed into parking spaces, then you can bet some bozo is going to pull straight in. Then when it’s time to leave, it takes that driver, two ground guides, twenty minutes, and an insurance adjuster to complete his exit. 

 They say we’re 50,000 drivers short this year, and all I can say is thank goodness! Can you imagine the havoc created by unleashing a thousand more drivers wearing flip-flops in every state? I can’t either, but get ready, because it’s coming to a truck stop near you before nightfall!