Every once in a while, you just have to take a bit of rest and recreation time, and after most of the weekends this summer taking care of familial stuff, we took a Sunday afternoon to see a couple of local attractions.
This post features a trip to the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum. Those of you that were around last year in the JS days may remember my pics from the Trucker's Jamboree. If not, we'll recap.
Iowa 80 started out in 1962 as a simple Standard Oil gas station just off Interstate 80 near Walcott, Iowa. Over the years, the place has grown into a 220 acre (89 hectare) complex for truckers and long-distance travelers, featuring restaurants, motels, truck repair shops, showers, lounges, and even a dentist. Iowa 80 is billed as the 'World's Largest Truck Stop' and it might well be. You can even buy a few sticks of jerky, a big bag of chips, and a 32 oz. cup of extra-strength coffee-your classic truck stop fare!
Last year, a small museum/exhibit shed opened on the grounds, so we stopped to see it. Rather a nice display for its size.
Of course, I'll provide some mood music for your truck viewing pleasure. Read on, kids...
A 1934 GMC semi-truck with a livestock trailer. This model even has a 'sleeper', which isn't much more than a thin mattress on a plank. Quite nice, if your previous job was on a submarine-and a long way from today's 'comfort cabs'.
A couple of old Texaco ('Always Trust Your Car To The Man Who Wears The Star') gas pumps from the 1920s to 1940s era. Note the price on the pump on the left: 12.9 cents/gallon (about 4.5 cents/litre)! Those were the days. The cheapest gas I remember was 32 cents/gallon-not when I was of driving age, though!
Something unique, from the 'Everything Old Is New Again' file. This is a 1911 Bowman electric truck-battery powered, it could go about 50 miles (90 km) on a charge. Most likely, plenty good to make deliveries in a decent-sized town. This particular model did dairy delivery and it has in effect a big 'icebox' behind the driver's seat.
And now we're exploring going back to battery-powered vehicles. Guess those people weren't the dummies we might have thought!
A 1939 International pickup truck. International Harvester made trucks and sport utility trucks into the 1970's. My dad had an International pickup from the 1950s and they were a good vehicle. Eventually IH got out of the light truck business to concentrate on their farm equipment and heavy truck lines.
A 1936 International owned by the US Government and used for calibration of weigh scales. It looks a lot like an early-war military 'Deuce-and-a-half' (2.1/2 ton truck), specifically a bomb-hauler used at airfields, and I have no doubt these vehicles were likely the 'prototype' vehicle for the GM, International, and Studebaker trucks used by most of the Allied nations in WWII.
A unique vehicle-a Ford Model A Snowmobile done up in US Postal Service colors. Note the skis and duelie tracks-perfect for those rural northern winters, in those days when the snowplows did the country roads infrequently-or not at all. I've never seen one of these-but it sure looks like it'd be a blast to drive on a snowy day!
Finally, a factory-fresh 1959 Diamond T cabover. It has most of the features of a modern semi, but a lot more chrome! Even truck designers back in the 1950s loved their chrome. Back in the day, the average motorist would have seen a truck like this doing a cross-country run. Nowadays this size of vehicle would be a yard donkey or short-haul truck-most semis are twice this size!
And that's another YD Virtua-tour. Please exit the blog in an orderly manner.