One piece of advice for the Dixie Truckers Home
The Dixie Truckers Home in McLean, Illinois, off Interstate 55 and alongside what used to be Route 66, may not be the first American truckstop. But it’s definitely one of the oldest — and one of the most revered among aficionados of the old cross-country highway.
Opened in 1928, just two years after Route 66, the Dixie Truckers Home survived the federal highway’s decommissioning in the early 1980s and continues to serve as a home away from home for long-haul truckers and other road warriors and travelers.
If there’s a downside, it’s this: The original owners sold the Dixie a few years back and the new owners seem more interested in making the place a comfortable one for modern travelers than in preserving the old ambience (though they have opened up a Route 66 memorabilia room.)
That said, the Dixie is still worth a stop, if only to breathe in the diesel fumes from the idling big rigs and to reflect on how many drivers over the nearly 80 years have enjoyed a quiet moment here before hitting the road again.
Just one piece of advice: Think twice before ordering a fruit cup to go at the Dixie Truckers Home. It’s big and and it’s a bargain. But it throws the staff for a loop.
When the Route 66 Team visited this week, we watched as a hapless bus driver, who had filled up a 16-oz Styrofoam cup with fruit from the buffet, tried to pay for the item.
The trouble: The Dixie’s staff, apparently used to ringing up hamburgers, chicken-fried steaks and other artery-clogging fare, had difficulty understanding what the driver had served herself — and then had no clue how to ring it up on the computer terminal/cash register at the central checkout counter.
In the end, it took two Dixie employees about seven minutes to figure what the bus driver — whose passengers were boarded and were waiting to get to Kansas City — owed.
The grand total: $1.91 with tax.