One piece of advice for the Dixie Truckers Home

May 25, 2007

Dixie3.jpgThe 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 Dixie1.jpgmoment 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.

6 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Can you get a Dixie beer at this joint? I doubt it. Too fah noth of Nawlins. But why can’t they just put a pallet-load on a barge and float it upriver? Huck Finn coulda.

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

The interesting point not mentioned in the review of Dixie @ McLean is that it is at a midway point between St. Louis and Chicago, and when trucker speed limits were lower on RTE 66, it was a good point to stop and get “relief”. Just a few miles north of Mclean is Funk’s Grove Maple Syrup tree farm which is a good place to go with kids.

Posted by SAM | Report as abusive

If you find yourself at the Dixie Truckers Home, make sure you order the broasted chicken… Worth the drive!

Posted by Michael Steinberg | Report as abusive

you guys got it wrong alittle bit , you should of been in a 57 vette, than you would of been in the grove, dudes

Posted by david | Report as abusive

I was in the Dixie this past Christmas and things have really changed. It was the same great people who have worked at the Dixie for years, but it has lost what makes the Dixie unique. It seems the new owners have commercialized the Dixie and have forgotten what made it successful starting in 1928. Its no longer Dixie Truckers Home, but Dixie Travel Plaza and it shows. Who thinks the old owners should come back?

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

I stopped at the Dixie whenever in the area for the past 40 years.There have been alot of changes and I noticed that it doesn’t have near the amount of trucks that it did in the 60,s and 70,s
I was a driver for CF and most of the line haul drivers stopped there and sat at the round table.

Posted by Ron Ermel | Report as abusive