By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
Our dear friend and mentor Bette Garber used to say we get to ‘shop across America’ because we actually do, and when she rode with Kim, she did too, and she LOVED IT. Trucking across America means that we, literally, get to shop across America. It gives us access to trucks stops like Iowa 80 in Walcott, IA, Joplin 44 Petro in Joplin, MO, Oak Grove 70 Petro in Oak Grove, MO, Kenly 95 Petro in Kenly, NC, which are all under the Iowa 80 Group umbrella. They each have amazing gift shops that allow you to buy unique gifts for the ones you love back at home.
It’s hard being gone all the time, really, it’s the most difficult aspect of our lifestyle. But being able to bring home something really special helps your loved ones realize just how much you think of them while you are away. The folks at Iowa 80 have a real knack for finding heartfelt gift items that can say that for you. These items can become a daily reminder of how much you love that special someone when you are not there in person. Neither of us EVER passes up an opportunity to shop at one of these gift shops, and we ALWAYS find something special, many times, it’s more than one thing.
If you have the time take a stroll through the gift shop and look specifically for whatever it is your loved one might collect. Cute little figurines, a spoon from every state you visit is another popular collectable. There are some wonderful things to choose from scarves, jewelry, furry boots or moccasins, candles, metal signs, yard art, leather goods like belts or purses, there are just SO MANY beautiful things there, you’re bound to find that perfect gift.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time it’s easy enough for something special to catch your eye. During the holiday season some truck stops even offer gift wrapping for drivers, so that when you get home your gifts are ready to put under the tree. You can just join in and let the festivities begin with your family.
I’ve had friends make special requests for me to look for something specific in my travels. It’s awesome when you can make that find and your friend can give a special gift as well. I, for one, enjoy the hunt for little things that will become a treasure to the ones I love. I remember finding a little purple rock that says “You Rock” and my sister loved it! Or when I came across that little angel made in New Mexico out of the dark iridescent colors that was perfect for my sisters truck “Dark Angel” and she loved it too!
The wonderful thing about our lifestyle, the ‘flipside’ you might say, is that we, unlike the average citizen, are not limited to the local big box stores and malls. We have the option to “shop across America” in our pursuit of just the right Christmas gift. Over the years our ‘homes away from home’, the truck stops that dot our landscape, have developed into pretty unique shops as well as offering our basic needs, so take the time to check them out, you won’t be disappointed!
Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.