The Truckstop, and Billy Newsom

Driving 1000 miles on interstates over the past three days, primarily through northern Illinois, Iowa, and southern Minnesota, not a single Jackson Center product was seen being towed.  Not surprising with temperatures in the mid-teens, snowbirds have already won the race with the sandhill cranes and the Canadian geese on the migration south before Thanksgiving.  

There are, however, 100s of trucks, semis, and over-the-road warriors every hour.  What I found interesting is that few firms refer to themselves as truck companies.  Even truckers proudly (and euphemistically) call themselves teamsters although it is unlikely any driver has ever handled the reins of two or more horses at one time.  


This is a contagious disease, as common today as when a politician will look straight into a network camera and say, “my previous statement was the result of cognitive dissonance, i.e., a misstatement released by my publicist in error”.  

Translation:  I lied.  

The FED chairman, staid Ben Bernanke, is equally guilty when, seated behind a microphone, testifying to a bevy of bored congressmen, he comments that “the reserve has opted for quantitative easement to counteract the debt crisis”.

Translation: I’m printing more money.  

The committee yawns.

So I take an opportunity to stop at what is hailed as World’s Largest Truck Stop, near Walcott, IA.  Although not shopping for chrome or seeking a wash at the TruckoMat, I decided to cruise the lot to find a 53′ semi trailer labeled a truck.  Not as easy as you might think.  It took 47 to finally locate a rig marked Billy Newsome Truck Lines*.  


Here’s what you see instead:

  • Expedited  Freight Systems
  • Buchanan Hauling and Rigging
  • C & W Gooseneck Services
  • Watson Freight Management
  • Magnum Logistics
  • Integrated Logistic Systems
  • International Logistics Express

Logistic seems to be a buzzword in this monster lot, although transport, transit, transportation, consolidated, and LLC are quite popular too.  Ignoring the saturation of JBHunt, Werner, England, and WalMart, I head straight to my cellphone and dial 1-888-TRUCKIN.

In the back of my mind I hear the refrain of the Grateful Dead blues-rock anthem, “truckin” and the following conversation ensues:

“Gudaftanoon, Billy Newsome Trucking, mayihepyou ?”

“Yes, may I speak with Billy ?”

“Juneyor or Seenyor ?”

” Either one would be o.k.”

“Well BigBilly is ovuh at his sistahs havin’ coffee, but LilBilly is rut heah beside me, I’ll put him on”

“Billy heah, canIhepyou ?”

“Yes, please, why did you name your company Billy Newsome Trucking ?”

“Cuz thatz what we do, truck.  We haul salvage, wood debris, and agricultural waste, but we’re here to serve.  Why ya askin ?”

” I was just curious, but also to thank you being clear, precise, unambiguous, and avoiding euphemism”

“Not sure what all that means, but you’re welcome, call anytime”

Yes, this is the world’s biggest truck stop, and yes, America moves by truck, but don’t be surprised the day you see, along side the T/A, Love’s, and Flying J, Intrastate Logistic Restaurant & Fuel, LLC. I’ll be at the counter sharing a donut with John Ratzenberger.


*name changed to protect the innocent from more stupid callers.  

And for the rest of you guys, this is what you get when I drop down to the 5th spot.


  1. says

    From 5th to 1st… at least for the moment.

    Good stuff… and, like Charles Kuralt, you’re often at your best when reporting while on the road… or as you put it, “unraveling while traveling”…

    Almost as good as WOR-AM’s “Rambling with Gambling”, which was hosted by three generations of people named John Gambling out of New York City from 1925 – 2001, which I especially listened to as a youngster with bated breath for New Jersey school closings when it snowed.

    Take care while on the road.

    NYC radio personalities: