THE WORLD’S LARGEST TRUCKSTOP CELEBRATES 60 YEARS OF SERVING THE PROFESSIONAL DRIVER
WALCOTT, IOWA — This year marks 60 consecutive years Iowa 80 has been serving the professional driver and traveler; that’s 21,915 days or 525,600 hours of always being open and providing a safe, welcoming place for those needing a break from the road. Bill Moon, entrepreneur and founder of the Iowa 80, loved to sit at the counter in the restaurant and talk with drivers. He asked them about their families, their lives, and what they needed while they were on the road. Bill took those suggestions to heart and started adding amenities to the property. Bill was an entrepreneur through and through. In addition to the Iowa 80 Truckstop, he also founded Truckomat Truck Washes, and CAT Scale Company.
The Iowa 80 Truckstop began as a small building with 6 diesel pumps and a 50-seat restaurant on what would become Exit 284. Bill Moon located the spot for Standard Oil before the interstate was completed. They built and opened the truck stop with Bill taking over management a year later, in 1965. Years passed, Interstate 80 was completed and hundreds, then thousands of truckers and travelers stopped by Iowa 80 to fuel, grab a bite to eat and head on down the road. In 1984, Standard Oil (now Amoco) decided to sell the facility. Bill Moon, who had been managing the place for nearly 20 years, jumped at the chance. He and his wife Carolyn, leveraged everything they had, including borrowing money from friends, to purchase Iowa 80.
Once the Moon Family owned Iowa 80, they could expand the building and add services as needed. Today, after 32 expansions and remodels, Iowa 80 is overseen by the second generation of the Moon Family, who have dedicated their lives to providing a home away from home for the thousands of people who visit Iowa 80 each day. The Iowa 80 Truckstop includes a gift store, the Super Truck Showroom, a dentist, a barber shop, a chiropractor, a workout room, laundry facilities, a 60-seat movie theatre, a trucker’s TV lounge, 24 private showers, many restaurant options including the Iowa 80 Kitchen, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Orange Julius, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Einstein Bagels and Caribou Coffee, Blimpie and Chester’s Chicken; a convenience store, a custom embroidery and vinyl shop, 42 BP branded gas and diesel fueling positions at the main building, 34 high-speed diesel pumps for truckers at the fuel center, a 7-bay truck service center, a 3-bay Truckomat truck wash, a CAT Scale, a Dogomat Pet Wash, and the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum.
Bill was also an avid collector of antique trucks. He purchased his first antique truck, a 1919 International, from a scrap yard down by the Mississippi River in the early 70’s, after he overheard a driver lamenting about a scrap yard preparing to crush some old trucks. The driver believed old trucks should be preserved, and so did Bill Moon. Bill then made it his mission to purchase a wide variety of old trucks with the hope that he could open an antique truck museum someday and share the history of trucking in America with the world. The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum was opened in 2008 in his memory, and now proudly features over 100 antique trucks, vintage signs, gas pumps, antique toy trucks and other trucking memorabilia. The Museum is free to the public.
“It is really amazing to have reached this milestone,” says Delia Moon Meier, Senior Vice President. “We are so fortunate to have such wonderful, dedicated employees and loyal customers.” Each year in July, the Iowa 80 hosts the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, a 3-day event dedicated to Celebrating America’s Truckers. Last year attendance hit a record 56,000 people. “Without professional truck drivers, trucks stop. Without trucks, America stops. We appreciate their hard work and the Walcott Truckers Jamboree is our way of saying Thank You,” says Meier.
Iowa 80 currently serves over 5,000 customers per day and has well-lit parking spaces for 900 tractor-trailers, 250 cars and 20 buses. There are no keys to the doors, as none have ever been needed. Not only has Iowa 80 been a place to refuel, refresh, and relax for the past 60 years, it has also been an important part of the Walcott Community. Over 500 people work at the Iowa 80 Truckstop, and many are family; brothers, sisters, fathers, sons, daughters, mothers and cousins are all part of the team. Maybe that’s why Iowa 80 has such a welcoming feel. For more information about Iowa 80, visit www.iowa80truckstop.com or find Iowa 80 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iowa80WLT.