Meet me halfway across America

Editor’s note: Our columnist Richard Latendris is traveling to the US this week to better understand the inventory shortages disrupting the supply chain and the effects of which can be felt right here at home. Follow his reports on TVA and LCN and his columns in Le Journal.

It’s not easy being a truck driver these days. Delayed Delivery: What Exactly Do They Do? Shortages of groceries and stores: Where are they? The high prices .. it’s definitely their fault! Then comes the storm of the last few weeks around compulsory vaccination. Not to mention the job itself that burns her husband.

To try to understand where supply chains are disrupting, you have to find what, in Washington, is called Deep America. Travel to the Midwest, Iowa, to the truck stop on endless Interstate 80, which begins in New York and ends in San Francisco.

Not just any sequel: the biggest in the world! That’s what became of this plot of land where Bill Moon set up a garage, shop, and restaurant in 1964. I’m not sure the relay is really the largest on the planet, but its stand with 900 trailer trucks, 15 diesel pumps, 500 employees and 5,000 visitors They pass there every day giving him the right to this claim.

Epidemic brakes

Delia Meyer, who now runs the relay.

Richard Latenders’s photo

Delia Meyer, who now runs the relay.

The past two years have been trying for Delia Meyer, Bill Moon’s daughter, who now runs Truck stop. “For everyone, we have been shaken by the epidemic, but perhaps more than that, she insists. We depend on truck drivers on the road and in a couple of weeks, mid-March 2020, everything has stopped.”

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Over time, I got to know them, truck drivers. So, a few days later, she and her team started calling them one by one. “If you need to maintain ‘social distancing’, it’s easy to do at the world’s largest truck station. This is where you want to be!”

And they’re back to the point where the relay’s turnover was 90% of what it did before the pandemic. Easy to see and question the drivers, they were eager to get back on the road. “I love my job, the driver tells me. I love the freedom you give me and getting paid for it!”

Ah, this famous freedom!

The word is exaggerated, and yet it appears spontaneously, naturally in the mouths of truck drivers. Someone who explained to me that companies offer lower prices to drivers, and I asked him why he chose such a life, replied impulsively: freedom. “I’m my boss. I get up when I want. I ride as much as I want.”

“The dashboard and my windshield are my office,” said another driver, very happy today to travel with his wife, after years of traveling alone. Most of them are not so lucky

This is also one of the reasons for the difficulties in hiring: we often spend weeks away from home. You need a certain personality for this kind of life and it seems that they are more and more rare, those who allow themselves to be tempted. Freedom is no longer enough.

About Iowa 80

  • Not quite halfway to the US…
  • 15 hours from New York and 29 hours from San Francisco.
  • Founded 1964 … They are about to get 4e Truck drivers generation.
  • For 50 years, 3.5 million cups of coffee and 19 million eggs for breakfast.
  • The relay is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • An average of 5,000 visitors stop there every day.

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