Features
Trucking People
Truckers buying truck stops, gettin’ hitched and more.

René Tankersley
Feature Editor

The truck stops here
Knowing your customers’ needs enhances your chance for success. If this business adage holds true, the fella who owns the Lynch Creek Plaza Truck Stop in Danville, IL, ought to have a thriving business. For more than 20 years, Leroy Lee of Calumet has been a long-haul trucker.

Lee recently purchased the Lynch Creek Plaza Truck Stop in Danville, IL. And if you don’t find him at the truck stop, it’s because this senior OOIDA member is still out on the road. While he’s trucking, his daughter, Henrina Jones, runs the truck stop.

Leroy Lee

OOIDA senior member Leroy Lee continues hauling freight while his daughter, Henrina Jones, runs his truck stop in Danville, IL. He recently bought the truck stop for $2 million.
(Photo courtesy of Lynch Creek Plaza Truck Stop.)

Located on Lynch Creek Road at Exit 220 one mile north of Interstate 74, the truck stop offers diesel and gasoline, scales, a 24-hour convenience store and snack shop, showers and laundry.

To make his business a haven for truckers, Lee says he has drawn upon his more than 20 years’ experience on the road as a long-haul trucker. He studied the truck stop’s business traffic for more than a year before buying the business.

To make his business different than most other truck stops, Lee is transforming the business into a full-service truck stop by pumping the fuel and gasoline, cleaning windshields and checking the oil and radiator. He has already started construction on a four-bay service center and a truck wash. The snack shop offers hot dogs, pizza, fish, chicken, tenderloins, burgers, pies and cakes. There are eight acres of parking, and even a fishing pond.

The truck stop is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including Christmas.

“Truckers don’t always get to be home for Christmas, so we should be here for them to at least have a hot meal,” Lee said.

An OOIDA member since 1987, Lee also offers fuel discounts to all OOIDA members. Just show your OOIDA membership card at the cash register.

Where does a trucker get $2 million to buy a truck stop? Lee says he did it by running hard, saving and keeping a good credit report. It also helps that a few years back he won $500,000 in the Illinois Lottery.

Of course, Lee isn’t counting his chickens yet. He continues running his truck hard as always while his daughter manages the truck stop.

“With this truck, I put three kids through college,” Lee said. “I’m not the brightest bulb in the house, but I can make money.”

Bob Bartley

Hauling military equipment

OOIDA member Bob Bartley of Osage City, KS, missed the war by a few months. Just six months before 9/11, Bartley retired from the Navy Seabees, a military construction battalion that builds naval shore facilities in combat zones. Now, he’s an owner- operator leased to Land Star Inway. He recently stopped by Land Line’s offices while hauling this 5-ton tractor from Fort Riley, KS, to Charleston, SC; from there, it goes to Iraq.

My big fat trucking wedding
The XM Satellite Radio booth at MATS was jammed with friends, family, fellow OOIDA members and well-wishers March 25 as professional truckers Suzanne “Temptation” Jordan and Paul “Brooklyn” Sasso exchanged vows in a ceremony broadcast live via XM’s Bill Mack show.

Chaplain Joe Hunter of the Georgia-based Truckstop Ministries officiated. Cpl. Norm Schneiderhan of the Orange County, FL, Sheriff’s Department was best man. Matron of honor was Suzanne’s daughter, Toni Crume, Fremont, NE.

Sasso

"Temptation" and "Brooklyn" get hitched.

While Mack and his wife, Cindy, Dale “Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers, Steve Sommers and others shared the spotlight with the bride and groom, one moment that seemed to steal the airwaves was a song performed by Steve Sommers’ daughter, Bethany, who sang the Shania Twain song, “From this Moment On.” The crowd swayed and sang along.

The bride’s brother, Duane Denton, surprised her by arranging for Suzanne’s father, “Frog” Allred of Denver, to attend the affair along with his wife, Peggy. Suzanne’s mother, Helen Pruitt of Duncan, OK, was not able to attend, but listened to the ceremony on her new XM radio boom box.

The two OOIDA members report they’ll be calling Florida their home base. The couple says their goal is to be running team by May 15 in Suzanne’s 2000 Freightliner Classic XL.

You know you’re married to a trucker when ...
He takes you to a truck show for your anniversary. He loads the dishwasher and straps everything down. He swings wide, even coming out of the bathroom. This is just a bit of what you can expect from, OOIDA members Tim and Terri Brady’s latest published humor.

Tim Brady is a retired trucker and active Trucker Buddy turned writer. His latest is “You Know You’re Married To A Trucker When ...” written under the pen names “Miles & Nadine Wheeler.”

The book is from Write Up the Road publishing (www.truckersbookstore.com). In the tradition of Jeff Foxworthy’s “redneck” routine, Tim and his journalist wife, Terri, amuse readers with 32 pages of one-liners. It’s a fun read.

March/April
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