Line One
Man, those were the days
Life member William "Wild Bill" Rode remembers how the West was run

Does anybody remember back in the 1960s when 85 percent of the roads out West were still two-lane, and the rest – from Portland to Denver – were under construction? It took the better part of a week to make the trip.

Remember when Jubitz truck stop in Portland had only two diesel pumps and a muddy lot to park in? And when the cafe had three or four booths and maybe 10 or so seats at the counter? And when there was a small lounge in the back of the cafe?

I remember them filling my tank on the old truck. It took around 70 gallons and cost $9.10 out of a 10 spot, so with my change I was able to go in the cafe and enjoy a large piece of pie and coffee. I could also play a couple of songs on the jukebox. Back then $10 went a long way.

There were small places where you could buy fuel and get a bite to eat, but the larger truck stops were around 350 to 450 miles apart. I remember the 20/30 Truck Stop on the east side of Boise, ID. It was up on a bench, and you got a real good view of the river winding through Boise.

I always traveled old 30 and I recall a place called “The Y” in Bliss, ID. Real good food. They served a steak called a “Maverick.” With all the expensive trimmings, it cost $2.25 and that was a big meal.

Continuing on through Idaho to Little America, WY, does anyone remember one of the old-time truck stops where they fueled your truck, washed the windows, bumped the tires, and said thank you for coming in? The cafe gave truck drivers a special menu to order from.

Truckers were waited on first, and the tourists’ menu was full price. Fuel was 11 cents a gallon. Man, those were the days.

In Sinclair, WY, there was a fuel stop that charged 12 cents a gallon, but would give the driver a 2-cent-a-gallon discount. So, 100 gallons means two bucks in your pocket. And that would buy a good supper most anywhere.

From Laramie, WY, I would take 287 to Longmont, CO; then I would cut east to where the new freeway (I-25) was finished. Then I rolled on in to Denver. Just before you got on the freeway, there was a little place called Del Camino’s.

Back then, you had to park in the alfalfa field on the south side of the building. That was some of the best food ever. Now I believe that little spot has become almost a town in itself, there at Exit 240 on I-25.

Back in those days, if I wanted to get unloaded and reloaded before the weekend I had to get on to Denver. Oh, by the way this trip paid the company driver a whopping $86.80. LL


Editor’s note: Bill Rode has been a member of OOIDA since 1988. He lives in Eagle, ID.