Working on the Plane; a lonely, but fun, Thanksgiving
I am Smoking and Waiting

The Petro Stopping Center in El Paso, Texas

One of the reasons Flying J went bankrupt was because it had the sorriest food in the country. They shipped everything out pre-made and they would leave it sitting on the buffet table for hours.Sometimes I would take pictures of the buffet and send them to Ogden. I got caught doing this at the Flying J on Merced Avenue in Bakersfield, California. The chicken was undercooked and the refried beans had water floating on the top. The spaces between metal pans were covered in spilled food, and the glass over the buffet was filthy. The manager came out and asked me what I was doing, and I told him I was a food photographer for Time Magazine. He didn't think I was very funny; he grabbed the phone and called the sheriff, blaming me for the line of customers refusing to pay their bill. 

When my little boy rode in the truck with me, I would use Flying J food to enforce good behavior. If I threatened him with a Flying J meal, he would shape it up immediately. He liked Petro though, especially the one in El Paso. Here you can order a real chicken fried steak, with homemade mashed potatos, his favorite roadside meal. The salad bar has always been something the El Paso employees stock with pride. This morning it is loaded down with fresh berries, grapes, melons, jello, and raisins.

Sonny, a longtime Petro kitchen employee, is cooking omelettes. You can get fresh jalapeno, mushrooms, ham, and bacon cooked into your eggs, along with many other items. The place is sparkling clean, the staff is very professional, and the mix of Spanish and English conversation is comforting and pleasant.

Most truck drivers do not like to eat pre-made food. Healthy food in a pleasant atmosphere can help some of us live a lot longer. We are all hoping the upper management of Petro/TA preserves the restaurants that do work, and phase out many of the premade restaurant selections. Soup boiled in a bag is radically different than soup cooked from fresh vegetables.

Well I guess that's it for now. This holiday week has dragged on for too long, and I really need to get home. I miss my big computer, my cozy apartment, my huge television. I would like to drive my car for a change, and go someplace nice. I need to go to the Anytime I ever!


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