Thursday, September 14, 2006

I-75 Necessary Stops

Written while driving north from Knoxville TN to Cincinnati OH.

Currently, I am nearing exit 41 on northbound Interstate 75 in Kentucky.

Currently, I also need to find a facility -- not for my car if you get my meaning.

As I am driving, I find it kind of amazing that McDonald's -- one of the premier cookie-cutter restaurants is always able to duplicate everything in its restaurant. I would guess that at least 90% of the time, its hamburgers, soda, french fries, morning breakfast sandwiches, uniforms, paint schemes, drive-throughs are remarkably the same.

Unfortunately, their men's restrooms are also almost (without exception) remarkably the same. Not really clean -- more like kind of smelly, do-I-really-want-to-touch-the-door-handle, stinky dirty. Maybe I am not being absolutely fair in this judgment, and maybe it is just the McDonald's and other fast food restaurants near the interstate system, but why are they all so repulsive that one has to almost physically restrain one's son or daughter from touching (well) anything?

So, while I am driving, I am making my list of best places for a personal pitstop:

1. Any rest area just inside the border of a state. It seems that the state does not want to make a negative impression to its newly welcomed visitors just after they have crossed the border.

2. Cracker Barrel -- I don't know how, but they usually keep their bathrooms Disney-clean.

3. The most recently constructed rest areas -- something about the relatively recent architecture lends itself to people hitting the toilet.

4. Fast food restaurants that are to the right of exit ramps -- even if it is not clean smelling, at least it is efficient to get back on the interstate.

5. Truckstops -- these are moderately clean and the persistent cigarette smoke masks the years and filth.

6. Gas stations -- these people consistently understand that getting the vehicle's driver to stop for fuel is their number one priority. Their step number two involves getting the same drivers to purchase the "sundry" items inside (to maximize, Hell to create) actual profit. Their step number three is to get them back out of the store and away from their pumps to lure more drivers.
Having clean bathrooms, therefore, is not a part of their business plan as it causes vehicles to park in front of the pumps for profit-crushing durations.

7. An underpass or any shoulder just past the end of any guardrail. Maybe this should be #5 or #6.

8. The Bigfoot "Convenience Station" on Interstate 74 at the Greenwood, Indiana exit -- never, never, never again.
Do you have any additions or modifications to this list?

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