To most, a truck stop is just a large roadside oasis; a convenient stop along the highway and a place to grab a quick snack. To others, it becomes a home away from home. These fluorescent filled lots become filled with strangers traveling the nation who share these places as a temporary “home”.
As I pushed in the entrance door of the Richfield Truck Stop, two smiling faces from the staff greeted me. I continued to explore the space, and quickly realized the bonds that had formed between the “regulars” as well as amongst the employees. As I sat down to grab some food, the waitress hesitantly hid a smile behind her tired face. Two truck drivers inquired about my reasoning for the camera and as I explained my interest in these “beacons of light” known as truck stops, they were more than willing to participate. By now, the entire staff knew about me, and I was welcomed back into the kitchen to meet the cooks.
I finished up my meal, paid my bill and while I headed for the door, realized that these were not just a bunch of strangers; they were, in a way, a small family. I stepped outside, and walked out past a group of semis. As I photographed the building, the warm glow from the restaurant radiated through the windows, and the cold fluorescent lamps shone down on the gas pumps, and shed light into the front cabs of the nearby idling trucks.
Departing the Richfield Truck Stop, I too left with the sense of a new sort of family. These glowing landmarks for the drivers may just seem like just another gas station, but there’s a different atmosphere about them. There’s a sense of warmth within them and a welcoming environment for many drivers. Being greeted by a friendly staff and homey feeling diner, the feeling of a home resonated throughout the building.