Pilot Travel Center: An oasis you won't want to miss

We used to sail past Pilot Travel Center without even noticing. We figured it was just for truckers. But then we actually stopped at a Pilot during our two-week road trip. And now we look for any excuse to visit these amenity-packed little villages.

In fact, it's not really a road trip unless we visit at least one Pilot Travel Center. Here's why we love Pilot:

  • Restrooms. We've found the restrooms to be clean and well-equipped, though not without the occasional bit of graffiti directed at anyone in search of a "good time."

  • Coffee. Pilot Travel Center is using its coffee as a differentiator in its advertising, and with good reason. It's easily some of the best road coffee in America. They usually offer several selections, including lighter and darker brews, hazelnut, and some concoction with extra caffeine.

  • Food. The food selection is pretty decent. Pilot has pre-prepared sandwiches, breakfast items, chips and other snacks, muffins and pastries, and just about every drink you could name.

  • Fast food. There's a fast food joint in most locations. Now, I'm not a huge fast food guy, but sometimes you want to get a big, hearty combo meal to fill you up for a few hours. The fast food joint will vary by location - I've seen Del Taco and Subway recently.

  • Shopping. We're not truckers, but we love browsing all the items Pilot carries for truckers. Those guys really live in their cabs, and Pilot is obviously on a mission to make that experience as comfortable as possible.

    If you want to look at something more interesting than an interstate while stretching your legs sometime, try browsing the aisles at Pilot. You may even find a thoughtless gift or two for the people you're driving to visit.

  • Reading material. Who wants to get caught on a long road trip with nothing to read? Check out the newspaper and magazine rack at Pilot.

  • Washing machines. Long story, but these did come in handy during our two-week road trip. When you're out of clean clothes, you're out of clean clothes.

  • Showers. Haven't needed them yet, but there they are.

So, as you're planning your next road trip, find a Pilot Travel Center along the way. Note: At this writing, several Pilots in our area were in the process of changing their name to Love's Travel Center. Pilot also operates under the "Flying J" brand in some states.

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