When we got to Napanee, it was time to fuel up both the car and ourselves, and we did both at the Flying J Truck Stop. We thought that it would be a nice change from the usual fast food joints: a real-life honest-to-goodness place that catered to truckers, without whom our stores, from the most indie retailer in Kensington Market to the biggest of the “big boxes”, would go unstocked.

Here’s a photo of our booth:

01 flying j table

The folks who the the Flying J know a marketing opportunity when they see one. That’s why the placemat doubles as advertising for their store specials, which naturally are for accoutrements that one would need on the road: jumper cables, Bluetooth headsets, ratchet wrench sets and energy drinks…

02 flying j matClick the photo to see it at full size.

I remember old restaurants having jukeboxes in the booths. If you’re living on the road, being able to get in touch with your loved ones trumps having music, which is why these booths sport phones instead. I haven’t used a pay phone in a very long time, so I was surprised to find out that local calls are now 50 cents.

03 flying j booth phone

Damir went for the chopped steak and mashed potatoes, but I went for the real down-home option: the buffet. I picked out what I thought might be an authentic road meal, based on all those episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives I’ve seen:

  • Shepherd’s pie (featuring cut-up beef, not ground meat)
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • “Oven-baked chicken”
  • Sausage and peppers

04 flying j buffet lunch

They’re not going to win any Michelin stars soon, but it was filling.

After lunch, I decided to check out the store. I spotted the audiobook aisle:

05 flying j audiobooksClick the photo to see it at full size.

The “Mark Dalton: Trucker/Detective” series caught my eye. Should I buy this on the way back? Let me know in the comments!

06 mark dalton trucker detective

There’s no escaping this guy! That smug know-nothing face really needs a solid pimp-slapping:

07 glenn beck

Of L. Ron Hubbard’s books, I’ve read only two: Battlefield Earth (I considered it so-so at age 14) and Dianetics (ridiculous). My guess is that his pulp titles shown below – Spy Killer, The Great Secret and Under the Black Ensign – aren’t anything to write home about:

08 l ron hubbard

Nothing spruces up the cab of an 18-wheeler like a plush white tiger:

09 tiger

And if you’re pressed for space and your truck can’t accommodate the body of a giant cat, you can always opt for the head:

10 lion tigers heads

[This article also appears in Global Nerdy.]