Friday, July 22, 2011

On the Travel Channel: ‘Truck Stop, Missouri’

Is the rest of the LL staff inside?
Photo by Keith Goble
I’d be rich if I had a hundred bucks for every weekend I have spent at Midway, a busy little truck stop community on I-70 just west of Columbia, MO.

I wasn’t there with an 18-wheeler. I was there for the horse shows, but it’s a place I’ve come to know well. The Midway Expo Center is part of the venue there, and for years it was home to a busy schedule of horse shows.

You never have to leave Midway or get very far from your equine money pit – i.e., show horse – because there’s everything you need. You stay at the hotel, eat at the truck stop, get ice and food and drinks at the truck stop, fuel up at the truck stop. Heck, you can even get a new pair of boots at the truck stop. While you are at a three-day horse show, you can also shop for western duds, maybe attend a gun show, or browse the flea market. I got my lucky Gene Autry pocketknife there.

After a long day at the barns, you can have supper at the truck stop restaurant (I always have breakfast no matter what time of day it is), and then if you want to party a bit, there’s the Back Door Lounge, which is upstairs.

When the Land Line crew is on the road to Louisville, every year we pull off at Midway and have breakfast. Sometimes we eat at the truck stop; sometimes we go a half mile farther to the world famous Perche Creek Cafe.

It’s famous for the Perche Creek Yacht Club, which claims to have more than 900 members in 36 states and 12 foreign countries. There really are no yachts, of course. It’s a small cafe with great home-cooked food and faded autographed poster of NASCAR’s Carl Edwards on the wall, attached to a busy little c-store with a couple of gas pumps.

Near the poster of Cousin Carl, there’s a framed newspaper article on the wall describing the Great Goat Caper, when someone put a live goat on top of the local water tower.

Every morning, members meet at the cafe to further the club’s mission of “having no purpose.”

On the way to the cafe, we always have to stop at the haunted house, no matter what season it is, because they have one of the biggest coffins in the world.

It’s certainly no surprise to us that Leftfield Pictures (same people who did “Pawn Stars”) chose Midway Truck Stop as the scene for their new Travel Channel docu-series.

The new TV show focuses on the day-to-day activities at the Midway Truck Stop and is set to premiere on the Travel Channel in two weeks.

It’s called “Truck Stop, Missouri” and includes features not just on the lives of truckers but also local characters.

You’ve already guessed from my description this is no ordinary truck stop. It’s home to 12 separate businesses. It has a convenience store, a restaurant, a tattoo shop, a fireworks store, a hotel and even a child care center. The star in this series is the manager of the truck stop, Joe Bechtold. In the Travel Channel’s press release, it describes him as an “adventurous man with a dry sense of humor” doing everything he can to “hold Midway together from day to day.”

The 12-episode series starts Aug. 3 at 9 p.m. Central.

I can’t wait.