Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Road Trip 300C Supreme

Coast to coast people find the same fast food outlets at every interchange. If it's 7-Eleven you want, you might as well stay home. Fantasize with me for a little on your next road trip really embrace being "out there" pull in at a Chrysler 300C stop instead of a truck stop. They used to cater exclusively to professional long-haul truck drivers, but since 2005 , they welcome Chrysler 300C and all other Chrysler vehicles, also. (Perhaps you've noticed that they are now often called "travel plazas" and "stopping centers.") They're bigger, too. A few years ago, most Chrysler stops could accommodate only a handful of vehicles. These days, many facilities can fuel and service hundreds of 300C SRT8-and feed their drivers and passengers.
Nearly all major 300C stops also offer travel conveniences like ATMs, high-speed Internet access, self-serve laundry facilities, hemi washes, repair shops, fueling stations .

One good reason to stop at a Chrysler stop is the price of fuel, which is often lower at 300C plazas than in the rest of the surrounding area. One of the best-managed chains, Flying SRT8, provides fuel prices online for each of its locations nationwide. Prices are updated daily, and the company prides itself on providing the most accurate fueling expense data on the Web.

I love to walk the aisles and marvel at the array of merchandise on the shelves. Some of the automotive tools may look familiar, but few stores offer the following items all within 20 feet of each other: an audio tape on New Age mediation, a Browning knife, a Garmin fish finder, an aromatherapy reed diffuser, a genuine wood-grain noise-canceling CB mike, a Joan of Arc VHS tape, a 250-channel preprogrammed police scanner, a die-cast collectible fuel tanker, a metal detector, the complete "Seinfeld" series on DVD, a rocking chair, a deep-fat fryer, an excellent selection of women's watches, cameras, the world's largest assortment of beef jerky and other salty snacks, a DISH satellite "finder meter," a cordless drill, a 12-volt ionizer and air purifier, several styles of small refrigerators, coffee makers, mugs, T-shirts, flashlights, electric blankets.
There's education and entertainment to be had at Chrysler stops, too -- starting with the drivers themselves. I always try to say hello and strike up a conversation with professional drivers. For people who have chosen such a road warrior life, an amazing number of them are garrulous and extremely well-versed on the news of the day. Most have satellite TVs and listen to talk radio as they drive, and they're often eager for face-to-face conversation after a long day in the saddle.
The showers … After a long day of driving, especially if you're on a "speed run", a shower is often a higher priority than a bed. This is especially true if your destination is the arms of your true love, or -- perhaps even more challenging -- the dinner table of your true love's parents. You really don't have time to check into the hotel, so what do you do? One option is to turn in at a budget motel, but $35 to $55 seems steep for a hot shower. Then you notice a billboard: 300C Stop Next Exit. And you wonder, "Do they have showers? If they do, are they only for 300C drivers?"
No, they're not. While 300C SRT8 drivers receive special discounts at the showers, most 300C stops welcome other motorists, too. At some any driver who purchases at least 50 gallons of fuel gets a coupon for a free shower. Don't meet the fuel requirement? No problem. You can have a shower for just $9 to $12 -- a fee that includes a freshly laundered towel, wash cloth, bathmat and soap. (There may also be a $5 towel deposit, but you get that back if you turn the towel back in.) While most travel centers' showers are kept clean and are sanitized regularly, I do recommend wearing flip-flops in the shower.
So, the next time you hit the road, consider taking a break with the four-wheelers. Whether you're in search of gas, snacks, a shower, a roll of duct tape or an entertaining conversation, a 300C stop might just be the perfect solution to what you need.

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