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Day Trip: Exit 284 leads to trucking history

Museum and truckstop offer oasis on I-80

Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Photo submitted by Iowa 80 Trucking Museum)
The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum is off Interstate 80, near the Iowa 80 Truckstop near Walcott, Iowa.
(Photo submitted by Iowa 80 Trucking Museum)
The 1927 GMC Big Brute 10-ton is on display near vintage gas pumps at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum off Exit 284 on Interstate 80 near Walcott, Iowa.

WALCOTT, Iowa – As mile after mile rolls past driving along Interstate 80, the Iowa 80 Truckstop is a welcome sight.

Known as the world's largest truck stop, it has a barber shop, a theater, and a gift store among its many offerings. However, the gem of Exit 284, the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, is just north of the truckstop.

Bill Moon, who started the truckstop, also began the museum's collection, which now includes 100 antique trucks, 60 of which can be seen at the museum. Also on display are 24 vintage gas pumps and 304 old gas station collectibles.

Among them:

• The oldest truck on exhibit, a 1910 Avery tractor-gasoline farm wagon. This is a three-speed, four-cylinder vehicle that cost $2,500 that year. It could go all of 15 mph.

• A White Motor Co. truck, a 1922 15 3/4 ton, four-speed, four-cylinder, that went 20 mph.

• An orange, 1925 International water tanker able to haul 750 gallons of water and used to clean streets in Wisconsin.

• A 1927 GMC Big Brute that could go 15 mph, but was strong with its two-range transmission. It was used in Minnesota at a grain elevator.

• A 1939 Mack BX thought to have been used to haul beams in the construction of Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

• A 1942 Mack FJ Cement Mixer. Only 98 were made that year. It was a dump truck until after World War II, when it was converted to work as a cement mixer.

• A 1957 Diamond T 921 FN; both truck and trailer have aerodynamic lines and that '50s style.

Trucks from the 1960s through 1980s also are displayed, including a 1968 Peterbilt 358, a 1978 Kenworth Bandag Bandit, and a 1983 Ford 9000. The Peterbilt carried food, the custom bandit set a world land speed record of more than 150 mph, and the Ford was the first of its kind. It served Con-way Central Express.

After checking out all the trucks, head back to the truckstop for a bite to eat at the restaurant and food court, then it'll be smooth trucking toward home.

If you go

What: Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Where: Interstate 80, Exit 284, Walcott, Iowa

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon 5 p.m. Sunday until Labor Day. Winter hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Cost: Donations accepted

Information: iowa80truckingmuseum.com or 563-468-5500

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