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The 10 Best Rest Stops in the U.S.

Nothing ruins a road trip like dingy rest stop that makes everyone itch for a shower. Inversely, could a great rest stop save a road trip? These are 10 of the best rest stops and truck stops that can be found in the U.S.

1. The Iowa 80 Truck Stop

The world’s largest truck stop can be found off of I-80, on exit 284 in Walcott, Iowa. This stop has pretty much anything a road tripper might need. In addition to plenty of fast food restaurants, there’s a movie theatre, laundromat, showers, a trucking museum, and church services on Sundays. The 100,000 square foot stop currently sees around 5,000 people per day.

2. South of the Border

This stop is located off of I-95 in Dillon, South Carolina. Here, you can find six different restaurants, ranging from casual dining to a steakhouse. The Border, as it’s known for short, also has the largest indoor reptile exhibit in the United States, which is open every day. Plus, there’s Pedroland, an amusement park with a ferris wheel, carousel, bumper cards, mini golf, and an arcade. There’s also an inn and a campground if you need to stay the night.

3. Buc-ee’s

Jennifer Woodard Maderazo, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This chain is a Texas staple, with twenty-two locations in the state. They feature convenience stores with huge restrooms, tons of gas pumps, and delis. The New Braunfels location won Cintas’ 2012 America’s Best Restroom Award. The store is 68,000 square feet with 80 soda fountains and conveniently contains a total of 83 bathroom stalls.

4. Little America

At first glance, Little America (at Exit 198 off of I-40 in Flagstaff, Arizona) doesn’t even look like a rest stop. It’s a gorgeous 500-acre hotel with a golf course, swimming pool, fitness center, and business center. There’s also a travel center on the property with a gas station, and the convenience store is open 24/7, fully stocked with books, groceries, CDs, DVDs, and souvenirs. Plus, there’s the Little America Grill, which serves everything from rotisserie chicken to breakfast foods to 50 cent ice cream cones. It’s open until at least 10:30 every day.

5. R-Place Restaurant

If you’re hungry while passing Morris, Illinois on I-80, this is the place to stop. R-Place is a 24/7 eatery that serves baked goods and American cuisine. It also has its own food challenge! The restaurant serves a 2-pound hamburger—half of which is meat and the other half is cheese, bun, and two toppings of your choice. To win, you must eat the entire thing within one hour without leaving the table. R-Place's food is so popular, they even cater.

6. Sapp Bros

poulsbo, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

While travelling on I-80, you might come across a Sapp Bros. Travel Center. There are sixteen locations between Salt Lake City, Utah and Clearfield, Pennsylvania. In addition to being a rest stop, the company also provides 24-hour roadside service. Six Sapp Bros. locations have their most popular restaurant, Apple Barrel, which serves reasonably priced American cuisine.

7. Tamarack Tourist Information Center

Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use

Tamarack is located on Exit 45 off of I-77 and I-64 in Beckley, West Virginia. It has a standard food court and provides tourist information, but it also contains a fine arts gallery, a theater with live performances, a conference center, and stores selling local products. Half a million people stop at the center every year.

8. Jubitz Truck Stop and Travel Center

This stop, which FOX Travel Channel named the “World’s Classiest Truck Stop,” can be found off of I-5 in Portland, Oregon. The Portlander Inn is on the property with 100 rooms for those who are too tired to keep driving. For quicker visits, there’s a restaurant, convenience store, and 80-seat movie theater. Jubitz also has the Ponderosa Lounge with pool tables, TVs, dance lessons, video poker, and live music on weekends.

9. Bear Lake Rest Area and Overlook

According to The Travel Channel, this is the rest stop with the best view in the U.S. It is located off of Route 89 in Bear Lake, Utah, and it provides a great spot to check out Bear Lake and its surrounding mountains. Plus, there’s a hiking trail for those who want to see a little more. (Of course, there's also parking and bathrooms.)

10. Trail’s Travel Center

This center is off of I-35 in Albert Lea, Minnesota. In addition to a couple of fast food restaurants, there is a restaurant and a tavern with the largest whiskey selection in southern Minnesota. Truck drivers who stop there can find a movie theater, wi-fi, and church services on Sundays.

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History
How an Early Female Travel Writer Became an Immunization Pioneer
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu by A. Devéria
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu by A. Devéria

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was a British aristocrat, feminist, and writer who was famed for her letters. If that were all she did, she would be a slightly obscure example of a travel writer and early feminist. But she was also an important public health advocate who is largely responsible for the adoption of inoculation against smallpox—one of the earliest forms of immunization—in England.

Smallpox was a scourge right up until the mid-20th century. Caused by two strains of Variola virus, the disease had a mortality rate of up to 35 percent. If you lived, you were left with unsightly scars, and possible complications such as severe arthritis and blindness.

Lady Montagu knew smallpox well: Her brother died of it at the age of 20, and in late 1715, she contracted the disease herself. She survived, but her looks did not; she lost her eyelashes and was left with deeply pitted skin on her face.

When Lady Montagu’s husband, Edward Wortley Montagu, was appointed ambassador to Turkey the year after her illness, she accompanied him and took up residence in Constantinople (now Istanbul). The lively letters she wrote home described the world of the Middle East to her English friends and served for many as an introduction to Muslim society.

One of the many things Lady Montagu wrote home about was the practice of variolation, a type of inoculation practiced in Asia and Africa likely starting around the 15th or 16th century. In variolation, a small bit of a pustule from someone with a mild case of smallpox is placed into one or more cuts on someone who has not had the disease. A week or so later, the person comes down with a mild case of smallpox and is immune to the disease ever after.

Lady Montagu described the process in a 1717 letter:

"There is a set of old women, who make it their business to perform the operation, every autumn, in the month of September, when the great heat is abated. People send to one another to know if any of their family has a mind to have the small-pox: they make parties for this purpose, and when they are met (commonly fifteen or sixteen together) the old woman comes with a nuts-hell full of the matter of the best sort of small-pox, and asks what veins you please to have opened. She immediately rips open that you offer to her with a large needle (which gives you no more pain than a common scratch), and puts into the vein as much matter as can lye upon the head of her needle, and after that binds up the little wound with a hollow bit of shell; and in this manner opens four or five veins. . . . The children or young patients play together all the rest of the day, and are in perfect health to the eighth. Then the fever begins to seize them, and they keep their beds two days, very seldom three. They have very rarely above twenty or thirty in their faces, which never mark; and in eight days' time they are as well as before their illness."

So impressed was Lady Montagu by the effectiveness of variolation that she had a Scottish doctor who worked at the embassy, Charles Maitland, variolate her 5-year-old son in 1718 with the help of a local woman. She returned to England later that same year. In 1721, a smallpox epidemic hit London, and Montagu had Maitland (who by then had also returned to England) variolate her 4-year-old daughter in the presence of several prominent doctors. Maitland later ran an early version of a clinical trial of the procedure on six condemned inmates in Newgate Prison, who were promised their freedom if they took part in the experiment. All six lived, and those later exposed to smallpox were immune. Maitland then repeated the experiment on a group of orphaned children with the same results.

A painting of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu with her son, Edward Wortley Montagu, and attendants
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu with her son, Edward Wortley Montagu, and attendants
Jean-Baptiste Vanmour, Art UK // CC BY-NC-ND

But the idea of purposely giving someone a disease was not an easy sell, especially since about 2 or 3 percent of people who were variolated still died of smallpox (either because the procedure didn’t work, or because they caught a different strain than the one they had been variolated with). In addition, variolated people could also spread the disease while they were infectious. Lady Montagu also faced criticism because the procedure was seen as “Oriental,” and because of her gender.

But from the start, Lady Montagu knew that getting variolation accepted would be an uphill battle. In the same letter as her first description of the practice, she wrote:

"I am patriot enough to take pains to bring this useful invention into fashion in England; and I should not fail to write to some of our doctors very particularly about it, if I knew any one of them that I thought had virtue enough to destroy such a considerable branch of their revenue for the good of mankind. But that distemper is too beneficial to them, not to expose to all their resentment the hardy wight that should undertake to put an end to it. Perhaps, if I live to return, I may, however, have courage to war with them."

As promised, Lady Montagu promoted variolation enthusiastically, encouraging the parents in her circle, visiting convalescing patients, and publishing an account of the practice in a London newspaper. Through her influence, many people, including members of the royal family, were inoculated against smallpox, starting with two daughters of the Princess of Wales in 1722. Without her advocacy, scholars say, variolation might never have caught on and smallpox would have been an even greater menace than it was. The famed poet Alexander Pope said that for her, immortality would be "a due reward" for "an action which all posterity may feel the advantage of," namely the "world’s being freed from the future terrors of the small-pox."

Variolation was performed in England for another 70 years, until Edward Jenner introduced vaccination using cowpox in 1796. Vaccination was instrumental in finally stopping smallpox: In 1980, it became the first (and so far, only) human disease to be completely eradicated worldwide.

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Why You Should Never Take Your Shoes Off On an Airplane
iStock
iStock

What should be worn during takeoff?

Tony Luna:

If you are a frequent flyer, you may often notice that some passengers like to kick off their shoes the moment they've settled down into their seats.

As an ex-flight attendant, I'm here to tell you that it is a dangerous thing to do. Why?

Besides stinking up the whole cabin, footwear is essential during an airplane emergency, even though it is not part of the flight safety information.

During an emergency, all sorts of debris and unpleasant ground surfaces will block your way toward the exit, as well as outside the aircraft. If your feet aren't properly covered, you'll have a hard time making your way to safety.

Imagine destroying your bare feet as you run down the aisle covered with broken glass, fires, and metal shards. Kind of like John McClane in Die Hard, but worse. Ouch!

Bruce Willis stars in 'Die Hard' (1988)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

A mere couple of seconds delay during an emergency evacuation can be a matter of life and death, especially in an enclosed environment. Not to mention the entire aircraft will likely be engulfed in panic and chaos.

So, the next time you go on a plane trip, please keep your shoes on during takeoff, even if it is uncomfortable.

You can slip on a pair of bathroom slippers if you really need to let your toes breathe. They're pretty useless in a real emergency evacuation, but at least they're better than going barefoot.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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