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Exciting Ways to Improve Our Interstate Rest Areas

Updated on February 27, 2015
Rest areas now are great for truckers to stop, rest, and get some sleep
Rest areas now are great for truckers to stop, rest, and get some sleep

Rest area

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Rest stop" redirects here. For other uses, see Rest stop (disambiguation).

"Resto" redirects here. For other uses, see Resto (disambiguation).

"Lay-by" redirects here. For the form of installment purchase, see Layaway.

A rest area, travel plaza, rest stop, or service area is a public facility, located next to a large thoroughfare such as a highway, expressway, or freeway at which drivers and passengers can rest, eat, or refuel without exiting on to secondary roads. Other names include motorway service area, service station, rest and service area (RSA), resto, service plaza, and service centre. Facilities may include park-like areas, fuel stations, restrooms, and restaurants. A rest area or rest stop with limited or no public facility is a parking area or scenic area. Along some highways and roads are rest stops known as a wayside parks, roadside parks, or picnic areas. Rest areas are common in the United States, Canada, Australia, and parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia.

You have a choice

Today you have a choice. I can talk to you about "Untold Secrets About Sean Connery," or "Exciting Ways to Improve Our Interstate Rest Areas." You can never accuse me of "getting into a rut" when it comes to hub topics.

You made a wise choice. I am going to talk about easy, exciting, and economically-prosperous ways for those high-level thinkers in the Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., to make our network of interstate highways better. And more enjoyable for us when we travel cross country.

The main purpose of rest areas, or rest stops, are not a study in Quantum Physics and Elementary Calculus. The purpose(s) of rest areas are:

  • To give travelers a chance to unwind, nap, and use the restroom
  • To give the hard-working truckers a chance to turn their truck engines off, climb into their sleeper and take a few ZZZZ's.
  • For travelers to get valuable directions on where someone or something is located.
  • To allow weary travelers to let their pets "do their business," get some exercise and get back into the vehicle with the owners to head to "Uncle Mickey and Aunt Milly's" for that yearly reunion.

Our current rest areas are easy to find on our interstate highway network
Our current rest areas are easy to find on our interstate highway network

Our current rest areas are not pretty

In short, rest areas are flat-out dull, drab, and on the last trip I was on with my wife, Pam, I noticed that almost every rest area we passed was not having people jam the parking areas with their vehicles and storming the doors to get inside to see what the inside of a rest stop looks like.

For if you face facts, the road sign is also dull. All it has is white letters, all capitals that read "REST AREA," with a white arrow pointing to where the rest area is located. That's it. No flashing lights. No banners or marching bands. Just (a) rest area.

Our current rest areas are clean and neat as well as looking very drab and dull
Our current rest areas are clean and neat as well as looking very drab and dull
A rest area in Wisconsin
A rest area in Wisconsin

Our rest areas need help

You have read my materials long enough to know that I hate to editorialize, but I am sick and tired of dull rest areas and you know something? Dullness does not attract people. Nor does it make people comfortable when they sincerely want to just "rest" when they stop in one of these places.

Speaking of rest. All of the choices you have to sit down are state-issued (to the lowest bidder) plastic-back chairs with metal bodies for you to "rest your dogs," feet) and take a load off. Where? There is nowhere but these facsimiles of chairs to sit and close your eyes for a spell. What a rip off. But it is not the fault of the state where the rest areas are located. I guess it has a lot to do with state monies running low or out. Whoever heard of such nonsense? Which is more important, a rested, happy traveler or another E-Z Payday Loan office?

Most rest areas today have a peaceful place to sit and think, read, sleep (in good weather), and unwind for the rest of your trip
Most rest areas today have a peaceful place to sit and think, read, sleep (in good weather), and unwind for the rest of your trip
Werner von Braun
Werner von Braun
Alabama governor, Robert Bentley
Alabama governor, Robert Bentley
Les Walters with his first grandson, Tadd
Les Walters with his first grandson, Tadd

Americans can do this

There has to be a way to improve these babies, I say. No, I shout to the mountains. Let me prove this. When mankind didn't have a way to the moon, here came Werner von Braun, German scientist and rocket expert and with a few nuts and bolts, a wire here, a wire there, before long it was July 1969 and bam! Neal Armstrong "made a small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind." Simple as that.

With a wheelbarrow of faith, I now appeal to my Governor, Robert Bentley, to go into special session and see if the Alabama Legislature can "hammer-out" a special bill to allocate a few million for my project of upgrading our state's rest areas. Come on, Robert. You can do this.

To wax nostalgic as my best pal and managing editor and former boss at the Journal Record newspaper, Hamilton, Al., LES WALTERS, used to say, Americans are winners. Americans are not ones to give up. If we set our minds to it, we can do it. We have had a darn good track record of not losing or quitting over the eons of time, so why not build another much-improved and attractive rest area? Can you think of any reason why not build a more attractive rest area?

If you Agree or Disagree --

with my Rest Area upgrades, please leave your responses in the comment area below. I will very much appreciate that. And

Happy Traveling.


A sight for sore eyes
A sight for sore eyes
Early rest area designs
Early rest area designs
This rest area employee gives a free lecture on the advantages of using solar panels
This rest area employee gives a free lecture on the advantages of using solar panels
Moderate-size rest area
Moderate-size rest area
Time was, park rangers saw to the managing of rest areas
Time was, park rangers saw to the managing of rest areas

I'm going to get to it

Enough talking. Time to lay-out my new ideas (some controversial) for upgrading America's rest areas.

  • New paint. Yes, new paint -- Just look at the paint that's on our rest areas now. It's a dull off-green and mauve. What a snoozer-of-a-color. It's a wonder more travelers have not went to sleep when they "leave" a rest area for being so bored.
  • Exciting, relaxing movies -- you bet. The projection system would not cost a fortune. Neither would the movies that some rest area employee could just drop into the projector and wham! A group of rested, refreshed travelers. Am I making sense?
  • What did you have to look at the last time YOU were in a rest stop? I can tell you. Maps, brochures, maps and brochures. And that was it. Hey, state who planned these: Could you possibly be a bit more drab and opaque?
  • Girls and guys who serve you free refreshments. That does NOT mean alcoholic drinks, but fresh water, sodas or mineral water. Plus some delicious fruit and maybe some Rice Chex mixed with almonds and Cheerio-s. What a delight. Travelers would look forward to stopping in my newly-improved rest areas, don't you think?
  • Soothing music being piped throughout the rest area. And not that Muzak that we are forced to hear in each elevator we ride, but songs by Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, and others. Maybe some upbeat orchestra music, huh? Sure beats no music.
  • Famous and successful authors, storytellers and historians from the state where the rest area is located. What could be better than stopping at a rest area and hear these men and women who know more about the state you are in than any brochure could tell you in a year. What about the entertainment value? I think it is very high and very needed.
  • What about installing a couple of plasma television's in rest areas? Some travelers might appreciate the idea of sitting down and hearing the latest weather and news. Oh, I know why there aren't any televisions in rest areas now. Because the rest area supervisors (wherever they are) are afraid of lottering that might occur if a lazy bum should see a pretty waitress carrying free drinks and then sees this pretty plasma television in the corner. To the lazy bum, this is heaven, so why leave?
  • Some simple knowledge says why not hire a few employees to work at these rest areas. But Kenneth, where would the money come from to pay them? Well, one idea is to have state senators to take a pay-cut and stop wasting taxpayer monies on "How Gambling Affects a Marriage," to the tune of $2.5 million dollars a year.
  • Give the travelers some live music outside the rest area in the shade trees? I would love that. Just to sit down, relax, and listen to some great Bluegrass or Country Music played by real people on real musical instruments.

I think it's time for us as Americans to stand up for what's right. And upgraded rest areas is THE right thing to do.

Sit back and enjoy


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, vkwok,

      If states DO put these ideas into action, I will have my wife to take me for long drives on the interstates for I do not drive anymore thanks to these two diseases: Fibromyalgia and Neurothopy. Both incurable and I cannot do anything but take shots in my back and meds.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      3 years ago from Hawaii

      Hope these ideas get put to use, Kenneth!

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      I agree with you on your view of rest areas. A few years back I talked to a guy who was by himself, working at a rest area in Georgia. He looked like a convict on work-release. He even had the orange jumpsuit. Get this. I asked, "Do you ever see the police?" In response to his story of a guy getting knifed in the bathroom the last week. His reply was, "Maybe once a day--and when they stop, they just look each way and keep going."

      That made me realize that criminals could do what they wanted all they wanted. Scary is the word.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Are you serious? Independent contractors? That is Ludacris. Why did your state make this move? And I agree. You are literally "walking in the dark with a flashlight without batteries."

      Thanks for the input. I was impressed.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      The rest stops along I90 out here are a mixed bag. I like the ideas. It would mean a lot to everyone in the country to have super clean and modern rest areas. Many are run by independent contractors now, so you never know what you're getting.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      You have some wonderful ideas! Our rest stops around here are so bad, most people are afraid to stop at them!


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