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truckstop WiFi wars
i'm ready for my close up mr demille
Location: Youngstown, OH

Apparently, a WiFi war is a-brew among the truckstops in the nation. I have been using the Flying J network since July of last year and am currently payed-up through this coming July. But I have discovered that the other two of the "big 3" truckstops have networks in place or in the works.

Pilot has a network called truckstop.net which is in virtually all of the Pilot locations as well as some of the minor chains like Sapp Bros, Love's, and Petro. At the moment, they look to be the largest, however, I've been testing them out here and there, and so far they don't seem to be incredibly reliable. I was in two different locations last week that should've had internet access and it wasn't working at either. On top of that, Pilot generally has really small parking lots and horrible services (no lounge, no full service restaurants, etc) Travel Centers of America, my preferred truckstop for fueling because of their generous loyalty perks is embarking of one of their own. They currently only have 3 active hot spots but intend to have virtually their entire truckstop system equipped with WiFi services by June of 2004.

Thjs is good news. Since July I've been fueling and showering at TA's then parking at a Flying J for the internet. Plus, since I'm largely in the midwest and east, TA's are more abundant than Flying J's, particularly in the east. I'm hoping TA builds a robust, fast, and reliable network on schedule. Then in July, when I need to renew a year-long price plan, I'll switch to them and use the other two networks on a pay-as-you go basis when a TA isn't handy.

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Is the one smack in the middle of Florence a TA?

Yup (exit 181), and there's actually a second TA down the highway at the Walton exit (175) where the two Pilots are.

I never understood the wisdom of having the truck stop in the middle of a high-traffic area in the middle of the city like that.
Is that common?

Possibly at the time it was built, Florence wasn't the teeming metropolis it has become. You see that a lot in the major cities that have sprawled into the suburbs. Areas that used to be considered the "outskirts" are now part of the metro area. All of Cinci's truckstops sprung up on the south side for the primary reason that it's where two interstates run together, making the most of traffic coming from either direction on either interstate. There are only a handful of truckstop north or west of Cinci, but in Northern Kentucky, there are two Pilots, two TA's and a Flying J :)

You see that a lot on the highways, too. Like the junction of 80, 90 and 94 in northern Indiana outside Chicago. Or where I am in Youngstown right now, where 80 and 76 converge.

They actually tore down and rebuilt this TA, if I'm not mistaken, though.

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