Friday, January 4, 2008

Classy truck stop -- now with hookups

We are at the Jubitz truck stop, along I-5 just south of the Columbia (map). We're here because Ed Hardy Diesel service is just a couple doors down the street, and they will be doing our oil change first thing tomorrow morning (the only bay long enough for Odyssey was busy this afternoon). Diesel here is $3.399 a gallon, though, so after we left Raz this morning, we first headed out to Troutdale to take on 200 gallons at the Flying-J for just $3.239. That $0.16 difference in price amounted to $32 on the tank.

We rarely spend a night someplace without leaving them some of our money, though, and tonight is no exception. We had lunch in the restaurant and bought several items in the store. As I wrote here back in July of 2005, this is a very nice truck stop, with many amenities. We have spent the night here more than once, even though one must enter the lot past a sign that reads "Trucks Only."

On our way in to the restaurant for lunch, we noticed a number of parking spaces with what looked like campground power pedestals. A bit farther along, we found a sign with an explanation: they were installed by ShorePower (formerly ShurePower), who intends to turn them into a revenue opportunity for the truck stop. The idea being that truckers can plug in to heat or cool their cabs, rather than idling all night. Right now, the system is in a free trial mode -- I have no idea what they will charge once they start doing so. Even though the power is free for the taking at the moment, and large signs proclaiming this are in evidence (along with smaller signs declaring this part of the lot a "No Idling" zone), it is not catching on: the trucks on either side of us have been idling all night, and out of perhaps two dozen spaces with outlets, only a half dozen trucks are taking advantage of it. Clearly, if they are to make any headway with this, they will need to get serious about cracking down on the idling.

In any case, we moved Odyssey over to one of the wired spots, hauled out the 20-amp cord, and have been enjoying electric heat since mid-afternoon. The pedestals are each wired with two separate 20-amp GFCI circuits, and a 30-amp, four-wire 208/110 circuit that accepts a four-wire plug of the sort commonly found on clothes dryers. I do carry such a plug, but we did not need the whole 6KW and it was not worth fiddling around making the adapter -- 20 amps at 110 is plenty to run the heaters and top off the batteries. Incidentally, the pedestals also claim to have TV cable, and Internet is an option (although Jubitz has WiFi). When the system is fully operational, one will need to call a phone number to have the pedestal turned on.

Tomorrow morning we will get the oil changed, and possibly have the thermostats looked at, as we've been running a little cool (~165°) lately.

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