Saturday, June 09, 2018

Trucking And Two-Stepping Where Two Rivers Meet

In Ed's 20 years of driving and my 12 years, with both of us traveling all over the United States and in the Pacific Northwest more times than I can count, we have never, ever, been to the Jubitz Travel Center in Portland, Oregon.

I don't know how that happened, but this weekend we fixed that mistake.

We needed to get the truck worked on and Ed found a Freightliner that happened to be on the same road as the Jubitz, so we decided to head down there from Yakima, where we had delivered our last load.  When Ed told me there was a hotel at the truck stop I immediately said, "Nope.  No way."

He said, "Why?" 

"Because hotels at truck stops, with the exception of Little America, are always shitholes."

"I'm sure it's fine," he said.

"No.  It's impossible.  It's called The Portlander Inn.  It's probably the equivalent of a Knight's Inn."

I knew we'd be arriving late, and I wasn't in the mood to walk into a room that smelled like a cigarette-smoking trucker, so I told Ed we'd probably have to find something else.

Well, I'm here to tell you I was wrong.  Turns out The Portlander Inn was quite nice. 

Definitely a budget hotel by my standards - very simple furnishings, polyester bedspread, no-name bathroom amenities - but clean, convenient, and staffed by insanely friendly people.  Even that late at night.

The hotel has a free shuttle that will take you anywhere within five miles of the hotel.  We called from the Freightliner and they immediately came out to pick us up.  The security guard driving the van was friendly and the van was spotless.  We checked in quickly, took showers, and went to bed.
The next morning we got up and had breakfast in their 24-hour restaurant, the Cascade Grill.  It was delicious.
The Jubitz has been around since 1952, but it's tucked away off of I-5, close to the Portland International Airport and not far from the banks of the Columbia River.  In fact, we came in from the east, on Interstate 84, and I took the exit for Marine Drive, which runs right along the Columbia River past several houseboat communities, marinas, parks, and the airport (a plane was landing as I rode alongside it).  It was a pretty little drive although I was told by our waitress that it's a treacherous road in the winter.
We always go to the T/A south of Portland, in Aurora, because it's immediately off of I-5.  From now on though, the Jubitz is definitely going to be my stop.  No wonder so many people talk about it!

They have everything you'd expect to find at a large truck stop - 300 parking spots, a 24-hour convenience store, showers, driver lounge, truck scales.  But they don't stop there.

 In addition to the beautiful restaurant...
 There's a postal center...
There's a casual deli and a movie theater showing new movies using state-of-the-art digital projection and surround sound.  Stadium seating, for six bucks!
There's a laundromat that offers drop-off service if you're interested in other people washing your chonies.  I like to do my own laundry, which I always seem to have plenty of, so this was a real plus.
And it wasn't like a typical truckstop with only a few machines, this was a real laundromat.  I did one load and was done washing and folding in ninety minutes.
There's a shoe repair place that fixes all things leather in addition to selling cowboy boots.  There's a hair salon & barber shop, a shop selling insurance, and right in the same lobby area, a lubricant and oil sales counter.
There are plenty of places to sit, tables with electrical outlets beside them for computer work, more bathrooms than you'll ever need, and everything, with the exception of what's in the driver services building - fuel islands, driver's lounge, c-store, and truck service center across the street - everything is under one roof.  Take a look at their campus map.  Oh, they even have a dog wash!
There's a small area housing the Pacific Northwest Truck Museum - check out this story about the free mud flaps Jubitz used to give out.  What a great idea!
The American Success Story sign in the photo below tells the story of Moe Jubitz.  It reads, “In the spring of 1939, the United States struggled to emerge from the Great Depression, war was brewing overseas, and a new Yale College graduate named Monroe A. “Moe” Jubitz turned down offers to pitch for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees to return home to Portland, Oregon.

At first, Moe tried different jobs and spent his summers hiking the tallest peaks in Europe.  He got his first taste of the trucking industry a few years later at Wilhelm Trucking, where he did just about everything except drive trucks.

With the knowledge gained at Wilhelm Trucking, Moe left in 1952 to start his own business – Fleet Leasing, Inc.  In 1958, with business booming and space limited, Moe moved the company to 2 ½ acres of land in North Portland and Jubitz Truck Stop was born.

Moe spent the next 44 years listening to customers’ feedback and giving them a reason to call Jubitz the World’s Classiest Truck Stop.  Innovations like sparkling clean facilities, live country and western music, paved parking with striped parking slots, trucker-sized towns, customer incentive programs, good food, and a courteous staff would distinguish Jubitz from the competition and help grow the truck stop from its humble beginning to the 26-acre-plus, full-service destination of today.
They even have entertainment!  The Ponderosa Lounge & Grill sits at the end of the main building and is Portland's biggest and best country western bar.

They have live music every weekend featuring local, regional, and national talent.  And if the wall of celebrity country stars - Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Jo Dee Messina, Travis Tritt, Chely Wright, and more - is any indication, they've offered some excellent entertainment over the years.  

The lounge just had a very expensive renovation and is beautiful.  Full-service bar, pool tables, dance floor, stage.
 I was very impressed with the entire operation and I'll definitely be returning.  In fact, this is going to be my only Portland stop from now on.  And the next time I'm here, I'm checking out the entertainment in the lounge.  I might even get in on the Country-Western dance lessons.  It's been way too long since I've done a Texas Two-step!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Summer Riding Fever

2016: People Who Live In Glass Houses Can Safely Click Links
2015: We've Got A $3 Million Dollar View, Too.
2014: Stripes On Ice
2013: Boy's Eye View
2012: Clear As The Blue Of The Indiana Sky
2011: Puttin’ On The Ritz
2010: Even Prisoners Get Bread And Water
2009: Hidden Fluff
2008: It’s Time For One Of These Again
2007: They Called My Name And Clutched The Collar Of My Shirt With Their Evil Cheese Stuffed Fingers
2006: Marlin Perkins Must Live In The Neighborhood
2005: Sorry, no post on this day.

1 comment:

Addy Brown said...

The hotel has a free shuttle that will take you anywhere within five miles of the hotel. In the spring of 1939, the United States struggled to emerge from the Great Depression, war was brewing overseas, and a new Yale College graduate named Monroe A. “Moe” Jubitz turned down offers to pitch for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees to return home to Portland, Oregon.