Lacon, Ala — Along Interstate 65, between Huntsville and Birmingham Alabama, just off exit 318, sits a welcome site. Pop’s Travel Center. It’s the only business at this exit and it’s well worth the visit.
I discovered this place quite by accident.
While riding my Harley back home to Tennessee last year, I was getting “drowsy” and had a bit of an appetite, so the next exit, 318, I pulled off to take a break.
I was greeted by a Stuckeys and a family restaurant. Having grown up visiting Stuckeys when we traveled, it was a welcome site.
Pops Travel Center is owned by husband and wife, Mary and Jerry “Pops” Pierce and their story is a genuine “true love” story.
Mary and Pops met while working at the Stuckeys as teenagers in 1973. Their relationship was sealed with a kiss one day as Mary was cleaning the restrooms. Pops went to see if she needed any help and, oddly enough, that’s where they shared their first kiss.
Mary blushes at the idea that it was the ladies room where this happened, but they fell in love and were married in 1974 and never looked back.
The couple spent years managing the store, but along the way, the owned a Dairy Queen franchise, where they polished their management skills and when the opportunity to purchase their current store came along, they were ready.
In 2007, what was once the legendary Stuckeys, was suddenly, Pop’s Travel Center.
When you enter the store, you’re surrounded by the music of Elvis and greeted by some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Their menu offers everything from fresh made hamburgers and sandwiches, to french fries, chips and all the sides.
Pop’s Bar B Q is some of the best you’ve ever tasted, and his trademark rubs and sauces are a must for any serious cook.
Oh, and be sure to have them make you a hand scooped milk shake!
Spend some time stretching your legs by shopping around the store, or just grab some snacks and a drink and be on your merry way. Either way, you’ll be glad you stopped to meet Mary and Pops.
I personally love to support local businesses, and it’s a terrific change from the usual “pit stop” along the interstate, where the parking lot can be as dangerous as driving the open road. Oh, and there’s plenty of room to walk your pets!
I travel I-65 quite often and I make it a point to stop by for a visit. I recommend you do the same. You’ll make new friends for life.