Monday, April 10, 2017

Caffeination Double Whammy

If there's one thing any good trucker knows, it's staying awake.  An integral part of that staying awake is caffeine.  It's cheap, it's legal, and it's readily available.  If crank were legal, I'm sure every truck stop on the continent would be pedaling it.  But it's not, so there's coffee.  Gallons of coffee.

Truckers also know truck stops, of which there are three main options along US interstates: PilotLove's, and Flying J (I have customer cards for all of them).  Two of those, Pilot and Flying J, are the same corporation, so really, there are only two.  Even then, choice is only an illusion, as they both mostly sell the same items: camo t-shirts with redneck sayings on them (Mud, Sweat, and Beers), driver needs like e-cigarettes and jumper cables, warm showers, cold beverages, roller-heated sausage-shaped meats, assorted snacks, and most importantly, coffee.  Not just a little coffee, a whole boatload of coffee.  Coffee as far as the eye can see.  Columbian, French Roast, House Blend, Et Cetera.  They have a lot of coffee and it never runs out.  Ever.

After my Southern Utah layover, I gave myself 20 hours to get from Moab to Reno.  Even with my lightfoot and grandma-level caution, at the low speed of 60mph I could cover that 700 miles in just under 12 hours.  Provided I could stay awake for 12 hours.  Enter Pilot/Flying J, my personal favorite.  Not that there's anything really wrong with Love's; I'm really just not a fan of the name with it's little heart logo.  I don't feel comfortable associating that feeling with truck stops.  Change the name to Hungry's or Sleepy's, and I'll be all over it.

Another +1 for Pilot/Flying J is that it has an extra special coffee for people driving 700 miles in a single shot: Intense Bold (with the tagline, "Extra Caffeine.  Extra flavor.").  This is bonkers coffee.  The Jolt Cola version of coffee.  My leg is shaking at just the mention of it.  Unrelated, were any of you allowed to rink Jolt as kids?  I don't think I was even allowed to touch a closed bottle of it for fear of transdermal caffeination.

Anyway, Intense Bold is a thrust into overdrive when slogging through hundreds of late night, wide open, undeveloped, desert miles.  Utah and Nevada, with their lack of light pollution,  provide amazing views of the night sky and it's easy to let those twinkling stars lull you into a blissful night's sleep, which is a real problem at 70mph.  Thankfully, I had IB.  If anything, the induced jitters alone will shake you to a wakeful and vigilant state.  Now that's some good coffee.

I know what you're thinking: "Twelve hours is a long time to drive.  A 16oz Intense Bold might be just what the doctor ordered at mile 300, but what about mile 550, when the caffeine is starting to wear off?  Could a second Intense Bold get you as wired as the first one did?"  No, of course not, and it's good of you to bring it up.  But worry not, Pilot/Flying J has that covered.  Behold... Stōk.

It's free yet comes with a warning...

Yes, that's exactly what it looks like it is.  It's a creamer container, but instead of containing creamer, it holds a shot of espresso in it.  It's a shot of coffee to pour into your cup of coffee.  And how much does this warning-labeled caffeine additive cost?  $0.  That's right, absolutely nothing.  Simply grab a handful and go.  If you are on a budget, this is your no-cost alternative to coffee.  It tastes like garbage, but that's not why you drink it.  People, this is actually a thing!

I had 700 miles until Reno.  No problem.

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