The TA in Alda, NE is one of those places with that "hole in the wall truck stop" feeling. I'd stay as far away from the food as you can. Small parking but decent showers offer an awkward compromise.
TA in Alda, Nebraska Truck Stop – A Travel Center in the Middle of Nebraska
Earlier in the year, I reviewed the Bosselman Travel Center in Grand Island, Nebraska, which is only about 10 minutes up the road from the Travel Centers of America in Alda. Since I seem to spend a lot of time running back & forth on Interstate 80, it seems only prudent to share another of the places where I stop in that neighborhood.
The TA in Grand Island isn’t really in Grand Island, rather a tiny place called Alda, just south of the town of Grand Island. It’s also closer to the freeway than the Bosselman, directly north of exit 305 on I-80.
TA’s website claims there are 82 truck parking spaces at the Alda truck stop. It’s rather hard to tell some days, since the lines are somewhat faded, but it is definitely one of their smaller locations.
Interestingly, the semi parking spaces are all straight-in backs with a tail-to-tail row in the middle and a row near the perimeter on the west side. It gets tight late at night when the stragglers come in to roost and shut down wherever there’s room to pull their trucks in.
The lot is not “really” clean but average. It seemed rather dark, too.
This TA has 6 truck fuel islands with DEF on the north side of the main building. I was a little surprised to see 3 of them closed last time I came through. Must have been a maintenance issue.
The staff maintains the fueling area pretty well. It has clean water & newer squeegees for your “windshield cleaning pleasure”.
I usually get really good fuel prices here through my fuel network and that’s why I stop here.
The restrooms are just past the cash registers, on your way to the Country Pride. They’re adequately sized for a location like this but not very clean at all.
This truck stop has 7 shower rooms on the second floor – just take the spiral staircase near the cashier’s desk in the store.
I’ve taken showers at this TA many times and they’re always clean. The rooms might be small but they lock and have hot water. No complaints!
The Alda TA features a Country Pride restaurant and folks, this is where I get to tell a trucker’s story …maybe even rant a bit, if you’ll indulge me. Gracias.
After a long day of driving, I parked, showered and figured I’d grab some grub. It was the first time I’d tried this little Country Pride but even having eaten at many others, I was pretty shocked at the appearance of the place as I walked in and sat down. The floor wasn’t just dirty, there were napkins and food on the floor. In the middle of the main aisle!
An 18-20 year old looking gal walked up and asked what I’d have to drink. I told her and then asked about the Mother Road Mac & Cheese with Buffalo Fried Chicken. “Is it spicy?” She said she didn’t think so and reiterated what the menu had already told me – that it’s buffalo fried chicken on top of mac & cheese. It looked good in the picture! So, I ordered it with the included salad bar.
Arriving at the salad bar, I looked for a clean plate. Oh, there was a whole stack of plates, but they all looked dirty. I assumed they were just old and grabbed one. Then, I saw there were only about 5 squares of lettuce leaves in the lettuce bowl! I asked another waitress if I could get more lettuce, to which she replied, “We’re out of lettuce and are waiting for it. You can wait if you’d like.” I asked how long they’ve been waiting & when it was expected to arrive. “All afternoon” and “soon, we hope” were the answers. I filled my plate with other things. As I was leaving the salad bar, she walked by with a bowl of lettuce and said, “we just found some lettuce in the back.” Alas, my plate was presently occupied with other things of a non-leafy variety.
As I began to eat my collection of non-lettuce salad fixings, I noticed the marks on the plate were coming off on my fork. It was filthy! I didn’t have much more of my unsalad.
Thank goodness, my Mother Road Mac & Cheese with Buffalo Fried Chicken arrived. The waitress said nothing as she put my plate on the table and walked away.
I looked at the stuff before me in disbelief and then tried a taste of the mac & cheese. It tasted like macaroni soaked in warm milk, and had about the same consistency. The “Buffalo Fried Chicken” looked nothing like the picture on the menu. In fact, it was a dry chicken strip with a line of what smelled like tobasco sauce dripped over it. I tasted it. Indeed, that was tobasco sauce. What?!?
No wait staff was visible from that point on, as I ate a few more bites of this…whatever the heck it was. No one asked how my meal was. No one offered to refill my drink. Then, the same young woman who took my order walked by and left my check on the table without saying a word. I made a throat-clearing noise and she continued to walk away. Looking at my check, she had charged me full price for a salad bar (which was supposed to be included) in addition to my meal.
I walked to the register and the hostess magically appeared. We discussed the salad bar charge and she hollered to the waitress, asking why she’d charged me for it. Waitress Gal walked over, shrugged her shoulders and walked away again. Anyway, the charges were rectified, I left a teeny-tiny tip and returned to my truck – only to get very sick to my stomach as the night progressed.
Moral of the story: Nope. I would not recommend this Country Pride Restaurant.
The people who work here aren’t mean, they just don’t seem to care. Behind the register, in the shop and especially in the restaurant, it was the same.
TA has a 2-bay service center in Alda, the shop being attached to the main building on the back side. The folks there have done a trailer tire, tractor wheel retorque & trailer light replacement for me in the past. They seem to be decent enough guys work with, though it’s always taken what seemed to be forever and Christmas Eve to get the work done, even when there’s no one ahead of me.
Upstairs in the store, you’ll find a small laundry room, game room, drivers lounge and fitness center with various workout equipment.
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