A north central Iowa truck stop that opened as Interstate 35 was being built through Iowa will end its operations this month.
The owner of the “Boondocks” Bob Welch and his wife Min told their 28 employees of the decision to close.
“Opened the fifth of June of ’73 when the interstate ended here for several years,” Welch says. “I’m in my 46th year.” The truck stop in Hamilton County has a restaurant, a motel, and a convenience store. Welch and his wife are both in their 80’s and he says it takes a lot of hours to keep it going.
“Time that I think I’d better slow down somewhere,” Welch says., “I worked seven days a week for 44 years until I hurt myself in a bad fall near my wind generator two years ago. Tore the tendon out of my left leg and cracked three vertebrae. And I finally decided to take Sundays off.” The Boondocks served as a place for locals and those traveling the interstate to stop refresh and get something to eat. And for years it’s location has been a haven for motorists and truck drivers stranded in times when winter storms closed the highway.
“One time we had over 600 people in here for two days and two nights,” Welch says. Welch says there are lots of stories from those adventures through the years. He says his family helped him know what to do.
“It was a heartbreaking decision to make — however we have been at it a long, long time — and our children are not interested in coming into the business. All three of them have encouraged us to do this, so we finally made the decision to close it,” Welch explains.
Welch thanks the hundreds of local people and hundreds of others who were just passing through who supported the Boondocks through the years. “It’s been a wonderful group of people and the local people — we’ve had a very, very good relationship with many of them.” Welch says.
The Boondocks will shut down on October 20th and Welch says they will hold an auction to sell off the property.
(Story and photos by Pat Powers, KQWC Webster City)