For those requiring the benefits and services of a truck stop and travel center when within the region of Ocala, FL, the benefits are wide-ranging and numerous. In fact, when you’re in these parts, don’t get too worried at all. The region offers several truck stops so such needs are easily met, but for the purpose of this writing, we’ll focus on the two Pilot Travel Center locations, directly across the street from one another, along I-75 at exit 358.
For the sake of ease of description, should one be driving north on I-75 and take the exit, there’s a store on the north, or the left, and then one there on the south side. The on the south side is Pilot #424 and the one across the street is Pilot #92, but for those who are seeking the Pilot, this could largely be seen as one main location. Although the southern location seems much larger at first glance, it isn’t, but the parking is easier and offers greater availability in the evening hours. For whatever reason, the southern location is simply easier and friendlier to negotiate. The northern lot is, well, it just isn’t easier. It isn’t bad, but the other is wide, open, and offers a lot of parking without so many obstacles. In fact, at 125 spaces for the southern lot compared to the 130 on the northern side, there’s plenty of room, but the only time when it would be better to choose the northern spot would around noon or so. And then, the only reason it would be better is because if one is resuming I-75 travel, it’s easier to take a right out of the lot rather than cross the traffic. Plus, the northern location just seems to fill up faster.
It could simply be the choices in comforts, as the northern side offers a Wendy’s while the other has an Arby’s location. It may not be that a greater percentage demands Wendy’s, but traffic coming from the east can negotiate into the northern side easier than the other. It can be said the Arby’s location offers very comfortable dining while the Wendy’s is merely typical. The southern location has the Arby’s inside, but there’s also a McDonald’s available right next door, for those who don’t mind walking more than a half minute.
There are ten fueling lanes on the northern side, but only half of the offer DEF at the time. The southern location offers one less pump, but all offer DEF. Both locations offer CAT Scale. There are seven showers in the northern choice while the other offers merely five.
Another thing making things somewhat better for the drivers is that there’s another truck stop nearby, which is a Love’s Travel Center. Their store is located on the other side of I-75 on the northern side. Because they are right there, some traffic is going to gravitate that way (picture those drivers working with company preferring Love’s) and it alleviates the flow into the two pilots. The Love’s is fairly new, maybe a couple years old, and while it doesn’t seem very big, it’s big enough to offset some of the traffic. Further, there’s another Pilot down the road at exit 341, but it’s only half the size of the other two, with 60 parking spaces and being a general annoyance to enter and exit. Also, ten miles north at the 368 offers a Petro with a considerable lot, and to continue on, there are rest areas in the region. Overall, Ocala is quite truck friendly. In fact, just go further south a tad and the exit 329 offers yet another Pilot with a very large T/A right across the street.
There’s plenty for the professional driver in the shimmering metropolis of Ocala, Florida.
When it comes to yours truly, it seems I have mostly gravitated to the store #424 more than the others, and this is likely because of the friendlier lot. I can be lazy in that I’ll avoid challenging parking when easier parking is around. Some drivers like those tight challenges, but I prefer the ease of avoiding dings. So, my like-minded colleagues might want to keep this in mind, as the Pilot on the south side offers such a simple lot that I have never seen fill up.
Outside of the particulars pointed out above, there is really little else to differentiate between many of these locations. Mainly, it’s pleasant to have so much to choose from.