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Clearwater Travel Plaza: Professional Driver Series Featuring Eli

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Eli has been a professional driver since 1992. He drives locally, hauling overseas containers that supply local businesses. If you're fortunate enough to chat with him, you'll learn he's an honest and thoughtful individual with a great sense of humor and a warm laugh. Eli lives with his wife in Albany, MN; they have two sons and a miniature Bull Terrier. 

Clearwater Travel Plaza Professional Driver

What is your favorite menu item?
The sandwich bar – They have really good breads in all different varieties, and they change up the options periodically. The worst part is making up your mind which bread to choose - I can’t believe someone would go to a sandwich chain instead.

The food there is great. I try to stay away from the donuts as much as I can, but they’re really good. Now they carry the McDonald’s Meats meat sticks I like grabbing those once in a while. They just have really good food there.

How did you hear about the Clearwater Travel Plaza?
It’s the only place I ever go. I run locally, basically to the cities and St. Cloud. CTP is the only truck stop I ever stop at.

Describe a typical day at CTP:
I get fuel, sometimes grab something to eat. Depends how much of a hurry I’m in.

As a local driver, which professional driver amenities do you use at CTP?
Sometimes on really hot days when I don’t want to wait until I go home, I’ll use the showers. Then I can finish out my day and come home feeling refreshed. The drivers' lounge is a nice place to put your feet up and have something to eat after a long day.  

What is your favorite thing about CTP?
I like the atmosphere there. I kind of look forward to stopping there. I just like the people that work there, I feel like I’ve really gotten to know them – I’ve been going there for so long, I can’t even tell you how many years I’ve been going there.

What do you like most about being a professional driver?
I like the freedom of it. Instead of being cooped up in a building all day long, I’m out there driving, and I can stop whenever I want. 

What is your biggest challenge being a professional driver?
Just like any career, it does have its frustrating days. Traffic and construction causes most of it– a lot of times there are appointments you have to make and being stuck in traffic can be frustrating.

What is your greatest satisfaction being a professional driver?
I like being home every night and having weekends off. It’s a good way to make a living. You can make pretty good money doing it, and you get a sense of satisfaction that you’re really contributing to society.

Fun fact about you/something that might surprise people about you?
I got into driving from my dad. He’s still a driver today. When I was younger, I rode with him to New York and California – it was neat. My dad taught me everything he knew about being a professional driver; then I took my permit test and started driving with him. Sort of like an apprenticeship. You can’t do it that way nowadays, but that’s how I learned.

What do you like on your pizza?
Sausage and mushroom. They have really good pizza at CTP. I’ve even called it in before I stop so it’s ready when I get there, and I’ll bring it home for dinner. My wife really likes the pizza there too.

Do you have a favorite season?
I like a nice, long fall. I like to watch the leaves changing color. The hills out by Avon, MN are really great to look at in the fall. And in the summertime, I just don't think there's a better place to be than Minnesota. I love the lakes.

Anything else you’d like people to know?
I really believe most drivers out there are safe people, but being out here every day, it’s unbelievable how many people I see texting and driving. 

Thank you, Eli! We're thankful for the work you do and your willingness to share some of your experiences with us. 

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