For nearly 70 years, America’s truckers making their way across Southern Arizona have been stopping at the Tucson Truck Terminal. They refuel their 18-wheelers, and themselves, at the truck stop affectionately known as the Triple T.
“We’re open 24 hours,” said co-owner J.J. Jakubik. “We never close. No matter what.”
The Triple T Truck Stop, located at I-10 and Craycroft, has been open 24 hours a day since 1954.
Ira T. Morris, Jakubik’s grandfather, opened the truck stop at a different location.
“Started the Tucson Truck Terminal over on the old Benson Highway,” Jakubik said.
A much smaller operation in the 1950s, Ira would sleep on his desk all night, waiting for the next truck to come through.
“The dog would start barking and that would wake him up,” recalled Jakubik. “He’d wake up, go help service the truck, and go back and catch another hour or whatever until the next truck came through.”
That dedication to serving truckers helped earn them a national reputation, which followed them when they were forced to relocate in 1966 because of the completion of I-10.
“You had to be on the interstate highway,” explained Jakubik. “As a truck stop you couldn’t be on Benson Highway anymore.”
Ira took his life savings and built what was then touted the largest and most modern truck stop west of the Mississippi.
“State of the art truck stop, all of the amenities,” said Jakubik. “Of course the restaurant, and the fueling, showers, motel rooms, barber shop, gift shop. Everything you’d need.”
A quick tour shows the Triple T is still as relevant today as it was 69 years ago.
“This is part of the fueling of the trucker,” Jakubik said.
The Triple T has a full convenience store and plenty of accessories for truckers.
“All of the chrome you might want to bling out your truck,” said Jakubik pointing to the wide selection of chrome lug nuts and chrome truck accessories.
They still have showers and even motel rooms available. Out back, the Triple T is a full service truck stop.
“This is our lube pit where you’d go in and do the oil change. We also change tires, replace tires out here. Tires are a big issue.”
Out front, the Tucson Truck Terminal just went through a major renovation of its fuel tanks and pumps. Facing fierce competition, the Triple T has to keep up with a national truck stop chain now directly across the street.
“We’re one of the few independent truck stops in the nation that remain,” Jakubik explained. “It’s not easy to stay in business. But the truckers really appreciate what we’re doing. They would prefer to come and fuel with us, and give us the business, because we bend over backwards to provide them great service.”
Part of that great service is the Hi-Way Chef restaurant. It not only fuels the truckers but also Tucsonans. They’ve voted it best breakfast in Tucson numerous times.
Award-winning Chef Omar Ramirez has operated the restaurant since 1996. The Food Network voted Omar’s Hi-Way Chef the nation’s second best truck stop eatery.
They’re well known for their pies and traditional breakfasts, as well as Omar’s Big Oan 18-wheeler-sized southwest breakfast.
“The Big O is the way to go,” said Jakubik. “You may have to take a to-go box.’
Jakubik believes his grandfather would be proud of what the Triple T Truck Stop is today.
“To see that it’s still here, that it’s still thriving and we’re still serving the community and truckers here, my grandfather would be extremely proud.”
Jakubik and his sister, along with their aunt, still own and operate the Tucson Truck Terminalabout to celebrate its 70th year in business.