Now as you travel from place to place, if you are like me, you try to keep track of the
truck stops along the way. I never know when I might need one suddenly, if you know what I
mean. Anyway, truck stops come in all forms and sizes - There is this truck stop in Fort Payne,
known as Joe's Truck Stop and it is unlike any truck stop I have ever seen. It is not the typical
truck stop, in fact it actually is not a real truck stop in the term of getting gasoline, refreshments,
and well deserved nature breaks.
Hence the legion of Joe's Truck Stop begins ...
Alabama State Route 35 is a 50-mile long state route in the northeastern part of Alabama. The southern terminus of the route is at its junction with State Route 9 in rural Cherokee County northeast of Cedar Bluff and near the Alabama-Georgia state line. The northern terminus of the route is at Woodville in Jackson County where the route has its second junction with U.S. Highway 72.
North of its origin, State Route 35 begins an ascent over Lookout Mountain as a two-lane road. The route heads in a northwestwardly direction as it passes through the Little River Canyon National Preserve along the county line dividing Cherokee County and DeKalb County leading into Fort Payne. As the highway descends Lookout Mountain within the Fort Payne city limits, it makes a 90-degree right turn at the foot of the mountain. Numerous trucks descending this route have suffered brake failure and wrecked at this turn as a result, causing numerous fatalities. One resident living at this turn, a Joe Faulkner, erected a reinforced 4-foot-high reinforced concrete wall to protect his property. The wall assumed the popular name, "Joe's Truck Stop."
In the decades since, trucks have continued to slam into the barrier Faulkner built, filling his yard with cows, chickens, marble, sugar, steel, logs and watermelons.
Some drivers have been seriously hurt, and others have died. Despite the presence of warning lights and signs before the descent, drivers still come down the mountain too fast to make the sharp turn at the bottom. During a recent visit to Fort Payne, I tested this route as I returned from DeSoto State Park. The route is well marked, but that sudden turn at the bottom of this long and steep downgrade is trying for sure.
Joe's Truck Stop
5th St. NE (Alabama State Road 35)
Fort Payne, Alabama