Free rest stop coffee? No thanks, say Northwest travelers

GettyImages-817342378.jpgNo rest stop Joe? Say it ain't so!

The latest PEMCO Northwest Poll reveals that the road trip staple – free rest stop coffee strong enough to pry apart the eyelids of even the weariest driver – isn't the draw it once was.

Turns out, we'd much rather have a triple venti grande Americano chai vanilla minty mochachino caramel macchiato, half-caf, half-decaf, one Equal, one Sweet'N'Low, one raw sugar, skinny organic extra virgin olive oil soy breve with no foam, extra whip, extra hot, and – oh, yes – leave off the top so I can add my own sprinkles.

A full 60% of us say our favorite rest stop on a long road trip isn't a rest stop at all. It's a restaurant, coffee shop, or even a gas station. And when we do pull over at a rest stop, it's not for the free coffee. It's for the facilities needed after our last cup of coffee.

Fears about rest stop safety, particularly in bathrooms, is the No. 1 reason 10% of people say they never stop there. Others cite rest stop cleanliness (or lack thereof), and the better choice of drinks and snacks elsewhere as reasons to drive past rest stops.

But if those comforting blue signs make you nostalgic for the days when a rest stop meant a chance to change seats and get away from your brattiest sibling, don't despair. Rest stops aren't going away, at least any time soon. Among older travelers – those over age 55 – 44% still prefer to pull over at rest stops.

And besides, you know it can't be much longer before someone opens the first rest stop Starbucks.

Read the complete Local PEMCO Northwest Poll, in which Seattle's FBK Research surveyed 1,200 Washington and Oregon residents. 

by  Derek Wing

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