My sister lives in Central Illinois and on many trips down I watched the construction along I-55 in Pontiac wondering what would eventually be there. I was excited to make a stop there when Wally's finally opened up. It's now a regular place for a break when traveling that route. Even if you're aren't super hungry and have a full tank, it's the place to stop to visit the restroom because it's the cleanest gas station bathroom you'll find along I-55 for sure. And once you go in, you'll find something you have to have or will be lured by the smell of everything from freshly-popped popcorn to bbq to bakery items.

On my last visit, I grabbed a scone, which was as good as any I've had at a European-style bake shop, a brisket sandwich, a hot dog, a beef sandwich and some popcorn.

Oh, and we had to try the Wally's brand beer. We got home and gave it a taste and I was really impressed. I was expecting a watered-down cheap brew akin to Budweiser, but that's not what it was at all. It gave me German lager vibes and when I looked closer at the can, I saw that it is brewed for them by Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. in St. Louis where I had just been the day before.

I have not yet been to the legendary gas station/convenience store Buc-ee's, but I'm thinking Wally's is kind of along the same lines - like a Buc-ee's of the Midwest.

As we were leaving the St. Louis area, we passed the one in Fenton, Missouri. I also learned that another is in the works just north of Indianapolis and it sounds as if there are plans for future growth not far down the line.