Love's Natalia, TX, location is a four year-old facility, with seven diesel fuel "islands," with each island equipped with two diesel pumps and one diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) pump. Love's Natalia location is what's called a "180" facility, with gasoline and diesel fueling islands set 180 degrees apart, with the gasoline islands at the “front” of the facility to keep motorists traffic away from the trucks. Love's also uses what it calls a "90" design, with diesel pumps located at a 90 degree angle from the gasoline island.
Uviedo said the Cat Scales weigh station is a much-used feature at Love’s Natalia facility because his truck stop is just 10 miles up the road from a Texas state weigh station.
TirePass is a digital tire-monitoring program Love’s introduced in early 2015 that checks tire pressure and tread-depth while a truck refuels; usually a 15 to 20 minute process. Uveido said the Natalia location added a dedicated “TirePass lane” two years ago and after a few months it became one of the busier spots at his truck stop.
Love's Natalia location's tire shop manager is handling this particular TirePass service. The system only checks air pressure and inflates a tire if needed; it does not deflate. While hooked up to the TirePass system and also being refueled, tire tread depth will be checked along with lights, lenses and mud flaps.
TirePass is but one of the ways Love’s has been expanding light maintenance services at its travel centers. For example, Love’s Truck Tire Care added more than 20 facilities in 2016 for a nationwide total of over 260 locations. Love’s Truck Tire Care also expanded its offerings in 2016 to include a focus on oil changes as well as transmission and gear box lubricant service, complemented by preventive maintenance including filter checks and fluid level/quality checks.
Uviedo (seen here calling for assistance at the TirePass lane) said the Love’s Natalia location operates a three-bay tire shop that also provides light mechanical services and DOT inspections. “We don’t offer oil changes here but that’s coming soon,” he noted. “We’re just waiting for our [vehicle] lifts to arrive.”
Inside the Love's Natalia truck stop, the diesel desk (seen here) is separate from the gasoline desk to help truck drivers get what they need done faster. Peak times for trucking activity at Natalia are typically between 12 pm and 1 pm and 3 pm to 4 pm. "About four o'clock is when the trucks start coming in to park for the night," Uviedo said, adding that the Natalia location offers 150 truck parking spaces.
The interior of the Love's Natalia truck stop resembles something of a cross between a grocery store, hardware store, and food court, with two "quick service restaurants" or QSRs on site. Love’s introduced three new restaurant concepts in 2016, bringing ist total number of QSR partners to 19. Love’s opened two Dunkin’ Donuts at the travel stops in Sikeston, MO, and Canaan, NY; IHOP Express restaurants are now featured at six Love’s locations; and its facility in Liberal, KS, boasts Love’s first Taco John’s restaurant.
Love's wholly-owned tanker fleet, Gemini Motor Transport, brings in both diesel and gasoline to its over 400 locations spread out across 40 states. Though compressed natural gas (CNG) is not offered at the Natalia location, Love's operates 65 CNG refueling sites throughout its network operated by Trillium CNG, which it acquired earlier this year.