WALCOTT, Iowa — Nearly 100 hours went into its conception and construction, and for about the past six months, a sculpture called “The Perfect Moon” has brightened the front lawn of the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum. The gleaming sculpture is situated near the museum’s entrance, which puts it in the line of sight for truck […]
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 52 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
WALCOTT, Iowa — Nearly 100 hours went into its conception and construction, and for about the past six months, a sculpture called “The Perfect Moon” has brightened the front lawn of the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum.
The gleaming sculpture is situated near the museum’s entrance, which puts it in the line of sight for truck drivers and travelers entering the World’s Largest Truckstop/Iowa 80 Truckstop. The statue is there for the truckers’ benefit, but its creation was more personal. It’s a dedication to the Iowa 80 Truckstop founders, Bill and Carolyn Moon — particularly Carolyn.
“I made it originally to memorialize her, but it’s also a tribute to everyone who has made this place what it has become,” said the sculptor, Chuck Slack, who has been a welder and fabricator for Iowa 80 Truckstop and its museum for 23 years.
The sculpture’s name, Mr. Slack explained, came from the title of the Iowa 80 Truckstop’s 40-year anniversary book, “The Perfect Spot.” It is what the late Mr. Moon called the truckstop’s location at Exit 284 on I-80 westbound.
Ms. Moon later died in 2017, and it took Mr. Slack more than three years to envision how he wanted to memorialize her. During COVID-19’s shutdowns, he awoke with an idea and quickly sketched it. Before the big build, he built a model, and shared it with the Moons’ daughter, Delia Moon-Meier, the senior vice president of Iowa 80 Group.
“I loved it,” Ms. Moon-Meier said, noting that Mr. Slack created it during his off hours. “This is a work of love, and Carolyn would have loved the craftsmanship and creativity — and the fact that Chuck made it.”
Ms. Moon-Meier and Mr. Slack’s wife, Iowa 80 Group General Manager Deanna Slack, said Chuck and Carolyn shared a special bond over their mutual love of creating — she with fabric and he with almost any material, including fabric.
The shiny 13-foot, eight-inch crescent moon in the statue is a combination of high-polish and mirror steel. Mr. Slack said he learned how to bring it to a high shine by studying the creation of “The Cloud Gate” sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park, familiarly known as “The Bean.”
Traveling through the “C” shape of the crescent moon is a four-foot-long truck cab fashioned of raw stainless steel that will age with exposure to the elements and be set off by the increasing contrast with the rest of the piece. The truck’s tiny hood ornament echoes the statue’s theme.
“I was thinking of putting a real brand’s logo like Mack or something else common, but my daughter said, ‘Dad, you’re missing the obvious,’” Mr. Slack said. “So, see? It’s another crescent moon.”
“The Perfect Moon” was ceremonially placed in its location on a clear but windy day Dec. 6, 2021. Mr. Slack placed it on a pallet, lifted it with a fork truck, then used a loader and heavy-duty straps to ease it into place. Ms. Moon-Meier held the ladder while he manipulated the straps and statue.
Ms. Moon-Meier added that the sculpture honors her family name and echoes the business’ moon logo, but she sees it as symbolizing more.
“A sculpture like this points to the fact that we’re a family business in Iowa,” she said. “We were never ‘just’ a truck stop, even if our start with Standard Oil (now Amoco) in 1965 was small and it was still a pretty small business when we took over ownership in 1984. From the beginning, we were the only 24-hour business in Walcott, and from the beginning, if people needed help, we helped them.”
The Iowa 80 World’s Largest Truckstop has hyperbolic dimensions that one has to see to believe. According to the company’s website, the facilities attract an average of 5,000 people per day. Amenities include a 300-seat restaurant and food court, a dentist and chiropractor, a truck accessory shop and other shopping, two electric vehicle charging stations, a pet wash, and three Truckomat truck washes.
“We have many truckers come through, and it’s nice to see the drivers get the respect they deserve,” Ms. Slack said. “We also have people who come just to see what we’re about.”
Ms. Moon-Meier added: “We’re part of every visitor’s story. It’s always fun because people are traveling. They’re on an adventure, and we get to be a part of it.”