Tuesday, September 20, 2016

FM 1488

That McDonald's/Exxon sign carries a lot of nostalgia. (February 2014)

While you can see the signs from the ramp from Highway 6 to Navasota (and ultimately, to Waco, as just sticking the road ultimately terminates at I-35). FM 1488 is mostly Hempstead's collection of highway gas stations and restaurants, and further along, it does connect to the other highways and neighborhoods in the northern outreaches of Houston, but it's not usually used as a loop road.

Eastbound (South)
1945 FM 1488 - This Shell gas station originally included a Long John Silvers inside (a bit uncommon, especially for gas stations), though it was fully integrated into the gas station (no semi-separate building from the looks of it), meaning the whole store probably smells like greasy fried food (although that may be an improvement from the normal convenience store funk). An actual stop to the store in mid-March 2016 revealed that the store was in the midst of changing it to a Chesters Fried Chicken. Signage on the inside was gone, and there was an employee meeting going on. Despite that, there's a lot of LJS d├ęcor leftovers inside, or at least the last time I looked. As of summer 2017, Chesters is already out, replaced with "Southern Kitchen Kountry Cooking", a one-off which advertises barbecue.

1925 FM 1488 - Until September 2016, I never went to this Jack in the Box. When I did, I found it remarkably similar to the other one at Waller, and today I prefer this one on my Houston trips since it's much easier to get in and out, and less crowded.

Westbound (North)

220 Cottonwood - A DaVita Dialyis built here in spring 2015, I was expecting this (when it was under construction) to be a restaurant of some sort. Not exactly a roadside stop, unless you had some sort of medical emergency, I guess.

210 Cottonwood - The modestly popular Hempstead Seafood & Steak restaurant is here (though it appears to not use the whole space). I have yet to get a good picture for this one.

2000 FM 1488 - Hempstead Truck Stop as it was known, combined an Exxon sign and a McDonald's on its fading dual-pronged sign, and it was a great reminder to the road trips I took with my family in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including (but definitely not limited to) the Houston area. Imagine the hole in my heart when I drove up around December 2017 to find that the Exxon sign and the price display was missing, leaving a lopsided lone McDonald's sign there.

While Exxon/McDonald's combos are relatively common, the Hempstead Truck Stop originally was combined with a Denny's, which had the address of 100 Cottonwood rather than 2000 FM 1488. The McDonald's is located next to it (and it appears to have been renovated between 2012 and 2014). From what I've heard on Yelp, the Denny's was terrible (dirty, poor service, still has smoking allowed inside), worse than your average Denny's restaurant (not great to begin with) and sometime in early 2016 (February or March) a Subway was added to the complex on the side of the building closest to the freeway. Unlike Denny's it shared the address of the truck stop but it also did not connect to the gas station. (Cottonwood is the small access road between the truck stop and the westbound on-ramp). At some point (I want to say near the end, because I didn't really notice it until then) they did have a Krispy Krunchy fried chicken program going on.

A drive-by in June 2017 revealed that sometime in the spring, Denny's had exited and was replaced with "Country Delight Cafe". It was a sign of things to come before the whole thing was closed, except for the Subway (oddly enough). A picture I have from January 2018 (not added to the site unfortunately) showed the gas station had been demolished interior-wise, except for Subway. Subway's facade is missing and it can only be accessed from Cottonwood.

I don't know when Hempstead Truck Stop opened (there's another "Hempstead Truck Stop" in Hempstead proper but we're not covering that road) but Waller County Appraisal District says the year 2000.

When I visited in February 2018 again during demolition (the main building was completely gutted), I found out that the Subway had never been part of the main gas station, having been carved out of space that was once presumably Denny's seating. From what I've figured based on what I remember passing by there was a door that opened to the west (facing 290) and that was where Denny's was, then you would get to the main store on the other side, where the FM 1488 entrance was. When the Subway was added, a portion of the Denny's seating in the southwest part of the building was removed and converted. When the gas station was rebuilt by summer of 2018, the new Pilot Travel Center featured a Dunkin' Donuts kiosk and Pilot Flying J's "PJ Fresh" concept.

2100 FM 1488 - The McDonald's was built around the same time as the truck stop but renovated (no mansard roof) around 2013-2014.

2045 FM 1488 - The Sonic was built in 2001.

<< Back to Highway 6 North

>> Next Exit: FM 1098

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