For January, the OOIDA tour trailer’s in Texas

January 3, 2022

Chuck Robinson


Now that New Year’s Day festivities have quieted down, Marty Ellis plans to haul the OOIDA tour trailer somewhere warm and stay there a few weeks.

For the month of January, Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker have stops scheduled in Texas. The first stop will be in Kilgore. Ellis and The Spirit are schedule to be there Jan. 4-5.

The Kilgore TA Express is at Exit 587 from I-20 on state Route 42.

The Kilgore TA Express was rebranded in 2020. It opened in 2008 as the Gateway Travel Plaza. With the conversion, there were 50 tractor-trailers parking spaces added, bringing the total to 85. Two diesel lanes were added, bringing the total to 16, and seven showers, bringing the total to 10.

There is Denny’s restaurant there, as well as a deli, Dunkin Donuts, Wendy’s and Baskin-Robbins.

Kilgore history

Kilgore started out as a railroad town in 1872, but in 1930 wildcatters struck oil nearby. Through the early 1930s, oil production grew at breakneck pace. At one point, there were more than 1,100 oil wells operating within city limits, according to the Texas State Historical Association. The oil boom subsided toward the end of the 1930s.

Kilgore counts famed pianist Van Cliburn among its native sons. Though Cliburn (1934-2013) was born in Shreveport, La., his family moved to Kilgore when his father found work in the oil industry. When Cliburn was 12, he won a statewide piano competition, which led to his debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see OOIDA’s tour trailer, stop by and say hello. Ellis looks forward to visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. There are copies of Land Line Magazine to pick up there. You can join or renew your membership for $10 off the regular price at The Spirit. Face masks are available at The Spirit for anyone with a commercial driver’s license.

After Kilgore, Ellis is scheduled to stop at the Texas communities of Weatherford, Big Spring and El Paso.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL