It is Montana mountain time for The Spirit

June 7, 2019

Chuck Robinson


It is time for some mountain driving to test out the new Western Star 5700EX pulling OOIDA’s touring trailer, the Spirit of the American Trucker.

Jon Osburn, skipper of The Spirit, plans to be at the Missoula, Mont., TA Travel Center on June 8-10. The Missoula TA is northwest of Missoula proper on I-90 at the junction with Highway 93 (Exit 96).

The Missoula TA has 210 parking spots for trucks.

There are a dozen casinos in Missoula, including the Dollar Bill Casino at the Missoula TA, Fred’s Lounge Casino nearby, and just on the other side of I-90 Wye West Casino and Lounge, and Montana Lil’s Casino.

There are five mountain ranges that converge at Missoula. I-90 follows the Clark Fork River, and Missoula is near the Clark Fork River’s confluence with the Bitterroot and Blackfoot rivers. Missoula is referred to some as the “Hub of Five Valleys.”

Jon will guide The Spirit through the Lolo National Forest, which has 2 million acres. He will see Western red cedar trees, larches and whitebark pines, and a variety of spruce and fir tree species.

To and from the Missoula TA, The Spirit will be rolling on I-90, the longest interstate highway in the U.S. It travels more than 3,000 miles from Boston to Seattle. The next stops for The Spirit will be in Spokane, Wash., and then Seattle.

The speed limit on I-90 is 80 mph, but from 1995-99 there was no numbered speed limit on the interstate in Montana.

The stop for The Spirit before Missoula was the Coffee Cup Fuel stop in Steele, N.D. He got to talk to farmers and drivers of fertilizer fuel tankers and cattle haulers. He had time to explain what OOIDA does and the issues it is trying to address. There was lots of water in the fields in the area and farm tractors stuck in the mud.

As it happens, he was parked in view of the giant sandhill crane steel statue in Steele, and it is a sight to see, Jon says.

Whenever you see The Spirit tour truck, go say hello to Jon. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. You also can join or renew your OOIDA membership for $10 off the regular price there. Also, you can get vouchers for flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines from Jon at The Spirit.