Louisiana is calling the OOIDA tour trailer

February 7, 2022

Chuck Robinson

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Tomorrow, Marty Ellis and the OOIDA tour trailer park at the first of two stops in Louisiana, one on either side of the state.

The Spirit of the American Trucker is scheduled Feb. 8-9 to be at the TA Travel Center in Lafayette, La. It is at the junction of I-10 and state Road 182.

The Lafayette TA has parking for 128 tractor-trailers. There is a Boston Market restaurant there, and its dining room is open.

Ellis has been through Louisiana, he says, but he can’t remember spending any real time there other than delivering to a Schwan’s depot in the state. He said he would be on the lookout for good Cajun food.

Buzz among drivers

The border protests in Canada and the U.S. have caused the biggest buzz among truck drivers, Ellis said. In Beaumont, Texas, he heard from both sides of the argument for truck drivers being vaccinated.

It should be a personal decision on whether you get vaccinated or not, Ellis said. OOIDA agrees with that, and in fact has sent letters to President Joe Biden and Premier Justin Trudeau arguing to have truck drivers exempted from each country’s border vaccine mandate.

Ellis said it was unfortunate that there have been distracting and unfortunate incidents associated with the vaccine protests in Ottawa, including protesters dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. That sort of behavior gives the protest a black eye, Ellis said.

Not all of the palaver around the OOIDA tour trailer has been focused on the vaccine protests, Ellis said.

Another issue causing discussion among drivers is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s newly announced National Roadway Safety Strategy, which sets the impossible goal of zero traffic fatalities.

That would make a good bumper sticker slogan, Ellis said on Land Line Now, but “even if you brought the speed limits down to 35 mph and put the bumper things like for bumper bowling alongside the roads, people still can die out there on the roads.”

Despite the lofty, unattainable goal, the strategy completely neglects the need for truck parking.

Why don’t we instead work toward less highway deaths and maybe look at some of the regulations that we have going out here for the drivers that tell people when they are supposed to be tired and tell people when they are not supposed to be tired and then we turn around and don’t give them a place to sleep when they are actually tired,” Ellis said. “Maybe we ought to look into those regulations and see what’s really going towards safety and what is not?”

Listen to the Land Line Now podcast here.

 

Thoughts on Texas

In a month of hanging out in Texas, Ellis did not manage to get any Texas barbecue but he definitely got some Tex-Mex tacos and burritos. In fact, an OOIDA member brought him some cabeza (cheek meat) tacos in El Paso, Texas.

He talked with a lot of people, OOIDA members and nonmembers. At the Ganado, Texas, stop, Vonjeston Diggs of Mobile, Ala., became a new OOIDA member. He is close to finishing a lease-purchase with KLLM and is looking into getting his own authority. He decided OOIDA would be a good resource the help him with his goal.

 

New OOIDA member Vonjeston Diggs of Mobile, Ala.
New OOIDA member Vonjeston Diggs of Mobile, Ala.

 

 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 Lafayette, Ellis is scheduled to stop in Hammond, La., before heading to Jackson, Miss.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL

PrePass

Chuck Robinson formerly was senior copy editor for a weekly trade publication serving the fresh produce industry. He has served trade publications, horticultural journals and community newspapers for 25 years.