Marty Ellis next takes the OOIDA tour trailer to Mount Vernon, Ill.

June 27, 2022

Chuck Robinson

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The next stop for the OOIDA tour trailer is in Mount Vernon, Ill.

Marty Ellis plans to have the Spirit of the American Trucker at the Mount Vernon TA on June 28-29. The truck stop is at Exit 95 from I-57/I-64.

Mount Vernon is about 100 miles east of St. Louis, Mo. The TA Travel Center there has parking for 136 tractor-trailers. The Country Pride full-service diner is reported to be open.

On July 1-2, Ellis plans to stop in Matthews, Mo., with the OOIDA tour trailer before taking a few days off. In mid-July, he plans to be at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree on July 14-16 at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa.

Distinctive and colorful truck

Ellis snapped a photo of this distinctive truck at The Spirit’s Hurricane, W. Va., stop. The autism awareness truck is from Thomas E. Keller Trucking, Defiance, Ohio.

While stopped in Hurricane, W. Va., Marty Ellis got to see the Keller Trucking autism awareness truck. (Photo by Marty Ellis)

Keller Trucking supports several charities. Keller’s Operation KAVIC (Keller Assists Veterans in Crisis) program raises funds to help veterans in crisis in Defiance County.

In early 2020, the company surveyed its employees to pick a cause to support by wrapping a new 2020 Volvo VNL760 to draw attention to the issue.

“Not only will this 2021 Volvo will be traveling the country supporting our latest cause of Autism Understanding & Acceptance, but also a hefty percentage of this truck’s revenue will be donated to causes, charities and initiatives related to autism and youth development within our community,” the company pledges on its website.

This year, Keller was approached by the Defiance, Ohio, chapter of Zonta International, a women’s rights advocacy organization. Keller wrapped a 53-foot trailer in support of the organization.

Listen to Friday’s podcast

Ellis regularly discusses what he sees on the road and hears from drivers visiting the OOIDA tour trailer on Friday Land Line Now broadcasts. Ellis hears a lot of complaints about brokers, and while he’s the first one to note that all brokers aren’t bad, he has heard about some serious situations recently from visitors to The Spirit.

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Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see the OOIDA 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.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL

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.