OOIDA tour trailer heads to Wheeler Ridge, Calif.

October 28, 2022

Chuck Robinson


Wheeler Ridge, Calif., on Interstate 5, is handy to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Bakersfield and Fresno, Calif. It is the next stop for the OOIDA tour trailer.

Marty Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker trailer are scheduled to split time between two truck stops for the weekend.

On Oct. 29-30, Ellis and The Spirit are scheduled to be at the Wheeler Ridge TA on the west side of I-5.

On Halloween and Nov. 1, Ellis plans to park the trailer at the Wheeler Ridge Petro on the west side of the interstate.

Los Angeles is just 90 miles from Wheeler Ridge, going south on the I-5. The highway is known as the Golden State Freeway.

San Francisco is north on I-5, and there the highway is the Westside Freeway.

Bakersfield and Fresno are 30-40 miles north of Wheeler Ridge on Route 99.

Wheeler Ridge is named for a landform where the San Joaquin Valley meets the Tehachapi Mountains. The Tehachapi Mountains loom to the southeast, dividing the San Joaquin Valley from the Mohave Desert.

To get to the Wheeler Ridge TA from the east, drivers must navigate the Grapevine, a stretch of road that winds through Tejon Pass. Before it was an interstate, when it was U.S. 99, the road wound around like a grapevine. A section of it was known as “Dead Man’s Curve.” The Grapevine was made famous in popular songs, including “Hot Rod Lincoln,” performed by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.

Many of the loops and curves are gone, but there remains a steep grade to I-5. There is an unincorporated community named Grapevine at the foot of the incline.

Concerns about unique electronic identifiers

Ellis regularly discusses on Friday what he hears from truckers he meets while touring the country on Land Line Now. A new Land Line Now broadcast is set to be aired at 7 p.m.

On last Friday’s broadcast, Ellis said he was getting an earful from truck drivers about a federal proposal to require unique electronic identifiers on trucks.

Ellis said a lot of drivers are up in arms about the issue. OOIDA also is concerned. In fact, OOIDA issued a Call to Action this week asking its members to oppose efforts to mandate electronic identification technology on commercial motor vehicles.

Listen to last Friday’s conversation about the issue on Land Line Now.

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.

After Wheeler Ridge, Ellis plans to haul The Spirit to Ontario, Calif.

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.