OOIDA tour trailer parks in Hot Springs, S.D.

September 9, 2021

Chuck Robinson


This weekend, Marty Ellis plans to take the OOIDA tour trailer to some familiar stomping grounds.

From Friday through Sunday, Sept. 10-12, he plans to be at the TA Express in Hot Springs, S.D. The Hot Springs TA Express is on U.S. Highway 18/385 at the junction with Route 79. There is parking for 75 tractor-trailers there and a Subway restaurant open 24 hours plus a Caribou Coffee.

The Hot Springs TA Express was the second TA Express franchise when it opened in 2019. Previously, it was a Coffee Cup Fuel Stop.

Hot Springs is the first of three South Dakota stops for Ellis and The Spirit. Though his home base is in Carl Junction, Mo., before becoming skipper of the Spirit of the American Trucker tour trailer Ellis was a company driver for a South Dakota carrier.

Truck drag races

Over last weekend, Ellis and the OOIDA tour trailer were at the Over the Top Diesel Showdown at the Onaway Speedway in Onaway, Mich. Ellis said he hadn’t seen truck drag races before.

“That was quite the experience. Don’t know if I can hear very well anymore, but it was a lot of fun,” Ellis said.

Here is a short Facebook video that Ellis shot at the Over the Top Diesel Showdown.

Ellis snapped a picture of this good lucking truck and an apparent recurring situation at truck drag races: having to swap out drive shafts.

Over the Top Diesel Showdown photo by Marty Ellis
Photo by Marty Ellis, OOIDA


Over the Top Diesel Showdown photo by Marty Ellis
Photo by Marty Ellis, OOIDA


What drivers are talking about

Quite a few drivers have mentioned working for companies that made rosier promises before being hired than what reality turned out to be once they had the job, Ellis said. Drivers say they aren’t getting home as much as promised and the mileage isn’t what was discussed before hiring on, either.

Another problem on drivers’ minds is the growing problem of out-of-stock parts for truck repairs. Just about any and every part needed is getting hard to find, Ellis reported. One particular part is a DEF sensor for 2020 trucks.

“I know several companies that have six or seven trucks out because of that part,” Elis said during a chat on Land Line Now with Host Mark Reddig.

Now repair shops are telling guys that it could be October or November before the parts are in, Ellis said.

“I don’t know what a guy would do if he had only one truck and something like that happened, and you couldn’t get that part. I mean, could you shut down your business for two months?” Ellis said. “It’s getting scary out there.”

Stockroom supplies of parts seem to be dwindling because of pandemic-related shutdowns earlier, Ellis said. Manufacturers may have temporary work-arounds for the DEF sensors, so drivers need to research their options.

Listen to the Land Line Now broadcast here.

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see OOIDA’s tour trailer, stop by and say hello. Ellis is looking 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 there. Face masks are available at The Spirit for anyone with a commercial driver’s license.

After Hot Springs, The Spirit is scheduled Sept 14-15 to be at the TA Express in Vermillion, S.D., which is dedicated to OOIDA life member Jerry Seaman, who was named a 2020 TA & Petro Citizen Driver.

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.