OOIDA tour trailer rolls to Albert Lea, Minn.

August 30, 2021

Chuck Robinson


The next stop for OOIDA’s tour trailer is in Albert Lea, Minn.

Marty Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker trailer are scheduled to be at the Albert Lea Trails Travel Center Petro through Sept. 1. It is Exit 11 from I-35, just south of the I-90 interchange.

There is parking for 305 trucks there.

Signs at the Albert Lea Petro tell you this is the Trails Travel Center. The Trail family has operated the Trails Travel Center for decades. Rocky Trail and his father, Bernard Trail, bought the East Side Truck Stop in the 1980s, according to an Albert Lea Tribune article. The Trails Travel Center was built in 1998.

The travel center has the Skol Woodfire Grill and Tavern restaurant.

What drivers are talking about

A couple of things loosened up truck drivers’ tongues are recent stops, Ellis said on Friday’s Land Line Now broadcast.

One was the exemption sought by Werner Enterprises to let a trainer sleep in the bunk while a trainee was behind the wheel during the time between the trainee finishing his coursework and when actually receiving his CDL. Read more about the request here.

The problem is cutting corners on training, Ellis said.

“There’s really no training from the bunk. You can’t see what the driver is doing. You can’t react to something that may need to be reacted to fairly quickly. It’s just an accident waiting to happen.”

Another hot discussion topic has been possible regulation on predatory lease-purchase deals.

The problem with many lease-purchase agreements is that they encourage drivers to buy trucks when they aren’t really ready for it, Ellis said.

“Too many times these guys don’t go into it with all the information they need. You know, first and foremost they need to be able to run a business. This isn’t just about trucking,” Ellis said.

OOIDA offers help to drivers considering a lease-purchase deal. First, OOIDA offers to review a lease-purchase proposal for any OOIDA member who wants advice from someone with experience with them. OOIDA staff can point out red flags and help keep driver members safe.

In addition, OOIDA offers its three-day deep dive into the ins and outs of becoming an owner-operator. The Truck to Success course is planned for Oct. 26-28. Drivers can attend in person in at the Courtyard Marriot in Blue Springs, Mo., or they can attend the classes via Zoom web conferencing. Find more information here.

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 the stop in Albert Lea, The Spirit is scheduled to head to the Over the Top Diesel Showdown in Onaway, Mich., on Sept. 3-5.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL