OOIDA tour trailer stops in Lake Station, Ind.

August 1, 2022

Chuck Robinson


Through Thursday, Marty Ellis plans to park the OOIDA tour trailer in Lake Station, Ind.

He is taking a break between weekend truck shows. Last weekend was the 15th annual TopGun LargeCar Shootout working class truck show. Next weekend finds him at the Big Rig Truck Show in Franklin Grove, Ill.

Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker trailer are scheduled Aug. 1-4 to be at the TA Travel Center in Lake Station at Exit 15B from I-80/ I-94.

The Lake Station TA has parking for 252 tractor-trailers. There is a Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen fast-food restaurant and grab-and-go food in the convenience store.

The name of the city is a relic of its railroad history, when it was a depot and western terminus of the Michigan Central Railroad, according to CityTownInfo.com. The city is 5 miles east of Gary, Ind., and 30 miles southeast of Chicago. In 1908, the name was changed to East Gary to draw the attention of U.S. Steel executives. The name was changed back to Lake Station in 1977.

Saw some cool trucks

The TopGun LargeCar Shootout has been a regular stop for the OOIDA tour trailer in recent years. Ellis got to meet organizer Daveda Reitz. She has continued the show created by her husband, Tom Reitz, who died in 2018 just before that year’s show. Her husband had been an owner-operator and a senior OOIDA member.

He said the Rantoul show wasn’t so busy that he couldn’t chat with members and others and get a look at some of the trucks. He snapped some photos of some magnificent trucks.



Ellis said it was great to talk at the show to OOIDA life member Gary Bell and his wife, Louise, who are just a great couple with some great stories.

OOIDA life member Gary Bell and his wife, Louise. Photo by Marty Ellis, OOIDA
OOIDA life member Gary Bell and his wife, Louise. (Photo by Marty Ellis, OOIDA)

Driver’s buzz about getting buzzed

One of the issues that has come up around the OOIDA tour trailer recently has been the use of marijuana. Marty Ellis talked about it on Friday’s Land Line Now podcast.

Drivers get caught up hearing about states legalizing marijuana use, like in Missouri where residents have access to medical marijuana.

“Each one of those drivers has to understand that no matter if your doctor says it’s OK … it still isn’t OK for drivers,” he said.

Drivers have to be careful even with CBD products, which aren’t regulated and could make a driver test positive for THC, he said.

Just don’t. If you’re going to get into the industry, just know that you’ve given up weed for as long as you’re in the industry,” Ellis said on Land Line Now. “Don’t go and say, ‘Oh, I can do it, and it’ll be OK, because that one time that it’s not, you’re driving career could be over.”

Listen to 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 resting up in Lake Station, Ellis plans to haul the OOIDA tour trailer to the Big Rig Truck Show in Franklin Grove, Ill., on Aug. 6 and then to Tooele, Utah, on Aug. 9-10, and then the Great Salt Lake Truck Show in Lehi, Utah, on Aug. 12-13.

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.