OOIDA tour trailer stops in Ontario, Calif.

November 2, 2022

Chuck Robinson

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Through the weekend, Marty Ellis and the OOIDA tour trailer will be in Ontario, Calif.

However, Ellis plans to split the time between a TA and a Petro at the same exit from I-10

For Thursday and Friday, Nov. 3-4, Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker will be at the Ontario TA at I-10 and Milliken Avenue, which is Exit 57 from the interstate. There is parking for 549 tractor-trailers there, and a Country Pride restaurant to serve truck drivers.

On Saturday and Sunday, Ellis plans to be at the Ontario Petro at the same exit but across Milliken Avenue. There is parking for 559 tractor-trailers there, and an Iron Skillet to serve up sit-down meals.

Ontario is just outside Los Angeles County and is part of the Greater LA metro area. It has several major distribution centers, too, including ones for AutoZone, Napa Auto Parts and Nordstrom department stores.

Ontario is home to the Maglite flashlight manufacturing plant, which opened in 1979. Since 2019, it has been home to The Icee Co., which cells frozen carbonated beverages in fruit and soda flavors. The company relocated to California from Tennessee.

Ontario history

The name of the city is an echo of the name of the Canadian province because it was founded by a Canadian engineer and his two brothers who came from the northern Ontario.

In 1881, they bought more than 6,000 acres with water rights for $60,000, according to an account on the city’s website. The brothers began selling land the next year. In developing the land, the Chaffeys established a water company and an electric company, which powered the pumps needed to distribute water.

George Chaffey’s electrical system engineering led to him being hired to install the first street lights in Los Angeles and eventually becoming president and engineer of the Los Angeles Electric Co.

Land Line Now – Is it time to lease on?

Ellis regularly talks with Land Line Now host Mark Reddig on Friday broadcasts about what he has heard from drivers at the OOIDA tour trailer.

Last Friday, calling from the TA in Wheeler Ridge, Calif., Ellis called in and talked about truckers being faced with some difficult choices because of the economy.

The faltering economy has had some drivers on their own authority considering leasing on to a company with some long-term contracts.

An OOIDA member stopped by and discussed making that decision and had just completed a week of orientation to be leased on with a company. He has had his own authority for a while, Ellis said.

“After so much time either sitting, waiting at home, waiting on the market to basically level off and hopefully start going back up, he was finding it did level off it seemed for like a week or two and then all of a sudden it started going back down even more,” Ellis said. “And when you’re looking at $2 and less a mile freight, it’s really hard to justify working off that board.”

Even with fuel surcharges, it is tough to make it on that much, he said.

“Right now, a lot of our single-truck operators out here are struggling. They’re looking at the rates – you can only sit so long at home waiting for the rates to go up,” Ellis said.

Ellis recommended members contact the OOIDA Business Services Department to discuss putting their own authority on hold, if that seems like a viable option, or other trucking business decisions. The number is 816-229-5791.

Listen to last Friday’s conversation here.

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.

After Ontario, Ellis plans to haul The Spirit to Barstow, Calif., the final stop on this tour of California. He will be in Barstow Monday and Tuesday. After that, Ellis heads to Tonopah, Ariz.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL

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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.