OOIDA tour trailer stops Monday in Knoxville, Tenn.

November 23, 2022

Chuck Robinson

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For those of us who get to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day break, it won’t be long before we’re back at it. It’s the same for Marty Ellis, who drives the OOIDA tour trailer. He’s back on the road, headed for Knoxville, Tenn.

Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker tour trailer are scheduled to be at the Knoxville Petro on Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 28-30. It is the start of a short exploration of the area straddling the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic region.

The Knoxville Petro is near the junction of I-40 and I-75. It is Exit 369, Watt Road, from I-40/I-75.

There is parking for 250 tractor-trailers there. There is an Iron Skillet restaurant waiting to serve truckers, plus Amazon lockers, permit services, game room, pet area, WiFi, and other amenities.

Knoxville is home to the head office of truck-stop chain Pilot Co. The city also is home of the main campus of the University of Tennessee. The city was the first capital of Tennessee. Murfeesboro became the state capital in 1818, and then Nashville became the capital in 1843.

Discussing speed limiters on Land Line Now

Ellis regularly discusses what he sees and hears from drivers on the road during Friday Land Line Now broadcasts. Ellis has been hearing about speed limiters, and he shared some of what he’s heard and thought with Land Line Now Host Mark Reddig.

“One of our members stopped in and discussed this with me at the trailer the other day, and he said, you know, if we had that big of a problem with trucks speeding, that means everybody else is going fast – and they are,” Ellis said on Land Line Now. “I am so shocked at how fast some of these guys are going. Like on a two-lane road, coming back on 54, I had this car – and there was a truck behind me – and he came around both of us in a no-passing zone.”

A lot of passenger vehicle drivers are not slowing down for anything, he said. If it’s that big of a deal, the OOIDA member suggested doing what they did in the 1970s and lower the speed limit for everybody.

“You don’t need to have any extra programming, anything on the truck to limit the speed because if you get caught you’re going to get a ticket” Ellis said.

Ellis said everybody going closer to the same speed is safer. He added that he hoped the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would look at the opposition to speed limiters and reconsider their plans, but the agency seems to be bullheaded on the topic of speed limiters.

OOIDA is opposed to speed limiters. The Association says they contradict the goals of driver retention. The Association also rebuts the claims of safety groups pushing speed limiters, says drastic speed differentials will lead to increased interactions and more crashes.

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 Knoxville, Ellis plans to head for Raphine, Va. After that stop, it’s to Ashland, Va., and then to Kenly, N.C.

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.