The Spirit rolls into Las Vegas

November 30, 2018

Chuck Robinson


Las Vegas has many nicknames. Add a new one to the list: The Next Stop for The Spirit.

Jon Osburn, skipper of OOIDA’s touring tractor-trailer, the Spirit of the American Trucker, plans to stop in the Las Vegas area on Dec. 1-3 at the Linda and Bob Caffee Petro. It is off I-15 at the Speedway Blvd. exit, Exit 54.

The truck stop is just down the street from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is close to the Sysco Las Vegas distribution center. There are 207 parking spots there. It is named for a husband-and-wife owner-operator team who were named Citizen Drivers in 2014.

From nearby Nellis Air Force Base, Jon says every once in a while the jet pilots will put on a little show for the truckers.

Las Vegas’ famous Strip is about 16 miles away. It is immediately south of the Las Vegas city limits. If you are drawn there, take a cab, Uber or Lyft. However, there is a TA closer in, at Exit 33 from I-15 on Dean Martin Drive.

To get a taste of Las Vegas without risk of completely losing yourself in all the distraction,  consider touring the Neon Museum on North Las Vegas Blvd.

The museum houses a collection of classic Vegas signs dating back to the 1930s. Nine restored signs are on public display that can be visited on a self-guided tour 24/7.

The bedazzled high-heel shoe that once attracted customers to the Silver Slipper Casino looks pretty cool. So does the horse and rider that once waved people into the Hacienda Hotel.

Big trucks may park at a lot adjacent to the museum’s parking lot, at the Cashman Center, Neon Museum staff say.

Here is a tour map of the Neon Museum.

For a bit larger dose of distraction but maybe some old-Vegas charm, you could check out the former Strip – Fremont Street or downtown Las Vegas. It is a five-block pedestrian covered mall with kiosks, carts and a nightly light-and-sound show.

I dare you to go on SlotZilla there. It is an 11-story slot machine-themed zipline attraction. You could fly among oversized dice, a martini glass, a pink flamingo, coins, video reels, a giant arm and a couple of showgirls. The cost is $25-50.There is a lower zipline and a higher Zoomline.

Also in downtown Las Vegas, find Lyft Art Park, which is presented by the rideshare service company. It is free and open to the public.

The art on display includes a 30-foot polar bear created from car hoods.

There also is an explorable art car called Neverwas Haul, a three-story, mobile Victorian house. You can walk inside and around it and peer out of a fisheye window in it.

Here are some of the nicknames for Las Vegas that came to mind:

  • Gambling Capital of the World
  • Entertainment Capital of the World
  • Sin City
  • Lost Wages
  • City of Lights
  • Marriage Capital of the World
  • Neon Capital of the World

For all of that, though, there are many conventions in Las Vegas, and for truckers that means employment.

“Vegas, for a lot of truckers, is a work town,” Jon says.

At the previous stop for The Spirit in Kingman, Ariz., there was a lot of rain. Even so, The Spirit drew quite a bit of traffic.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with young guys who didn’t know anything about OOIDA,” Jon said.

The young professional drivers were excited to hear about the Association and to read up on issues with a fresh copy of Land Line Magazine and other materials Jon gave them.

Whenever you see The Spirit tour truck, go say hello to Jon Osburn, skipper of The Spirit. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. You also can join or renew your OOIDA membership for $10 off the regular price there. Also, you can get vouchers for flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines from Jon at The Spirit.

Also, Jon has forms for the OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship Program, which has been assisting the children, grandchildren and legal dependents of OOIDA members in their efforts to gain a higher education since 1998. Applications and all required materials must be postmarked no later than Feb. 1.

You can find an application on the OOIDA website.