OOIDA’s tour trailer heads to New Braunfels, Texas, for the weekend

February 21, 2020

Chuck Robinson


It is just a hop, skip and a jump to the next stop for OOIDA’s tour trailer in New Braunfels, Texas, from San Antonio.

Jon Osburn, skipper of the Spirit of the American Trucker, is scheduled to spend the weekend at the New Braunfels TA Travel Center from Feb. 22 through Feb. 24.

The New Braunfels TA is on the northeast side of New Braunfels. There are 220 truck parking spots. There is a Country Pride diner there and a fast food outlets, including Subway and Popeye’s. There is a good chance that Jon’s canine co-pilot, Sassi, will want to check out the fenced pet area.

The name New Braunfels suggests there was an old one. Old Braunfels is in Germany.

New Braunfels was established in 1845 by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, who was in charge of a “Nobleman’s Society” that organized resettlement of hundreds of Germans to Texas. Prince Solms had aimed to “create a new Fatherland on the other side of the ocean,” according to the Texas State Historical Society.

Cleaner Trucks Initiative

In San Antonio, with the deadline to comment on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cleaner Trucks Initiative hitting, some drivers had some questions about it.

The deadline to comment on the EPA’s proposed rulemaking was Feb. 20. OOIDA encouraged drivers to do it because EPA always needs to hear from the ones who will be affected by new regulations.


The Cleaner Trucks Initiative is intended to create a framework for new emissions standards for heavy-duty engines on U.S. highways. In the past, emission standards have cause problems for professional truck drivers.

In comments filed this week by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, president and CEO Todd Spencer wrote that the influx of regulations has increased the average price of a new truck by nearly 44% since 2008.

“Any rulemaking must ensure that drivers and carriers who are purchasing new equipment are getting a fair deal and will not be constantly sidelined from their profession due to costly and repeated breakdowns,” Spencer’s comments stated.

Jon assisted drivers in commenting using a laptop at The Spirit. He has information on this and other issues affecting professional truck drivers to get them up to speed.

Beyond Compliance program

OOIDA also has been focused on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Beyond Compliance program.

The Beyond Compliance program is meant to reward motor carriers that go above and beyond what is required to ensure safe operation.

OOIDA is suspicious that the program will basically give an advantage to only those motor carriers who can afford costly new technologies. This could affect smaller carriers, who are less likely to afford new technologies. They could see their safety scores downgraded for not adopting the new tech even though their performance hasn’t changed.

“OOIDA strongly believes that the FMCSA must structure Beyond Compliance in a way so all types of carriers can participate in the program, not just larger carriers who can afford it,” OOIDA wrote in comments to the FMCSA on the issue.

Don’t be shy – stop by

Whenever and wherever you see The Spirit tour truck, stop by and say hello to Jon. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. You 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.

Jon’s Texas tour this year started in El Paso. He then visited Laredo and San Antonio. After New Braunfels, The Spirit is scheduled to stop in Hillsboro. Here is the schedule.

Chuck Robinson

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.