OOIDA’s tour trailer heads to Pembroke, N.Y.

May 7, 2021

Chuck Robinson


This weekend, drivers can find OOIDA’s tour trailer just off I-90 in Pembroke, N.Y.

The Spirit of the American Trucker is scheduled May 8-10 to be at the TA Travel Center in Pembroke. It is at the junction of I-90 (the New York State Thruway) and Route 77. It is Exit 48A.

The Pembroke TA has parking for 102 tractor-trailers. The Country Pride full-service restaurant dining room is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

New York State Thruway

The New York State Thruway spans 570 miles. The first section of the toll road, between Utica and Rochester, opened in 1954. The I-90 section of the toll road travels 365 miles. It is the largest part of the Thruway’s Mainline, connecting Buffalo to New York City.

The Thruway reports collecting $736.5 million in 2018 from about 265 million toll transactions.

The New York State Thruway roughly parallels the Erie Canal route from Buffalo to Albany. The Erie Canal connects the Hudson River with Lake Erie. The Erie Canal opened in 1825. It has 83 locks and 18 aqueducts to bypass rivers and streams, according to the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor website. The Erie Canal today is a National Historic Landmark.

The Erie Canal’s route has changed since its inception. It became connected to six rivers that were canalized, becoming the New York State Canal System. Since 1992, the New York State Thruway Authority has been in charge of the canal system. Here is an economic history of the Erie Canal by Thayer Watkins, an economics professor at San Jose State University.

Concerns of drivers

Some drivers stopped by the trailer wanting to know if OOIDA supported the PRO Act, says Marty Ellis, skipper of The Spirit. They had apparently been confused by something mentioned on the internet somewhere, but the answer is clear.

OOIDA does not support the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2021, or the PRO Act.

The PRO Act addresses worker classification, whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. The bill would have all workers considered employees unless the hiring business can prove three things, called the ABC Test.

A. That the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.

B. That the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.

C. That the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.


You can read more here about the PRO Act and OOIDA’s letter to lawmakers explaining why they shouldn’t support the bill either.

The PRO Act was discussed toward the end of the April 7 “Live From Exit 24” broadcast.

OOIDA produces “Live From Exit 24” to expand communication with members and to hear directly from drivers across the industry. It is broadcast at 11 a.m. Central every other Wednesday. Listeners can tune in to the show on the Live From Exit 24 website, OOIDA Facebook page or on OOIDA’s YouTube channel.

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see OOIDA’s tour trailer, stop by and say hello. Ellis is looking 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 there. Face masks are available for anyone with a commercial driver’s license at The Spirit.

After Pembroke, The Spirit is scheduled to stop in Fultonville, N.Y., and then Willington, Conn.

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.