OOIDA’s tour trailer pulls into Willington, Conn.

May 14, 2021

Chuck Robinson


A spring tour of the U.S. Northeast continues for OOIDA’s tour trailer with a stop in Willington, Conn., which is 30 miles northeast of Hartford, Conn.

The Spirit of the American Trucker is scheduled to be at the Willington TA on Sunday and Monday, May 16-17. It is at the Ruby Road exit from I-84, Exit 71.

The Willington TA has parking for 240 tractor-trailers.

The Country Pride full-service restaurant is temporarily closed, leaving convenience store fare, a Burger King and a Dunkin’ Express for making do. There is a walking rail, fitness room, horseshoe pit and bean bag toss for burning a few calories.

Ruby Lake is across Route 320 from the truck stop. Fishbrain.com says anglers there can catch largemouth bass, chain pickerel and yellow perch.

Robert Fernald TA

The Willington TA is dedicated to OOIDA life member Robert Fernald, who was named a TA & Petro Citizen Driver in 2015. The Citizen Driver Award recognizes professional drivers who help bring respect to the truck driving profession. When he received the Citizen Driver honor, Fernald was driver for Walmart and had logged 2.5 million collision-free miles. He was for times named a state champion in the Maine State Truck Driving Championships and had supported several charities.

Read about Fernald’s 2015 Citizen Driver ceremony here. In addition to his involvement in various charitable causes, “Mouse” has been a frequent participant in the Maine State Truck Driving Championships.

Buzz from drivers

Drivers have been talking a bit about the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack and the spotty fuel shortages associated with it, reports Marty Ellis, skipper of OOIDA’s tour trailer. Not many have reported problems, but several have reported being amused by the panic-buying and long lines at some gasoline pumps.

Land Line has kept tabs on fuel shortages reported by the Big Three truck stop chains. Get the latest update here.

Drivers also have expressed cautious optimism that something will be done to address the commercial truck parking crisis, Ellis said. More lawmakers are hopping on the bandwagon calling attention to it, as Land Line’s Mark Schremmer has reported.

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 Willington, The Spirit is scheduled to stop in Greenland, N.H. and then Bordentown, N.J.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL

Lucas Oil

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.