OOIDA’s tour trailer rolls into Laredo, Texas

February 14, 2020

Chuck Robinson


On the second of six stops in Texas, OOIDA’s tour trailer, the Spirit of the American Trucker, is scheduled to roll into Laredo on Saturday.

Jon Osburn, skipper of The Spirit, is scheduled to be at the Henry Albert TA in Laredo on Feb 15-18. The Henry Albert TA is on the Beltway Parkway, Exit 13 from Interstate 35.


On the way to El Paso, Jon will be tooling by Del Rio, Texas, which is across the U.S.-Mexico border from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. It is the home base for the clear-channel, 100,000-watt radio station where disc jockey Bob Smith took on the persona of Wolfman Jack and got his start in 1963. XERF-AM 1570 was a border-blaster of a radio station based in Mexico. Wolman Jack stayed there only six months before moving to another border blaster station in Tijuana, Mexico.

Border blaster stations were phased out after the U.S. and Mexico signed an agreement on radio frequencies in 1986, explains the Texas State Historical Association.

The current call letters for AM 1570 are IMER, and it is a Spanish-language broadcaster.

Busy border crossing

Laredo has four bridges crossing into Mexico, the city reports, but only two of them carry commercial traffic. The Colombia Solidarity Bridge carries commercial and noncommercial traffic. The World Trade Bridge carries only commercial traffic.


The 14-lane World Trade Bridge opened in 2000. IT also is known as International Bridge IV. More than 5 million trucks cross it to and from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, annually, reports the Office of the Texas Comptroller.

In 2018, the Laredo port of entry accounted for 57.6% of the state’s land port trade, which was valued at nearly $235 billion, according to the Texas comptroller. Laredo is the No. 2 most busy trade hub in the U.S., second only to Los Angeles.

Last year, the Laredo City Council and Texas DOT entered into an agreement to build new Free and Secure Trade (FAST) inspection facilities. The estimated cost is $11.8 million. The goal was to speed up border crossings. The project will relocate FAST lanes to a new site on the north side of the federal compound, allowing FAST trucks a more direct route from the bridge, into the new FAST inspection facility, and on to their final destinations.


Laredo is where cross-border trade issues become reality, not just abstractions. News of President Donald Trump signing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the pact to succeed the North American Free Trade Agreement, has the potential to have a great impact.

OOIDA has been involved in shaping the USMCA and calls it a “long-awaited victory for American truckers.”

In particular, the USMCA has provisions allowing U.S. trucking companies a chance to investigate and remove Mexican-based operators that pose material economic harm to American truckers.  USMCA also restricts Mexican-based carriers and drivers from operating beyond the Border Commercial Zones.

Stop by and check in

Anytime you see The Spirit tour truck, go 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 started his Texas tour in El Paso. After Laredo, he is scheduled to visit San Antonio, New Braunfels, Hillsboro and Terrell. 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.