OOIDA’s tour trailer rolls into Oklahoma City, Okla.

November 20, 2020

Chuck Robinson

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This weekend OOIDA’s tour trailer is scheduled to be in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Spirit of the American Trucker is scheduled to be at the Oklahoma City East TA Travel Center from Saturday through Monday, Nov 21-23. It is at Exit 142 from I-40. It is west of the I-40/I-44 interchange and east of the I-40 junction with the John Kirkpatrick Turnpike.

The Oklahoma City East TA has 175 parking spots for tractor-trailers. The full-service Country Pride dining room is temporarily closed.

Jon Osburn, skipper of the Spirit of the American Trucker, says the closed diner at the truck stop isn’t an isolated case.

“We’re seeing restaurants closing again,” he said. “Restaurants that had reopened are closing again. Not only are we going to be running out of disinfectant and paper towels, but truckers also are going to be looking for something to eat.”

Word from the road

Drivers checking in at The Spirit have been discussing the two pilot programs to allow under-21 commercial drivers to operate in interstate commerce.

One of the under-21 pilot programs involves military personnel, and it is mandated by Congress. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to make the program available to more military job descriptions.

The other under-21 pilot program being discussed is for the general commercial driving community, not just the military. It is not mandated by Congress.

OOIDA has told FMCSA in official comments that it should complete the under-21 military pilot program before getting into another other program analyzing the performance of younger commercial motor vehicle drivers.

What’s more, OOIDA says the driver shortage myth shouldn’t be used to take advantage of inexperienced teenagers. Here more about OOIDA’s comments on the under-21 programs here.
With the military under-21 program, the drivers have been trained to drive and certified by a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, Osburn said. The other program lacks the assurance of similar training, but could be used by mega fleets to put inexperienced drivers behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer.

“I sure wasn’t ready to control 80,000 pounds of truck, trailer and cargo at 18, and I grew up around trucks and tractors in the country as a farm kid,” Osburn said.

Truckers for Troops

Osburn said he was proud to be involved in last week’s Truckers for Troops campaign to raise funds to send care packages to military personnel overseas and, this year, to also benefit a charity dedicated to improving the lives of veterans.

Being a veteran himself, he said getting care packages from home while stationed abroad is great.

“It’s almost impossible to put in words the feelings and joy while opening a gift box from people who have never met you, but want you to have some of the things you just can’t get where you are deployed,” Osburn said. “Wow. Very cool!”

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see OOIDA’s tour trailer, stop by and say hello to Osburn. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. He usually has copies of Land Line Magazine to hand out. You can join or renew your OOIDA membership for $10 off the regular price there. Free face masks are available for anyone with a commercial driver’s license at The Spirit. You also can get forms for uninsured drivers to get flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccine vouchers at The Spirit.

After Oklahoma City, OOIDA’s tour trailer is scheduled to spend Thanksgiving weekend, Nov 25-28, at the Evan “Buddy” Hanson Petro in Amarillo, Texas.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL

Prepass
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.