OOIDA’s tour trailer sets up in Bloomington, Ill.

April 26, 2021

Chuck Robinson


The next stop for OOIDA’s tour trailer is the Bloomington, Ill., TA dedicated to 2015 Citizen Driver Gary Buchs.

Marty Ellis, the skipper of the Spirit of the American Trucker and himself a Citizen Driver honoree, plans to be at the Bloomington TA through Wednesday, April 28. The Bloomington TA is at the junction of I-55, I-74 and I-39 with U.S. 150. It is Exit 160.

The Bloomington TA has parking for 160 tractor-trailers. The full-service Country Pride restaurant there is temporarily closed.

At the time Buchs was awarded the Citizen Driver honor by TravelCenters of American, he was a nine-time winner of the Landstar Star of Quality Award and the recipient of a Platinum Star, which was awarded after he came upon a car wreck and stopped to help. He pried the car door open and pulled a woman out, saving her life.

As part of the recognition associated with being named a Citizen Driver, at TA or Petro truck stop is dedicated to the honoree.

Just last week the two Citizen Drivers were named for 2021. They are OOIDA members Dan “Dusty” Porter, a driver for Werner Enterprises, and Don Talley, a driver for Carter Express.

The buzz among drivers

Drivers have been talking about the lack of parking availability, Ellis reports. Drivers want to be optimistic that something will get done, but a lot of them are a little cynical too.

Truck parking was one of the issues covered in last Wednesday’s “Live From Exit 24” episode by OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer. Joining Spencer on the show, hosted by Mike Matousek, OOIDA manager of government affairs, was Bob Poole, director of transportation policy for the Reason Foundation. Pool has authored a policy brief advocating allowing interstate highway rest areas to be commercialized to provide parking and services for commercial motor vehicle operators.

You can listen to the hour-long discussion on ‘Live From Exit 24’ here.

OOIDA has been listening to drivers’ concerns about parking and is trying to get something done about it. OOIDA has pushed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to make sure truck parking is included in the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan.

The Association also has backed the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. OOIDA encourages all truck drivers to contact their representatives to make sure they understand the seriousness of the need for truck parking.


OOIDA life member Edward Schlegel
OOIDA life member Edward Schlegel stopped by The Spirit to say hello in Foristell. He enjoys spreading the Christian gospel as he travels across the country. (Photo by Marty Ellis)


More than one Bloomington

Besides Illinois, there are larger cities named Bloomington in Indiana and Minnesota and smaller ones in California, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Canada also has cities named Bloomington in Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see OOIDA’s tour trailer, stop by and say hello. Ellis looks 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. Also, drivers without medical insurance can get vouchers to get flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines.

After Bloomington, The Spirit is scheduled to stop April 30 through May 2 in Angola, Ind.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL