OOIDA’s tour trailer starts the year in Sparks, Nev.

January 6, 2021

Chuck Robinson


Warmer weather than at home in Idaho and the noise of slot machines should snap Jon Osburn, skipper of OOIDA’s tour trailer, out of his holiday reverie. The next stop for the Spirit of the American trucker is Sparks, Nev.

The Spirit of the American Trucker is scheduled to be at the Sparks Petro from Jan. 7 through Jan. 9. The Sparks Petro is at Exit 21 from I-80. The Sparks Petro has 400 parking spaces for tractor-trailers and an Iron Skillet dining room that is open for business.

Sparks is on the eastern side of the Reno metropolitan area. It is less than 20 miles from the next city west on I-80, Mystic, Calif.

Sparks is the less flamboyant side of the Reno-Sparks metroplex. The Sparks Petro serves truckers headed in and out of nearby facilities for YRC Freight, Knight Transportation, Swift and XPO Logistics. It seems that being close to California but just beyond its jurisdiction has been a factor in the growth in the Reno-Sparks area.

Sparks is named for the 10th governor of the state of Nevada, John Sparks. He was a cattleman, and his 1,640-acre Alamo Ranch was south of the city that bears his name. The governor’s house was moved from there in 1978 to Steamboat, Nev.

Just south of the Spark Petro is the Truckee River. It runs just south of I-80 for a few miles east of Sparks. The Truckee River is named for a Native American chief who guided Kit Carson and John C. Fremont in 1844. The river’s source is Lake Tahoe.

Sparks is a jumping off point for Osburn and The Spirit for a five-stop California tour before heading east.

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 Sparks, The Spirit is scheduled Jan 11-13 to be at the Corning, Calif., Petro. That is, if weather and conditions at Donner Pass allow travel without chaining up.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL