OOIDA’s tour trailer stops in Eloy, Ariz.

February 1, 2021

Chuck Robinson


Through Thursday, OOIDA’s tour trailer is scheduled to be in Eloy, Ariz.

The Spirit of the American Trucker will be parked Feb. 1-4 at the Eloy Petro, which is at the Sunland Gin Road exit, Exit 200.

The Eloy Petro has parking for 175 tractor-trailers, and the website says the full-service Iron Skillet restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Eloy is about 65 miles southeast of Phoenix and about 50 miles from Tucson, Ariz.

About 20 miles southeast of Eloy, Picacho Peak State Park abuts I-10.

Wind, dust and variable speed limits

The maximum speed limit on Arizona interstate highways outside of urban areas is 75 mph.

The I-10 in the Eloy area has warning signs that it is a “blowing dust area.” Other signs read “Caution: Variable Speed Limit Corridor.” OOIDA’s tour trailer will be cruising through the area.

At times the dust can affect visibility. In 2019, the Arizona Department of Transportation installed a detection and warning system that allows speed limits to be changed. The variable speed limit signs can change from 75 mph to as slow as 35 mph when there is blowing dust.

The system has been deployed between Eloy and Picacho Peak.

Strange name

As with many communities in the U.S., a railroad company had a hand in the naming of Eloy. The name does not commemorate a Southern Pacific officer or engineer, though, according to the city’s website. The name comes from an acronym. When Southern Pacific built a switch there in 1902, it was known as the “East Line of Yuma.” During construction, it was easier to label drawings and maps “ELOY.” The name stuck.

Eloy’s big industry

The Eloy Petro is off of Sunland Gin Road, which at one time carried traffic to a cotton gin business. Things have changed for Eloy, and cotton is nowhere near king now. Private corrections facilities are king.

Private prisons are a major industry in the Eloy area. Eloy has four run by CoreCivic, Brentwood, Tenn. In an article about city bond ratings, The Eloy Enterprise reported in 2018 that “more than 40% of Eloy’s 17,500 population resides in prisons.”

That stable revenue source gives the small city a high bond rating.

“With so much of the city’s revenue coming from prisons, its stability is largely tied to that of CoreCivic,” according to the article.

California and Hawaii send their state prisoners to Eloy. Idaho will be sending prisoners soon, according to the Idaho Statesman.

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 drivers without medical insurance to get flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccine vouchers at The Spirit.

After Eloy, The Spirit is scheduled to be at the TA Travel Center in Las Cruces, N.M. on Feb. 6-7.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL



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.