OOIDA’s tour trailer stops in Hammond, La.

March 11, 2021

Chuck Robinson

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Swamp country is like no place else on the planet, and that is where OOIDA’s tour trailer headed to next.

The Spirit of the American Trucker is scheduled to be at the Hammond, La., Petro on March 12-14. The truck stop is at Highway 51 exit from I-12, Exit 40.

There are 200 parking spots for tractor-trailers at the Hammond Petro. It Iron Skillet dining room is open.

‘Swamp People’

Hammond is just east of Baton Rouge. Interstates 12 and 55 intersect in Hammond. South of I-12, I-55 crosses between Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain.

East of Hammond on I-12 is Mandeville, La., and access to the world’s longest continuous bridge over water. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is made up of two bridges side by side. The longer of the two is 23.8 miles long. The causeway connects to Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.

Traveling through the area brings to mind a show on the History Channel titled “Swamp People,” says Jon Osburn, skipper of OOIDA’s tour trailer, the Spirit of the American Trucker.

“Swamp People” has been on the air for 12 years. The show documents the life of alligator hunters in the swamps of the Atchafalaya River Basin who hunt American alligators for a living. One of the hunters is from Hammond.

Buzz among drivers

A couple of topics were top of mind for drivers in Shreveport, La., the previous stop for The Spirit, Osburn said.

“The big chuckle is Oregon. They’re asking, ‘Is this lady for real?’” he said.

The lady in question is Oregon state Rep. Karin Power, D-Milwaukie. The reason for asking if she’s for real is her proposed ban on petroleum-based diesel.

If the bill passes, by Jan. 1, 2028, dealers would be prohibited from selling trucks petroleum-based diesel in the state. Bio-diesel would still be allowed.

Chuckling aside, the top concern among drivers was the PRO Act.

Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act just passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would implement California’s ABC Test for classifying workers. Drivers fear the PRO Act would jeopardize the leased owner-operator model. OOIDA has worked to inform lawmakers.

In a letter to lawmakers on the issue, OOIDA President Todd Spencer said if Congress really wanted to improve working conditions and compensation for truckers, repealing the overtime exemption for truck drivers would be a better place to start.

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 membership for $10 off the regular price there. 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 Hammond, The Spirit is scheduled to stop March 15-17 at the Jackson, Miss., Petro, before heading to West Memphis, Ark.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL

 

TravelCenters
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.