OOIDA’s tour trailer stops in Raphine, Va.

May 28, 2021

Chuck Robinson


Memorial Day weekend brings OOIDA’s tour trailer to Raphine, Va.

Marty Ellis, skipper of the Spirit of the American Trucker, is scheduled to be at the Raphine Petro on May 29-30. The Raphine Petro is at Exit 205 from I-81/I-64.

There is parking for a whopping 725 tractor-trailers at the Raphine Petro, also known as White’s Travel Center. Operators lay claim to being the largest travel center on the East Coast.

The Quaker Steak and Lube restaurant dining room is open, not to mention a deli, Popeye’s, Papa Joh’s Burger King, Subway and Caribou Coffee. There are also a StayFit fitness room and walking trail.

This is the stop before the American Truck Historical Society’s National Convention and Antique Truck Show on June 3-5 in Harrisonburg, Va. Not only will Ellis haul the Spirit of the American Trucker there, but Lewie Pugh, executive vice president of OOIDA, also plans to attend.

White’s Travel Center

This truck stop has been there since 1970, when Dave and Peggy White opened it. She ran the restaurant while he ran the truck stop operations. White’s became an AmBest Truck stop in 2001 and then a Petro in 2011. The founders died in the early 2000s.

Back in the day, the Whites lived at the truck stop, according to the “The All-American Truck Stop Cookbook” by Jim Clark, Ken Beck and Les Kerr. The Whites segregated the truck business from the passenger vehicle business, and the restaurants had rooms reserved for only truck drivers.

In a 2000 feature on White’s Truck Stop, Transport Topics mentioned an extensive collection of knives and guns there, including some Civil War revolvers, a Chicago mobster machine gun from the 1920s, and a World War II infantry bayonet.

There also was as a collection of classic motorcycles and an extensive collection of antique dolls and vases.

Storm rolls in at South Baltimore Petro

Storm rolls in at South Baltimore Petro
A storm blew through the South Baltimore Petro on Wednesday. It happened while Ellis was calling into Land Line Now to give an update. The storm blew flags around and shoved the stairs to the trailer around. The gusts also knocked signs in the parking lot down. (Photos by Marty Ellis)

Storm rolls in at South Baltimore Petro

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see OOIDA’s tour trailer, stop by and say hello. Ellis is looking 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.

After Raphine, The Spirit is scheduled to stop at the ATHS show in Harrisonburg, Va., before heading south to North Carolina and South Carolina’

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.