OOIDA’s touring tractor-trailer, The Spirit, heads to Portage, Wis.

August 13, 2018

Land Line Staff


OOIDA’s touring tractor-trailer, The Spirit of the American Trucker, pulls into the Petro Stopping Center at Portage, Wis., for a two-day stay on Aug. 14-15.

The Portage Petro Stopping Center is at the intersection of I-90 and I-94 with I-39. You can find it on Exit 108A.

When Jon Osburn, skipper of The Spirit, pulls out of Portage, he will be headed for a weekend at the ninth annual Eau Claire Big Rig Truck Show at the Northern Wisconsin Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls, Wis.

At the Eau Clair Big Rig Truck Show, a truck show, performances by a chainsaw artist and music performances are planned. A Monster Truck Throwdown is scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights. A truck parade is planned on Sunday afternoon.

A word to the wise: Pets are not allowed on the fairgrounds.

The city of Portage was built between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers.

By the end of the 17th century, it was a busy fur trade thoroughfare. A canal was built for steamboat traffic in the 1830s. The present-day canal was hand-dug in 1849-51, and by 1876 it had 26 lift locks. Commercial traffic used the canal until 1951. In the 1980s, the city restored a downtown corridor along the canal, and the National Ice Age Trail opened on the south bank of the canal.

At his stop in Racine, Jon noshed on some kringle, the Danish pastry for which the city has earned a reputation.

Some discussion among drivers stopping by The Spirit in Racine was about the public’s perception of trucking. Land Line Staff Writer Tyson Fisher addressed some of the concerns in a column he wrote.

Fisher mentioned the story from April about Michigan truckers pulling their rigs underneath an overpass to prevent a man form ending his life by jumping. A similar thing happened again a couple of months later in Ohio.

He also mentioned truckers recognized by the Goodyear Highway Heroes awards, truckers involved in Truckers Against Trafficking, fundraising truck convoys, OOIDA’s Truckers for Troops program, and other examples of gallant truckers making the world better.

Fisher ended his column by saying losing trucking jobs to automation would greatly affect society.

“The general public will not know what they are missing until it’s gone. Trucking can be a thankless job, which makes truckers all the nobler,” he wrote.

Whenever you see The Spirit tour truck, go say hello to Jon. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and issues. You also can join OOIDA or renew your membership for $10 off the regular price there. Also, you can get vouchers for flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines from Jon at The Spirit.