The OOIDA tour trailer heads south to Amarillo, Texas

November 8, 2021

Chuck Robinson


As chilly weather in northern regions settles in, Marty Ellis is taking the OOIDA tour trailer south, to Amarillo, Texas.

Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker are scheduled to be at the Amarillo Petro on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 9-10. The Petro is at the Lakeside Drive exit from I-40, Exit 75.

There is parking for 280 tractor-trailers at the Amarillo Petro. The Iron Skillet dining room is open for business.

The Amarillo Petro is dedicated to OOIDA life member Evan “Buddy” Haston, who was a 2017 Citizen Driver honoree. The Citizen Driver program honors exceptional drivers who demonstrate values of citizenship, community involvement, health and wellness, leadership and safety. As part of the recognition, a TA or Petro truck stop is dedicated in honor of Citizen Driver honorees.

Haston is a U.S. Army veteran who is active in his church and has logged more than 6 million crash-free miles during his career.

Drivers’ rants

On Friday’s Land Line Now broadcast, Ellis and host Mark Reddig were joined by Jon Osburn, who drove the OOIDA tour trailer before Ellis slid behind the wheel of the Western Star that pulls The Spirit.

Osburn and Ellis said they were hearing a lot about the shipping problems at the West Coast ports. Osburn said he had heard a lot from drivers who have stopped by his hometown TA truck shop in Boise, Idaho, and chatted. The Boise TA happened to be dedicated to Osburn, who was named a Citizen Driver in 2016.

“It’s bad all the way from Tacoma-Seattle all the way down to So Cal,” Osburn said on Land Line Now.

He has heard reports on the Port of Los Angeles going 24-hours but not hiring more crane operators to man the shifts. And there is a serious problem with the chassis that carry the shipping containers hauled by tractor-trailers.

“Repeatedly, all I hear that the guys go in to get a chassis and it’s damaged. It’s not DOT-ready. And then the media comes back and say, ‘Well, why are the trucks waiting so long?’ Well, it’s because there’s nothing they can go out of the port with because the chassis have blown tires or the chassis don’t have lights,” Osburn said.

Ellis said he has heard much the same.

“That’s been a problem forever,” Ellis said. “Nobody wants to take responsibility for them. No one wants to make repairs or change a tire, so that’s been a problem. And basically all this stuff has been a problem for years. It’s just basically coming to a head now.”

Listen to Osburn and Ellis on Land Line Now

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see OOIDA’s tour trailer, stop by and say hello. Ellis looks 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 at The Spirit. Face masks are available at The Spirit for anyone with a commercial driver’s license.

After Amarillo, Ellis is scheduled to take The Spirit to Albuquerque, N.M., and then Kingman, Ariz.

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.