The OOIDA tour trailer returns to Gary, Ind.

April 22, 2022

Chuck Robinson


Fresh from the spring OOIDA Board of Directors meeting in Grain Valley, Mo., the next stop for Marty Ellis and the OOIDA tour trailer is Gary, Ind.

Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker are scheduled to be at the Petro truck stop in Gary from Sunday through Tuesday, April 24-26. The Gary Petro is at Exit 9 from I-80/I-94.

The Gary Petro has parking for 405 tractor-trailers. The Iron Skillet is ready and open for business. It is west of the I-94 interchange with I-65. It opened in 2013, and the interior commemorates the city of Gary, also known as “Steel City.”

The last time The Spirit stopped in Gary was two years ago, in 2020. Gary is about 25 miles from downtown Chicago.

The city is next to Indiana Dunes National Park along Lake Michigan, which is just 10 miles from the Gary Petro. The park hugs the southern shore of Lake Michigan for 15 miles and covers 15,000 acres. There are beaches, hiking trails and other amenities. A pass is required to enter the park.

Steel City

It is known as Steel City because Gary was founded in 1906 by United States Steel Corp. The U.S. Steel Gary Works steel mill is there. The city is named for the founding chairman of U.S. Steel, Elbert Gary.

U.S. Steel laid out the original city and paid for a water and sewerage system for a city of 200,000 people, according to a history feature from the Indianapolis Star. Heat and gas for the town were by-products of the steel plants.

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 Gary, Ellis and the OOIDA tour trailer are scheduled to stop twice in Michigan: April 28-30 in Saginaw and May 2-4 in Battle Creek.

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.