The OOIDA tour trailer stops in Edinburg, Texas

January 28, 2022

Chuck Robinson

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Marty Ellis, who drives the OOIDA tour trailer across the United States, has spent the month of January in Texas, and he isn’t done with his Lone Star State tour yet.

Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker next pull into Edinburg, Texas.

The Spirit will be at the Edinburg TA Travel Center for the weekend, Jan. 29-30. It is at the junction of Highway 281 and FM 2812. Highway 281 also is known as Interstate 69C.

The Edinburg TA has parking for 105 tractor-trailers. There’s no diner there, but there’s grab-and-go food in the convenience store. There is a basketball hoop there for a little exercise.

Even if he’s working, stop and save him

This tour of Texas with the OOIDA tour trailer is definitely the longest Ellis has stayed in any state that’s not home, he said. Some stops have been busier than others, he reported, and when there’s no one wanting something or to chat, he is wiping down the truck or trailer or doing some maintenance. If you see him working, go ahead and interrupt, he said.

“I think I need to make up a shirt that on the back says, ‘If you see me working outside, come save me from that, and we can have a chat,’” Ellis said.

People are mostly friendly, he said, but the staff at the Pearsall, Texas, TA were super friendly.

“They were very happy to have us at their location and look forward to seeing us again. It was a great stop,” Ellis said.

Borders on drivers’ minds

With the previous stop being in the border-crossing city of Laredo, Texas, and other Texas stops of late, it’s no surprise that border crossing is on the minds of a lot of professional truck drivers.

What Ellis finds surprising is which border seems to be top of mind.

“I’m right down here on the Mexican border, and yet we are talking about what’s going on at the Canadian border,” Ellis said.

Some truckers have been upset by the vaccine mandates for crossing the U.S.-Canada border that went into effect this month.

OOIDA maintains that being vaccinated for the coronavirus is a personal choice and should not be mandated. It is another example of government regulation pushing experienced drivers out of the industry.

Words to the wise

OOIDA life member James Smith of Wildwood, Fla., sent Ellis these photos of decals he had made for his truck.

Words of wisdom from OOIDA life member James Smith of Wildwood, Fla.,

 

More words of wisdome from Words of wisdom from OOIDA life member James Smith of Wildwood, Fla.,

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 Edinburg, Ellis is scheduled to stop in Ganado, Texas, and then Beaumont, Texas.

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.