The Spirit heads to Steele, N.D., to rest up after Wheel Jam

June 3, 2019

Chuck Robinson

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Jon Osburn, skipper of OOIDA’s touring tractor-trailer, heads north for his next stop and some North Dakota hospitality.

The Spirit of the American Trucker is scheduled to be at the Coffee Cup Fuel Stop in Steele, N.D., on June 4-6.

The Coffee Cup Fuel Stop in Steele, N.D., is at I-94 and Highway 3, exit 200 from the interstate.

Steele is 45 miles east of Bismark, the capitol of North Dakota. About halfway between Bismark and Jamestown, N.D.

The Coffee Cup Fuel Stop franchise has been serving truckers since 1981, starting in Steele. There are Coffee Cup Fuel Stops in eight other communities in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The chain was founded by Tom Heinz.

There is Pizza Hut, Subway, Deli Depot and Caribou Coffee available at the Coffee Cup Fuel Stop. About 8 miles east in Dawson, N.D., is Dawson’s Café. Reviewers say it is a good hometown diner and a favorite of locals.

As he is passing through, Jon should get the chance to see Sandy, the world’s largest sandhill crane sculpture. At 40 feet tall, it is visible from the interstate. It is made from steel and sheet metal. An area self-taught welder, ironworker and farmer created and erected it in 1998-99, according to HighwayHighlights.com.

There are signs to point visitors to the best place to snap a picture, another website tells us.

This might be the largest sandhill crane, but flesh-and-blood sandhill cranes are fairly large birds that stand 4 feet tall and have a wingspan of 6 feet, according to a kiosk near the sculpture. They are gray with crimson caps. You might see them migrating. You could also find them in marshes, bogs or other wetlands. They have a notably loud, trumpeting call, and often they trumpet in unison.

If they are in the mood, the sandhill crane’s courting dances are noteworthy.

“Courting cranes stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air in a graceful and energetic dance,” according to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website.

Next weekend, The Spirit is scheduled to be in Missoula, Mont.

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

Chuck Robinson

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.