The Spirit pulls up next to the Great Salt Lake for its next stop

December 4, 2018

Chuck Robinson


OOIDA’s touring tractor-trailer is scheduled to stop Dec 5-7at a TA truck stop west of Salt Lake City

Jon Osburn, skipper of the Spirit of the American Trucker, plans to pull into the TA Travel Center in Tooele, Utah. It is at Exit 99 from I-80.

Tooele lies west of Salt Lake City, with a few mountains separating the municipalities. The TA there has 191 truck parking spots.

I-80 hugs the south coast of the Great Salt Lake just before it takes you into Salt Lake City.

Perhaps driving by on the interstate is close enough to the Great Salt Lake. There may be no need to get closer, according a many reviews of Great Salt Lake Park, such as this one from Trip Advisor: “Let’s face it, it smells and is mostly dead for much of the year (and when its alive, you might be better off avoiding it due to the flies). It is one of the few official parks I’ve ever been in the world to that could probably be improved by heavy industry.”

As with every review, take it with a grain of salt.

Antelope Island State Park gets much more favorable reviews. In neither case, though, is there easy access for a tractor-trailer.

The Great Salt Lake is shrinking. NASA has photos showing significant decline in the lake’s water level from 2011 to 2016. People and industries diverting water that once fed the Great Salt Lake to agriculture and other uses is blamed for the decline. Drought has worsened the problem.

This is the next-to-the-last stop for Jon and The Spirit before Jon takes a holiday break. For the last stop of the year son Dec. 9-11, Jon heads to his namesake truck stop, the J.D. “Doc” Osburn TA in Boise, Idaho.
Shortly after the start of the new year, the schedule calls for The Spirit to roll into Sparks, Nevada. After that, the plan calls for some stops in California.

At the previous stop in Las Vegas, Jon says toll roads were a top concern expressed by drivers who stopped by The Spirit. Of particular concern is Oregon, which has a plan to toll congested sections of Interstates 5 and 205. They have asked for federal approval. State officials also want to look into tolling Oregon 217, I-405, I-84, U.S. 26 and other highways in the metro area.

The truckers also complained about the mounting cost of tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. For some truckers, the cost to use the Pennsylvania Turnpike is getting too high, Jon says. OOIDA has sued the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, arguing that tolls it charges are excessive and are used to pay for services and facilities that have no relationship with the turnpike constituting a burden on interstate commerce.

Whenever you see The Spirit tour truck, 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, get vouchers for flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines from Jon at The Spirit.

Also, ask Jon for forms for the OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship Program, which has been assisting the children, grandchildren and legal dependents of OOIDA members in their efforts to gain a higher education since 1998. Applications and all required materials must be postmarked no later than Feb. 1.

You can find an application on the OOIDA website.

The Spirit keeps clear of snowdrifts by way of Kingman, Ariz.