The Spirit rolls into sunny Marianna, Fla.

April 28, 2020

Chuck Robinson


On Thursday, OOIDA’s tour trailer makes its second of two stops this spring in Florida. The first stop is in Baldwin. Next stop is in Marianna.

Jon Osburn, skipper of the Spirit of the American Trucker trailer, is scheduled to be at the Marianna TA Travel Center on April 29 through May 1. It is at Exit 142 from I-10.

The Marianna TA has 123 truck parking spots. The full-service restaurant is temporarily closed, but fast food options include Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. There’s a walking trail, horseshoe pit and basketball hoop for burning a few calories.

Marianna is in Florida’s panhandle, 60 miles northwest of the state capital, Tallahassee, Fla. Marianna has been there since 1827, and the name is a combination of the names of the wives of the two founders, Mary and Anna, according to Florida Back Roads Travel.

Florida Caverns State Park is near Marianna, but it was closed because of the coronavirus and only recently partially reopened. Just west of Marianna, the Chipola River runs under the interstate.

At the stop in Baldwin was a busy one. Several drivers commented on the additional free masks offered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said Jon Osburn, skipper of The Spirit. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had pushed for the masks.

The Association also has lobbied for COVID-19 testing for drivers, and FMCSA acting Administrator Jim Mullen today said his agency was working on it.

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see The Spirit tour truck, stop by and say hello to Jon. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. You 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.

After Marianna, Jon and The Spirit are scheduled to be in Slidell, La. Here is the schedule.

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.