The Spirit sets up in North Bend, Wash., near Seattle

June 13, 2019

Chuck Robinson

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The next stop for OOIDA’s touring tractor-trailer is on the outskirts of Seattle.

Jon Osburn, skipper of the Spirit of the American Trucker, is scheduled June 14-16 to be at the Seattle East TA in North Bend, Wash. It is at Exit 34 from Interstate 90.

This is the TA travel center dedicated to Carol Wolder-Nixon, who was named a Citizen Driver in 2018.

TravelCenters of America, which operates TA & Petro truck stops, launched the Citizen Driver program in 2013 to recognize professional truck drivers who have had an exemplary career in trucking and have demonstrated good citizenship, community involvement and leadership. Along with her other contributions to the industry and society, Wolder-Nixon donated a kidney to another driver’s husband in 2016.

The TA in North Bend has parking for 140 trucks. There is a Popeye’s in addition to a Country Pride restaurant and other amenities.

The North Bend TA is close to a facility for Genie brand of aerial lifts. The Genie headquarters is in Redmond, Wash.

The drive to North Bend from the last stop for The Spirit in Spokane brought Jon across the Columbia River’s Wanapum Lake and beside Keechelus Lake reservoir near Snoqualmie Pass, Wash. The south fork of the Snoqualmie River ambles alongside I-90 for several miles.

On a clear day Mount Rainier is visible from I-90. Some travelers say a good interstate highway vantage point to see Mount Rainier is the Ellensburg, Wash., crest. Mount Rainier is off to the southwest.

In Spokane, Jon said truckers were cheering the testimony of OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer at a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing about hardships that truckers must face to make a living. Spencer told lawmakers that the trucking industry has been fundamentally broken for years and shows few signs of improving.

“Until Congress understands the most important component in trucking is the driver, very little will change. The next steps you must take are clear – help make trucking an appealing, safe and sustainable career,” Spencer said during the hearing.

From the feedback he has gotten, that is the message professional drivers want delivered to members of Congress, Jon said.

Another hot topic of discussion was pace of hours of service reform, though Jon said there is still reason to be hopeful of progress.

After North Bend, The Spirit is headed to Jubitz Travel Center and Truck Stop in Portland, Ore. The Jubitz Travel Center seems like a truck stop resort, with its Cascade Grill, Ponderosa Lounge, Jubitz Cinema and trucker’s amenities.

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.

Synchrony Financial