Vintage trucks surround OOIDA’s tour trailer in Virginia

June 2, 2021

Chuck Robinson


Marty Ellis, skipper of OOIDA’s tour trailer, has a lot of cool vintage and antique trucks to look forward to this weekend.

Ellis plans to park the Spirit of the American Trucker at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg, Va. They are scheduled to be there June 3-5 to join the fun at the American Truck Historical Society’s National Convention and Truck Show.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association will be well represented at the ATHS show. Not only will Ellis be there with The Spirit, but OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh also plans to attend.

Read more about the show here.

From the north, take Exit 243 from I-81 and take Route 11 to the entrance to the fairgrounds. From the south, take Exit 240 to Frieden’s Church Road. Go west for a half mile to Route 11 and turn right.

Ellis says he is looking forward to the ATHS National Convention and Truck Show. Though he’s attended regional ATHS-affiliated truck shows, this is the first time he has attended the national show.

Pugh says this is his second national ATHS show. He attended the 2015 show in York, Pa. That was the year that ATHS bestowed its Golden Achievement Award on John Taylor, OOIDA life member and OOIDA director emeritus based in Cross Junction, Va. The Golden Achievement Award recognizes men and women who have been in the trucking industry for at least 50 consecutive years. During the 1970s, John was one of the first OOIDA members. He served more than 20 years on the OOIDA Board of Directors.


Previous stop at White’s Travel Center

The previous stop for The Spirit was at White’s Travel Center in Raphine, Va. It is a busy place, being the largest truck stop on the East Coast. A couple of noteworthy thing have happened recently.

One, White’s is hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics all summer.

The clinic began offering vaccinations the last week in May.

Hours are from 2 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday. The clinic is walk-in only with no appointment needed. They are taking place in dining area of Destination Station.

The clinic is being presented in conjunction with Raphine Medical Associates, the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Transportation. All three of the major COVID vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be offered.

Mellyora Mason, marketing director at White’s, said the goal is to provide drivers and the community with the opportunity to become vaccinated throughout the summer.

Also, there was a little excitement on an otherwise quiet Memorial Day at White’s when a tractor with a tank trailer caught on fire.

Memorial Day fire at White's Travel Center
Marty Ellis, skipper of OOIDA’s tour trailer, sent these images of a tractor and tank trailer engulfed in flames. Scary as it looks, the driver was checked out by paramedics and seemed to be OK, Ellis reports. There was no hazmat in the tank, he reported.

Memorial Day 2021 fire at White's


Big as it is with more than 700 truck parking spaces, White’s is planning to add more parking for tractor-trailers. Another 150 truck parking spaces are scheduled to be added this year. This is part of a 10-phase expansion project begun in 2013.

In 2022, a new travel store and drivers lounge is planned. In 2020, the Quaker Steak and Lube Restaurant at White’s opened.

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see OOIDA’s tour trailer, stop by and say hello. Ellis is looking 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 there. Face masks are available for anyone with a commercial driver’s license at The Spirit.

After the ATHS show in Harrisonburg, Va., The Spirit is scheduled to stop Jun 7-9 at the Kenly 95 truck stop in Kenly, N.C., before heading to South Carolina and then Alabama.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL

J.J. Keller

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.