From the Mackinac to ooh la la

By Kerry Evans-Spillman, Land Line staff | 9/24/2012

Last week was a good one for Jon Osburn, OOIDA senior member and pilot of the tour truck, “The Spirit of the American Trucker.” He spent Sept. 14-16 in St. Ignace, MI, for the Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show. “It’s the cutest town in the whole wide world,” Jon says.

The residents love the truck show. Jon said the sidewalks were full of spectators, especially for the “Parade of Lights” over the Mackinac Bridge.

“I’ve been to parades during the daylight that haven’t had as many people outside,” Jon said.

Ron Mermis got to see the parade from the jumpseat for the first time ever, and Jon said he was dazzled by all the trucks and lights. “It was neat to see Ron have a good time.”

Jon says 155 trucks participated. Because it’s a suspension bridge, he said you can really feel it move with all those trucks on it.

You know Ron from his NASCAR simulator. During the show, various truckers participated in fundraisers to benefit different charities. People lined up to give the simulator a spin in exchange for a $1 donation for homeless veterans. Ron was able to collect almost $400 for that cause.

Jon was a little disappointed he didn’t see any bears despite warning signs in the area. Maybe next year…

Next Jon ventured south to Stony Ridge, OH, where he was at the Petro from Sept. 17-19. He had a steady stream of visitors there and even had people still hanging out in the Spirit at 11 p.m.

The Spirit set sail from Stony Ridge on Sept. 19, but not before Jon“had a roast beef pirate sandwich Arrrby’s for lunch.” Because it was, after all, Talk Like A Pirate Day.

This week, he traded the pirate accent for an “ooh la la” while hanging out at the Petro in New Paris, OH. Jon told Land Line, “I truly am having more fun than anybody could ever imagine.”

He sees between 100 and 200 people every day in the Spirit, members, life members and soon-to-be members. All are interesting people with a story to tell. Jon says, “The world is full of characters.”

One thing he didn’t expect. He is coming across folks who’ve lost their membership cards or have damaged cards. He said OOIDA’s life members really use the benefits to their advantage because the wear and tear shows on their cards. No worries, though; Jon gets their information and sends a message back to HQ to hook them up with fresh cards.

Catch the Spirit and Jon at these upcoming locations:

  • Sept. 23-25, Petro, Kingdom City, MO
  • Sept. 28-30, Guilty by Association truck show in Joplin, MO
  • Oct. 2-4, Petro, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Oct. 6-8, Petro, Carl’s Corner, TX

For the full tour schedule, click here.

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