Trash: A Black Eye on the Trucking Industry

Trash:  A Black Eye on the Trucking Industry

I have not written any content yet, and I’ve already changed the title of this post half a dozen times.  If I rub a few people the wrong way…I’m not sure I apologize.  Send me an email.  I’d be happy to respectfully hear you out.

As a point of reference, I’ll state what should be the obvious.  I am a professional driver.  I am not pointing fingers at a group of people I know nothing about.  With that being said, I am embarrassed by the “professionals” within the industry who have a total disregard for the proper disposal of their personal refuse.

Also for the record I shall state that I am a clean freak.  Maybe that is why I am so impassioned about this problem.  The problem is simple:  Truckers feel the world is their garbage can.  Not all truckers, but there must be a good many that do to account for the messes that can be found most anywhere big trucks park.

This issue has long annoyed me but I hit the tipping point when I stopped a couple of days ago near the Walmart in Winslow, AZ.  In the parking lot directly adjacent to the Walmart was an assortment of filth that was not caused by just one or two drivers.

Not only was there the requisite trash, trucker bombs and tires, but some slob went so far as to pitch out the mattress from his bunk.  There were shopping carts filled with trash.  There is no justification for this.  Speaking of shopping carts…why can’t you return your cart to the store from which you borrowed it?  Why should Walmart have to chase their carts a block away?

Unfortunately, this site is not uncommon.  Parking areas on the side of the interstate are just as nasty.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  I fail to see any logic that justifies why anybody should have to clean up after me.  I am a grown man and I have to assume anyone else holding a CDL is an adult as well.  The trash and general disgust that truck drivers leave behind is a black eye on the trucking industry.  I know it’s not everybody that does it but we need to be reminded the group is judged by the actions of a few. 

I know garbage cans tend to fill up quickly at rest areas and parking lots.  That is no excuse.  There are a couple of options then:  Hang on the trash until your next stop or, this is going to sound crazy, walk a little bit further until you find an empty can!

I spend lots of my free time during the summer in a kayak.  Whenever I come across trash in the river or lake I am paddling, I pick it up.  I can’t, nor should I have to, pick up after a bunch of lazy slob truck drivers.  It’s no wonder truck parking is banned in so many areas.  Given the mess truck drivers leave, I really don’t want them parking on my property either.

My challenge is this:  Think before you pitch your trash out the window.  If for every piece of improperly disposed of trash you discard, someone else were to deposit an equal amount of similar refuse in your bunk, would you be ok with that?  Have some pride in your industry and don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

PS…this also includes cigarrette butts.

Thanks for reading!  Please share this with others.  We have a problem in the industry that needs solving.  Please help do your part.

Joshua 1:9

Remember…Keep the rubber down and the antennas pointed up.

Email me:  eric@bigroadblog.com

 

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14 Reasons to Date a Truck Driver*

14 Reasons to Date a Truck Driver*

Let’s face it folks.  We don’t live an easy life.  If you actually spell it out, the life and job description of a truck driver goes a little like this:  a) You will live in your car.  b) You will work 14 hour days/60 or so hours per week.  c) At the end of your 14 hour day, you may not get a shower before going to bed in the back seat of your car.  d) You will be home every couple of weeks and therefore miss events at home.

There are of course exceptions to each of those, but for the most part I think they are true.  Why then would anybody want to date, much less marry, a truck driver?  Relationship retention is low and divorce rates are high among us.  It’s tough to meet someone while on the road.  Telling someone you are a truck driver is pretty much the kiss of death for scoring a date.  Not anymore.  This blog will turn the tables and make us almost as popular as winning the lottery.

So I present to you 14 Reasons to Date a Truck Driver*

1.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Or is that absinthe?  Either way, it is true.  We just came off of Christmas.  How many people did you hear say how much they love Christmas music?  I guarantee if Walmart is playing Frosty the Snowman in June people will be sick of it by Labor Day.  Likewise, if I make it home on weekends or every couple of weeks, just think how much we’ll enjoy seeing each other.  Absinthe won’t hear either.

2.  I’m low maintenance.  I live in the back seat of a truck.  My house is 40 sq ft and I have everything I need to survive.  If I think this is comfortable, just imagine how much I will enjoy your 800 sq ft apartment or 1500 sq ft house.  I’ll be in awe of your mansion and want to come over and see you.

5.  Best travel agent ever. I get around.  45 or so states.  I’ve seen them all from the jump seat of a truck.  You want to go somewhere on vacation?  I can probably tell you the highway and whether or not it’s worth the trip.  I have a mental log of some of the coolest places in the lower 48 that most people don’t even know exist.  I am actually anxious to go back to a bunch of places and actually enjoy them.  Care to join me?

8.  Let’s talk.  You like to talk.  I know.  Guess who I’ve talked to today?  A dozen dudes on the CB, a grouchy lady at the fuel desk, dispatch, somebody who really doesn’t care if I’m going to load at their business today and can’t give good directions, and some guy on a forklift.  Yup. That’s it.  Everyday.  You’re dang right I want to talk to you every night.  I’d love to hear about your day.  Really.

11.  I’ve got issues.  No, not that kind.  I spend the day listening to the radio (in my case talk radio).  I know what’s going on in the world.  I know national and international issues better than most people on the 6:00 news.  I can actually carry an intelligent conversation about them.  Please refer to #8.

14.  I have a job.  Seriously.  It’s a job and a very good one that I love doing.  And I’m good at.  Few people can do what we do.  Even fewer can flatbed and handle oversize loads (shameless plug for flatbedders ;-)   With millions of people unemployed, I’ve chosen instead to work.

As you probably noticed, I came up a little short of 14, hence the asterisk (*).  If you have more, I’d love to hear and post them.  The reality is though, there may not be 14 good reasons to date a truck driver.  The lifestyle probably doesn’t get a lot of mileage on match.com.  I think I’ve made some valid points in contrast though.  Even with my stellar personality and dashing good looks it’s difficult to date while being on the road.  Well…to be perfectly honest, those attributes failed me even before I started driving  :-)   Maybe I do have a few issues.

 

 

Thanks for reading!  Remember…keep the rubber down and the antennas pointed up.

Joshua 1:9

Email me:  eric@bigroadblog.com

 

 

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Road Closed

Road Closed

Here I sit.  I’ve been sitting at Shoemaker’s Truck Stop, I-80 Exit 395 near Lincoln, NE, for about 18 hours.  I-80 westbound is closed across most if not all of the state.  It’s not the end of the world…even though the Mayan calendar says tomorrow may be. 

As I sit here trying to occupy my time, I am observing everything happening around me.  Some of us are sitting here accepting our situation.  Others…well I’ve had to turn off the squawk box.  For some reason, when you get a few hundred drivers cranky and confined, irrational tempers surface.  *shake my head*

There are sooooo many experts here!  If the big road stays closed much longer, I’m pretty sure these guys will solve the fiscal cliff problem, cure cancer, and add a new element to the periodic chart.  Behind the mic of a CB, some of these guys know everything and will argue, belittle, profanely find something wrong with everyone here.

Beyond all that, I am always sort of in awe of how so many new parking spots can be discovered when the road is closed and we are forced off the road.  Every square inch of Shoemaker’s is being utilized.  All the diesel pumps are two to three deep.  If you need fuel…tough.

This is sort of a different situation for me.  I generally don’t mind driving in a blizzard.  I tend to be one of the guys pulling in at 2:00 am when they finally close the road.  I’m the guy parked in the middle of the parking lot with my 4-ways on because there is not a single spot left.  This trip however, my trailer is loaded front to back with a total payload of less than 5000 lbs.  I am relying on two lawn mowers on the top deck of my step deck to provide me most of the weight on my drive tires.  When I slid in here last night, literally, I was relieved to get pulled off.  It turned bad very quickly the last hour of my drive.

Even after the interstate opens, it will take two hours to get all these trucks out of here.  It’s hard to say how many of these trucks are stuck.  I may be one of them.  I’ve only got about four hours or so to drive to get unloaded.  I’m one hour away from some family I could stay with.  Neither make a difference since I cannot possibly even leave this truck stop.  So I sit.  Blogging, reading and listening to the radio.  I’m content.  If I’m still here tomorrow…maybe I’ll be transformed into one of those experts ;)

Thanks for reading!  Remember…keep the rubber down and the antennas pointed up.

Joshua 1:9

Email me:  eric@bigroadblog.com

 

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In God We Trust

In God We Trust

I think most everyone can recognize the words In God We Trust from United States currency.  So, what do they mean?  Well, in 1956 Congress passed and President Eisenhower approved a resolution declaring In God We Trust be declared the national motto of the United States of America.  The phrase itself actually dates back to the Civil War.  Initially considered for currency were the phrases Our Country; Our God or God, Our Trust. (US Dept. of the Treasury)

There is the history lesson of the day.  So why blog about this?  Well, I was walking across the parking lot of the Pilot in Elm Creek, NE and picked up a scuffed penny.  There are two reasons I always pick up discarded change:  1) In time, I could eventually become a millionaire with enough spare change  2) The words In God We Trust.

Simply stated, yes I do.  I trust Him completely.  If we can’t/don’t trust God, where is our trust?  Jesus said, Those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. (John 6:37)  In God We Trust.

My life has taken numerous turns.  The last year and half have been extremely tumultuous.  With each obstacle, I have trusted Him.  If had told me four years ago I would be back out on the road driving an 18 wheeler again, I would have had a pretty good laugh.  Life was good back then.  I have with accepted God’s call back to the big road to, I believe, reach lost people all over the country.  In God I trust.

So, why pick up an unrecognizable penny?  It has God’s name on it.  I pick it up out of respect.  Nationally, it is considered disrespectful for the United States flag to be left on the ground.  If we show that kind of respect for a national symbol, why should we not have even more reverence for something bearing God’s name?  After all, you would certainly not want something with your own or your family’s name on it being discarded haphazardly in the street.

Next time you see a penny on the floor or street, please pick it up.  In God We Trust.

Thanks for reading!  Remember…keep the rubber down and the antennas pointed up.

Joshua 1:9

Email me:  eric@bigroadblog.com

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What’s your impression?

What’s your impression?

I’ve mentioned before as to my background being in sales.  Selling is in my blood.  Always will be.  A large part of successful selling is making a favorable first impression and consequently being viewed as likable by the other party.

As we traverse the country, we are making impressions on virtually everybody we meet.  What’s your impression?  In other words, what are people left thinking about you, your carrier and/or the truck driving industry as a whole?

Each of us is an ambassador for our company and our profession.  Whether you’re a company driver or an owner operator, the name on door of the truck should mean something.  Have you ever noticed the number of people that pass you on the interstate that are checking out the name on the side of the truck?  What’s your impression?

I mentioned sales earlier.  I don’t own the truck I drive but I know my job depends on the company being profitable.  For this reason, I hand out a lot of business cards for our company.  We pull step deck and RGN trailers and therefore end up in a variety of locations.  I ask every customer how they heard about our company.  By that point I hope I’ve made a good impression and hand them a card and ask for their business again.  People will judge my carrier based on their interaction with me.  The success of the company may depend on the impression I leave with them.

The impression we leave on our customers as well as the public can be determined by the way we drive, the way we treat their freight, our appearance, the way we interact with them, and just our general disposition.  People notice.  Be reminded again that we are ambassadors of our company and our industry as a whole.  Be proud of both.  What’s your impression?

Thanks for reading!  Remember…keep the rubber down and the antennas pointed up.

Joshua 1:9

Email me:  eric@bigroadblog.com

 

 

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OIL!

A few days ago I woke up in oil country.  Williston, ND does not look the same as it did the last time I was there, circa 2004.  Henry Bakken and his brother Harry are credited for the first well in what is now known as the Bakken Shale Formation way back in the 1951 near Tioga, ND.  It wasn’t until 2008 that these reserves began to be fully utilized.  It is said the Bakken reserve is the largest domestic discovery of oil since the Prudhoe Bay find in Alaska.

I find the history interesting, however that’s not why I’m writing this blog.  I arrived in Williston in the early morning hours to find a Love’s filled 125%.  I jackknifed into the only open spot.  Since I was only pulling a 48′ wagon, I could position the back of the trailer on top of a snow drift.  Apparently that’s why it was vacant.  I’d estimate 95% of the big trucks parked there were oilfield tankers.  When the sun came up and I eventually continued my eastward trek, I was absolutely amazed.

I have never encountered an area so entirely consumed by a single industry.  For the next roughly 150 miles or so, it was oil wells, construction, and encampments for the workers.  It looked like military compounds in some areas.  Large equipment and 20 or more acres of barracks-looking housing.  “Campgrounds” sprouted everywhere that served as additional housing.  Thousands of people have flocked to oil country for six figure incomes and are willing to put up with nearly nonexistent housing.

Generally, I’m pleased to see an area thrive.  It saddened me however to see an area that was by and large previously untouched, now under such widespread construction.  70% of westbound vehicles I met in some form or another were related to oil production (unscientific observation of course).  The locals welcome the revenue but are also faced with gigantic infrastructure problems, significant increase in crime and a huge increase in their general cost of living.

If we look ahead 75 years, will this area resemble ghost towns of the old west after all the gold was extracted from the mines?

Thanks for reading!  Remember…keep the rubber down and the antennas pointed up.

Joshua 1:9

 

Email me:  eric@bigroadblog.com

 

 

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In the beginning…

I suppose in order to be a blogger, I probably need to start blogging.  I have lots of sage wisdom and cool stories to share.  Let’s kick this site off by directing you to my About Big Road Blog page.  That’s a good starting point.  Thanks for reading!!

Remember…keep the rubber down and the antennas pointed up

 

Feel free to email me eric@bigroadblog.com

 

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