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Old 01-15-2011, 03:39 PM
 
2,405 posts, read 2,074,114 times
Reputation: 1862
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunluvver2 View Post
Well here it is New Years eve again. Looking back on my career in trucking the one New Years eve that I remember best was in 1975. I can't remember what my load was but I was coming in to Amarillo, Texas that afternoon and I blew a trailer tire. All the people back in the main office in Oklahoma City had gone home for the Holiday so I had no way of getting a Com Check (the way we got money on the road in the old days) and I used up all but $30 of my cash paying the tire guy.

I pulled in to a Motel(6?) close to the Big Texan Steakhouse and got a room. I got a room for one night and that left me just enough to eat a meal at the Big Texan. I don't know if it still exists but at that time the Big Texan had a 72 ounce Steak dinner with all the fixin's that was FREE if you could eat it all and the trimmings in less than an hour. I did a bit of cash flow figuring and after crunching the numbers I decided I had to go for it. If I got the meal free I would have enough cash for another day in the Motel so I could watch TV someplace besides a truck stop. Besides that I was hungry as hell since I had not eaten anything since breakfast in Oklahoma City that morning. So I ordered.

The first appetizer arrived, peeled shrimp and cocktail sauce. WOW were those shrimp big and delicious. Next up a fine looking salad just loaded with all of my favorites like green peppers, radishes, onions, tomatos. bacon bits and my choice of several dressings. I requested Bleu Cheese and French, my favorites. As I ate the last of the salad my steak with the largest baked potato I had ever seen arrived. I was still famished and I started in on the steak. Yummmm, was it ever delicious. Done just the way I like it (medium well), juicy and tender. I must have inhaled at least two pounds of it within five minutes. I look at the clock and I see I have over 40 minutes left. I'm thinking piece of cake- - - for dessert! I polish off another pound of steak and haven't even started on the baked potato. I start eating the baked potato slathered with butter and sour cream. Did I mention the damned thing was about the size of a football. Heck that thing must have won a Purple Ribbon at the Idaho State Fair! I am chewing a piece of steak once or twice then slathering on hot butter to the baked potato to help it slide down. With 15 minutes left on the clock and maybe half of the huge baked potato and enough steak to feed a Chinese family for a week I realize that I am almost full. That wonderful steak is starting to look like a ticket to poverty for the weekend if I have to pay for it. Damn why did the office staff have to take New Years day off? What started off as pure pleasure is rapidly turning in to a dreaded chore. I am chewing, swallowing, sipping my Coke and gulping down butter and potato as fast as I can. I look at the clock and there is about four ounces of steak left and the same amount of baked potato with less than ten minutes on the clock. I have a clean plate with three minutes left! THEN the waitress comes over and asks, "and what would you like for dessert Sir?" I am sure she thought I was going to throw up when she saw the look on my face. She quickly added "just kidding Sir. Dessert is optional. I told her "I think I will pass". After signing the big book that the winners sign and getting a Polaroid snapshot taken I waddled back to my Motel. I had to sleep on my back that night but guess what? When I woke up the next morning in the New Year- - - I was ready for breakfast.

GL2
Tried to rep you, but it looks like I have to spread it around first. You're a great storyteller.
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Old 01-15-2011, 05:50 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 12,523,354 times
Reputation: 9661
Quote:
Originally Posted by WannaliveinGreenville View Post
The Pilots Truck Stops have showers right ? Do you ever get a free shower coupon for eating at an establishment ? I know if I drove I would need to get hot shower once a day !
WannaliveinGreenville, most truck stops have showers. And, as Earthbound? says, you generally get a free shower with a 50 gallon fill-up. The trick is to balance your delivery schedule with your available driving hours and place you want to take a break AND the likelihood of not having to wait in line too long for a shower...whew! All of the major truck stop chains have a loyalty program where you get points for buying diesel fuel (generally 1/gallon or so much per dollar spent in their maintenance shop) and a free shower. I think it's about $10 these days to take a shower if you don't have any showers on your loyalty card. (I shower at home, since I'm home every day now!) When I was a long haul driver, I used to enjoy stopping at the Little America travel plazas (Wyoming & and Flagstaff, Arizona. Nicest shower facilities on the road!

A shower EVERY day? Good luck with that... While it's usually possible, sometimes your schedule just does not permit it. That's when Baby Wipes are a drivers' best friend.

Food on the highway is a mixed blessing. Many of the chains have some kind of fast food (Notably Pilot). Others have a sit down restaurant and fast food. The Flying J chain just signed a contract to replace their in-house restaurant with Denny's... IMHO, the Travel Centers of America have the best breakfast on the road. The mom-and-pop independent truck stops are a dying breed but many of them have really good restaurants. And, of course some restaurants have somewhere close for a truck to park, so that's always a good option.

Last edited by Crew Chief; 01-15-2011 at 09:35 PM..
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:59 PM
 
4,834 posts, read 5,134,123 times
Reputation: 3392
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
WannaliveinGreenville, most truck stops have showers. And, as Earthbound? says, you generally get a free shower with a 50 gallon fill-up. The trick is to balance your delivery schedule with your available driving hours and place you want to take a break AND the likelihood of not having to wait in line too long for a shower...whew! All of the major truck stop chains have a loyalty program where you get points for buying diesel fuel (generally 1/gallon or so much per dollar spent in their maintenance shop) and a free shower. I think it's about $10 these days to take a shower if you don't have any showers on your loyalty card. (I shower at home, since I'm home every day now!) When I was a long haul driver, I used to enjoy stopping at the Little America travel plazas (Wyoming & and Flagstaff, Arizona. Nicest shower facilities on the road!

A shower EVERY day? Good luck with that... While it's usually possible, sometimes your schedule just does not permit it. That's when Baby Wipes are a drivers' best friend.

Food on the highway is a mixed blessing. Many of the chains have some kind of fast food (Notably Pilot). Others have a sit down restaurant and fast food. The Flying J chain just signed a contract to replace their in-house restaurant with Denny's... IMHO, the Travel Centers of America have the best breakfast on the road. The mom-and-pop independent truck stops are a dying breed but many of them have really good restaurants. And, of course some restaurants have somewhere close for a truck to park, so that's always a good option.
I remember when I was a kid those truck stop restaurants had the best cheeseburgers !

My dad used to call those places " Greasy Spoon Restaurants " I thought the burgers were great ~!
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
2,648 posts, read 3,499,596 times
Reputation: 2592
I was leased to a company in the 1970's and early 1980's that was like a family with a lot of cousins. They were all owner/operators and usually 250 and no more than 325 O/Os at any given time. A few of the old timers had been there for twenty years or more. The C B radio craze was in high gear in the 70's and unless another driver was a close friend it was easier to associate their CB handle with them than their actual name. Just like Nicknames, CB handles were not always the one a guy would want to be called. One poor guy I worked with got stuck with the name Skunk.

Richard was the guys name and at the time he was probably in his late twenties, single and enjoying it. He had a way with the ladies and he would offer rides to attractive young ladies quite often. On one trip he saw a cute hitchhiker with a duffel bag and a black & white kitten standing along the shoulder of the road with her thumb out. He stopped and offered her a ride. She accepted and he put her duffel bag in one of the side storage compartments while she and her kitty got in the truck. When he got behind the wheel he got a closer look at the kitten and discovered it was a young skunk. He assumed it had been descented and the hitchhiker told him he could pet it. I'll call the skunk Petunia but I don't remember now what the name was. After a day of traveling with the young lady Richard had decided that the relationship needed to come to an end. He made up his mind to stop at a Truckstop and while he fueled the truck he would send her in to the restaurant to order a meal. He planned on putting her bag on the fuel island and leaving the skunk's leash tied to the bag. All was going according to plan. He fueled the truck, paid the cashier for the fuel & the hitchhikers meal and went back to park the truck. He grabbed the duffel bag and set it on the ground but when he grabbed the leash to lower the skunk to the ground he must have scared Petunia. Well Petunia reacted in typical skunk fashion and Richard got a faceful of skunk spray.

He showed up at a terminal where five or six of us drivers were sitting around playing cards. As soon as he got out of his truck and started walking to the driver's room the odor of skunk preceded him. He spent several hours under a hot shower trying to get the skunk smell off of him. Even though he was one of the most popular drivers with the company it was several days before even his close friends would get near him. The Skunk Man moniker stuck.

GL2
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:35 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 12,523,354 times
Reputation: 9661
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunluvver2 View Post
I was leased to a company in the 1970's and early 1980's that was like a family with a lot of cousins. They were all owner/operators and usually 250 and no more than 325 O/Os at any given time. A few of the old timers had been there for twenty years or more. The C B radio craze was in high gear in the 70's and unless another driver was a close friend it was easier to associate their CB handle with them than their actual name. Just like Nicknames, CB handles were not always the one a guy would want to be called. One poor guy I worked with got stuck with the name Skunk.

Richard was the guys name and at the time he was probably in his late twenties, single and enjoying it. He had a way with the ladies and he would offer rides to attractive young ladies quite often. On one trip he saw a cute hitchhiker with a duffel bag and a black & white kitten standing along the shoulder of the road with her thumb out. He stopped and offered her a ride. She accepted and he put her duffel bag in one of the side storage compartments while she and her kitty got in the truck. When he got behind the wheel he got a closer look at the kitten and discovered it was a young skunk. He assumed it had been descented and the hitchhiker told him he could pet it. I'll call the skunk Petunia but I don't remember now what the name was. After a day of traveling with the young lady Richard had decided that the relationship needed to come to an end. He made up his mind to stop at a Truckstop and while he fueled the truck he would send her in to the restaurant to order a meal. He planned on putting her bag on the fuel island and leaving the skunk's leash tied to the bag. All was going according to plan. He fueled the truck, paid the cashier for the fuel & the hitchhikers meal and went back to park the truck. He grabbed the duffel bag and set it on the ground but when he grabbed the leash to lower the skunk to the ground he must have scared Petunia. Well Petunia reacted in typical skunk fashion and Richard got a faceful of skunk spray.

He showed up at a terminal where five or six of us drivers were sitting around playing cards. As soon as he got out of his truck and started walking to the driver's room the odor of skunk preceded him. He spent several hours under a hot shower trying to get the skunk smell off of him. Even though he was one of the most popular drivers with the company it was several days before even his close friends would get near him. The Skunk Man moniker stuck.

GL2
GREAT story, GL2!!! Sigh... while I believe that trucking is still a lot of fun today. It's definitely not like it used to be. I believe that "just-in-time" freight, legal liabilities, governemt regulations, technology and even our values has made trucking an entirely different job than it used to be.

I think it's a mixed blessing that C.B radios aren't as popular as they once were. Not many of us "new breed" are used to the 10- codes. If someone says "Southbound, you've got a 10-33 ahead of you at the 36 MM". Most younger drivers have no idea that you're talking about a wreck. While I wouldn't be without the C.B., I've come to see them as 95% nonsense on the airwaves and 5% great conversation, information and life-saving information. Sometimes I'm glad that only a small percentage of the motoring public hears some of the absolute garbage that some "steering wheel holders" put out over the airwaves...

I'll have to admit that C.B. handles are pretty neat. And not used as mush today as they used to be, sadly. My handle was given to me by my friend and mentor, Dave "Bumper" Bullard. Dave was an old reefer driver out of Las Cruces, New Mexico and we became friends when I was still in the USAF and doing my research on a trucking career after retirement. We became fast friends from the moment I met him at a truck stop near Boise, ID. And when I finally got behind the wheel of my own truck, he was always there with sage advice and encouragement. Dave passsed away three years ago from lung cancer. I sure miss him...
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
2,648 posts, read 3,499,596 times
Reputation: 2592
I can see some advantages that the new truckers have with modern technology Crew Chief. Having a cell phone in your pocket that dispatch could call when they have a load for you would sure beat having to call in every damn hour instead of getting sleep or rest that is needed. I would have loved having a laptop in my truck to keep track of receipts and all of the things an owner/operator needs to document. An electronic logbook could be a two edged sword. When I was hauling oilfield and heavy equipment it was a rare occasion when I violated hours of service but I can see how produce and livestock haulers could be in violation constantly.

My CB handle was the Big Bad Biker. The father of a girl friend stuck me with that when I was in College and dating his daughter. I had a Harley Sportster as my main set of wheels and when I would pick her up I obviously didn't wear a suit and tie. He started calling me that Big Bad Biker when he was talking about me to his daughter. She told some of her girlfriends and I got stuck with it. I saw her Father several years later when I was applying for a loan at the bank he was working for. She had married and divorced twice by that time. Both of her exes were lawyers. I guess he didn't have a grudge against me because my loan was approved.

GL2
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:41 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 12,523,354 times
Reputation: 9661
GL2, electronic logging/electronic onboard recorders are a HOT topic right now. I really do have mixed emotions about them. As an employed driver, I like them. I like the fact that it keeps dispatch from trying to squeeze more (mostly free) labor out of me. And I do believe that it may benefit us when it comes to facing those truck accident attorneys in court. But I also see where it's a burden that owner/operators shouldn't have to shoulder. And, ultimately, ANY device that relies on driver input can be "fudged"...

I'm sure you've also heard that the Hours of Service are also being challenged by a coalition of safety groups and unions. My frustration 9and that of many other drivers) is that the rules are being enacted by people who have never driven anything but a car and a desk. We need flexibility! So much happens in the real world that is beyond the driver's control. We need the ability to drive when we're tired and rest when we need to. Not when a set of rules say we must. And the idea that a "one size fits all" HOS regulation is absurd. As a dedicated retail driver, I have a whole different set of needs than a driver like you that delivers oil field equipment. Or a bull hauler. Or an LTL linehaul driver.

GL2, that banker's daughter would've ben better off with a trucker than two lawyers!
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
2,648 posts, read 3,499,596 times
Reputation: 2592
[quote=Crew Chief;17550917]GL2, electronic logging/electronic onboard recorders are a HOT topic right now... ."
I think you nailed it Crew Chief. Laws and regulations are being passed by people that have never been behind the steering wheel of a big rig. Like you pointed out the trucking business has a lot of variables and one set of rules cannot be fair for the whole industry.

I have been out of trucking since 1989 so I am not current on what is going on in the industry now. I think the equipment of today is safer and more reliable than ever. One thing I would like to see changed is the way ALL the blame being laid on the back of a driver when there is an accident. Yes ultimately the driver is responsible but dispatchers, receivers, shippers and CEO's of trucking companies can be part of the causes of accidents. Here in Nebraska we have several drivers doing time behind bars for accidents involving H.O.S and rig safety violations. IN MY OPINION in some of those accidents the driver got all the blame when a**hole dispatchers and sloppy shop workers had just as much culpability. When a driver puts his foot down and makes too much noise about safety issues he is fired and often times blackballed as a trouble maker.

Hired drivers are probably under more pressure than owner/operators to violate H.O.S rules and overlook equipment safety. The driver that is behind the wheel of the same rig every day knows his equipment and the problems it has. He can communicate the problems to the maintenance people when he gets back to the shop. The driver that drives a different rig every day may not even notice a potential problem until there is a break down. An O/O has a lot more incentive to keep his equipment in top notch shape and if he is driving it every day he knows the problems.

GL2
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:15 AM
 
Location: montana
247 posts, read 254,145 times
Reputation: 266
They travel across our country. In all weather day and night, with a steering wheel in there left hand and a gear shift in there right..

Just spent five hours loading. It would be nice to stop and eat, there is just no time, have to stay in the seat..

The fourteen hour rule, is one of many they are up against. If they could stop the fourteen hour clock, then they could stop to eat and rest..

The people who write these rules must not have a clue, just how many obstacles, a long haul trucker already goes through..

Rules and regulations, Wind, Rain, Snow and Ice. Shippers and Recievers who are very seldom nice. Traffic and Mechanical failure just to name a few. Sometimes months away from there families bringing everything we need to me and you..

Doing what they do just trying to make a dime. A long haul trucker can be fined and placed out of service, for working fifteen minutes of overtime...
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Old 02-19-2011, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
2,648 posts, read 3,499,596 times
Reputation: 2592
Quote:
Originally Posted by virgil tatro View Post
They travel across our country. In all weather day and night, with a steering wheel in there left hand and a gear shift in there right..

Just spent five hours loading. It would be nice to stop and eat, there is just no time, have to stay in the seat..

The fourteen hour rule, is one of many they are up against. If they could stop the fourteen hour clock, then they could stop to eat and rest..

The people who write these rules must not have a clue, just how many obstacles, a long haul trucker already goes through..

Rules and regulations, Wind, Rain, Snow and Ice. Shippers and Recievers who are very seldom nice. Traffic and Mechanical failure just to name a few. Sometimes months away from there families bringing everything we need to me and you..

Doing what they do just trying to make a dime. A long haul trucker can be fined and placed out of service, for working fifteen minutes of overtime...
*************************************************
Put it to music Virgil and you might have a Country music chart buster.

GL2
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