Todd Dills

‘Something new every day': Meeting Phil and Diane Madsen

Phil and Diane Madsen haul expedited in this 2006 Volvo with 132-inch ARI sleeper and 16-foot box. Over the past several years, I've called on the pair several different times for perspective on all manner of topics, from truck maintenance/warranty issues to unique hauls to examples of the many owner-operators out there taking to the web to write and publish. I profiled Phil as part of the "Trucker webmasters" piece in the September 2010 edition ...

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‘Is it a 10-speed?’

What's that line at the end of the Canadian slapstick classic Strange Brew? It's on the tip of my tongue... Oh wait, I remember. The McKenzie Brothers, Bob and Doug, played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, are given the keys to a big rig loaded with beer after saving the brewery's day by averting an evil brewmeister's plot toward world domination. Someone asks, "Do you know how to drive one of these things?" "If it's a 10-speed..." ...

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UPDATE: ‘Hats for heroes’ special delivery, take two

You will recall my story here about the genesis and progress of Marten Transport driver Candy Bass' "Hats for Heroes" program of providing an outlet for a wide array of trucking industry participants to honor the sacrifices of U.S. soldiers. Well, the past year's volume of hats was significant enough to require more than just a single load of donated hats for the wounded delivered. Owner-operator Brian Chute (pictured here), based in Kansas City, delivered ...

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New Frito Lay trailer wrap supports Women in Trucking

Last week in Louisville, the Women In Trucking Association went for the Guinness World Record again for the largest gathering of female truck drivers with their second annual Salute to the Women Behind the Wheel. You may recall my reporting on last year's unsuccessful attempt. This year, the gathering drew 204 professional female drivers (last year, the number was just under 300) on Saturday, April 2, and though that number failed to break the record, the event ...

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Back to the past: $4 diesel returns

Well it's official, folks. The Energy Information Administration's weekly diesel report this week showed the national average with 3 cents of the $4 mark, reaching the highest point yet in the now near nine-month run-up in price we've seen since last August, by now oh-so eerily reminiscent of the 2007-08 run (an Overdrive headline in April 2008 read, "No April Fool's joke: $4 diesel"). This blow-up is ever more remarkable in what it's been revealing about the glacial ...

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‘Truck spotting’ takes off in England to industry image benefit

Remember the oft-described "good ol' days" of the 1970s? When truck drivers were portrayed by the movie stars of the day and lionized by the public as hardworking heroes of the American way? The image of drivers and public interest in trucking may never have been higher on this side of the pond, it's certain, and the recent success of some trucking-related television programs indicates at least that the interest is returning in a limited ...

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Outside the truck: Ultrarunner to tame the ice roads

Starting Wednesday, reports the Toronto Sun, ultrarunner Alicja Barahona will attempt a 240-mile round-trip haul between Inuvik, north of the Arctic Circle, and Tuktoyaktuk on the shore of the Arctic Ocean on the ice road that is the frozen McKenzie river in Canada's Northwest Territories. Made well-known for the truck travel there when the History Channel series Ice Road Truckers filmed its second season there, the McKenzie River ice road is perhaps as treacherous as they ...

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Owner-operator Jerry Kissinger named to new Shell ‘Million-Mile’ club

His is a familiar face -- to me, anyway. At MATS this week, Jerry Kissinger was named to Shell Rotella's new Million Mile Haul of Fame, introduced to honor drivers who respect their rig and its engine, and take pride in a job well done. Kissinger, owner-operator of a 1991 Mack Superliner, was honored as the first U.S. inductee. He has more than one million miles on his truck, all logged using Shell Rotella T heavy-duty oil in ...

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Kenworth T700 on Speed

We're talking the Speed Channel, of course. The aerodynamic Kenworth T700 (pictured), equipped with the fuel-efficient MX engine, will be featured at 9 p.m. Eastern on April 14, a Thursday, on the new Speedmakers television series on the Speed Channel. The one-hour program was filmed at the Kenworth plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, where Kenworth trucks are assembled. “Speed is a well-respected network that attracts significant interest from truckers and the trucking industry. The Speedmakers series is ...

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Blood drive joins health walk among driver-led initiatives at MATS

"Give so that others may live" runs the tagline for the Friday blood drive (11 a.m. to 4 p.m., booth #91470 outdoors) to be held at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville this week. It's an initiative led by the Driver Health Council of the Trucking Solutions Group, a crew of owner-operators initiating dialogue about all manner of trucking topics. The health council is designed to help trucking professionals lead a healthier lifestyle out on ...

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