Building your quick reference folder

Phil Madsen | March 11, 2012

I learned today that the Blue Beacon truck wash in Tooele, Utah has closed. Learned when we tried to use it and found the building boarded up.

Diane and I drove overnight on a cross-country run. We are in drive/sleep mode, hauling freight from Upstate New York to Sacramento, Calif.

It’s time to pick up a fresh Blue Beacon directory. We were surprised to see the Tooele Blue Beacon boarded up when we arrived. It was not a wasted stop. We needed fuel too and the TA truck stop was next door.

If you are one of my readers who is thinking about becoming an expediter, this next part is for you. Arriving at a truck wash that was boarded up was an information fail. Had we used the internet instead of an old Blue Beacon brochure, we would have known ahead of time that the Tooele facility was closed.

Truckers collect information while on the road to make their lives easier. Diane and I carry a quick reference folder in the cab. It contains things like truck wash directories, a dry ice and cold storage vendor lists (used in an emergency if our reefer fails under load), HAZMAT quick reference charts, truck stop directories and more.

All of this could be accessed with a smart phone or online with a computer but we continue to carry selected hard copy items in a quick reference brochure. By choice, and for reasons not explained here, we use flip phones, not smart phones. The computer is not always on. Sometimes it is faster and easier to use the quick reference folder to find out what we want to know.

Which is best, a smart phone or quick reference folder? That’s for you to decide. My purpose is to let you know that as a trucker you will build a body of information. In general, if you do something once (fuel, truck wash, buy tires, stop at a rest area, stay at a hotel, etc.), you will do it many times. You will want to gather up the directories that make it easier to find the places you seek.

This is more important for expediters than line-haul truckers. Line-haul truckers get familiar with the lanes they run. Their brains serve as their quick reference folder. Expediters never know where they will be next. You might run for three years without going to say Idaho or Florida. Then, with ten minutes notice you may find yourself on the way there and may end up working or waiting there for a few days or more. Vendor directories and other quick reference information is nice to have in such circumstances.