I ‘just tried to speak from my heart’
When Roadrunner Transportation Services contractor Glenn Keller, 51, decided to try out for CNN’s 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, he was just one day away from the entries deadline but lacked a camera to make the required video entry. “I pulled off the interstate, went into a Walmart and bought what I figured would be my last bucket of chicken wings and a webcam. I sat there in the seat of my truck and just tried to speak from my heart.” Follow Keller’s progress on his goal to lose 100 pounds at cnn.com/fitnation. The program culminates in September at the 2012 Nautica Malibu Triathlon, where he’ll compete alongside CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and six teammates.
Beating the odds by FOUR million miles
After driving farm tractors, Jimmy Ardis of Sumter, S.C., learned to drive professionally in a 1971 International cabover running to the West Coast.
His story might be emblematic of so many operators’ but for the fact Ardis lost his left arm to cancer at age 6.
At 19, he discovered the limitations of the federal waiver program for drivers missing limbs after “they caught me driving,” he says. He then graduated tops from a driving school and bought his first truck and trailer. “It was a Catch-22 situation,” he notes of his subsequent search for a lease. “To get a waiver you had to have a driving job, and to get a job you had to have a waiver.”
He wrote then-Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole. Her husband, Bob, Ardis knew, had one of his arms crippled in World War II. Dole’s staff arranged “to have a field tester to come to our house and test me and give me my waiver,” Ardis says.
Richard Beauchamp of Refrigerated Transport had also received a letter from Ardis and contact from Dole. Ardis visited the Atlanta fleet, where the Refrigerated drive tester told him, “You’re a natural born truck driver.”
He joined Refrigerated in 1982. Two years later, Ardis was the carrier’s top earning owner-operator. He’s now leased to Sapp Trucking. – Todd Dills
This 1994 Freightliner cabover was an extra in the opening scene of last summer’s blockbuster film “Real Steel.” The rig sold Dec. 8 in an auction hosted by Joyce Smith, co-owner of now-defunct Ron Smith Trucking of Breckenridge, Mich. Smith took five trailers and three tractors to Detroit, where the film about a boxer (Hugh Jackman) turned robot fight promoter was made. “The trucks are set up as an arena around some wrestling robots,” Smith says. The film was due out on DVD last month.
Atlanta-based hauler Danny Lower was rolling smoothly on I-75 when an unidentified falling object was thrown from an overpass and cracked his windshield, he told a WRCB reporter. Lower was able to maintain control, get off the roadway and call the authorities, but the culprit fled before anyone arrived.
See the Jan. 12 post to the Channel 19 blog for a link to a video interview with the driver and news of another overhead threat. Word is some jurisdictions are going out of their way – think Bear on overpass, taking pictures – to nab violators of the handheld cell ban. If you haven’t gotten yourself a hands-free headset, it might be time to.
Beauty and brawn
What does the owner-operator winner of the 2011 Rush Truck Centers Nashville Chrome & Class truck beauty competition have in common with the Southern Invitational tractor pull? It turns out the winner, 1986 Peterbilt 359 owner David Holbrook, is also the pull’s organizer. We gleaned that bit of trivia at the American Truck Historical Society Music City Chapter’s meeting and auction Jan. 14 near Nashville, Tenn. The event raised $3,000 to help fund 2012 show activities. ATHS chapters will stage the Southeast Regional Truck Show in Knoxville, Tenn., April 13-14. For more about that event, and to meet owner-operators who attended the auction, check out the Jan. 17 entry on the blog.
Even the Guv sometimes needs divine intervention
What happens when a loaded straight dump loses its brakes on a downhill run, almost hits a car containing a governor, then collides head-on with a tanker truck loaded with jet fuel? According to Guam Governor Eddie Calvo, God smiled down and saved him and the truck drivers from certain incineration after this collision on the island in January, reported the Pacific Daily News. “The good Lord served me up a reminder to live each day as though it might be my last,” Calvo wrote in his column for the newspaper. Find links to the story and the column in the Jan. 23 blog post.
For more of the interesting and odd parts of trucking, visit Senior Editor Todd Dills’ Channel 19 blog at OverdriveOnline.com/channel19.
Dry van miles drop at year end, income strong
Dry van clients of financial services provider ATBS saw miles decline significantly during 2011’s fourth quarter. However, with rates remaining strong, income per mile and net income went up.
Read food nutrition content labels closely. Particularly be suspicious of salad dressings with high sodium content. For instance, a 71-gram serving of Jack-in-the-Box Creamy Southwest Dressing has a whopping 1,060 milligrams of sodium, almost half the recommended daily sodium intake.
Get daily health tips
The above tip was part of our sister magazine Truckers News’ Daily Health Tip offering. Get them delivered to you via truckersnews.com/healthtips.
“The gates are only open during the day and so trucks have to line up and wait. It can take anything from a couple of hours to more than 16 hours.”
— Toshio Araki, of the Tokyo Trucking Association, describing in Bloomberg Businessweek a new bridge that connects Tokyo to an island that will house a container terminal.
No danger of catching courtesy
What’s been the biggest change in trucking over the last half-decade? That’s what National Public Radio Morning Edition host Steven Innskeep asked 50-year UPS driver Ron Sowder in January. “The old saying used to be ‘courtesy is contagious’ — not so much any more,” Sowder said on his 50th anniversary with the carrier. “You let people in, and that’s that. Only about one out of 50 can bring themselves to throw their hand up, ‘thanks.’” The Ohio resident started his UPS career in 1962 after serving in the Navy. Sowder’s 4 million-plus safe miles have made him the longest-serving active member of the UPS “Circle of Honor” drivers with 25-plus years.
MARCH 6-8: THE WORK TRUCK SHOW, Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, www.ntea.com, (800) 441-6832.
MARCH 11: DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME BEGINS. Move clocks forward one hour.
MARCH 22-24: MID-AMERICA TRUCKING SHOW, Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, www.truckingshow.com, (502) 899-3892.
APRIL 13-14: ATHS CHAPTERS SOUTHEAST REGIONAL TRUCK SHOW, I-40 Exits 392 or 294, Knoxville, Tenn., (865) 789-7771.
APRIL 13-14: MARMON TRUCK GATHERING, 2104 N. Central Expressway, McKinney, Texas, (469) 667-7158.
APRIL 14: ATHS YELLOW ROSE CHAPTER ANNUAL TRUCK SHOW, Riverbend Park, Smithville, Texas, Lloyd Holden, (830) 743-3179.
APRIL 27-29: 75 CHROME SHOP ANNUAL TRUCK SHOW, I-75 exit 329, Wildwood, Fla., www.75chromeshop.com, (866) 255-6206.
APRIL 27-29: TRUCK SHOW & BBQ ATHS Central California Chapter, Kirkland Ranch, Plymouth, Calif., Dennis Chan, (916) 381-6063.
APRIL 28: ATHS NORTHWEST CHAPTER ANTIQUE TRUCK SHOW, Harold E. LeMay Marymount Museum, Spanaway, Wash., Roy Friis, (360) 866-7716.
MAY 4-5: MIDWEST PRIDE IN YOUR RIDE TRUCK/TRACTOR SHOW, Tri-State Raceway, Earlville, Iowa, Eldon Jaeger, (560) 580-8200.
MAY 4-6: PAWNEE STEAM AND GAS ENGINE SHOW, Pawnee Steam Park, Pawnee, Okla., Omer Williams, (918) 256-5957.
MAY 6: ATHS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAPTER ANTIQUE TRUCK SHOW, Orange Empire Rail Museum, Perris, Calif., Ken Lund, (909) 790-7707.
MAY 19: ATHS SHENANDOAH VALLEY CHAPTER TRUCK SHOW, Lawn Party Grounds, Green Street, I-81 exit 240, Bridgewater, Va., (540) 478-4389, http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAY 19: DELAWARE ATCA CHAPTER ANNUAL ANTIQUE TRUCK SHOW, New Moose Lodge, U.S. Route 13 south, New Castle, Del., Jack Smith, (302) 381-0959.
JUNE 10: ATHS METRO JERSEY CHAPTER, Automatic Switch Co., Florham Park, N.J., (973) 726-4586, email@example.com.
JUNE 14-16: GREAT WEST TRUCK SHOW, Custom Rigs Pride & Polish, Las Vegas Sands Expo & Convention Center, (888) 349-4287, www.greatwesttruckshow.com.
JULY 12-13: WALCOTT TRUCKERS JAMBOREE, Iowa 80 Truck Stop, I-80 Exit 284, Walcott, Iowa, www.iowa80truckstop.com.
AUG. 11: BROCKWAY TRUCKS 100th ANNIVERSARY, Cortland, N.Y., www.brockwaytrucks.org.
AUG. 23-25: GREAT AMERICAN TRUCKING SHOW, Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, www.gatsonline.com.
SEPT. 30-OCT. 1: GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION TRUCK SHOW & Customer Expo, Joplin, Mo., www.chromeshopmafia.com, (888) 875-7787.
OCT. 5-6: CHARLOTTE DIESEL SUPER SHOW, zMax Dragway Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C., www.dieselsupershow.com.
OCT. 27-28: TRUCK DRIVER SOCIAL MEDIA CONVENTION, Harrah’s, Kansas City, Mo., truckingsocialmedia.com.
Centerville, Ohio, resident Bron Hicks chose the moniker The Engineer for his 2002 Kenworth W900L to reflect five years he spent as a design engineer with General Motors. “I’ve always been good at design and putting things together,” Hicks says. The truck “was a plain Jane,” he says, before he added chrome bumpers, wheels and mirrors, as well as 150 LEDs to it and his Wabash spread-axle trailer. The Engineer is powered by a 550-hp Caterpillar C15 and a 13-speed transmission. Co-owner of Hicks Trucking with his father, the owner-operator hauls frozen food and produce from Florida to the upper Midwest.
Workhorse for cattle
Dan Schroeder, an Oakley, Kan., resident, drives this 2005 Peterbilt 379, equipped with a 475-hp Caterpillar and 13-speed transmission, for Western Plains Trucking. Schroeder hauls wet distiller grain for cattle.
It’s all business for this 2002 Western Star 4900 dump, owned by Jason Lanthier, based in Ottawa, Ontario. Christened Another Day, Another Dollar for its steady performance on long runs, the dump truck is powered by a 435-hp Caterpillar with an 18-speed transmission.
SUBMIT YOUR PHOTO To display your truck online and have it considered for Overdrive’s Truck Gallery, go to the Reader Truck Gallery at www.OverdriveOnline.com.