Roadside Attractions

Overdrive Staff | March 01, 2011

Chris Governo of Downey, Calif., hauls mostly forklifts and other off-highway construction equipment around Southern California in this 1996 Peterbilt 379. The truck is equipped with a 500-hp Caterpillar.

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Channel 19

Hands-off inspections

Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Paul Penley demonstrates new inspection technologies at scales on I-81. For more on what the new technologies, see the Jan. 31 entry on the Channel 19 blog and video posted to the “Overdrive videos” queue at

If you think Big Brother is flexing his muscle with the proposed mandate for electronic onboard recorders, consider Bro’s less-heralded wireless snooping. At Tennessee’s Greene County scale house on I-81, troopers recently concluded a long-running test of wireless roadside inspection technology. WRI allows an inspection to be logged instantly as it captures truck registration and driver hours and credentials, and potentially other information. For it to work, the truck must be outfitted with certain technology.

Social Network, meet Shipping Network began in Austin, Texas, where cofounders were business school graduates and friends. Today, it enables shippers worldwide to post loads that transporters bid on. Company staff put together a parody movie trailer based on “The Social Network,” the film about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. “The Shipping Network,” produced for uShip’s 2010 Christmas party before being posted to YouTube, garnered nearly 10,000 views in two to three weeks, says company spokesman Dean Jutilla, as well as the attention of other media, including the New York Times. CEO Matt Chasen, playing the Zuckerberg part, gets accused before the DOT of “holding carriers accountable for service quality and intentionally breaking down barriers for entry for new truckers.” Check out the original film’s trailer and the parody in the Jan. 7 entry on the Channel 19 blog.

Waiting for an encore

On Feb. 1, Willie’s Place truck stop in Carl’s Corner, Texas, changed ownership as SBL Capital Funding foreclosed on the property and closed it. Missouri owner-operator Steven Abell, leased to Greentree Transportation, reflected on the change: “I hate to see truck stops that have a good thing going change owners, because the fast food restaurants are popping up everywhere, and your old sit-down restaurants are disappearing way too fast.” Whether the former Willie’s will be resurrected as such a stop is uncertain. For more detail, including interviews with a former Willie’s waitress and a regular driver customer, see the Jan. 27 entry on the Channel 19 blog.

Chasing the sun

Household haulers, take heed. Penske Truck Rental notes the trend of household moves going toward the bottom of the compass. “There is a continued heavy migration out of the Midwest and Northeast and into sunny markets,” said Don Mikes, a vice president.

Seven of the top 10 destinations on Penske’s list are in the Southeast or Southwest:

1. Atlanta

2. Dallas/Fort Worth

3. Phoenix

4. Orlando, Fla.

5. Chicago

6. Houston

7. Seattle

8. Denver

9. Sarasota, Fla.

10. Charlotte, N.C.


Go with the grain

Super-enriched carbohydrates in white bread not only lack the nutritional benefits of whole grain bread, but they send blood sugar for a rollercoaster ride. When possible, choose whole grain bread to keep blood sugar steady and your body feeling fuller through the day. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.