Roadside Attractions

| May 01, 2011

Now that’s horsepower

Sometimes, the best solutions are the simplest. Or that’s one way of looking at a video posted to YouTube by Joel Appleman of Ottawa, Pa., showing a tractor/tank combination pulled out of the snow by a “few extra horses.” While out taking photos in the snow, Appleman came across an Amish man on a stand-up cart driving horses “to the rescue. I thought I would stick around to see what might unfold. Glad I did.” Check out the video in the March 10 entry on the Channel 19 blog.

Onboard recorders and pay

“In theory, EOBRs would seem to be a good idea: force everyone into complying with the hours-of-service rules, and the ‘outlaws’ would be shut down, thereby pushing the pay of legal drivers upward. The big flaw in this theory is that EOBRs can be manipulated also. I know of a large company using EOBRs that changes its electronic logs on a regular basis to show that it is in compliance when it is not… Real wages have gone steadily down regardless of the promises of the CDL and hazmat programs.”

­— Driver Rob Thomason, commenting on

Editor Max Heine’s March 25 Overdrive Extra blog post on


Big Kitty Purrs in Vegas

The CT660, built in partnership with Navistar, is primarily for vocational/severe service operators.

“No one knows heavy-duty like Caterpillar,” says the promo video for the new Cat Class 8, the CT660. You can read all about it on Page 38, but for video glimpses of it, including its introduction in Las Vegas, visit

Channel 19

Drivers on Facebook, Twitter and other online communities are “becoming the media” every day, but few are as far ahead of the curve as Allen and Donna Smith. They’ve got a driver issues-centered blog,; an online talk show; and thousands of Facebook fans. Now they are injecting real-world interaction to the virtual online world with their Truck Driver Social Media Convention, Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Gold Strike Resort and Casino in Tunica, Miss. The $89 fee covers meals and interactive presentations aimed at helping you impact your industry. Registration deadline is June 1. Details are in the March 28 Channel 19 blog.

Trucker’s novel revisits Civil War era

Greatwide-leased owner-operator Bob Grantham, based in San Antonio, Texas, calls the evocative writing in his new Collinstown novel an “unintended consequence of being a truck driver.” From Treble Heart Books under the “Robert Neal” pen name, the novel follows the intertwining lives of a current and former Texas Ranger facing divided loyalties to state and country — and each other — at the outbreak of the Civil War. Working as a company driver for J.B. Hunt in the 1990s, Grantham placed as honorable mention in the Mark Twain writing contest run by Truckers News. After that, he pursued writing fiction in earnest. Find links to the Collinstown Amazon order pages ($13.50 in print, $7 in Kindle edition) at For more about the book, see the March 18 entry on the blog post.

Come on in!

It’s “awesome” to be back up, said Virginia Kirk, manager of the TravelCenters of America C-store and fuel islands in Nashville, Tenn., during the reopening in March. The store endured floodwaters in May 2010 and was closed for nine months. For more on the reopening, including photos of the redesigned Music City-themed stop and its flooding, see the the Feb. 15 and March 8 entries on the Channel 19 blog.

More About:

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.