Blogs

The 5,000-mile pet-rescue haul

Musician Susanne Spirit's shows three times weekly at the TravelCenters of America-East location in Ontario, Calif., are a combination of country performance and public outreach to and from the nation's truckers, with one of their prime components offering pet-adoption services to drivers, finding loving, rolling homes for those cast away. Spirit and co. recently found a high-profile pet of its own in Jackson, a Weimaraner/Pit Bull mix adopted from the Rancho Cucamongo, Calif., animal shelter that partners with Spirit's ...

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Anonymous trucker heroism after officer’s high-speed injury

When Eastern Adams County, Pa., officer Richard H. Phillips, 40, caught the back end of a tractor-trailer at the intersection of U.S. 30 and state road 94 south of Harrisburg in rural eastern Pennsylvania, he was in pursuit of a small car flying eastbound on 30 for unreported reasons, and when his vehicle burst into flames he suffered what is being described as a "critical" injury. But the account published at the law-enforcement news site Officer.com suggests ...

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Allis-Chalmers on-highway engines? — Ted Streit’s restoration adventures…

Mercer leased owner-operator Ted Streit also happens to be the owner of a shop doing custom and restoration work in Suring, Wis., called Fast Transport. More than a year ago, he called me up after seeing some coverage of fellow Wisconsin resident (Sparta) and owner-operator Paul Sagehorn's restoration of two original TV KWs, one from the Movin' On series and the other a last-season B.J. and the Bear rig I followed from discovery to the finish (you ...

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Deadly roads, best Interstate, stupid drivers

Knoxville News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable took time to concur with our readers, who recently voted I-40 in Tennessee as the nation’s best highway segment in our annual Highway Report Card. However, if he didn’t know how diversely opinionated truckers are, he does now. He polled three of them at a truck stop about their favorite stretch of highway. None picked I-40 – in Tennessee or anywhere else. Meanwhile, the April issue of Reader’s Digest has its ...

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Driver-led health walk at MATS; video interview with O/O Dick McCorkle

At the "It's a Teams Life" blog home of expediters Bob and Linda Caffee, you'll find all manner of good information about the business of trucking, from the singular point of view of this versatile and experienced couple. But a recent item caught my attention, as it reminded me of three fairly recent conversations I've had with the Caffees, 2007 Overdrive Trucker of the Year Henry Albert and Perkins Specialized leased owner-operator Dick McCorkle. Albert and the Caffees are part of ...

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The grand gesture — rival Maine log-hauling families spar

The Pelletiers and the Crawfords of Maine are known far and wide for their success in the log-hauling business in the north woods, the Pelletiers the subject of the Discovery Channel's American Loggers series, which I wrote about in December when they took delivery of a couple new Mack Titans. The Crawfords, meanwhile, deserve and have gotten plenty recognition of their own. Their mostly Western Star fleet trucks are not strangers to media treatment. I wrote ...

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Distracted driving needs uniform restrictions

It’s a pity that it takes the heavy hand of government to ban practices that common sense would say are stupid, if not deadly. Such is the case with text messaging while driving, which the U.S. Dept. of Transportation recently outlawed for commercial drivers. Studies show that texting and related behaviors – talking on a cell phone or reaching for an electronic device – increase crash risk at a much higher rate for truckers than for ...

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Watermelon Slim’s on-the-road ‘Escape From the Chicken Coop’

Clarksdale, Miss., resident, longtime Oklahoman and North Carolina-reared blues musicmaker Bill "Watermelon Slim" Homans plays a mean slide guitar. And "I was an above-average harp player," he says of his early years making music, his first record of work-song blues coming out in 1972. But when he hears what young blues players like Craig Lawler and Jason Ricci can do with the harmonica today, he knows from his 61 years ever more clearly why he spent so many of them working ...

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Online Interface Makes it Easier for Drivers to Find Need-it-Now Parts

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Watermelon Slim – on the road again with a killer sound

It’s not every day that we trucking editors get a private lunchtime concert, but such was the case Friday here at the offices of Overdrive and Truckers News. Former trucker Bill Homans, who records and tours as Watermelon Slim, had an evening set scheduled in downtown Tuscaloosa. He got to town early enough to treat us to a solo performance. Slim can coax more slide blues sounds than I thought existed from his dobro guitar, which ...

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Staring down coming CARB regs

A great story in the California-based Porterville Record highlighted the difficulties being faced by a particluar 5-truck fleet in Ducor, Calif., Andromeda Transport, owned by Dave Schwartz. Schwartz (pictured, right, with his mechanic), as he told reporter Sarah de Crescenzo, considers himself a "modern-day environmentalist" in his commitment to keeping his older trucks in tip-top operating condition, thus enhancing their longevity, of course, and keeping them out of landfills and hard at work doing what they ...

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