Blogs

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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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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CSA 2010 — questions of accountability, fairness

A video interview with driver Steve Bugg about this Georgia-based carrier's experience in the CSA 2010 pilot test program. CSA 2010, set to go online nationwide, changes the model for safety rating and enforcement in many ways for both carriers and drivers. Bugg questions the very basis of the program, at the same time acknowledging the legitimacy of his carrier's new strict approach to driver speeding warnings, tickets and more, given the new regime.

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Is this cheating?

Dear Carolyn, I am 47 years-old and have been dating a trucker for about four months and things are going well. We have not really had the conversation to “determine the relationship” status yet but I assume we are exclusive. Anyway, I had to go to a work party and my guy was on the road. So, I asked a guy friend of mine to go with me. We had fun and it was strictly friendship. ...

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Saying goodbye to Michigan’s Te-Khi and Tekon independent truckstops

Soft freight and high fuel got you down? You're not alone. Though business for the nation's truckers has picked up since the extremely slow period we all saw last year, difficulties continue for many, and for two independent truckstops in Michigan the pressures were just too much. Writing in the Battle Creek Enquirer, Andy Fitzpatrick told a story today at once of long-running business difficulties brought to the breaking point and rich, well-remembered history.   The Te-Khi Travel Court ...

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

Runner for truckers’ health passes halfway mark

It's been a wild haul for Jasmine "Jazzy" Jordan, the 17-year-old Olympic-caliber cross-country runner who recently reached the halfway, 1,500-mile mark in her run across the U.S., carried out to raise awareness for truck driver health and health-insurance availability. You will remember Jazzy from my post in November, about her appearance on the Internet radio show TruckStar. She's on her way to Memphis today, and in a few weeks will be passing through my home base of Nashville, ...

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The costs of waiting out the storm

Beth Brelje, writing in the Pocono Record of Pennsylvania, visited with several truckers waiting out a snowstorm in a Wal-Mart parking lot off I-84. Such waits have been legion for the nation's haulers this season, with record amounts of snowfall hitting places where a snow deluge is not such a common thing. It may be common enough in the northern state of Pennsylvania, of course, but not such that authorities didn't move to ban truck ...

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