Transylvania was one of two unusual town names we saw while driving through Northern Louisiana. The other was Waterproof. … Local newspaper headlines are likely to create second looks: “Transylvania man weds Waterproof woman.” “Waterproof man drowns in river.” “Superintendent: Waterproof school needs roof repair.”
Answering for the industry
One truck driver’s change engine runs on multimedia fuel.
*Allen and Donna Smith
*TRUCK/TRAILER: Slip-seated 2008 Freightliner Columbia, pulling tankers
*FLEET: Pipeline Transportation
Aubrey “Allen” Smith, a company driver for Florida-based Pipeline Transportation, has made it his mission to push for industry changes to benefit drivers. From his AsktheTrucker.com blog, he promotes a news-aggregating iPhone application called Trucker (truckerapp.com), whose design he oversaw. He also hosts an occasional online radio show called Truth About Trucking (blogtalkradio.com/truthabouttrucking), devoted to trucking issues. He’s joined in these and other quests by his wife, Donna, a medical lab researcher.
A 30-plus-year trucking veteran, Smith traces his outreach motivation to a phone conversation overheard in a truck stop. The trucker “couldn’t make his truck payment” and feared he would lose his home, he recalls. Smith, who spent most of his career as an owner-operator hauling household goods, had heard this sort of story too many times.
He wrote a book, The Truth About Trucking, to give new drivers the hard facts about the lifestyle and business of trucking. In 2003, he began offering it in e-book form via TruthAboutTrucking.com. As attention spread, he provided audio versions and CD-ROMs, and launched the askthetrucker.com blog to answer readers’ questions. The radio show followed in 2008, recently featuring expert guests on topics such as the Arrow Trucking shutdown and misinformation about Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010.
Smith is collecting signatures on petitions to request federal legislation to better protect truck drivers from false DAC reporting and to show support for the Jason’s Law truck-parking legislation, of which his organization was an early supporter.
From “Ask the Trucker”
On May 12th, 2010, Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator John Kerry introduced the American Power Act. Hidden in the proposal is a natural gas provision. According to T. Boone Pickens, the legislation could result in 236,000 natural gas trucks on American roads, as well as adding 600,000 new jobs to the hurting economy. With thousands of American trucks running on domestic natural gas, money spent on fuel would stay here at home. The problem with the proposal is that they are pushing it as a means to solve global warming, thus creating much bashing from various sides in the political realm…
The ride of a lifetime
Owner-operator team delivers comedy, music, advocacy and advice.
*“Keys Truckers” James and Jan McCarter
*TRUCK: 2004 Freightliner Century hauling van freight
*FLEET: Leased to J.B. Hunt
Owner-operators James and Jan McCarter met in east Tennessee, where James owned a plumbing business that employed Jan’s brother. Jan had a beauty shop in Gatlinburg and sang in a band and with other acts. The two were married a few weeks after meeting in 1994, beginning the journey that resulted in one of the more dynamic social media teams on the road today. They call themselves Keys Truckers, a named picked up when they lived in the Florida Keys and hauled air freight between Miami and New York City.
Their website promotes Jan’s musical efforts, including the recent recording of Pretty Girls Drive Big Rigs Too, a soon-to-be-released CD, and James’ videos on YouTube. His serial Bobby Boofay video satire about a naïve trucker has a Facebook page with 1,000-plus fans.
Though they once drove team, James now does all the driving in their 2005 Freightliner Century Class. “Driving team wasn’t the best thing for the relationship,” says James. “Boom, boom, boom, go here, go there – we’d pass each other through the curtains” to the sleeper. Now leased to J.B. Hunt, which allows them to pick their own loads, the couple has found time to devote to their blog and related projects.
Though much of the Keys Truckers’ writings and other creations are comic, many are serious. James’ advice extends to subjects ranging from Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 to relationship stress on the road. Jan’s new CD contains a track written for Jasmine “Jazzy” Jordan, who this summer completed a cross-country run that brought attention to trucking.
The McCarters’ enthusiasm comes across in all of their creations. Stephen Adams, fellow YouTube trucker and blogger (truckersteve.com), calls them “a truck driving couple who are living and loving life on the road.”