Year of interrupted sleep: 2012 in review, Part 3
Former Overdrive Trucker of the Year Mike “Mustang” Crawford was approaching his 3 millionth safe mile, all logged under the wheels of one truck.
Vice President Joe Biden declaimed on the struggles of independent owner-operators in a 30-and-some-year-old editorial, and in the here and now continued to show his efficiency, or lack thereof, with the political gaffe. Fitting 39 people in a COE truck’s cab was shown to at least be possible, if not in the restored 1970s Kenworth Bill Bradford showed in Cookeville, Tenn.
Finally, an owner-operator’s wife delivered a powerfully poetic send-off in tribute to her deceased husband.
A pair of expediters with an in some ways Plain Jane FedEx-leased Freightliner Cascadia (with nonetheless an impressive bunk and no small amount of pride and polish put into it), surprised by their big win of their class in the Great American Trucking Show Pride & Polish truck beauty show, offered up the idea for a new “business class” in Overdrive‘s long-running truck championship series — as debate continued Ken on the highway bill’s broker bond hike. Later in the month, the expediters delivered a vintage Coke machine to a multimillionaire golf pro.
With September ending on a sour note — U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer called for the regulation of trucking-specific GPS units to combat a rash of bridge strikes in his home state of New York, and elsewhere — readers were united on the notion that any GPS regs would do little to fill a void of common sense in routing. Some operators were shown to be utilizing their smartphones when they needed on-demand mapping in some cases in place of traditional GPS units.
A four-wheeler used scare-quotes around “professional” in reference to long-haulers on the highway, and Obama and Romney were asked by a questioner in their town-hall style debate about the fuel-price issue — their responses showed little substance. A hypnotist wanted to help drivers kick the smoking habit, the Monkey Gouger was up for an award, and a South African driver was stoned to death by some of his hauling comrades.
Readers finally met a somewhat regular Channel 19 commenter — expediter Don Lanier — and the Truck Driver Social Media Convention in Kansas yielded a renewed interest in combating human trafficking, one owner-operator’s health reading list, an impassioned plea from the Deaf Truckers United group, and more.
A driver gave his hauling father, Bobby Bright of Virginia, a final ride to the gravesite in a tractor/step-deck-trailer combo.
Broker and TransportWatch.com founder Dan Metully ran for the Montana state senate and lost, along the way building interest in his state’s Corrupt Practices Act and its challenges in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, and throughout the month, the presidential election and fallout from Obama’s win would dominate a great deal of commentary at OverdriveOnline.com. On Channel 19, CSA concerns returned in a big way, with an examination two years into the safety enforcement regime of third-party tabulations of driver CSA metrics — Have you seen your “CSA scorecard?”
A well-known TV celebrity called herself a “truck driver in a model’s body,” book 2 in Colleen Kelly Mellor’s kids’-book series “Grandpa and the Truck” was released, and a hawk gave the Washington State DOT some interesting directives via a remote traffic camera.
Familiar grilles surfaced in the 2013 Rotella SuperRigs calendar.
A reader proposed $65/hour as a fair regulated detention rate, and other modest proposals included parallels between an exotic dancer-led lawsuit and leased owner-operator businesses.
Expediter Morris Finley hauled light in a Nissan NV2500.
To cap the month, I put a Cobra CB in my Ford Focus four-wheeler and asked you for a good handle.
An independent owner-operator planned a little biz investment after his wife’s lottery ticket came back a Powerball winner amid a profusion of cool 2013 truck calendars, one featuring a deer on its cover perched atop a levee undergoing removal. More than one reader offered ideas on how to fix a long-abysmal rate situation following another’s letter appealing for a little owner-operator solidarity on toughness with cheap-rate brokers.
Owner-operator Tim Philmon, meanwhile, was doing A-OK, and a team of U.K. drivers for the Eddie Stobart fleet hit the iTunes music-video charts with a trucking take-off on the “12 Days of Christmas,” among other Christmas spoofs from ATBS and a heckuva holiday dedication and salute from a California-based HHG dispatcher.
Christmas came and went, and on Dec. 27 at 10:35 p.m Central time., I was woken up by the buzzing of my phone — it was owner-operator Mike “Mustang” Crawford, who’d warned me he might be calling. “Don’t worry about answering it,” he’d said the week prior, but made sure I knew what the call would detail. I didn’t answer, but smiled with the knowledge just the same: Mustang had hit the last mile of his 3 million on Eastbound I-10, milemarker 110, in Buckeye, Ariz. “I did it, Ghostwriter,” he told my me on my voicemail, using the handle he ultimately gave me. “I got my 3 million miles,” all under the rubber on his 1994 Mustang’s Truckin’ Freightliner. The key to his equipment’s longevity — a combination of good oil (Delvac) and treatment (Lucas) as well as no shortage of on-highway patience for safety and dexterity with the right foot for fuel and avoiding needless wear.
An absolutely great way to end the year. Here’s wishing Mustang a million more.
And to all of you, a happy new year!