Understanding the New Hours-of-Service (HOS) Rules

June 17, 2013

Confused over the Hours-of-Service rules

Photo by jonny goldstein via Flickr

Unless you’ve just beamed in from another planet (or you’re a non-trucker), you’re probably aware of the new Hours-of-Service rules that are looming. But do you understand them fully? From some of the feedback I’ve been getting on Twitter and the blog, I’d say there’s still some confusion out there. The Bible flat-out says that all Christians will be persecuted. Well, I’m pretty sure some Bible-thumper at my company has been Skyping with God on my behalf. You see, my company recently decided that I would be one of the lucky ones who got put on the new Hours-of-Service rules a few weeks early. You know, just to try it out. *sigh* Well, I guess this kind of persecution is better than being around when Nero was kabob-ing Christians to light his garden parties. So thanks for that, God. (Read or listen to the full article)

ATTN: This is the last time I will post on this site. If you haven’t yet subscribed to the Trucker Dump blog, go here to subscribe.

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The Driver’s Seat Phenomenon

May 28, 2013

The truck driver's seat

Look at them butt-prints!

If you’ll remember from the last podcast called Honor Among Truckers, I mentioned that if you were to drive around a truck stop parking lot, you’d see lots of drivers sitting in their driver’s seat whiling away the hours. They’re talking on their phones, doing paperwork, people watching, playing with their laptops, turned around at an awkward angle watching their TV, or even weirder, staring off into space with a blank expression. I just don’t get it. And since the word “phenomenon” makes anything sound more mysterious than it actually is, I’ve chosen to call this one “The Driver’s Seat Phenomenon.” (more…)

Hey everyone. Another friendly reminder to go and resubscribe to the new blog/podcast if you haven’t already. Thanks!

The Trucker Dump podcast is available in the iTunes Store, on Stitcher and TuneIn Radio, on Podcast Gallery, or in the Microsoft and BlackBerry podcast directories.

Or simply enter http://abouttruckdriving.com/truckerdump.xml into your favorite podcast app.

Honor Among Truckers

May 6, 2013

Truckers have to trust each other every day

Truckers have to trust each other every day

Have you ever watched a movie and heard the bad guys talking about the concept of “Honor Among Thieves?” Every time I hear it, I think, “What the heck is up with that crap?” I mean, clearly if you’re a thief, your moral compass must’ve fallen out of your pocket while you were hiking out in the woods. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Honor Among Thieves concept, it’s basically saying that there is an unwritten code that even an untrustworthy group of people can abide by to get along. I’ve know for quite some time that there was something similar in the trucking industry. An Honor Among Truckers if you will. (cont.)

Guess what? If you’re reading this right now, you’re getting another one of my blog posts late. I will once again remind you that I won’t continue to post these reminders here forever. I am trying to give everyone a chance to get over to AboutTruckDriving.com and resubscribe over at my new site. That link will take you to the subscribe page. If you want to be notified via email, just type your email address into the subscribe box on that page. Dang. Now I know what my teacher felt like when she was scolding me for putting gum under my desk.😀

Follow me on Twitter at:   https://twitter.com/ToddMcCann
Read or listen to the Trucker Dump blog/podcast at:   http://abouttruckdriving.com/
The Trucker Dump podcast can be found in the iTunes store, on Stitcher and TuneIn Radio, Podcast Gallery, and in the Microsoft and BlackBerry podcast directories.
Or you can simply enter:   http://abouttruckdriving.com/truckerdump.xml  into your favorite podcast app.

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Bungling the 34-Hour Rule

April 19, 2013

Well, I warned you all that I wasn’t going to be posting here any more. That’s why you’re getting this late. I have decided to post here a few more times, just so you have to time to get over to http://abouttruckdriving.com/ and resubscribe. Click the following link if you want to read the current article or listen to the podcast version, called Bungling the 34-Hour Rule.

You can also find the Trucker Dump podcast in the iTunes Store, in the Stitcher and TuneIn Radio apps, and in the Microsoft and BlackBerry podcast directories.

Or simply copy/paste http://abouttruckdriving.com/truckerdump.xml into your favorite podcast app.

Here are all the ways you can subscribe or listen to the podcast or the blog.

The New Web Site Is Finally Here. Try Not to Pee Yourself.

April 4, 2013

ATTENTION TO ALL READERS/SUBSCRIBERS OF THIS SITE:

As you can see by the title, I have a new website. Therefore, I will no longer be posting to this site. All traffic will be directed to AboutTruckDriving.com and I hope you also check out the new podcast in iTunes.

IMG_1563Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking. It’s about freakin’ time! Believe me, I feel the same way. Had I known how long this was going to take and how much work it entailed, I don’t know if I would’ve had the gumption to start. But hey, as one pudgy Prime Minister once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Now that it’s all said and done, I think it came out pretty dang good, if I do say so myself. So what took so stinkin’ long? Did you see that pretty black bar with the Play button up there? That’s what took so stinkin’ long. The written blog now comes as a podcast for all you people who are too friggin’ lazy to read. You know. People like me.😀 But let’s go back to the beginning first.

This whole ordeal started because I hated the name of the blog.

Admit it. The About Trucking Jobs blog is a horrible name. It was even worse because at the time, the free version of WordPress wouldn’t allow me to have a custom URL. Therefore, I was stuck with AboutTruckingJobs.wordpress.com. You can pay a small fee to get rid of that now, but that wasn’t the case when I first started thinking of self-hosting. As for the blog name, I admit that I read one too many articles on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I thought that if I had the words “Trucking” and “Jobs” in the title, I’d have a much better chance of being discovered. I guess we can thank the trucking industry’s ridiculously high turnover rates for making those keywords so stinkin’ popular. Clearly it isn’t that important though; because after 4 years of blogging, Google still barely acknowledges that I exist.

I was also starting to run into other limitations. I couldn’t use all the cool plugins on the free version. I couldn’t store video or audio files on the site either. I could always link to my YouTube channel for videos, but the teeny-tiny audio files baffled me. I guess with it being free, I couldn’t complain. It had served me well until I started getting too big for my britches.

You also can’t monetize on WordPress’ free site. Yes, that means you’ll notice a few ads now. Hopefully they aren’t too intrusive. I’ve gone out of my way to make sure they aren’t. If you want to help the show and the blog without spending any money you weren’t already going to spend, there’s an Amazon.com ad in the sidebar (you don’t have to use the search functions–just click on the Amazon logo). Click on it and I’ll receive a small portion of what you spend. Again, your price isn’t affected. Amazon pays me from their cut. If you really want to be nice, simply set your Amazon bookmark for AboutTruckDriving.com and click on the ad before you go to Amazon. It’s only one extra click and although it isn’t much money, it’ll help cover my hosting costs. You’ll also notice a HostGator banner at the bottom of each post. Click that if you ever want a cheap, but good web host with good customer service. At least I’ve had good luck with them. Okay, enough of that.

So that’s when I decided to leave WordPress.com. Within about 30 minutes of paying HostGator for my hosting and buying my domain name from Hover.com, I had a crude Web site up. Using WordPress’ wicked-cool exporting feature, I quickly copied all my blog posts and comments over too. But it did screw up some of the pictures, formatting, and links, so that took some time to sort out. But man, oh man, the site was still as ugly as the backside of a Holstein with the runs. That’s when I discovered that self-hosting wasn’t going to be that easy.

I couldn’t find a free theme that did everything I wanted, so I wound up buying a custom one from WooThemes. That took a lot of tweaking in itself. It’s amazing how hard it is to have different header images on two different pages. Or at least it is when you aren’t a computer programmer. Took me for-freaking-ever to figure that one out. Oh, and did I mention that I had to find good header images and experiment with 8 million different fonts, layouts, and colors to find a combo that I liked? Yeah. Doesn’t help that I suck at that kind of stuff, either.

Having a custom theme also means you have to choose everything to make things look the way you want. Do you want a boxed look? How wide do you want it? What style of navigation bar looks best? What color is your background? What font are you gonna use? What color is that font? How thick do you want the borders of your sidebar widgets? What about page layout? You can imagine how long this took with my sense of color and style. I’m still not convinced it’s all that whoopie either. Let me know what you think.

And by the way, I’m well aware that the mobile version of the Web site isn’t working worth a toot. I found out after-the-fact that I need a plugin to make my custom theme display correctly. A $60 plugin! As you well know, I’m a cheapskate. LOL So that means for the time being you’ll have to use pinch and zoom to read the Web site or listen to to the podcast on your phone. However, if you’ve got an iPhone, you’re in luck. Using Apple’s Mobile Safari app, click on a blog post. See that blue button that says “Reader” in the URL bar? Tap that and you won’t have to zoom in. It cuts out all the junk and gives you nice big text to read. It’s an awesome feature than many people overlook. Unfortunately, Google’s popular Chrome mobile browser doesn’t seem to have this feature. At least not on the iPhone it doesn’t. If you non-Apple users find a way to do this on your phone, shoot me an email at TruckerDump@gmail.com and I’ll pass the word along.

So, anyway. What’s new on this fancy-pants Web site?

Well. It looks a lot different, that’s for sure. I think it’s easier to navigate than my old page, too. It’s got a new FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page that will undoubtedly grow over time. The site now has a prominent Contact Me link in the navigation bar, too. It was buried on the old site. That might come in handy for your Frequently Asked Questions. And the site’s got a page with free stuff. For now, there is a cool 1-page PDF that shows you how to slide your tandems and fifth wheel to get a load to axle out. Even if you don’t need it, download it and print a few copies for those times when you see a rookie struggling to axle out properly. Another cool thing is the full versions of my podcast intro and outro songs are available for free. That’s courtesy of the band, Walking On Einstein. If you find something that looks like a good, free resource for truckers, let me know and maybe we can add it to the Free Stuff page. And of course, the podcast itself is a huge difference. But more on that in a bit.

Other than the addition of the podcast, the biggest difference is the name changes. The Web site is now AboutTruckDriving.com, which I feel is a heck of a lot better than AboutTruckingJobs.wordpress.com. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it rolls off the ol’ tongue better. It’s also more descriptive of what I do. I thought the old name sounded too much like one of those job-hunting Web sites.

And then there’s the name I’m most proud of. The blog/podcast has been rebranded as Trucker Dump, with the tagline: One driver’s insights and sometimes humorous views of truck driving and the trucking industry… and anything else he feels like dumping on you. See? Now isn’t that perfect for me? Bathroom humor galore. There will be more content added to the Web site later on, but you’ll have to settle for this for now. And the Welcome page for AboutTruckDriving.com is well… totally lame right now. I did try to make it amusing at least. And keep in mind that this is a work in progess. Let me know when you find bugs and I’ll do my best to exterminate the little buggers. Again, that’s what the Contact Me page is for.

Now of course, switching my web address means a couple of things. First, I will soon be redirecting the old site to the new one, so if you have the AboutTruckingJobs blog bookmarked, you’ll find yourself jumping over to the corresponding post on Trucker Dump instead. Secondly, I won’t be posting to the AboutTruckingJobs blog in the future. And that means that those of you who were subscribed to the old site will need to re-subscribe to the new one. I thought about trying to figure out who all was subscribed and just transferring your information over to the new subscribe list, but in the end I decided against it for three reasons.

  1. I didn’t want to assume you still wanted to be subscribed. So if you’ve been looking for a chance to gracefully escape, here it is.
  2. I wasn’t exactly sure how to find out who all was subscribed, so I’m taking the lazy way out by having you re-subscribe yourself.
  3. Even if I could figure out how you were subscribed, I didn’t want to presume you’d want to stay subscribed in the same way.

Unfortunately, subscribing to a blog isn’t as easy as it used to be. That’s mainly because not all web browsers support RSS anymore. If you click on the orange “Subscribe to RSS” label on the right side of the navigation bar and the page does something you aren’t expecting, just click on the Subscribe button in the navigation bar and it will take you to a page that should help you figure it out. It will also show you other ways to subscribe to the blog and/or podcast. If you just want to subscribe by email, there’s a subscribe box at the end of each blog post. Type your email address in there and you’re done. You’ll find a similar box on the Subscribe page.

Okay, now back to the subject at hand. I have to say that if I could have just concentrated on the Web site itself, I’d have been up and running in 2-3 months, even with my limited down time out here on the road. No, what took so long was making the content for the Web site. You see, I had a butt-load of podcasts to do. For instance, this is my 90th blog/podcast. And every time I did another blog post, that tacked on one more podcast I’d have to do. And that’s why I turned to my guest posters. I’m grateful that Noble, Sam, Kevin, and Doug were there to take some of the load off. But if you read those posts, you’ll know that I added to the content too, making even more work for myself. That’s why you haven’t seen a blog post for a while. I finally got caught up enough that I didn’t want to put myself behind again. I figured ya’ll could just wait until the new site went live. I trust you’ve survived.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with the term podcast. . .

First, I guess I should explain what a podcast is for those of you who don’t know. A podcast is kinda like a little radio show that is distributed over the Internet instead of the airwaves. Most of them are free, as is Trucker Dump. Some are horrible due to poor production values and/or people who just turn on the mic and start yammering. I can’t do that without boring you and me both to tears, so luckily most of mine is scripted. Other podcasts are awesome. Now I doubt mine falls into that category, but I do think my production value is pretty dang good. The content? Well, that’s your call I guess. LOL I’m just hoping to fall somewhere in the middle. Have a listen and let me know what you think I could do to improve the show. Constructive criticism is welcome.

If you truckers aren’t listening to podcasts yet, you’re wasting a heck-of-a-lot of free listening content. If you have an interest, someone is doing a podcast on it. Sports? Check. Politics? Check. Quilting? Check. Foot Fetishes? Yep, even that. Go to the iTunes Store and type your particular interest into the search bar. I’d be shocked if it weren’t already being covered by somebody.

So what exactly is so hard about making podcasts?

Well, it would’ve been even harder if I didn’t hold an associate’s degree in Music and Video Business. If I wasn’t already familiar with audio editing, I probably wouldn’t be rolling out this podcast until I was checking into a nursing home. So here was the process. Bear with me.

For each blog post turned podcast, I needed to have relative quiet. That’s not easy to come by when you’re constantly surrounded by idling trucks and busy streets. Sometimes I just had to grin and bear it. Yes, you heard that right. I do all the recording in the bunk area of my truck. I’m betting that’s even more of a challenge in the future since I won’t have the benefit of waiting for the perfect moment of truck stop silence. Still, I think for the most part my microphone does a pretty good job of keeping the worst of the noise out. By the way, I know someone will ask, so I’ll just tell you now and get it over with. I use a Blue Yeti microphone and do the recording on my beloved 15″ MacBook Pro using the built-in GarageBand software. The Yeti is a good mic, but if I had it to do over, I’d get one with less sensitivity so I could block out more noise. Not to mention the stinkin’ thing’s as big as a freakin’ tuba.

So for each blog post, I had to write an introduction and outro (which are both unique for each individual podcast), record the intro, then read the blog post, then read the comments from readers (and future listeners), and answer them (starting at Episode 24), and then record the outro. Since I’m apparently incapable of speaking in coherent sentences, this took longer than it probably should have. In the beginning it took an hour to record a 5-minute podcast. And that’s not even counting the editing! I’m a lot better than I was in the beginning, but it still takes me about 20-30 minutes to record 10 minutes of audio, depending on how well my tongue is working that day. And you know that many of my blog posts are waaaaaay longer than 10 minutes of reading.

As for the editing process, it can take 1-2 hours to edit an average length podcast. I have to insert the music and sound effects, cut my original recording into about a million pieces, put them all back together, and mix the sound levels. Surprisingly enough, I manage to do that well enough to keep people from thinking I have a speech impediment. Now add in all the time experimenting with different formats, intros and outros, and general trial-and-error that comes with learning a new skill, and you can start to get an idea of why this took so friggin’ long.

So now I’m done with that podcast, right?

Nope. Now I have to convert it to AIF (to have a good archive copy), convert that to MP3 (for you good folks), insert the album artwork (which I also had to create), enter the name, episode title, length of the podcast (and all that other good junk), write the show description (complete with clickable HTML links for the show notes), create the RSS feed, upload the file to my web server, insert the little audio player you see above into the blog post, and then hit my knees and pray for 3 days that there won’t be any technical glitches. Then do it all 89 more times! I have to say that all of this little crap would’ve been 1000 times harder if I didn’t use an app called TextExpander. If you’re on a Mac and you do a lot of repetitive typing, just go buy it and I’ll let you put one of my nephews through college when you feel like paying me back. Yes, you’ll love it that much.

So all that to say this. Sorry it took so long, but I hope now that you’ll give me a break after hearing the whole monotonous process. I’m going to try like the dickens to get back to writing and recording on a more regular schedule than I did before. Don’t get too anal with me though. I can’t control my loads, where I’m at, or how loud my surroundings are. I’ll do my best to make up for the long absence though.

But alas, I’ve encountered one major problem.

I need your help with something. Do you remember when I mentioned that I read and respond to comments from readers and listeners? Well, those comments have been building up for the last 4 years. I no longer have the luxury of time, which means I’ll be strapped for content to fill the feedback section. So here’s what I need from you. If you’re a curious non-trucker or you’re considering becoming a trucker, write in with your thoughts and any questions you’ve ever wondered about how trucking works. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll ask around and try to find out.

If you’re a trucker, I really need you. You see, I’d like the Trucker Dump blog/podcast to be an excellent source of information for those interested in the trucking industry. I really think it could be, considering that most of my topics can be classified as “evergreen,” meaning that the information doesn’t change much over time. So you can see, I really need you experienced truckers to weigh in with your opinions, insights, experiences, and stuff I may not have thought of. If I’m right about something, back me up and lend credence to what I’m saying. That way the readers/listeners won’t think I’m just a blow-hard… even if I am. On the other hand, pipe up and tell me when I’m out of line or you have a different opinion on a subject. It’s always good to hear both sides of the story.

So how can you comment?

Well, if you’re on the blog, keep scrolling down and leave your thoughts in the comments section where everyone can see them. Or if you’d prefer, you can shoot me an email at TruckerDump@gmail.com. So help me out here, folks. This feedback section is going to get lame pretty quick without your help. And speaking of the feedback section, if you’re listening to the podcast, you may find yourself playing a fun little game with each new episode. Well, I hope you find it fun anyway. Cuz it’s a pain-in-the-tookus to do. I’ll leave it at that.

Guest Post: Truckers with Sleep Apnea: How to Know If You Have It And What to Do About It. by Doug Thomas

January 10, 2013

Photo by JohnnyJet via Flickr

Photo by JohnnyJet via Flickr

Hey there, sleepy-head! Silly you to think you could just jump right into today’s guest post without me blabbing for a bit. You’ll never learn, will you? So you may be asking, “What’s up with another guest post, slacker?” Well, hopefully this will be my last one for a while. The new Web site is pretty dang close to being ready; bugs, quirks, and all. But for now we’ve got yet another guest post that fits my critera perfectly.

In the last guest post, You Can’t See America from the Trucker’s Lounge, by our friend Kevin McKague, we discussed something I know very little about; exploring as a trucker. (And by the way, since Kevin guest posted for me, he’s since started a blog of his own called, Kevin’s Untitled Travel Blog. Check it out when you get a second.) In that same line, I don’t know much about today’s topic: sleep apnea. Had this post not been brought to my attention, you’d have probably never seen this subject covered on my blog; and that’s too bad considering how important this topic could be in the near future. How so?

Because every trucker’s favorite organization-to-hate, the FMCSA, is considering making all overweight truckers have mandatory sleep apnea tests, that’s why. And considering a recent article I read said that 73% of truckers are overweight, it stands to reason that a lot of truckers are going to need to wake up to this issue (pun intended). And as you’ll soon read, this sleep apnea thing is a problem that likely haunts more of us than we’d like to admit. So without further ado, I give you… HEY YOU! WAKE UP! I said, without further ado, I give you:

Truckers with Sleep Apnea: How to Know If You Have It And What to Do About It. by Doug Thomas

Hey, everybody. On reading through this blog, I was once again reminded how much of an issue sleep and tiredness is for truckers. I’m not a trucker, but I’m a driver, and I know how tired I get after long trips. Most truckers can get back to “normal” after a good night’s sleep or two. Others can’t. And that could point to a serious problem called sleep apnea.

People with sleep apnea often go undiagnosed, because the early symptoms could point to all kinds of things. We’re talking mainly tiredness during waking hours, a feeling of mental fogginess that makes it hard to concentrate and focus, and snoring. A device called a CPAP machine is the therapy of choice – assuming the person with this condition gets diagnosed.

A very under-diagnosed condition

Of the estimated 100 million people around the world who are thought to have sleep apnea, about 80 percent are undiagnosed, because, like I said a minute ago, there are many possible reasons for being tired and not being able to focus well. And there are plenty of people who snore and don’t have sleep apnea. Most of these people just self-treat and hope for the best. CPAP machines can do a great job in treating diagnosed sleep apnea, as we’ll see a little later. But first, what is sleep apnea?

It is a genetic condition that causes the throat to close while a person is sleeping. The result is the breathing stops – for as long as a minute in some cases – and the brain is immediately deprived of oxygen. You may be saying, “Well, Doug, I can hold my breath for a minute and not go stumbling around the next day unable to remember my address.”  That’s true, if you deprived your brain of oxygen for only one minute.

What if this happens 50 times a night? Or 100? Not all “apneic events,” as these breathing stoppages are called, last a whole minute, but the seconds add up. What CPAP machines do is deliver pressurized air to the nose through a tube and mask to prevent the throat from closing. But who thinks of going out and buying a CPAP machine just because they’re tired?

Not most of us, including most truckers. Sleep apnea isn’t a total mystery in society, but I’m amazed at how many people have never even heard of a CPAP machine. Likely there are many people who suspect they may have this condition but put off seeing a doctor about it. This can be dangerous, particularly for truckers, whose lives depend on clear thinking, alertness and quick judgments.

Sleep apnea can lead to many dangerous health issues

Sleep apnea doesn’t just “go away.” There is no cure for it. It may or may not worsen as you age – but it’s always going to be there. Like I said, the early symptoms are tiredness, fogginess and snoring. But more severe situations can crop up if the condition isn’t treated. Sleep apnea has been linked serious health problems including:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Stroke

Does everyone with sleep apnea wind up with these conditions? Certainly (and thankfully) not. But it’s not worth taking a chance. Truckers who snore loudly, are chronically tired, and have trouble concentrating should check with their doctor. After doing an initial screening, if the doctor thinks you may have sleep apnea, you’ll be scheduled for a sleep study before starting therapy with a CPAP machine.

A sleep study involves spending a night at a sleep center, where technicians will monitor your breathing and oxygen levels during sleep. The results of the study will go back to your doctor, who will make a diagnosis.

Using a CPAP machine and mask while you sleep at night will take some getting used to, but it’s well worth it – as you’ll find out as soon as you begin living with more energy and clarity. And as soon as your spouse stops waking you up and saying, “Can you keep it down with the snoring?  I’m trying to get some sleep over here!” 

****This is a guest post by Doug Thomas, freelance writer for The CPAP Shop, a retailer of equipment used in sleep apnea therapy including CPAP machines, masks and various equipment and accessories.

Guest post: You Can’t See America from the Trucker’s Lounge. By Kevin McKague

November 26, 2012

Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Photo by Kevin McKague

Hey there, folks. Todd here piping in with a few words before we get started with today’s guest post. As many of you already know, I use my blog as a venue to share my thoughts about things related to trucking. I save the deep, insightful, well-researched articles for those other Web sites. But every once in a while, I want to cover a subject that I know precisely diddly-squat about. This is one of those times.

After following the adventures of Kevin McKague on his Twitter account, I approached him for the job of covering for my ignorance of exploring as a trucker. He rose to the challenge. Not only did he turn out a heck of a blog post, but he’s also one of those nice guys on Twitter who can make you laugh, even if you totally disagree with the subject of the tweet. That’s a rare thing, so if you all aren’t following @KevinofMI on Twitter, you should start cutting yourself in shame right now. Or you could just click the link and avoid the inevitable pain. I hear blood stains are a bear to get out of clothing.

Since I’m a lazy bum who rarely goes exploring, I doubt I’ll be back after his post with any of my own thoughts. After reading this post, I will say that I felt more of a desire to see what I’ve been missing all these years. I’m not sure if I’ll follow up with any action, but hey, at least it tempted me. Maybe one day I’ll go out on a limb and try something I’ve heard about in the past. I think they call it “taking a walk” or something like that. I trust that y’all will enjoy this guest post as much as I did. So with that, I’ll shut my turkey-hole. Take it away, Kevin.

You Can’t See America from the Trucker’s Lounge. By Kevin McKague

I became a truck driver in my mid-thirties, after years of hating my career in retail management. I wanted a job that offered more security, that could withstand the ups and downs of economic tides, and that couldn’t be outsourced. Most of all, I wanted more adventure. I had always loved to travel, but I didn’t enjoy the kind of travel arranged by travel agents and tour guides. I love spontaneity, and the serendipitous moments of finding things you didn’t know existed. I love getting on a highway and literally taking the road you’ve never taken, just to see where it went.

I often run into drivers who believe that it is impossible to really enjoy a spontaneous travel experience while behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler. While it’s true that many places are off limits to us, (you won’t find truck parking or any truck routes to the Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty) you can find plenty of adventure if you are willing to walk a few blocks from the truck stop Subway shop. These opportunities are not hard to find, if you want to find them. In the days before smart phones, I would simply consult my Rand-McNally truck atlas, and start walking towards the closest interesting looking town or neighborhood whenever I was stuck in a truck stop for 34 hours. Today, there are apps for that! By the way, the Google Maps mobile apps include a lot of trails, and the “directions for bikers/pedestrians button” can point you towards them. Or if you don’t have a mobile device, AllTrails.com is an excellent way to find places to explore.

Western Maryland Rail Trail
Photo by Kevin McKague

One of my favorite stops along my current dedicated run is the Western Maryland Rail Trail in Hancock, Maryland; just off of exit 3 on I-70. Park at the Liberty Truck Stop, and walk across the street to the C+0 park entrance. You can also access the trail at exit 12. Look for the brown traffic signs by the side of the freeway stating “Rail-Trail access”. There you will find over 20 beautiful miles of paved trails built on a former rail line that travels along the Potomac River. I carry an inexpensive bike in the passenger seat of my truck for such a location (see the picture at the top of the post). The trail has plenty of wild life, in fact, twice while riding I’ve been joined by deer that have come right up to me when I wasn’t looking. One fawn ran alongside me for a few yards and then sped off into the woods as soon as I looked directly at him.

Casinos offer another opportunity for side trips. Even if you don’t like gambling, many casinos offer truck parking and shuttle buses. The drivers of these busses, by the way, don’t know or care if you don’t actually stay in the casino. Once during an extended layover in Moline, Illinois, I took advantage of a shuttle offered by the Rhythm City Casino in Davenport, Iowa, just across the Mississippi River. There I found walking and biking trails that followed the river, and crossed over in two spots allowing you to shop and eat in two states. The Davenport casino is also within walking distance of Modern Woodmen Park, the home of Minor League Baseball’s Quad Cities River Bandits, an affiliate of the Houston Astros.

The Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri offers truck parking, and while walking nearby I noticed that the parking lot is right next to the Katy Trail, another rail-trail that runs across nearly the entire width of Missouri. To the south of the casino is a nice wooded area with smaller dirt pedestrian trails that remind me of something Huck Finn would’ve found comfortable. Just to the north about a block is the historic city of St. Charles, with some good food and interesting architecture. Next to the Missouri River in town is a sign marking the location of an early campsite of the Lewis and Clark expedition. I don’t normally gamble, but the casino offers free fountain drinks inside (DIET COKE? Yes, please), and a cool Dean Martin themed slot machine that plays “Ain’t that a kick in the head” when you win.

In 2011, just a few days after we killed Bin Laden, I visited the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The official memorial site had not been built yet, but was completed in time for the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, and I’ve been told that trucks are still allowed in on weekdays. As always, I would recommend that you call first to make sure this policy hasn’t changed before making the trip in. The roads to the site from the Pennsylvania Turnpike are legal for trucks, but depending on which way you come in, some are very hilly and challenging for those with heavy loads. If you’re comfortable with dropping your trailer, there is a truck stop with a big lot in Somerset, at exit 110, (look for the National Memorial signs off of the turnpike) so you can bobtail in. Somerset also has plenty of good restaurants and some nice architecture. I recommend the Summit Diner, on 791 North Center Avenue, just a short walk away from the truck stop. If you feel comfortable approaching the subject with strangers, most of the people in Somerset and the surrounding areas have stories about what they saw the day when the world almost literally fell on them; 9/11.

Don’t forget to consider using mass transit when you can. Los Angeles offers a $5 pass which allows you to travel any city bus or subway (yes, LA has subways, who knew?) for the entire day. Early in my driving career, while stuck near Commerce City, a simple call to the LA Metro office got me all of the info I needed to get a map and make my way down to Long Beach. There I found plenty of nice restaurants, shopping, and beautiful boats to look at down by the docks. The beach there is sandy and clean, and it’s a good spot to have a picnic lunch while watching boats and tourists. From Long Beach I went up to Hollywood to look at the Walk of Fame. Like the casinos, Hollywood was never on any of my lists of things to do or places to visit, but once I got there I had a blast.

Now that the T/A Travel Center in Nashville, Tennessee has been re-built after that devastating flood in 2010, you can park there, walk across the pedestrian bridge, and visit one of the nicest, most entertaining cities in America. Even if you’re like me and don’t like Country music, it’s quite a different thing to see an up-and-coming artist live. By all means, just walk into the first bar that has live music drifting out of the door. Many of these shows are free. (Stick to the Diet Coke, you have to drive in the morning.) The library has a nice art display and will allow non-residents to use their computers and Internet. The State Capitol allowed me to roam freely when I was there. I wandered onto the House floor and into the Supreme Court Library. Ask the guard about the marble staircase handrail with the bullet hole. I won’t ruin the story for you, but let’s just say there is more than one way to stop a filibuster.

The key here is to expect the unexpected, and look for adventure each and every time an opportunity presents itself. Use your smart phone apps, and maybe keep an extra fully charged battery with you in case you get lost. The older I get, the more I have come to understand that the sayings that sounded like silly clichés when we were young are true. You truly only live once. While you’re sitting in a truck stop listening to drivers complain about the same things you heard drivers complain about in the last truck stop, eating yet another Subway sandwich and watching another repeat of Law and Order, you could be discovering something.

By the way, what is it with Law and Order? Is there a 24/7 Law and Order channel? Does the Department of Transportation actually require that Law and Order play non-stop in every single truck stop in America? But I digress.

This is a beautiful country we live in, my friends, it would be a shame to only see it from the freeways.

Kevin McKague is a father of three and a truck driver, and is probably somewhere between Flint, Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland at this very moment. He is a recovering elected official, having briefly served on the Davison, Michigan, city council. He is a media junkie, a social-media addict, avid reader, traveler, and optimist. He does not want to buy anything from you. He can be found online at Twitter.com/KevinofMI, at Flickr (http://flic.kr/ps/wg49J), and his Instagram ID is Kevin_McKague.

Guest Post: Five Tips for Sleeping Near a Busy Road. By Sam Fisher

October 15, 2012

Photo by landlessness via Flickr

Hey folks. It’s been a little over a month since the last blog post, so I figured, “Yeah, I guess I should put something up. Gotta stop the crybabies from whining, you know.” Yes, I’m referring to me, Todd. You know, I’ve really been feeling the itch to get some new blog posts out, but I’m still busy getting the new Web site finished. Although I suppose that itch could just be dandruff.

Anyway, I’m going to put myself out there by saying that I’m shooting for a late November/early December time frame. I’ve just gotta say that after I’ve busted my hump on this, if you people don’t mob the site like a pack of cavemen on a Zippo salesman, I’m going to officially disown all of you. I might even make my protest last a whole day if you don’t watch yourselves.

So anywho, I’ve got another guest blog post for you today. This one is written by a British fella named Sam Fisher. Now I’m pretty sure this isn’t the same guy that’s in all the Splinter Cell video games, but just in case, no one piss him off. This guy could sneak up on you easier than a pair of too-small panties and make your life just as uncomfortable. And for the record, I plead the fifth on that analogy.

Seriously, the real Sam Fisher seems like a very nice guy. He discovered the blog and wrote me a nice email asking if I accepted guest blog posts. It just so happens, I was looking for one. He suggested he could write one called, “ways to fall asleep near busty roads.” I mean, how could I refuse that? LOL He was a good sport when I pointed out the spelling goof and we had a laugh about the trouble I get into when my auto-correct changes a sentence that is supposed to read, “I had trouble backing into the dock.”😀 So now we get to the main course; spelled correctly and everything. And of course, I’ll be back afterward to blab some more.

Five Tips for Sleeping Near a Busy Road. By Sam Fisher

For many, a quiet night’s sleep in familiar surroundings is the norm; however for a trucker the complete opposite is true. Many nights will have you pulling up at the side of a busy road with the roar of traffic and the honks of horns to contend with. However, fear not sleepy heads. Here are five sure tips to let you drop off into a deep, natural sleep and help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to drive.

1. Sleep Cycles

A little known fact is that as you sleep you drift through various sleep cycles. Waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle can leave you feeling tired and like you still need a few more hours sleep. In some cases, waking up half-an-hour earlier can actually be better than sleeping a bit longer. It is best to try and sleep for 9, 7.5 or 6 hours, as that will mean you will usually wake up in between sleep cycles. It normally takes around fifteen minutes for the average adult to fall asleep, so plan accordingly.

2. White Noise

The mysterious late night sounds of the road can wake even the most tired of drivers from a heavy slumber. Interrupted sleep can stop rest and often leave you struggling to try and drift back off. One great technique for combating unexpected noise is a technique called white noise. White noise is usually something such as classical music that after listening to it for a while your mind blocks out. This can then dull your sense of hearing when played at night while sleeping. This can work with all types of music but just make sure it’s nothing that will get you excited and have an adverse effect on sleeping.

3. Avoid Sugar and Caffeine

It might seem an obvious suggestion but many people forget and end up staring at their truck’s roof with their mind buzzing and sleep far out of reach. Try to avoid drinking coffee, energy drinks or other things with lots of caffeine or sugar for at least four hours before you plan on falling asleep. Stimulants are not only bad for your sleep, but for your health in general; so try to get some proper sleep and eat better, more natural foods that have long-lasting energy release. In doing so, you may be able to reduce the habit and leave you feeling much better in the long run.

4. Make Yourself Comfortable

I know it’s easier said than done, especially while you’re in the confines of your truck, but getting comfy is a must if you have trouble sleeping. Mattress toppers and the right pillows are a great way to improve your comfort within the limited space you have to work with. Pillows come in all shapes and types from firm to soft, including some special ones such a memory foam and orthopaedic. Try some out and see which works best for you.

5. A Good Book

I know reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but with the massive variety of literature, there is bound to be a book or magazine for you. Reading helps you sleep in several ways. Firstly, it helps remove from your mind the worries and stress of the day which usually jump on you as you try and sleep. Reading also helps calm the mind and gets your brain in the right mode for sleep. Not only does a good book help with your sleep but it can get you through boring patches while you’re waiting around for your truck to be loaded or when you’re in the middle of nowhere and have some time to kill.

Good luck and I hope this helps you get a better night’s sleep on the road.

This is a guest post by Sam Fisher on behalf of Teletrac a company specialising in fleet tracking technology.

Well Sam, I’m sure it will. Thanks for the fine article. Now you people know me. I can’t let a post go by without adding my 2 cents. First up is about white noise. I know Sam’s right about this one. I keep a small, 12-volt fan running while I’m sleeping. The steady drone really helps me zonk out. When it’s super cold outside and I can’t run the fan, I usually don’t sleep as well. That’s when I pray for a reefer by my head. That would be a refrigerated trailer, not the other kind of reefer (although I bet that would knock me out too).😀 However, reefers can be a mixed blessing if the thing keeps starting and stopping all night. You drivers know what I mean. Those hard starts can sometimes scare you into squirting!

My first experience using music as white noise was back when The Evil Overlord and I were just dating. She was telling me how awesome The Cure was, but me being a metalhead, I was having none of that. Then the guitar player in our band got into The Cure and suddenly it was okay. The Evil Overlord still gets pissed about that. And by the way, the same thing happened with The Cult. Anywho, she eventually got me listening to The Cure’s “Disintegration” album when I went to bed. It even says in the liner notes that it was mixed to give two different experiences, depending on whether you played it loud or soft. It’s true. It’s powerful when it’s loud, but it makes me sleep like a drunk, 18-year-old cat when the volume is low. It’s weird how that works.

Next up is making yourself comfortable. Boy, do I know about this one. When The Evil Overlord was on the road with me, I always accused her of bringing too much crap. Much of that was bedding. I’m telling you folks, we had a lot of bedding. She usually brought 3-4 sets of sheets and blankets, 3 or 4 mattress pads, 5 or 6 pillows, 2 body pillows (if you team drivers don’t have one yet, go out and buy one (or two) — you can kiss my feet later), and a couple of sheets of that egg crate-looking padding. And this was for only 3 weeks on the road.

Luckily, this padding stayed in the truck. As for the rest of it, she changed the sheets once per week and using the pillows, packed herself into bed like a vase being shipped from Nicaragua via Jeep. I’m pretty sure if anyone made little fluffy packing peanuts, we’d have bought them too. But you know what? All of that made sleeping a joy. Well, as much of a joy as it could be when you’re bouncing down the road.

Now that the wicked one is out of the truck and back with the normal humans, I’ve stuck with the plan… well, to some extent anyway. I don’t use the egg crate stuff because I don’t need the extra cushion as a solo driver. But I’ve stuck with the sheets, extra pillows and mattress pads. I’ve got three pillows, one soft, one firm, and one body. I normally use the soft one, but the firm one comes in handy when you’re in one of those parking spots where it feels like you’re trying to sleep while standing on your head. And of course, it’s always nice having extra pillows when you’re leaning up against the wall in your bunk.

Now I can hear some of you masculine guys out there saying, “All a man needs is a sleeping bag.” I’ve got a correction there. “All a macho man needs is a sleeping bag.” Seriously, get over yourself and buy some freakin’ sheets! You sleep in your bunk more than you do your bed at home! Make it comfortable! I keep two sets of sheets with me now. I rarely change them in my 3 weeks out (I am a man, after all —  and I always smell fresh — really), but it’s nice to have a backup for when you spill milk all over them. Been there, done that. And a final word on sheets: cotton-blend in the summer, flannel in the winter. Spend the money on flannel and I might let you kiss my hand when you’re done with my feet.

And lastly, The Evil Overlord will vouch for reading before you go to bed because the Sandman typically taunts her at night. Personally, I don’t need a book to fall asleep. Unless I’ve got something stressing me out, I’m usually dreaming about swimming pools full of banana split ice cream in less than five minutes. And that’s a good thing, because when The Evil Overlord gets pissed at me for falling asleep so quickly, it’s always nice to be snoring again not long after she purposely nudges me, slaps me on the chest, makes a loud noise, or drops something on my head. You people never believe me, but I’m telling you folks; she’s evil personified.

*Let’s hear from you drivers out there. Give us some tips that help you sleep when you’re in the truck. And do it now. You heard me. No back-talk.*

Guest post: Benefits of Semi Truck Weight Compliance. By Noble McIntyre

September 12, 2012

Photo by Linda N. via Flickr

Hello, one and all. First, a quick update on the status of the new Web site. Things are coming along slowly, but surely. I recently fixed a major problem I’ve been having; so that’s good. But I’m still missing a major component, so you’re gonna have to control your giddiness. I’m sure you’ll manage somehow. Still, I have a feeling that I’m eventually going to have to crack this sucker open to the public with a few lingering quirks. It’s like choosing someone to marry. If you’re waiting for perfection, you’re never going to do it. The Evil Overlord is the exception to the rule. She really hit the jackpot there.

So what’s this about a guest post? Well, if you remember correctly, I told you in our last visit that I was working on providing a couple of guest posts to fill the Sandra Bernhard-sized tooth gap between the posts I’ve written.

Today’s treat is brought to you by a gentleman named Noble McIntyre. Now I’m not positive, but I think Noble may be a bit clairvoyant. A while back, I began playing with the idea of asking for submissions for a couple of guest posts to fill in the gaping hole that the blog was becoming. Not long after, I received an email from Noble asking if I accepted guest posts. I’m telling you people… clairvoyant. I’m guessing that skill comes in handy with his day job. You see, Noble is an attorney. That’s gotta be pretty darn handy to get into the minds of the opposing counsel. And before you say it, yes, I know it’s hard to believe a lawyer was perusing my blog, but that’s just further proof that I rock. I’ve been telling people that for years, but no one ever listens.

So let’s get on with today’s submission. Afterward, I’ll be back to share my thoughts on the subject. Here we go. And oh yea. You ladies may want to check out Noble’s picture at the bottom of the post. He’s a handsome devil, he is. Hands off though, ladies. He’s already been snagged off the market. Sorry to disappoint.

Benefits of Semi Truck Weight Compliance: by Noble McIntyre

It’s human nature to want the most benefit for the lowest cost. It may seem more efficient to load a semi truck to maximum capacity—or more—in order to transport more merchandise in fewer trips. That works in theory, but not always in practice. I’ve taken on semi truck cases that came about when someone was injured due to some sort of negligence on the part of a truck driver or a trucking company like, for example, overloading a truck. And accidents involving a semi have the potential to do much more damage when the truck is heavier than is legally allowed.

Surpassing truck weight limits can also cost more in fees and fines when trucks don’t pass inspection at highway weigh stations. But additional costs in fuel, maintenance, and safety must be considered as well. Here are a few of the ways ignoring trucking weigh limits can increase costs, and affect the safety of not just the truckers, but passenger vehicle drivers.

Road Fatigue

Highways are built to withstand a lot of wear—vehicles driving over them, harsh weather, heat, cold. They’re also constructed with certain weight limits in mind. When those limits are surpassed, the road suffers and begins to wear down more quickly than planned. This not only makes for uncomfortable driving, it increases road maintenance costs for the states the highways run through, and those costs are passed on to the taxpayers. By complying with weight limits, truckers and trucking companies can help roads last longer, and reduce maintenance costs, thereby saving states money that can be put toward other public needs.

Wasted Fuel and Time

It comes down to simple power-to-weight ratio—the heavier a truck is, the more power required to propel it. When a truck is loaded over its maximum weight, it will require more fuel to travel the same distance at the same speeds as a lighter truck. In addition to wasting fuel, this will also translate to higher costs for the trucking company because of the need to buy fuel more often. It also means lost time to stop for those fueling needs. Those costs are most likely passed on to the consumer. By adhering to weight limits, truckers can save time and money both for the trucking company, and for the people who buy the products being transported. For those of us concerned about the effect high food costs have on our communities, it’s frustrating to know that some of those costs could be more reasonable if weight limit regulations were strictly followed.

Safety

When loaded to maximum weight, the stopping distance for semi trucks is roughly 40 percent greater than that of regular passenger vehicles. This is assuming fair weather and road conditions. That distance will increase when roads are wet, for example, or when the truck is traveling above the speed limit. Now imagine how the stopping distance is affected when a truck is carrying more than the allowed maximum weight. Even in good weather, the distance is increased, not to mention, a heavier truck will do more damage to other vehicles and to property should an accident occur. Weight compliance promotes safety for the truck, its driver, and other drivers on the road. I would be more than happy to accept a reduction in the number of clients I have if it meant fewer people were being injured in trucking accidents due to poor practices.

The trucking industry remains the most effective tool in transporting goods from one location to another. There is plenty of room for improvement, to be sure. But until technological and mechanical advances come about that improve efficiency, current safety standards must be maintained. The benefits simply outweigh the costs.

Noble McIntyre is the senior partner and owner of McIntyre Law, a firm staffed by experienced Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers.

 

 

 

 

 

Good stuff, Noble. Thanks for entertaining and informing the peeps. Now from a trucker’s view, let me add a few thoughts of my own.

For quite a while now, my company has been sending out a satellite message about once a week reminding us to route around the Pawtucket River Bridge on I-95 in Rhode Island. It seems that about once a week one of my highly intelligent co-workers gets a ticket for crossing the bridge. You know, the bridge that has been marked as truck restricted since 2007. The one marked by those bright orange signs that are really hard to see. Yea, those. I just don’t get it. If a bridge is clearly marked as illegal, why would anyone cross it? Why not take the marked route? It’s not that far out of the way. Yet the coppers in Rhode Island have been picking trucker’s pockets clean for years. These fines aren’t cheap either. We’re talking maximums of $2000 plus. Ouch-a-mundo! But then there are times when things aren’t quite so clear-cut.

Now there isn’t a trucker out there who hasn’t come across a situation that can’t be avoided. Sometimes by the time you see the weight restriction signs on the bridge, you’re already crossing it. Oops. But hey, when you looked at the trucker’s atlas during your trip planning, the road was clearly marked in orange! For you non-truckers; roads highlighted in orange are supposed to be open to trucks. Most of the time, they’re right. But some of the time they neglect to mention that it’s okay to run the road, providing you’re under the weight limit. That would be the weight limit that isn’t posted anywhere in the atlas.

Other times, you find yourself stuck between an FMCSA rule-maker’s head and a hard place. There you sit, staring at a weight-restricted bridge in the dead of night. You followed your company-supplied directions to the letter. Yet there you are. You’ve got no place to turn around. What now? I wrote about this exact scenario in a blog post called Trucking in the Northeast. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I find that prayer helps.

But what about running with an overweight load? Truck drivers do it all the time. But why do we do it? Because your dispatcher says to do it? Sorry dudes and dudettes, but that crap ain’t gonna fly here. Drivers, you’ve gotta think about this. It’s your license. It’s your ticket. It’s your money that’s gonna pay the fine. It’s not a point of pride to say, “I can find my way around any scale.” Okay great.

What good does it do? It takes more fuel to go around the scales. The back roads always take longer too. So why do we do it? Yeah, it’s a pain to take the load back to the shipper for reloading. Yes, it’s annoying to stop five times to fuel in a 600 mile trip just to keep your load legal.

But notice I kept saying “we” truckers. Yes, @DriverChrisMc, I just called myself a trucker again. Mark it on the calendar. The thing is, I’ve done all this myself. I routed around all the weigh stations once a long time ago. I found it stressful and never did it again. Sort of. What I will still do is route around ONE scale if I know I can burn off enough fuel before I get to the rest of the chicken coops (weight stations–a little trucker-speak there). But why even do that?

Well, I know why I do it. Because the places where I load, you either take that load or you sit and idle your truck until you burn off enough fuel to run the load. I’ve asked the company to cut the load. They won’t. I’ve asked to deadhead to get another load. Nothing else in the area. That’s not hard to believe when you’re in the wasteland known as North Dakota. And this is why I NEVER fill my fuel tanks any more. 3/4 max for me. Less if I’m anywhere in the vicinity of one of our 46,350 pound sugar loads.

I guess if you’re an owner/operator, I can maybe see the point of dodging all the scales on an entire trip. Maybe it was “take the load or don’t get paid.” That’s your choice I guess. Just remember that not only are we all breaking the law, but we’re also defying every reason that Noble just laid out. And shame on us all for dissing the Noble.

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A Quick Update On the Blog

August 10, 2012

Okay folks. I realize my last blog post was on May 17. I’m also fully aware that I haven’t been reaching my snark quota on Twitter lately. I’d like to explain myself. I’m lazy. Okay. That’s not at all true. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite.

I thought that by now everyone knew I was working on a new Web site. Yet when I recently tweeted that I was working on the new site, someone asked me, “What new Web site?” Apparently, I was once again wrong. Imagine that. I swear. One of these days I’m going to get something right.

So what is this new Web site? Basically, it’s just a re-branding of the About Trucking Jobs blog, with some additional features that I couldn’t get through WordPress.com, which is the free service where I’m hosted now.

I’ve already got new hosting, a new theme up and running, and most of the data transferred. Yes, I realize that doesn’t sound like a big deal. It really wasn’t. It did take a while to find a theme that suited all my needs, but once I did all my blog posts, pictures, and comments, transferred over with a few clicks. So what the heck has been taking so long?

For one thing, tweaking the Web site has been harder than I expected. The majority of it looks fine, but every once in a while, I can’t get some weird little thing to work. For instance, on my main blog page, I keep getting the wrong picture on one of my blog posts. I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Another time, I couldn’t figure out how to have two different header graphics on different pages (one for the main site and one specifically for the blog). My theme provider, WooThemes, has been extremely helpful with making changes to the programming code that looks like gobbledygook to me. But they’re busy lads, and sometimes it takes some time for even them to figure out what’s going on. In short, I really had no idea how much more was involved with moving your Web site from a free service to a self-hosted one. Still, necessity won out. Gotta do what you gotta do.

I’d really love to tell you all what to expect from the new Web site, but as of right now, I’m keeping most of it hush-hush. The blog will have a new name and a new layout with different colors. There will also be links to stuff my online friends do (if you’re interested in swapping links, shoot me an email at AboutTruckingJobs@gmail.com).

There are much bigger things afoot too, but as of now, only a handful of people who REALLY needed to know are aware of those new features. So if you want to find out, you’ll have to figure out who those people are, kidnap them, take them to an abandon warehouse, and whip out the vise grips and wire cutters.

Once the new Web site is live, it’ll be clear why all this took so freakin’ long. With the grand opening of the site, I’ll also be doing a blog post detailing the new features of the Web site, with further info on what it took to put it all together. Until then, I’m working with a couple of people to provide guest posts for you. In keeping with my guidelines, these posts will be about subjects I know little or nothing about. I think you’ll enjoy them. Of course, I’ll also be adding my thoughts to these guest posts.

So for now I ask for your patience. I swear that when I’m not posting blogs and I’m absent from Twitter, I’m either driving, working on the Web site, or at home where I actually get to cohabitate with real live people. And FYI, I tried having Twitter open while I worked on the site, but quite frankly, my mind isn’t capable of it. Every time a tweet popped up, I totally lost my train of thought. Now that I think of it. That’s probably why it always took 4-5 hours to write a blog post. I’m starting to think Twitter is truly evil. Still, be suere to hold my place until I get back in the swing of things. From what little I’ve seen, it looks like you people are providing plenty of snark to keep Twitter afloat.

Okay, enough explanation. Back to trying to figure out why that stinking picture keeps showing up where it’s not supposed to. Ah screw it. I’m not that smart. Time to contact to the WooThemes dudes. Ciao.


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