Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Keep on trucking...

That's what I tell myself nowadays so I can continue with my job search day after day...

I have a couple pots boiling right now... so hopefully, something comes to fruition.

Also, I told my friend that I am cutting him off in terms of market research help. It was hard for me to say "no", but I had to for my own sanity.

In the meantime, I am playing more... I recently made a t-shirt with ironed on wings after I realized I couldn't find one in the store that I liked... also made healthy turkey pesto paninis with my grill pan... its very cool...

Also, I am gaining weight... which I haven't done for the past 5 months... maybe its from all that walking I have been doing... who knows.

Trucking - December 2009

Trucking - December 2009 (UK)English | 132 pages | PDF | 56.80 Mb

Trucking is Britain best-selling road-transport magazine. Appealing to all levels of the industry it offers a unique mix of news, features, commentary and truck road tests. Many of Trucking writers and photographers are professional truck drivers. Reader involvement is high, with a free legal advice service, competitions (we have given away everything from hot drink flasks to a 44-tonne truck) and a popular letters page. There humour, nostalgia and the classified advertisements are the UK's biggest haulier market place.

No Password...

Biggest Trucking Companies in the US

Looking to become a tucker? There are tons of carrier companies out there to work for, but most likely, you'll be working for one of the really big companies that represent the backbone of the U.S. trucking industry. To familiarize yourself with the business, here are the top five largest carriers in the U.S. as of 2003.

1. United Parcel Service - You may know them best as UPS or, as "The Brown Machine." UPS is headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia and UPS delivers more than 15 million packages a day to 6.1 million customers in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Ironically, this massive company was started in 1907 by two teenagers as the American Messenger Company. They capitalized the start-up with a $100 loan and grew it into a multi-billion dollar company.

2. FedEx Ground - This shipping juggernaut was created to take advantage of new bar code, material handling and computer technologies and has expanded to cover the entire United States. As of 2009, FedEx ground employs over 70,000 people.

3. Schneider National - It is the largest privately-owned truckload carrier in the United States and is headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Schneider National operates 14,000 tractors, 40,000 trailers, and has partnerships with over 6,000 carriers. Schneider drives more than five million loaded miles per day, and provides services to more than two-thirds of the companies in the Fortune 500.

4. Roadway - Through its full-service network, consisting of 349 service centers, and with its 32,119 trailers and 8,426 tractors, Roadway is able to deliver over 49,000 shipments per day. Roadway employs over 23,000 people and their trucks are easily recognizable by their ROADWAY logo that is printed boldly across their trailers.

5. Yellow Transportation Inc. - Originally founded as the Yellow Cab and Transit Company, a bus and taxi company that served central Oklahoma. Why are Yellow's vehicles actually orange, you may ask? Because in 1929, a study was done for safety concerns which determined that the color of the swamp holly berry would be most visible from the greatest distance. Swamp Holly Orange became the color used on all company tractors.


These were the thought that went through our heads when Mushroom got a call from the Placement Advisor - that he had set up an interview for a truck driving job for her. Hey, Mr. Life Time Placement man - a person could starve to death waiting for you to call. And truth be known - we should have been in interviews with companies through out the school - another hint that our school might not have been held in high degree by the trucking industry. OK, here is the poop - long after we graduated - 30 Minutes did a special on schools who were part of a group of schools who got fraudulent student loans and Pell Grants. Yep, you guessed it, our alma mater was a featured school. But that was in the future - back when she got the call all we knew was that she finally had an interview for a driving job.

We drove to the interview - it was a trucker looking for a trainee to be his co-driver. I guess she aced the interview - because the next day she went to the company's office and filled out paperwork. I don't remember her telling me that she had to take a driving test or drug screen - all standard in the industry - but it has been a long time ago and maybe she did.

About a week later she gets a call from the driver telling her she has been hired. He gives her instructions on where and when to meet him to get on the truck. So, Mushroom makes arrangements at work to take some time off - just in case - packs her bags and at the arranged time I drive her, her suitcase, and her favorite pillow to meet up with her new trainer.

This one fact I am certain of. She did not attend an orientation class. Something every trucking company does - well all the good ones. I don't remember how long she drove with this guy but I do know it was long enough for me to get a letter. Yeah a letter. Before the Internet - people use to actually write letters. Back then you had something in your mail box other than bills and advertisement. Boy do I miss those days.

I still have the letter - but I don't need to have it in front of me to remember what she wrote.
"This guy is crazy. I woke up today hearing a tap - tap tap - tap tap tap. I opened the curtain and here this dope is dry shaving while he sits at the steering wheel and tapping the razor on the steering wheel. He will almost never stop at a truck stop. We deliver today - and then will not have a load until Monday. So I will be spending it at a truck stop - whether he knows it or not. Besides it is a major football weekend."

I don't know what she did but true to her word they spent the weekend at a truck stop. You just can't keep a football fan away from their games. I am not privy to all that happen that weekend. But I do know that come Monday all shit hit the old fan. That is when Mushroom called the company. "What are you doing on the truck?", they asked, "You have not been hired yet!" I am willing to bet you could have heard Mushroom in the next county. I know her and that would have been a ballistic moment. After some threats on her part the company agreed they owed her some money - and sent some to the truck stop via EFS check. EFS is a system that trucking companies use to get money to their drivers. Don't ask me how it works - maybe an early version of Pay Pal - I don't know. I also know this. Mushroom got her stuff off the truck and gave that driver what for. I am not sure what the company did - I know our company would have fired him on the spot - but who knows what happen. So there she is on the East Coast with some money in her pocket. A sensible person would have hopped that plane, or train, or even the bus with Gus and headed back to Dallas. And Mushroom is for the most part a sensible person. But, and this is what you have to love about her, there are times when she gets an idea in her head and she is going to stick with that idea, even if it means cutting off her nose to spite her face. You guessed it, she decided to cut off her nose. OH MY GOD you say what did she do. Well she decided that she got to the East Coast by truck - she was damn well going to return to Dallas on a truck. SOOOO, she started to catch rides from truckers. All was going real well, she would call me with updates, I mean it was going real well until she caught that ride with the trucker headed for Dallas. It should have been the last leg in her journey. But as the story goes - the best laid plans of mice and men. About Memphis this trucker decides he has not seen his girl friend for awhile so he veers south. Now Mushroom finds her self in a dumpy truck stop in Mississippi. Well - the guy couldn't actually visit the girl friend with a female tag-a-long - now could he. So there she is in Mississippi somewhere off the beaten track and try as she might she can't hitch a ride to save her sole. After two days - she gave me a call at work. You can hear it in her voice. She is give out plain and simple. "Do you want me to come get you?", I said, because after all what are friends for and this really is a joint venture. "Please", she replies. "Well, after work I will go home and get my dogs and we will head that way.", I tell her. Well after all it is Friday - what else did I have planned for the week end? I drove all night and arrived in the wee hours of the morning. I don't remember seeing a more pathetic sight. I have seen a wet cat that looked better. She was one bedraggled mess. "Let's get a room", I suggested, "my treat." Okay, I will be honest, I was not only thinking of Mushroom. I mean after all you could tell she was not up to driving to Dallas - and I had been up for 24 hours. So to a motel we went. I immediately fell asleep. Mushroom took a shower and then hit the sack. We slept like dead men. Sunday, we get up bright eyed and bushy tail. You can't keep a good woman down for long, and we hit the trail bound for Dallas. You would think that maybe her little adventure would have dampened her spirit for trucking - but Mushroom was and is a game ol' gal. So on the way back she starts talking to drivers on the CB. She asks them about their companies, the benefits, where they run, their training programs - see even from your mistakes you learn something. In this case she learned the questions to ask. We stop in North Little Rock to check out a trucking company. As we leave there we start talking to a driver who drove for US Express. A big trucking company in OKC. By the time we reach the west side of Little Rock, Mushroom decides she likes what she is hearing.

"I'll tell you gals what", he says. "Let's stop at the 106 JJ's Truck Stop - they have real mash potatoes - and talk". So we stop at JJ's. Back then the hot roast beef sandwich was really good, the potatoes were as promised real. JJ's is still there - but I have not eaten there in a long time - so if you are in the area you will just have to check it out yourself. By the end of the meal, it is decided Mushroom will apply for a job at US Express. We run with our new friend the rest of the way to Dallas. Hey, my load is ready, so I have to hit the road - you will have to wait for the next Post to learn of Mushroom's 2nd Trucking Adventure.

NAFTA's Commercial Trucking Provisions: Background and Implementation History

NAFTA set forth a schedule for implementation of its trucking provisions that would have opened
the border states to cross-border trucking competition on December 17, 1995, and all of North
America on January 1, 2000. However, because of known safety concerns with Mexican trucks,
the provisions were never implemented. The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT)
decided that until safety concerns about Mexican trucks were resolved, the trucks would continue
to be restricted to the commercial zones just along the border. (These commercial zones generally
extend from about 3 miles to 20 miles into the United States at official ports of entry so that
Mexican trucks, after clearing customs, can continue on to make local deliveries).1 Mexican
trucks, inspected from January 1996-December 1996, were put out of service 45% of the time
compared to a U.S. truck out-of-service rate of 28%.2 At the time, Mexican drivers operated
without hours-of-service limits and maintained no driver log books. In addition, Mexican trucks
reportedly were not required to have front brakes and were allowed a gross vehicle weight 17,000
pounds heavier than allowed on U.S. roads. The wage differential between Mexican and U.S.
long-haul drivers was also an issue of concern. Some labor unions and their supporters expressed
concerns that the wage differential would lead to a loss of jobs for U.S. commercial truck drivers,
especially in the border states and along the major highway trade corridors in the United States.

Despite ongoing bilateral consultations aimed at bringing the Mexican trucks and drivers up to
U.S. safety requirements, no agreement was reached and in 1998 Mexico protested the
postponement of NAFTA trucking provisions under NAFTA dispute settlement procedures. The
final report of the arbitration panel concluded that the blanket refusal to process the applications
of Mexican motor carriers was in breach of the NAFTA obligations of the United States and that
alleged deficiencies in Mexico’s regulation of commercial trucking did not relieve the United
States of its treaty obligations. The panel did, however, state that the United States could subject
Mexican carriers to different requirements than those that apply to U.S. and Canadian carriers.3

The Bush Administration originally set the end of 2001 as a goal for the U.S. Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to begin processing Mexican applications seeking
operating authority throughout the United States. Congress, however, included 22 preconditions
for opening the border beyond the commercial zone to Mexican trucking in the FY2002
Department of Transportation Appropriations Act (P.L. 107-87). Among the 22 preconditions in
the act were the following requirements:4

• all Mexican motor carriers must undergo U.S. DOT safety examinations prior to
being granted provisional operating authority, with at least 50% of such carrier
examinations to be conducted on-site in Mexico;
• Mexican carriers applying to operate beyond the commercial zone must have a
distinctive U.S. DOT number (that distinguishes them from Mexican trucks
certified to operate within the zone only) and must undergo safety monitoring
initially and during an 18-month provisional period;
• Mexican motor carriers must all pass a full safety compliance review prior to
receiving permanent operating authority;
• federal and state inspectors must verify the validity of the license of every driver
carrying hazardous materials or undergoing a Level I safety inspection, as well as
the licenses of 50% of all other drivers;
• Mexican carriers, operating under provisional authority, and for three years after
receiving permanent authority, must display a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
inspection decal (which are good for 90 days), verifying satisfactory completion of
a safety inspection;
• weigh-in-motion scales must be installed at the ten highest volume crossings;
• Mexican trucks may only cross at border crossings where a certified motor carrier
safety inspector is on duty; and
• a number of other safety reviews and studies must take place.

These requirements are in addition to requirements that predate the enactment of P.L. 107-87,
including requirements that Mexican carriers meet all U.S. safety (hours of service and log book
rules, alcohol and drug tests, etc.) and insurance requirements.5

On November 27, 2002, then Secretary of Transportation, Norman Y. Mineta, announced that all
the preconditions mandated in the FY2002 Appropriations Act had been met and directed the
FMCSA to act on the applications of Mexican motor carriers seeking authority to transport
international cargo beyond the U.S. border commercial zones.6 On January 16, 2003, however,
the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Public Citizen v. Department of Transportation, delayed
implementation pending completion of a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
environmental impact statement (EIS) and a Clean Air Act (CAA) conformity determination.
FMCSA began the EIS process and has also filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review
the 9th Circuit Court decision in Public Citizen v. DOT.7 On June 7, 2004, the Court reversed the
9th Circuit Court’s decision.8

In January 2005, the U.S. DOT Inspector General (DOT IG) issued a report that the FMCSA had
sufficient staff, facilities, equipment, and procedures in place to substantially meet eight of the 22
requirements which Congress had requested the DOT IG to review as specified in section 350 of
the DOT FY2002 Appropriations Act (P.L. 107-87).

In February 2007, the U.S. and Mexican Secretaries of Transportation announced a demonstration
project to implement certain NAFTA trucking provisions. As stated in the Federal Register on
May 1, 2007,9 the project was to demonstrate the ability of Mexico-based motor carriers to
operate safely in the United States beyond the commercial zones. This would be accomplished by
the Mexican-based carriers adopting certain safety programs and by the monitoring and
enforcement activities established by U.S. DOT. Up to 100 Mexico-domiciled carriers would be
allowed to operate throughout the United States for one year and Mexico would allow the same
for up to 100 U.S.-based carriers. The Mexican carriers and truck drivers were required to comply
with all U.S. regulations applicable to trucking, including those related to safety, customs,
immigration, vehicle registration and taxation, and fuel taxation. These trucks were to be
carefully monitored by FMCSA and state law enforcement, a joint U.S.-Mexico monitoring
group, and an independent U.S. evaluation panel. Data would be collected and evaluated at the
end of the demonstration project before considering further implementation of NAFTA trucking

On April 30, 2007 the U.S. DOT announced that the demonstration project would not start until
Mexico was ready with its reciprocal program to allow U.S.-trucks into Mexico.10

On May 24, 2007, with passage of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery,
and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (P.L. 110-28, section 6901), Congress
mandated additional requirements before the project could begin. Among them was the
requirement that Mexico have its program to allow U.S. trucks to cross into Mexico ready to
proceed, that the FMCSA first seek public comment on five aspects of the demonstration project,
that the demonstration project meet the same requirements of a “pilot program” as defined at 49
U.S.C. 31315(c), and that the DOT IG review the U.S. DOT’s program as to whether sufficient
measures were in place to ensure the safety of Mexican trucks.11 This act also prohibited Mexican
carriers of hazardous materials and buses from participating in the demonstration project. On
August 17, 2007, the FMCSA announced its intent to proceed with the project, once the DOT IG
issued its review.12 On September 6, 2007, the DOT IG issued his report and U.S. DOT issued a
letter to Congress addressing the issues raised by the DOT IG. The demonstration project began
the same day.

On September 27, 2007, U.S. DOT announced that it would outfit long-haul Mexican trucks
operating in the United States with GPS devices (as well as U.S.-based long-haul carriers
operating in Mexico) in order to enforce hours-of-service and cabotage13 prohibitions, as well as
to time and date stamp border and state crossings. The U.S. DOT entered into a contract with the
DOD for $500,000 to install these devices and as of October 2008, almost all of the Mexican
trucks participating in the demonstration project had been outfitted. The U.S. DOT did not pay for
full GPS capability; the GPS units provide periodic (every 30 minutes or more) tracking “pings”
instead of continuous tracking.

In December 2007, Congress passed the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161)
which included a provision prohibiting any funding from being used “to establish” a cross-border
trucking program. The Administration concluded that the demonstration project could continue
because it had already been established. The Teamsters Union and environmental groups filed suit
in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and in oral arguments in February 2008
argued that the demonstration project should end, but a decision is still pending.

On March 11, 2008, marking six months of the project, the U.S. DOT testified before the Senate
Commerce Committee regarding the demonstration project and stated that FMCSA was
“checking”14 100% of the long-haul Mexican carriers as they crossed the border to check that the
vehicles have the proper safety decals (as a result of passing a pre-authority safety audit), the
driver has a valid license, and that the driver is proficient in English.15 (Statutorily, the FMCSA is
only required to check 50% of the drivers at the border for a valid license). A Mexican driver’s
English proficiency is tested by asking a series of questions in English and requiring the driver to
answer in English. The driver is also shown a set of U.S. road signs and the driver must explain
their meaning in either English or Spanish. The U.S. DOT also stated that since 1995, the
FMCSA had spent more than $500 million to improve border inspection stations and hired 125
federal safety inspectors, 149 auditors and investigators, and that the southern border states had
hired an additional 349 inspectors. The DOT IG also issued a six month interim report.16

On August 4, 2008 the U.S. DOT announced a two year extension of the project because only 29
Mexican carriers had participated thus far.

In October 2008, an independent evaluation panel (IEP) appointed by the FMCSA released its
report evaluating the demonstration project after one year.17 The panel consisted of a former U.S.
Representative, a former U.S. DOT Deputy Secretary, and a former DOT IG.

In March 2009, Congress passed the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-8), which
included a provision with unequivocal language terminating the demonstration project. In
response to the abrupt end of the program, the Mexican government announced that it would
retaliate by increasing duties on 90 U.S. products with an import value of $2.4 billion. The tariffs,
effective as of March 19, 2009, range from 10% to 45% and cover a range of products that
include fruit, vegetables, home appliances, consumer products, and paper.18 The Obama
Administration has stated it is working on a new program to satisfy the concerns of Congress and
the country’s NAFTA commitments.19


1 The commercial zone is defined at 49 CFR 372, subpart B. A map of the zones and further details are available.

2 Roadside inspectors target trucks that appear to have a deficiency, so out-of-service rates would be higher than if
trucks were randomly chosen for a roadside inspection. U.S. General Accounting Office (now the U.S. Government
Accountability Office). Commercial Trucking: Safety Concerns About Mexican Trucking Remain. GAO/RECD 97-68.
Washington, GAO, 1997. p. 1-4. See also U.S. DOT, Office of the Inspector General, Motor Carrier Safety at the U.S.-
Mexico Border, Report Number: MH-2001-096, Washington, 2001. The IG found that the Mexican out-of-service rate
had improved to 37% for FY2000.

3 North American Free Trade Agreement Arbitral Panel Established Pursuant to Chapter Twenty in the Matter of Cross-Border Trucking Services; Final Report of the Panel. Washington, NAFTA Secretariat, 2001. p. 81-82.

4 U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration final rules for implementation of the NAFTA trucking provisions
may be found here, here, and here.

5 Mexican carriers, planning only to operate in the commercial zone along the border, had to apply by October 20,
2003, for provisional Certificates of Registration. FMCSA made efforts to publicize this deadline to new and existing
Mexican commercial zone certificated carriers. The provisional Certificate cannot be made permanent for at least 18
months, until the carrier has passed a safety audit.

6 U.S. Department of Transportation. U.S. Transportation Department implements NAFTA Provisions for Mexican Trucks, Buses.

7 See U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. NAFTA Environmental Analysis; U.S. Department of Justice. Office of the Solicitor General. United States
Department of Transportation, et al., Petitioners v. Public Citizen, et al., on Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Docket no. 03-358. Washington, the Department. 27 p. Available here; See also DOJ Supreme Court Appeal in
Mexico Truck Case Puzzles Activists. INSIDE Cal/EPA. Sept. 12, 2003. p. 14.

8 The Supreme Court’s decision reversing the 9th Circuit Court’s decision is available here.

9 72 FR 23883.

10 U.S. DOT Press Release, DOT 43-07, April 30, 2007.

11 see 72 FR 31877-31894, June 8, 2007 for the request for public comment.

12 see 72 FR 46263 – 46289, August 17, 2007.

13 Mexican-based carriers are not allowed to transport cargo from a U.S. origin to a U.S. destination, i.e. engage in U.S.
domestic transport of cargo.

14 The FMCSA used the word “checking” to describe this process because it is different than the process associated
with an “inspection” which is defined in regulations.

15 Written statement of Mary E. Peters, Secretary of Transportation, before the Senate Committee on Commerce,
Science, and Transportation, March 11, 2008.

16 DOT IG, Report # MH-2008-040.

17 Independent Evaluation Panel (IEP) Report to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, U.S.- Mexico Cross-Border Trucking Demonstration Project, October 31, 2008.

18 For further information on the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship, see CRS Report RL32934, U.S.-Mexico Economic
Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications, by M. Angeles Villarreal.

19 The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, March 16, 2009.
See also, Lisa Caruso, “Jump Starting Mexico’s Trucks,” The National Journal, March 28, 2009; and “LaHood To
Share Mexico Trucking Proposal With Congress Soon,” Inside U.S. Trade, May 1, 2009.


Forgive my tardiness, but my life has been topsy-turvy for the last month or so...

I have decided to end my Canadian trucking experience for good. I have had enough. It has been fun for the last (almost) five years, but it is fun no more. I did enjoy it very much while it was a new experience, and I'll never regret having done it. But as another winter approaches, I have to say that, since the last one, I have been looking forward to it with dread. Deep down I'm a European trucker. Snow once in a while, OK. But not all the time, please.
Last but not least, I miss my family in Spain, and the food...

I will be in Spain on time for Christmas, and I plan to keep on trucking.

Here are some recent pictures of my last trips.

As you can see, snow arrives early October.

But then it melts away...

And then it comes back.

Chiliwack, BC. Ahhh, the eternal springtime...

Eastbound from Vancouver, Chiliwack is just before the Rockies.

Back to real life... across the Rockies.

Busy snow plow, working on wet snow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Big Rig Ministry ‘Jitters’

By: Dr. Tom R. Pousche (M. Div.’93; D. Min. ‘98’)
The year 2008 was a tough year for many: Presidential election proceedings, Wall Street plummets to new lows, scams and crime rates steadily increases, while suicides become more prevalent – these are the headlines of today.

Despite these disheartening stories, it seems the only thing that gave me the “jitters” on the morning of December 17th 2008, was waking up to an outside world blanketed in a fresh covering of snow.

I had just returned from Detroit, Michigan where I had test driven a new Sterling Freightliner truck, then brought that same truck across 2300 miles on snow ice packed roads. Upon waking up the next morning, I was not particularly excited in waking up to more snow. In fact, I was scheduled to test drive 500 miles in another Freightliner truck, and was not looking forward to it.
As I stood at my bedroom window debating whether or not I should drive that day, I suddenly realized that I was already late walking out the front door. So I nervously grabbed some warm clothing, my driving bag, and left to face the world.
In the rush of it all, I soon realized that I had left my prescription driving glasses at home, forcing me to use my prescription sunglasses to not only drive, but to fill out my logbook and other pertinent paper work. It was obvious, this was going to be an interesting day—and it was!
After our driver’s safety meeting, I was assigned the only truck that used 20% bio-diesel, which meant that I would have to fuel
fuel up five miles away at the only Pride Station which distributed that particular kind of fuel.
After arriving safely, I popped both lids on my fuel tanks to begin fueling, only to discover that the fuel pump was not pumping correctly. After several unsuccessful attempts, I finally called my driver manager, who graciously walked me through a simple
procedure (looking down into the tank and getting a fuel level), and I reported the level ‘full,’ he then kindly advised me to go
ahead and run with what fuel I had.

It wasn’t until I reached Southern Oregon that it dawned upon me, that if only I had gazed down to check my fuel instrument on
the dashboard, it would have indicated ‘Full,’ saving me a major embarrassment. Ouch!
At the end of the line, I stopped for a coffee break. After returning, there was another problem: There was an irritating piercing
sound from my instrument panel that would not shut off. No matter what I tried, it’s obnoxious sound was exasperating. Again,
I called my driver manager, who again walked me through another simple procedure. He had me slam my driver’s door hard, which fixed the problem. I already knew that procedure! This was not my day for trucking.

On my return trip back to Portland, the weather turned ominous, and the rain began to heavily pour down impairing my vision, forcing me to wear my prescription sunglasses through all the rush hour traffic buzzing around me. As my eyes acclimated, I was successful in making my way back to the trucking yard without incident or an accident.

By the time I pulled into the yard, I was totally exhausted and overwhelmed. I was too tired to even begin to fill out all the paperwork requested by the company. As I sat there exasperated, my PM driver showed up.
He was like a breath of fresh air! He took one look at my sunglasses and immediately came to my rescue by completing all my paperwork. He even went the extra mile and completed my logbook. I was so grateful for this angel in disguise.
up five miles away at the only Pride Station which distributed that particular kind of fuel.

After arriving safely, I popped both lids on my fuel tanks to begin fueling, only to discover that the fuel pump was not pumping correctly. After several unsuccessful attempts, I finally called my driver manager, who graciously walked me through a simple procedure (looking down into the tank and getting a fuel level), and I reported the level ‘full,’ he then kindly advised me to go ahead and run with what fuel I had.

It wasn’t until I reached Southern Oregon that it dawned upon me, that if only I had gazed down to check my fuel instrument on the dashboard, it would have indicated ‘Full,’ saving me a major embarrassment. Ouch!

At the end of the line, I stopped for a coffee break. After returning, there was another problem: There was an irritating piercing sound from my instrument panel that would not shut off. No matter what I tried, it’s obnoxious sound was exasperating. Again, I called my driver manager, who again walked me through another simple procedure. He had me slam my driver’s door hard, which fixed the problem. I already knew that procedure! This was not my day for trucking.

On my return trip back to Portland, the weather turned ominous, and the rain began to heavily pour down impairing my vision, forcing me to wear my prescription sunglasses through all the rush hour traffic buzzing around me. As my eyes acclimated, I was successful in making my way back to the trucking yard without incident or an accident.

By the time I pulled into the yard, I was totally exhausted and overwhelmed. I was too tired to even begin to fill out all the paperwork requested by the company. As I sat there exasperated, my PM driver showed up.
He was like a breath of fresh air! He took one look at my sunglasses and immediately came to my rescue by completing all my paperwork. He even went the extra mile and completed my logbook. I was so grateful for this angel in disguise.

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Key Factors to Consider in the Decision Whether to Own Trucks

Key Factors to Consider in the Decision Whether to Own Trucks

When deciding whether to own trucks, there are many factors to be considered. Here are some of the factors that must be taken into consideration:

The project to be considered involves a fleet of trucks with an engineering life of 3 years (that is, the trucks will usually be totally worn out after 3 years). However, if the trucks were taken out of service, or "abandoned," prior to the end of 3 years, they would have a positive salvage value.

Here are the estimated net cash flows for each truck:
Initial Investment=$60,000

End-of-Year net:

Year and Operating Cash Flow
0 $(60,000)
1 $25,200
2 $24,000
3 $21,000

Year and Abandonment Cash Flow
0 $60,000
1 $37,200
2 $24,000
3 $0

The relevant cost of capital is 10%.

a. What would the Net Present Value (NPV) be if the trucks were operated for the full 3 years?
$ (1,478.59) For Full 3 Years

b. What if they were abandoned at the end of Year 2?
NPV = -$60,000 + $25,200/(1.10)1 + $24,000/(1.10)2 + $24,000/(1.10)2
$ 2,578.51 For Abandonment at end of Year 2

c. What if they were abandoned at the end of Year 1?
NPV = -$60,000 + $25,200/(1.10)1 + $37,200/(1.10)1
$ (3,272.73) For Abandonment at end of Year 1

d. What is the economic life of the truck project?
The economic life of the truck project is 2 years, as opposed to an engineering life of 3 years.

Of course, the way you operate your fleet can make a huge difference in the engineering life of your trucks. For instance, dedicating trucks to certain runs, with a limited number of people that drive each truck, will usually result in a longer engineered life for your trucks.

There are many other factors to be considered in the decision whether to own trucks, including the amount of hours each day you keep the trucks productive.

In addition to the basic calculations above, be sure to include all direct and indirect costs associated with the ownership option.

Some other costs of vehicle ownership include:

1. Opportunity costs associated with using company working capital.
2. Maintenance expenses.
3. If you operate your own maintenance facility:
- Fixed costs associated with fleet maintenance facilities, shop equipment, etc.
- Carrying costs of fuel, parts and tire inventories.
4. Vehicle washing, lettering, painting, etc.
5. Accident administration, safety, insurance.
6. Fleet information system and computer costs.
7. Supplies, uniforms, postage, etc. for the fleet department.
8. Rental or substitute vehicle expenses.
9. Fuel costs (if deciding to purchase fuel through the lessor).
10. Anticipated proceeds from vehicle sale.
11. You should also apply an allocated cost for fleet administration, including:
Costs to renew fleet permits.
Auditing and controlling of fuel, tires, and parts inventories.
Fuel and parts procurement time.
Vehicle acquisition and specification time.
Forms administration (pre-trip inspection, driver inspection reports, etc.).
Personal property and other tax administration.
Title, licensing and registration time.
State inspection monitoring.
Adherence to DOT and EPA regulations.


Let me start by saying.............................

The BUC's won.

The BUC's won.

The BUC's won.

Maybe the only time this year it happens, but the buc's won. Enough on that subject.

Usually on my weekends that I'm out on the road I get a 34 hr reset. This might serve to gum up the works as far as getting good miles this week. We'll just have to see. Got a couple of things going on with the truck as well. At sometime I am going to have to bite the bullets on these and get them knocked of my to do list as well.

1. Truck needs a dry pm. Not sure what this entails, but I'll leave that to the experts. My ability (or lack there of) has been explained in a previous post.

2. The bunk heater does not work. I am not going thru another winter without it working. It doesn't even looked assembled. Who ever had this truck before me thought they could fix it (??). Apparently they hadn't heard the addage "To thy ownself be true"

3. Drive tires are wearing unevenly. Driver side inside tire and passenger outside tires are worn down more. I need to let the experts take a look to see if they need replacing or not.

This place I deliver tomorrow is suppose to be a pain in the butt place. This evaluation is from a driver I know, but he whines about everything. So I cut the whining in half and still it might be a difficult place to deliver. We will just have to see in the morning.

Todays drive was nice and easy. Better weather doesn't exist. And to top it off I've never taken I-64 so it was some new road. May pay for it with the difficulty at a new delivery point (new to me anyway). Sometimes, well most of the time you got to take the good with the bad.

Tomorrow will be interesting at anyrate

Have a good night

Bookerz out

Bad to Better!

It has been a LONG time since I have blogged on this page. I mostly do Twitter.

July 2009:
We went on vacation in Indiana with our daughter and some of the rest of our family that flew out to Indiana. We had a great time visiting Chicago!

After our vacation... Sam Kholi Transport notified us that our wages had been cut (by 6 cents a mile) to only 30 cents per mile, and that they were reducing their fleet from 75 trucks to 25 trucks. Since we had been only getting about 2500 miles a week -for a team- we knew we could not live on these wages.
We told them that we would be looking for other employment.

August 2009. Still getting only 4000 - 4300 miles every two weeks.
Started applying at other companies.

On Aug. 27, (Thursday). Spirit Express Trucking Inc. called us and said they would like to hire us. We immediately rented a car in Ontario, CA, unloaded our Sam Kholi truck, and drove to Fontana to return their truck.
We jumped into our rental car and drove to Denver where Spirit Express Trucking is based, and where they hold their orientation.

Aug. 28th (Friday) was our 10th Wedding Anniversary... and we spent it "road tripping" from Fontana, CA to Denver, CO. along the way we stayed at Circus Circus in Las Vegas... only $29. and in Green River, UT at the Motel 6... only $45.

Made it to Denver on Sat. Aug. 29th. Spirit Express set us up in their contracted hotel "Hotel 3737". Nice place. We returned our rental car, and took the shuttle back to the hotel. There are good eating places nearby.

We started orientation on Monday, Aug. 31.
Spirit Express Trucking is really a nice place to work. Nice people, and... they are paying us 40 cents per mile!

Sorry, Rocky

Picked off a large raccoon on US-45-N in the wee hours of this morning north of Corinth, Mississippi. He chose to run - unannounced and without warning - under D-Rod's passenger-side drive tandems; not the best choice when we're pulling 20 tons at 60 MPH. Always feel sad after doing in one of God's critters.

We're parked on DOT break in central Missouri, near Kingdom City. Left Hanceville, Alabama - ahead of hurricane Ida - at Midnight Sunday. Put down 531 miles to get here, stopping en route for fuel at Matthews, Missouri, west of the Mississippi River from the Tennessee border. Leaving early Tuesday morning to make delivery of our load of Michelin tires at a GMC assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

San Francisco Bridge Scene of Deadly Tractor Trailer Accident

November 9, 2009 (by Horatio Algren) According to reports a deadly accident occurred on the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

The accident occurred when a tractor trailer truck failed negotiating an S-curve on the westbound side of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross. The big rig was hauling produce and the accident occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m.

According to the California Highway Patrol Sgt. Cross the driver of the big rig was killed on impact after plummeting over 200 feet. The name of the driver has not been released pending notification of their next of kin.

The S-curve on the bridge according to Stg. Cross has been an area where there have been as many as 42 crashes since it opened September 8th, and the speed limit has been lowered from 5 miles per hour to 40. There have also been flashing lights put in place to warn drivers of the danger of the sudden curve on the roadway.

Ehline Law | San Francisco accident attorney, believes this could be a government claims law suit for a dangerous S curve.
newspersonal injury attorney los angeles

More cycle trucking

I've got the SH-80 pretty squared away. I picked up a fat bmx tire last week for $20 and got a double kickstand from REI. The double kickstand makes all the difference in the world. It's pretty frustrating trying to load up heavy stuff on a single kickstand. The double makes it super easy.

The front fender is running super tight. It was buzzing at me today, so I replaced the cheesy plastic clip with a thinner metal one at the fork crown. That gained me a few precious millimeters. We'll see how it goes. I have a feeling that the front wheel may end up with a campaign sign fender or a smaller tire. Smart money is on the coroplast.

Alex is building me another rack for this. He's going to take this one and give me one that is shorter and wider. It will also have a built-in U-lock holder and some cleats for tying down loads. Sweet!

I'm still amazed by how well this one rides with a load. The load in the picture is probably around 30 pounds. It's pretty effortless handling compared to 30 pounds in a pannier or even on my other front-loading bikes.

I've had a number of people ask me how it rides. I'll bring it to the next bike chat hang this Weds night (Benidittos, 5:30pm) for people to try out.