Colorado River

PHOT0060.JPGColorado River

Recently, I found a little camera I used to carry with me when I went out west. I put the memory card into my computer and found 127 pictures on it. One of them was of the Colorado River. The Colorado River is located on the state line between Arizona and California. Goose Lake, Willow Lake, Beal Lake, Topock Bay and Lost Lake, all is connected to the Colorado River, which drains into Lake Havasu. Sometimes when we would cross, the water would be very green, on this trip, it wasn’t. We would stop at the truck stop about 2 miles into Arizona. Its a beautiful area and everyone needs to visit if in the area.


The California challenge

May 27, 2013

California’s aggressive regulatory climate provoked this sentiment, which has circulated online in different forms.  Chris Thomas, leased to Minnesota-based Autumn Transport, made stickers of this version he planned to offer up to anyone who wanted one.  He’s also set up a page on eBay to sell them here.If your current truck is not California Air Resources Board-compliant – meaning (among other things) that you do not have a diesel particulate filter – devise a strategy now if you plan to operate in California.  With few exceptions, most Class 8 trucks operating in California will need to have some sort of approved DPF installed by Jan. 1, 2014, to meet CARB regulations.   (Find a full list of upgrade-requirement schedules by engine model year in this story.)  If you derive only a small percentage of your revenue from California, consider no longer operating there.   This may sound drastic, but weigh the costs and risks associated with having a CARB-compliant truck.  Engine-related problems are frustrating to get repaired and many times cause a loss of fuel economy, on top of the costs for repair and downtime.   Some of the most common calls I receive on my radio show are complaints about loss of fuel mileage due to an emissions-related issue that shops can’t fix.   If your truck is model year 1996-2006, you potentially can add a DPF to achieve compliance; CARB-certified filters cost $15,000 to $20,000.   On top of that, you will see a loss of fuel economy – as much as a half-mile per gallon – due to the increased back-pressure created by the DPF; that will add $3,000 to $5,000 in annual fuel costs.   Periodic DPF cleaning will cost several hundred dollars every year or two.   Most DPF installations require hookups to both the electronic control module and fuel supply, which can lead to even higher maintenance costs and downtime.   More technology, more problems With every new round of emissions technology, emissions-related engine problems get more common and the engines more expensive.   Here are the latest results from a J.D. Power survey of owners of heavy-duty engines that meet 2010 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.   The study finds that 46 percent of owners of trucks that are one model-year old report an engine-related problem, up from 42 percent in 2011.  The most commonly reported problems involve electronic control module calibration (23 percent of owners), exhaust gas recirculation valve (20 percent) and electronic engine sensors (16 percent).   In addition, the average number of engine- and fuel-related problems has increased to 81 problems per 100 vehicles from 71 in 2011.   You would need to generate $30,000 of revenue from California loads just to break even in the first year, and at least $5,000 of revenue from California to break even every year after that.   Would you want to spend that much money and take that much risk just to break even?   Your other option would be to upgrade to a 2007-09 or newer model truck, which would require no further emissions-equipment investment until 2023.   In addition to your upfront trade cost, expect higher maintenance costs and downtime on newer trucks.   In my experience, it’s not hard to operate a pre-2004 truck for 6-8 cents per mile in maintenance.   I’m finding that the 2007 and newer trucks are costing 12-14 cpm in maintenance.   Those who need to operate in California might have some other options.   If you go there only to satisfy a good customer, is it possible to set up a rental arrangement for a CARB-complaint truck?   Leased operators should ask their carrier about plans for California. I have talked with carriers that plan to have some CARB-compliant trucks and allow other owner-operators to stay out.   We have little data on the effects of a DPF on a pre-EGR engine.   We have some data available on the costs of operating a 2007 or newer truck, but we don’t have a lot of long-term numbers as far as engine life and rebuild cost.   If you can avoid rushing out and spending thousands of dollars to become compliant, you will gain time and the likely advantage of learning more about options and outcomes.   In the meantime, evaluate your own situation, and do what’s best.

The Solitude of Music


Jazz, R&B, Pop, Rock, Blues

It doesn’t matter what type of music you like, when you are feeling some type of way, it seems to be the only thing to comfort you.  Sitting by yourself, your mind tends to stick to whatever problem that’s plaguing you.  You reach for your iPod or MP3 and put the ear buds in and turn it your favorite songs.  You check the volume, turn it to where everything outside of the ear buds is completely shut out.  Boney James’ Breathe starts playing and immediately whatever problem that was there is pushed to the side for another time.  Your mind goes places you wish you could.  Every beat of the percussion, swoon of the sax and pluck of the piano is absorbed into every inch of you.  You are transported to a space that’s occupied by nothingness and everything.  Your feet never touch the ground but you are not flying, music notes brush past, the sweet smell in the air is palpable, your hand is in what feels like water but your hand is not wet.  The tranquility that music brings to you is immeasurable.

If you are like me, you can listen to a song 5 times and hear something different every time.  I find that when I am really enjoying the music, I am either giving a private concert with my background music recorded, dancing (like DTWS), or visualizing music videos.  I sometimes imagine being in one of the many IMAX theatres, sitting in the middle and having the speakers turned up and a movie of outer space playing. WHEW!!

When I want listen to my heart, my breathing and the rhythm of life, I put on my headphones and tune out the world!  And let my mind go where the music takes me in solitude.

The Seven Deadly Sins’ Effect On Professional Drivers



Professional drivers are humans and are subject to the challenges faced by every one of us on a daily basis.   However, many of these trials are unique to the men and women behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer.   The seven deadly sins have been identified as pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth.   How do these sins harm your professional image?  Let’s start with pride. 

Pride has been identified as the “excessive belief in one’s own abilities.”   How many times have you pushed yourself just one more mile or one more hour longer than you were comfortable driving?   Have you ever accepted a load that you knew you couldn’t complete within your legal hours of service limit?   When was the last time you made a promise to your family that you weren’t sure you could keep?   If so, you were overestimating your ability or stretching your level of competence.   This is the sin of pride.  

The second sin is identified as envy.   Every time you desire another person’s traits, status, abilities or situation, you are guilty of envy.   When you wish that you had their safety record, their looks or their ambition, you’re committing one of the seven deadly sins.   If your desire to find greater success moves you to make positive changes in your actions, that’s different, but when you merely wish that you could have an ability demonstrated by a fellow driver, that’s envy.

Gluttony is the third deadly sin, and if you look at the typical professional driver, you’ll find a prevalence of gluttony, or “the desire to consume more than what you require.”   Every extra pound on your frame is evidence of gluttony.   It’s especially difficult for drivers to eat only what your body needs for sustenance, but we all have choices, and these are choices that you make every time you put something in your mouth.  

The fourth sin is identified as lust, or “an inordinate craving for pleasures of the body.”   Although gluttony could fall into this category, other desires include drugs, alcohol and sex.   Professional drivers are required by law to refrain from abusing drugs, and alcohol use is severely limited when you’re on the road. Evidence of sexual lust is still seen at truck stops and rest areas where prostitutes are utilized.   Lust is a reflection of your own personal values and the image you present to others.  

Anger is probably least recognized as being a sin.   Unleashing your wrath on your dispatcher won’t make your situation easier, as communication flows more smoothly when neither side is angry.   Yelling at the fuel desk clerk, aggressive behavior on the road and slamming the phone down when talking to your mate are all signs of anger, one of the seven deadly sins.  

The sixth sin is that of greed, or the desire for material wealth or gain at the expense of others.   Greed differs from lust because the longing is for things, especially those owned by others, and not immediate physical gratification. Greed is not the same thing as envy, or a desire for someone else’s characteristics, but focuses on what they own.   If you’ve even wished that you owned that big rig parked next to you, then you’re guilty of greed.   Wanting something that someone else has worked for is considered a sin.  

The last of the seven deadly sins is called sloth, or the avoidance of work. We all want to be more efficient, but when that desire to reduce our workload creates an imbalance by causing more effort by others, then it’s considered a sin.   Sloth is also evident how a driver treats his or her truck.   Leaving trash in the cab, allowing the truck to become excessively dirty, or forgoing a thorough pre-trip inspection is considered laziness, or sloth.   In some cases, your inaction could create a hazard for you or others on the road.  

The seven deadly sins should be avoided by all of us whether we drive a truck for a living or not.   As professional drivers, you have enough challenges to face each time you accept a load, make a delivery or stop along the way.   If your goal is to enhance your image, along with that of your peers, keep these sins in mind and stay away from them when possible.   As a professional driver, are you mindful of your image?  How do you avoid the pitfalls described in this article?  Share your stories and opinions in our comments section.

Diesel reverses downward trend (and highlights from 1,000

Diesel reverses downward trend (and highlights from 1,000 weeks of diesel prices)

May 14, 2013

This week marked the 1,000th week that the Department of Energy had reported a weekly national average diesel price, and in it, the price of on-highway diesel rose 2.1 cents, bringing a 10-week period of consecutive price drops to an end.However, this week’s price is still 13.8 cents below the same week in 2012. Overdrive sister site CCJ has long list of highlights from the 1,000 weeks that the DOE has been reporting fuel prices, including trends from the 2008-2009 recession, the lower volatility of the 1990s and when diesel crossed the $2 a gallon mark for the first time (September 2004).  Since September 2004, it’s been above $2 every week except a stretch of 10 weeks in December 2004-February 2005.  It crossed the $3 mark for the first time just 13 months later in October 2005 in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For more highlights and regional information from this week’s prices, see CCJ‘s report.