Category Archives: Entertainment

Summer Vacation

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Kids are out of school so you have to be even more aware when you are rolling through a little town on a 2 lane highway. Kids on bikes, kids running out from between parked cars and kids playing and not paying attention to what’s going on around them are all dangers that are heightened in the summer. Rest areas, truck stops and service plazas will be crawling with children at this time of year so it is especially important that we all attach extra “antenna” to be able to notice and avoid any accidents!

If you work for a company that allows you to take your kids on the road with you, it can be something they will remember for a lifetime. It’s a chance for them to see where you go and what you do so that later, when you make that call home, they really know where you are. It can be an opportunity for you to get to know them better as well, the chance to really spend some quality time together. Sometimes, as our kids mature, it can be a lot of fun to take them one at a time (if you have more than one child of course!) It gives you time with each of them and them time alone with you. My son has lasting memories of whale watching in Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and going on the Boston Tea Party ship when he was eight years old. Since I have driven a truck his entire life, he has been many places and loved regaling his class with the stories when he got back!

You have to plan to have that extra little body on the truck. Pack all the things they will need, these days there are all kinds of electronic gadgets that can occupy their time when it gets “boring”, like while sitting at a dock. There are also the old fashioned things like coloring books and regular books, miniature games that can be played while traveling, they have games now that were created specifically for travel. You can play the old favorite license plate game, or my car, your car.

Speaking of docks, you have to be aware that some shippers and receivers don’t allow children on the dock or even outside of the vehicle, try to have a plan you can follow if this were to happen. Make sure you have something inside to keep your child occupied and safe.

Extra food in the fridge, including some healthy snacks like fresh fruit and veggies is a good idea. This might be a good time to take them to some of your favorite places to eat while you are on the road. Not all the same places that you have at home are chain restaurants across America. Make it a point to treat them to different places with different types of foods. Hopefully they will enjoy it as much as you do. Change it up a bit for them so they can get a little taste of what our country has to offer.

Trucking with dad or mom or mom and dad can be a great history and geography lesson. Postcards are cheap and usually include text about the picture and some of the history associated with it. You can make a game out of picking one up every time you stop so your child can write a little something on the back and keep a journal of sorts of the entire trip. It’s also a great way to teach them English and spelling, turning the trip into an entire learning experience for both you and your child!

We should always be aware of our surroundings and you can take this time to teach your kids safe practices while they are on the road. It’s never too early to learn how to be safe in your circumstances!

When school starts back up and they are asked to share with their class what they did over their summer vacation, they will be able to bring in their postcard ‘diary’ or journal, along with (hopefully) a photo of you with them by your truck. They will get to tell the story of trucking across America. They will be the coolest kid in their class!

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

Oh, the Places You’ll See!

Take Pictures | Trucker Tips Blog
(Be sure to take pictures)

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Today it’s so easy to take lots of pictures. The digital age is phenomenal and has made it so simple! You can see your photos instantly and either keep them or delete them just as fast. You can edit them quickly, so there is no reason not to take them. You can file them, label them, put them into albums, store them on a cloud and on your computer. Many times your device will even know when and where the photos were taken. Such a huge leap over the old Polaroids and Instamatics of our early days where as you actually had to write that info on the photo!

As the quality of cameras in smartphones and tablets keep getting better, it is easier for you to have lots of great photos! Most EVERYBODY has a smartphone on them, almost every moment, so there’s no excuse for missing a shot. You can shoot some pretty amazing videos too! It may not seem like it now but these are memories that one day you will cherish.

Take Pictures | Trucker Tips Blog
Traffic jam on I-70 before it was completed alongside the Colorado river, circa 1984

Looking back through pictures that we took back in the day, we get to relive that race down the drag strip in Topeka or the water fights at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, even the run we made together up and over the grapevine! Those old photos are in pretty poor condition considering the age, the film and processing, not to mention the ‘equipment’ we had to shoot in the mid ’70s, but thank God we have them! We don’t have many, but those we do have are very precious to us! We get to remember the friends and family who are no longer with us, but we get to see that smile or funny face that we loved so much. Where we’ve been helps make us who we are and it’s a pretty nice place to revisit from time to time.

Take Pictures | Trucker Tips Blog
An unusual sight! Semi Truck Parking Only sign in Gloucester, MA, circa 1983

For drivers just getting on the road today, take our word for it, 20 years will go by faster than you can even imagine! So start taking lots of pictures of your first days and years on the road, it’s will be fun to go through them years later. It’s also a great way to share all the places you’ve been with family back home. It brings your stories to life, paints the picture of your day for them, so they can feel more a part of your world.

No matter where you run, all 48 or a dedicated run, the photo opportunities are endless! The sun comes up the sun goes down and in so many places this can be quite spectacular. When the snow stops and the sun comes out it creates an entirely different kind of beauty! There is beauty in a rain storm or a moonlit night sky. Fall presents a plethora of landscape changes that are among my personal favorites to shoot. I am forever searching for that perfect backdrop to use to frame my truck amidst the changing colors of fall leaves. Springtime itself has its own multi colored beauty which oftentimes go unnoticed in our rush to just see green after a long cold winter, but look for it, it’s there!

Take Pictures | Trucker Tips Blog
A beautiful sunset

I personally like taking pictures of my truck and trailer in some of the “challenging” docks and places I have to deliver. It looks pretty impressive to see where you can get that rig without hitting anything! This is a skill and you never stop learning!

Hopefully you will never have to take pictures of an accident but if that ever happens and if you are able, make sure you get a lot of photos, because you are probably going to need them before it’s over.

Taking pictures is a passion for both of us, we have been doing it for years and we encourage others to shoot pictures of lots of different subjects; such as a snowplow at work in the winter or a hummingbird mid flight. There is beauty all around us, things worthy of being photographed, especially a beautiful truck in an unusual or scenic setting. The places we go, this industry we are a part of, is an ever changing entity. It evolves quickly and the equipment itself changes too. What is here today may not be tomorrow. TAKE PICTURES! You won’t regret it. We promise!

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

No Time to Read?

No Time To Read | Trucker Tips Blog

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Reading broadens your horizons, but as drivers someNo Time to Read?- Reading broadens your horizons but as drivers sometimes it’s hard to find the time to sit down and enjoy a good book.times it’s hard to find the time to sit down and enjoy a good book.

These days there are so many options to enjoy your favorite authors.  I am still a fan of a good old fashioned  book, sitting down and turning the pages. Sadly, that’s not always practical. Even when you get the opportunity to do so, you might find yourself falling asleep after the first or second page!

Books on tape have been around for years and they have come a long way from the days when there was a rack in nearly every truck stop. In the early days, you would rent your favorite books, listen to them and return them miles down the road; rent a new title and enjoy hours of listening to a murder mystery, a drama, western or war story, even a love story. It was the forerunner to today’s Redbox.

You can spend the money and find many good titles that are still sold in most truck stops and swap with friends on the road.  If you don’t have the money to create your own audio book collection there are other places that you should investigate.  Most libraries will let you check out audio books just like you would a paperback and they usually give you a couple of weeks to listen before needing to  return them.

Some companies have racks in their lunch rooms or drivers spaces that will let drivers leave books for others to listen to and bring back so other drivers can share the same book.

No Time To Read? | Trucker Tips BlogWe found when you get hooked on an author it made for many hours of listening that helped us cover thousands of miles while entertained. I, Kim, enjoyed the Sue Grafton alphabet murder series. I enjoyed the P.I. character Kinsey Millhone narrated by Judy Kaye. To me she became the voice of Kinsey in her adventures in the fictional California town of St. Theresa. We look forward to the next book coming out in any series. They become so addictive. The characters become members of your own friendly circle!

Now, in the digital age, it has become even easier to get the books you love to “read”. If you have a smart phone or tablet it’s as easy as installing an app called OverDrive. You can use this free service if you have a local library card or through your Facebook account. The app has linked libraries from across the country, all over the world in fact. You can access audiobooks and ebooks, download them to your device for listening while you are connected to the Internet so that when you are away you can listen to them and they don’t use any data. You can keep the books for a couple of weeks and if you don’t renew them, OverDrive will automatically remove them from your device on their due date. You do have the option to renew.

If you want a certain book and it isn’t available, you can put your name on a waiting list and when it does become available they will notify you, just like any other library service. The cool thing about this particular service is that as drivers, we just don’t always have the option to get back home to the library like average folks to pick up and return books. With this type of digital service, we don’t have to worry about that any longer!

Roger and I used to check out 10-12 audiobooks every time we went to the library! It took up a lot of space and we actually began to run out of books to listen to, with this service, I can’t see that ever being a problem. Listening to a good book is a really good way to keep you wide awake and alert, especially if you are driving overnight. We highly recommend this form of entertainment as a way to occupy your mind and keep you safe.

I know from experience that listening to a good book would, literally, make the time just fly by while keeping my blood pressure down. It’s a win-win. Give it a try. We hope you end up enjoying it as much as we do!

No Time to Read? | Trucker Tips Blog

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

Trucker Movies & Shows

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm






If you have been around awhile you have probably seen some of the old movies and maybe even remember the old TV shows that glamorized the life of a trucker; usually being a little mischievous.  Shows like Movin’ On and BJ & the Bear were very popular and may have exaggerated the trucking lifestyle a bit. There was a CB craze going on back in the mid ’70s, so songs and shows that used the CB were very popular. There was a whole culture built around them. Ham radios had been wildly popular and their popularity segued into the more affordable, easily accessible, Citizens Band radio.

This was an era where truckers were regarded as the “white knights of the highway”. We were considered heroes to everyone; the people who would always stop to help if you were stranded on the road. Movies, TV shows and songs of the times reflected that.

Trucker Movies & Shows- This was an era where truckers were regarded as the "white knights of the highway". We were considered heroes to everyone; the people who would always stop to help if you were stranded on the road. Movies, TV shows and songs of the times reflected that.

Merle Haggard sang the theme song for ‘Movin On‘, the lyrics started out like this:

Big wheels rollin’, big wheels rollin’, movin’ on
Big wheels rollin’, gotta keep ’em goin’
Big wheels rollin’, movin’ on

The white line is a life line to a nation
And men like Will and Sonny make it move
Livin’ like a gypsy, always on the go
Doin’ what they best know how to do

The words talked about owner operator Sonny Pruitt and the challenges he faced. Those challenges really haven’t changed all that much. The one thing in those lyrics that has changed is that it doesn’t only take a special kind of man, but woman as well, to have a steady hand to pull that load behind. Although BJ McKay did have quite a few female drivers in their cast, neither of us was ever able to locate the ‘Cozy Comfort’ where they seemed to spend so much of their time! In every episode of both shows the stars had to deal with a bad guy, but you knew that somehow by the end of the day they would end up the winners.

l239942Probably one of the most famous trucking movies of all time is Smokey and the Bandit. This classic starred Burt Reynolds (Bandit) along with Jerry Reed (Snowman), Sally Field (Frog) and Jackie Gleason (Sherriff Buford T. Justice) who was always in hot pursuit of those “sumbitches”!  Jerry  Reed played Cletus Snow driving that beautiful old A model Kenworth with his sidekick Fred the basset hound.  Their mission was to bootleg a load of Coors beer from Texarkana, Arkansas, back to Atlanta, Georgia. (For those youngsters out there, Coors beer used to be unavailable east of the Mississippi River).  If you’ve never seen this movie, sit down and just enjoy it for what it is; hilarious entertainment.

l250349C.W. McCall sang “We’ve got us a Convoy!” in the movie Convoy. Kris Kristofferson drove the black 1973 Mack RS700L which had a 60” stand up sleeper and Ali McGraw was his love interest. The truck was provided by a Mack dealer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was custom fitted with a bull bar and a high profile fifth wheel to accommodate the Fruehauf Tank Trailer. The theme song was a staple for many a long night “Big Ben, this here’s the Rubber Duck, we just ain’t a gonna pay no tolls, so we tore up them swindle sheets and said let them truckers roll 10-4″. These memories still make me break out in goose bumps!

The songs that were the soundtracks to these old movies really told a story and many of them had lines that summed up what trucking life was all about. White Line Fever was the soundtrack to the Jan Michael Vincent movie The Blue Mule.  The “Blue Mule” was a 1973 Ford WT-9000.

White line fever, a sickness born
Down deep within my soul
White line fever, the years keep flyin’ by
Like the highline poles

The wrinkles in my forehead
Show the miles I’ve put behind me
They continue to remind how fast I’m growin’ old
Guess I’ll die with this fever in my soul

Most of these movies had a common thread and that involved a trucker getting into an altercation with law enforcement.  If you haven’t seen these old movies maybe you should have yourself an old truck movie marathon!  Get a big bucket of popcorn and sit down and immerse yourself in a time when drivers were the heroes of the highway. We highly recommend it! It really was quite a time.

Gift Idea: T-shirts featuring Movin’ On, Smokey and the Bandit, and more, as well as a variety of DVDs are available at Iowa80.com.

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

We’ve Come a Long Way, Driver!

Trucking Now and Then

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

 

These days it seems that everyone can be quick to complain, we thought that maybe we should take a few minutes to run down a few things to remind the older drivers how far we’ve come and to enlighten newer drivers how “it used to be”, in order to really appreciate how much we have compared to those times not so long ago.

Trucking Now and Then- These days it seems that everyone can be quick to complain, we thought that maybe we should take a few minutes to run down a few things to remind the older drivers how far we’ve come and to enlighten newer drivers how “it used to be”, in order to really appreciate how much we have compared to those times not so long ago.
1968 Peterbilt

We can start with the equipment. When you climb into that new (or used) truck, it is probably going to have power steering, not that old “arm strong” steering of yesteryear.  It was called that for a really good reason, and if you ever drove one of these you would know exactly why! The engines and transmissions of today are SO MUCH more forgiving than they were back then too, your shifting abilities HAD to be much more precise or you completely lost a gear! RPMs and road speed rose and fell much faster on older models so the shifting needed to be done so much quicker than today.

The ride you have today on the roads, rough as some of them are, would be a lot worse if your truck and trailer were still spring ride. Slow down and hang on driver. Not to mention the fact that many Interstates were not yet complete when we began our careers! The parts that were finished were really nice, but imagine the backups we endured when you had to exit and go through towns where it wasn’t finished. Not only did we have to contend with that, but also with differing weight and length limits from state to state.  The long tractors and trailers of today (which allow for a better ride) weren’t a reality across the entire country.

 

Trucking Now and Then- These days it seems that everyone can be quick to complain, we thought that maybe we should take a few minutes to run down a few things to remind the older drivers how far we’ve come and to enlighten newer drivers how “it used to be”, in order to really appreciate how much we have compared to those times not so long ago.
1959 Diamond T Cabover

If you’ve never had the “pleasure” of driving a cabover and getting dressed laying down, I promise you would appreciate the luxury of standing up in all that room with all those modern conveniences around you a lot more. Imagine a little closet and shelf, at the foot of the bed you are laying in, being pretty much it for keeping your personal stuff. The only way we had to keep our drinks cold was to put them in a cooler. I remember how thrilled I was when they came out with the first ever 12 volt model! We could actually carry cold cuts and soft drinks! It was a pivotal moment. I believe it was 1985. We had JUST gotten our very first “double wide walk in” W900B model Kenworth, one we could actually stand up in (well, I could, it WAS a flat top, stand ups were not available yet.)

The invention of satellite radio changed the life of many drivers. You can enjoy your station all across the country without interruption! Oh how I remember the days of finding a radio station only to lose it 50 miles down the road and have to hunt for another one. If you ran the same route you learned where one station started and where you lost it so you could flip to the next one. In some areas there wasn’t a station and you listened to your cassettes. Yes, I said cassettes, (Kimmie, I listened to 8 tracks!) talk about taking up space!

Today’s truck stops, for the most part, have paved parking, private showers, truckers’ lounges and many other amenities. Some of the great truck stops offer gift shops, styling salons, doctors, dentists, movie theaters, doggie washes, chrome shops, food courts, full service restaurants, along with a shop and truck wash. Back when we started we didn’t even have the “luxury” of a private shower. By comparison, many of today’s restaurants offer healthier choices on their menus along with fresh fruit in the convenience stores. More and more truck stops are also offering gym-style workout rooms and/or walking paths to help drivers get or stay healthy.

We’ve come a long way drivers! It keeps getting better in some ways and we should take a minute to appreciate the strides that have been made. If you are just getting into the business, you can’t fully appreciate what some of us had to experience. Take our word for it when we say that today’s a much easier and more comfortable road to run.

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!

We've Come a Long Way, Driver! | Trucker Tips


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

Hello, I’m A Truck

Tribute to the Best Trucking Songs of All Time

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

If you have been out here on the road for a lot of years, chances are you can remember when some of the great old trucking songs were playing on the radio. All the while those steel belts on your tall tires were humming right along with them on the pavement throughout the night!

January 8, 2016, Red Simpson passed away at the age of 81. He had several trucking hits and one of his favorites was “I’m A Truck”.  He sang about the fact “there’d be no truck drivers if it wasn’t for us trucks”.  “Roll, Truck, Roll” and “Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves” are a couple of his other popular trucking hits.  He joined Junior Brown in 1995 and together they recorded “Semi Crazy” and “Nitro Express”. There were so many country songs back ‘in the day’ dedicated to our profession that we would be remiss if we didn’t bring them to mind again. Some of you may be unaware of or, have forgotten about, these great songs. Maybe you’ll want to give them a listen or get ‘em out, dust ‘em off and play ‘em once more!

Who hasn’t heard Jerry Reed singing “East Bound and Down” or “The Bandit” from the popular ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ soundtrack?

Tribute to the Best Trucking Songs of All Time- If you have been out here on the road for a lot of years, chances are you can remember when some of the great old trucking songs were playing on the radio. All the while those steel belts on your tall tires were humming right along with them on the pavement throughout the night!

There are still some old songs that bring back memories every time I crank up my radio and go trucking through the night.  “White Line Fever” by  Merle Haggard, “Phantom 309” Red Sovine, “Me & Bobby McGee” Roger Miller, “Truck Drivin’ Man” Terry Fell. How about “Girl on the Billboard” by Del Reeves, “Six Days on the Road” Dave Dudley, “Big Wheels in the Moonlight” Dan Seals, “Roll On” Alabama, or “Wolf Creek Pass” and “Convoy” by CW McCall?

Give Me 40 Acres” by The Willis Brothers? I think we’ve all have a day like that every once in awhile! Kathy Mattea sings about “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” and Kay Adams tells about that “Little Pink Mack”. Dick Curless tells the story of a “Tombstone Every Mile”.

In “Prisoner of the Highway” Ronnie Milsap describes how many drivers felt, heck, still feel about sitting up there behind that wheel. The song may be over 30 years old, but it is timeless; as is true with most of these trucking songs. They describe or explain our lifestyle. They ‘get us’ which is probably why we love them so much, even decades later!

Get “On the Road Again” with Willie Nelson and take your temperature when Dave Dudley sings about having the “Freightliner Fever”.  We’re sure some old drivers can relate to Johnny Cash singing “I’ve Been Everywhere”. I know we certainly can!

Leland Martin sings about “Stone Cold Fingers” and he will quit driving when they pry his stone cold fingers from the wheel. Del Reeves kind of says it all “Looking At the World Through A Windshield”.  That is what we do and what so many of us live for and love doing.  Getting paid to see this country in good and bad weather, driving on good and bad roads and of course coming home to see the people we are working so hard for.

I’ll never forget a phone call I once got from my little sister; who couldn’t understand my attraction to driving a truck. Our dad had taught me and apparently she just didn’t get it. Then she heard a ‘new’ Eddie Rabbitt song, “Drivin’ My Life Away” (well, it was new at the time!) and she asked me, ‘is this what it feels like to do what you do?’ Since I hadn’t yet heard the song I had to get back to her. That was before XM Radio or iTunes or Pandora. We didn’t have anything but good ole AM and FM, so I actually had to WAIT to hear it come on the radio. When it did I was like, “YESSSS!”

Many say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I think a song can be too. It’s one of those things that if I have to explain it, there’s no way you’ll understand.

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.