Category Archives: Interior

Pride in Your Ride

Personalize a New-To-You Rig

By John L. Hruska

Through the years, I have bought many new and used trucks. I always seem to want to personalize these trucks to fit not only our company, but the driver too. All it takes to show pride in your ride is some good looking chrome and creature comforts.

When I buy a used truck, sometimes the truck is in good overall condition, but maybe the interior is worn some along with the outside parts. Here are some ideas on how I look at refurbishing a used truck that’s in good working order but might need some TLC.

Let’s start with the interior. First, give it a really good deep cleaning, then assess what’s needed. The carpet or rubber flooring is typically worn, so I will pull out both seats and replace it with new pieces. If the seats are worn too, this is a good time to replace them as well because it’ll save you some labor later. New rug or floor mat and seats make a huge difference for the driver of the truck; more comfort, less road noise, and definitely a better look inside.

The next thing is something with the dash. I like to give the dash a little “bling” with some chrome or color that match the trucks color. You can get toggle switch covers, dash layovers, parking brake knobs, or even a gearshift knob handle with a chrome extension. If you do all (or even some) of these things, you start to get a cool look that all comes together with some color and chrome.

Next, get some air fresheners color matched to your interior in a scent that you like, and your interior starts feeling more like home and less like the generic used truck you just got off the lot. These small changes give your driver a good start to a pretty cool interior that you can be proud of. It’ll make the driver more productive and certainly helps him or her to feel more comfortable going down the highway.

2014 Kenworth W900L

Now for the exterior. After another really good deep cleaning, assess the outside and determine what you’d like. I typically will have a truck detailed or repainted and then I decide what’s going to make the truck pop and be a little different. First, I always trim all the wheels and all lug nuts with chrome covers and axle covers. Iowa 80 has great selection of these to choose from whatever is your preference or style.

Next is the mud flaps. New, matching flaps always look better and also shows the DOT that you care about what you’re doing. Make sure they’re nice and neat, not upside down and different lengths with scattered holes in them. Now you’re starting to pull the outside together. Maybe add some chrome flap weights, to bring out your new flaps with style.

I like to add some extra lights as well, but be careful – too much and the truck is junked up, not enough then it looks like a fleet truck. Try to find the balance of lights that you like, then use them in an equal series on each side and keep them symmetrical on front and back. Sometimes it helps to look at some other trucks and find what you like. I even take photos of trucks that I like so I can keep the ideas to do a truck later. LED lights are always a better alternative that incandescent lights, they have a longer life and usually a better warranty.

Next, add some more shine with a drop visor, if that’s your thing, or maybe some stainless half fenders. I always fill in behind the sleeper with at least one frame mounted aluminum step box. It is a great tool, very durable, and you’ll always have room for an extra gallon of oil or antifreeze. And I don’t have to worry about the drivers putting those items in the sleeper compartments to make a mess.

2014 Kenworth W900L

Ok, now you have a great start in making your newly purchased truck your own. Keep thinking of new ideas to keep your truck looking good and use accessories to set yourself apart from the crowd. Don’t forget! – The folks at Iowa 80 will always be there for you with phone support to help you find all those parts and accessories that you need to bring some pride and style to your truck.

Keep pride in your ride!!


hruska_149x149John’s father started in the trucking business in 1947, John then joined the business in 1981. He owns and operates Hruska Trucking and Diesel Transport along with his business partner and brother-in-law, Clark D Hofecker, in Windber, PA.


 

A Trucker’s Christmas Wish List

Great Gift Ideas for Professional Drivers

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

It’s that time of year again, time to start thinking about Christmas gifts for the trucker in your life. The list might include glitz for the truck or more practical gifts for the driver.

Blue Tiger Elite Bluetooth Headset | Iowa80.com
Blue Tiger Elite

Let’s start out being practical with some things that every driver should probably have if they don’t have already (or upgrade or replace what they’ve had for a while). A hands-free device is a necessity and we’ve found that it doesn’t hurt to have 2 synced to your phone. This is especially helpful for the driver that listens to books on tape. When one hands-free device is dead the other one is charged and ready to go.

Garmin Dash Cam 35
Garmin Dash Cam 35

A dash cam is something every driver could certainly use these days! They are handy for taking beautiful pictures as you travel but can also be a very useful tool in case of an accident, whether you are involved or not. The dash cam can provide the proof you need of your innocence or someone else’s bad behavior!

Rand McNally TND730
Rand McNally TND730

Another great gift to ask for would be a new GPS, but, if you are going to get one of these, make sure it’s one specifically built for a truck! The trucker GPS units have weights and heights built in as well as speed limits and hours of service laws. The units made for a car can get a driver into a bad situation in a hurry. Many of those instances have made the news!

Rubber Floor Mats
Rubber Floor Mats

If you are just getting started in this business maybe a few things to organize your truck like a seat organizer. That way you can keep most everything you use on a regular basis at your fingertips. Seat covers are a great way to spruce up your inside space and help protect the seat. It’s also nice that you can take them off and throw them in the wash. Floor mats are also nice to have. They help catch all the winter slop that you can’t knock off your boots and end up dragging into the cab. The outdoor mats that attach to your steps also can help get the muck off your shoes BEFORE climbing into your cab!

Dometic Waeco CRX50 Refrigerator
Dometic Waeco CRX50 Refrigerator

There are many different types of air fresheners available to choose from as well. It’s always nice to climb into a truck that smells good. If your truck doesn’t have a built in fridge, there are several models and sizes to choose from that plug right into the any 12-volt plug located throughout the cab and sleeper. Winter is nearing and you should always carry food on the truck in the event that roads are closed for an extended period of time. Having a refrigerator on board can be a true lifesaver!

Cannon Ball Express
Cannon Ball Express

Now for the fun stuff like a set of train horns! Many drivers want this grown up toy for their truck, maybe you do too? If you do, and are fortunate enough to receive this wonderful gift, PLEASE, be responsible with this particular item, the last thing you want to do is cause an accident. Train horns are fabulous but they are LOUD, I mean, that IS the point, right?

Bugler (AKA Swan) Hood Ornament
Bugler (AKA Swan) Hood Ornament

There are a wide variety of hood ornaments available to personalize your hood. You look at it every day so have some fun with it. Personally, the swan will always be my favorite (Kim) and I had a roosting chicken at the end of my long nose (Heather), but that’s why they make so many! Not everyone has the same taste and your truck, is all about what you like. There are also many varieties of gear shift knobs and steering wheels available to help add personality to the interior.

Gift Ideas List:
Train Horn
Dash Cam
Bluetooth Headset
Seat Organizer
Seat Cover
Floor Mats
EasyJake Jake Brake Switch
Gear Shift Knobs
Steering Wheel
Refrigerator
GPS
Hood Ornament
Interior Duster
Air Freshener
T-Shirts

Trucker's Gift Guide

When in doubt, just look to our suggestions provided here. We are sure you will be able to find SOMETHING you’ll want to add to your wish list.

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 Wish List Gift Ideas for Professional Drivers | Trucker Tips Blog

All Roads Lead to Walcott

All Roads Lead to Walcott | Trucker Tips
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

All Roads Lead to Walcott- Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.

Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.

Twenty-five years ago, July 12-13 1990, was the first time I (Kim) ever attended. At that event, I made friends whose friendships I have enjoyed through the years; not to mention that show gave me the ‘bug’ to attend and compete in subsequent truck shows all over the country!

Walcott is also the place where many of us met our dear friend Bette. For those of you who weren’t fortunate enough to have known her, Bette was a renown trucking photojournalist. She could either be found driving her little golf cart “Rooster Cruiser” around the show grounds or perched high up on the scissor lift getting those great shots of the entire show. It was considered a great honor to be asked, by Bette, to take your truck ‘up on the hill’ on Saturday morning for a photo shoot. If that happened, you knew you had truly made it in the show truck world. She looked forward to coming to Iowa every July. Pictures of her work hang on the walls in the chrome shop and in Iowa 80 Group’s corporate office building.

The Jamboree grows every year;  adding events, concerts, fireworks, displays, and vendors. This show truly has something for everyone. It is a fun family event for the drivers who come and bring their wives and kids, the Moon Family has even extended the event from the original two days to three due to its popularity. There are friends that gather at the Jamboree annually, like a family reunion, and that’s just how it feels!

All Roads Lead to Walcott- Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.
Super Trucks Beauty Contest, Walcott Truckers Jamboree 2015

A very popular part of the Jamboree is the Super Truck Beauty Contest; which is always well represented. There are many judged classes for drivers to enter their trucks in. The contest always attracts lots of beautiful trucks. Having so many in one place is truly a sight to behold.

All Roads Lead to Walcott- Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.
Antique trucks on display

There are also antique trucks whose owners form little communities on the event grounds. They get together year after year celebrating their common passion. All of the trucks that are entered in the contest or display in the Antique area, receive either a trophy or a plaque.  Iowa 80 believes that every driver that enters is a winner, the effort every driver puts into getting their equipment ready to show is acknowledged and appreciated.

This year was Heather and my second year as OEM interior judges.  Since not many people know more about this particular class than the two of us, we got invited back! We thoroughly enjoy seeing just what this generation of drivers is doing to jazz up their trucks on the inside and are VERY familiar with what equipment comes with a truck from the factory and what doesn’t. This is the largest class in the show to judge because we need to see both bobtail and combination, but we take it very seriously and do our best to be as fair as possible. We also know how much heart and soul goes into building and showing these rides! It is our honor to do this and we love being able to.

All Roads Lead to Walcott- Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.
Lights at Night, Walcott Truckers Jamboree 2015

Lights at Night is also our pleasure to be able to be a part of judging, along with Paul Ableson and Roger Hogeland and this class is so much FUN! It’s truly beautiful to see but must be done quickly and we all need to agree on the winners. We do this by first selecting those trucks in each class that have the best overall flow.  Then we go over each truck chosen to see more detail and determine which has the most pleasing appeal; which has the best theme front to back and top to bottom; which are the most eye catching; and the best representation for the industry. It is not an easy task, by any means, but necessary; and all are truly winners. It really weighs heavily on us since we know first hand how it feels to be judged. I have always felt it should be a requirement that judges should be retired show truck people, at least some of them, and the Iowa 80 folks agree.

Over the years we have had many fun ways to pass the time, water gun fights standout for me, the second year for those, tanker Dave Marcotte brought ‘ammunition’ in his “Liquid Chicken” tanker. Getting soaked on a hot summer day was so much fun after all of the work involved in getting our trucks ready for competition against some of the best looking trucks on the road.

We have had trucker games over the years that included musical bales, water balloon toss, tire roll, strong pull, tire flip, even pet contests for best tricks and pet beauty contests since so many of us carry our fur babies with us on the road.

If you are a first timer to the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, as I (Heather) was last year, you will find a hospitality that is unrivaled! They throw a drivers’ appreciation event in Iowa like I’ve not seen in my almost 40 years in our industry. Kim has been fortunate to run the I-80 lane so she could come to Walcott weekly, I, on the other hand, lived in Southern California and ran upstate New York, so my lane was more I-40,44,70, etc.,  so it wasn’t until last year that we were able to schedule our first entire visit.

I was very impressed with the entire event, it was the 50th Anniversary of the Iowa 80 Truckstop last year and the Jamboree itself turned 35 so it was a really big year for them, but the Jamboree is a really big event every year. I was able to meet the entire Moon family, and I must tell you, they mean it, THEY APPRECIATE YOU!

The Jamboree began as an appreciation to their customers and that is what it still is. It is the number one purpose for the event, they want to give back to those people who helped them become the World’s Largest Truckstop.

I had such a good time last year that we scheduled the event for this year even before we left the property! Roger and I were lucky enough to be a part of CAT Scale’s Super Truck Limited Edition Collector cards (Series 3 & 5), So we have always been a part of the Iowa 80 family, but now, after going to the Jamboree, we truly FEEL like a part of the family!

All Roads Lead to Walcott- Every year, the weekend immediately following the 4th of July, Iowa 80 holds their annual “Walcott Truckers Jamboree” which was started by the Moon family 36 years ago as a way to thank the drivers who support them all year long.
Audrey Cloutier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. 2016 Kenworth & Wabash trailer “Pinkie”. Took 1st Place for Custom Graphics and 3rd Place for Interior OEM Combo Tractor/Trailer

This year was, again, a blast, even with the rain on Saturday! We made new friends and saw old ones. I got to meet Tamie, Kim’s best friend from high school and we met Audrey Cloutier from Quebec, Canada who runs solo between there and California in her pink W900 Kenworth and matching refer trailer. This event is such fun you truly need to make plans to be there next year, believe me, you won’t be disappointed!  Mark your calendar for July 14-16, 2016.

Stay Safe out There & 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 Technology

High-Tech for the Highway

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Rapidly changing technology can be a blessing or a curse. It’s truly a blessing to not have to take the time to stop and look for a pay phone to make those daily check calls or just check in at home, but it can feel like a curse when you need to make a call but can’t get cell service.

Years ago the CB radio was the drivers main form of communication with the world outside the truck, it was the place we went for a traffic or weather report, it was where we turned for someone to talk to through a long, lonely night. Back then we had to be running in the same direction, at the same time, in the same general place in order to run together, now all we need are a cell phone, a headset, chargers for them both and unlimited minutes! There are actually huge networks of drivers that get together every night on conference calls and discuss numerous topics from the Bible to the latest new change in the hours of service. It has become a relevant and much needed support system for these drivers as it has helped them stay awake and alert throughout the entire shift.

Today’s technology has changed so much, now we have satellite radio, the weather channel and cell phones that are actually mini computers. We have hands free devices and bluetooth technology that will connect these devices up to one another so that they can talk to each other and we can talk to them! In days gone by shippers and receivers used to hand write bills of lading, today, if the computer is down a driver could be tied up for hours waiting on paperwork.

High-Tech for the Highway- Rapidly changing technology can be a blessing or a curse. It’s truly a blessing to not have to take the time to stop and look for a pay phone to make those daily check calls or just check in at home, but it can feel like a curse when you need to make a call but can’t get cell service.GPS is another amazing tool that can make our lives a bit easier, just remember, it is a tool; it does NOT replace a phone call to a customer where you would be able to get information such as “is there parking available at their facility?” or “is there construction or a road closure my GPS doesn’t know about?”. Some GPSs are programmed with information that includes rest areas, truck stops, even WalMart stores, in addition to scale locations, ports of entry, and state borders, they have all kinds of extra things like speed limits and speed warnings built into them. BUT, they don’t know everything, you are the driver and it’s up to you to use common sense! DON’T drive under a low bridge because “my GPS told me too”.

 

One of the coolest things technology has brought about has benefited not only our industry, but has helped our military as well and that is the face to face talking over the Internet. Nowadays we can call home, with the help of a device and an Internet connection, and actually see the people we are talking to while we are talking to them! Being able to see as well as talk to a loved one back home is a luxury I know many drivers wish they could have had years ago. For the little ones you have to leave behind while you make a living, actually being able to see them when you’re miles away is priceless, and for them to see you? What a gift!

One more great piece of technology that we believe drivers should have, if they don’t already, is a dash camera. One that mounts easily and can be operated with a bluetooth shutter device. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, just a small digital device, that can be used to record many things out through the windshield of your truck. You never know when that may come in really handy. Besides, there are ALWAYS things going on in front of you worthy of being photographed. As long as it’s done hands free.

Almost every device we mentioned can be powered by using the cigarette lighter plug in the dash. Many trucks, cars too now, are coming equipped with USB ports for the same purpose. Most vehicles are even equipped with multiple outlets. If yours isn’t, you can purchase plugs with adapters and extension cords along with a series of splitters so you will be able to power several devices without having to cut into any wiring. If for some reason you have no power in an outlet, the first place you should check is the fuse panel to see if the fuse has blown.

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.


 

Spring Cleaning

Top Tips to Refresh Your Truck

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Winter takes a toll on everything, including, or maybe especially on your truck. The chemicals they put down on the roads to melt the ice and snow and make them safer are hard on all things truck, from the paint to the wiring, the stainless to the aluminum.

Keeping it all clean during these winter months becomes a full time job depending on where you are based and where you run. No matter your lane, the chemicals and salt are murderous to your equipment and it is vital you get it washed as often as possible to keep these contaminants from eating your truck alive. It always feels great to drive a clean truck, even if it only lasts a short time.

Top Tips to Refresh Your Truck- Winter takes a toll on everything, including, or maybe especially on your truck. The chemicals they put down on the roads to melt the ice and snow and make them safer are hard on all things truck, from the paint to the wiring, the stainless to the aluminum.When the warm weather finally comes around take the opportunity to roll down the windows and let in that fresh air. Open up the doors while cleaning your interior and start at the top of the cab and work your way down. You’ll first need to rid the interior of any build up of dust or dirty particles that have accumulated in the corners and seams of your ceiling with a stiff brush. A blow gun attached to the air lines under the seat work well here, or even a vacuum cleaner if you are able to get one with the right attachments.

Once you have cleaned the ceiling you can do the seats themselves, then concentrate on the dash. Here, you may need to have a cotton swab or toothbrush to get into all the little crevices and vents. I am assuming you have removed all of the litter and trash that may have accumulated on the dash and floor itself over the long winter months? Y’all do realize that the little peeper window in the door on the right side is NOT a garbage level indicator, right??? Your truck IS your home on the road, so hopefully you don’t have trash piled high everywhere. If your dash is full of trash it could be an invitation to a nice DOT officer to take a closer look at you, at your truck, at your paperwork. Just sayin’.

There are a multitude of cleaners on the market today, everyone has their favorites. If you don’t know what to use, ask other drivers what works for them and check out their results before you spend money on products you know nothing about. I have a compact carpet shampooer that I break out a couple times a year to clean up my interior, especially in the springtime. It leaves everything smelling fresh and clean. It was a small investment many years ago and has paid for itself a hundred times over since I can not only do the floors, I can do the upholstery, walls and ceilings of every truck we’ve driven since I bought it, whether we owned it or not.

Springtime is also the time to clean out the cabinets and cubbies, get rid of those items and supplies you carried specifically for winter. Clean out your closet, put away the heaviest coats and boots and scarves and gloves and clothing, make way for lighter things. Organize your cupboards and once again, get rid of out of date items. It’s springtime! Get out your cameras and brighten up the colors!

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.


 

Best Tips for Personalizing Your Cab Interior

Personalizing Your Cab | Trucker TipsBy Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Most drivers spend more time in their trucks than they do at their house, so it’s very important that every time you open that door it welcomes YOU home. This is your personal space, your office, your headquarters for operations. It is a reflection of your taste, the pride you have in your job, your industry and the things you like. It can make you a happier driver when you crawl into the cab.

Trucking is a lifestyle, not just a job and the view that comes with it is often times better than corporate America’s CEOs get to enjoy. Although our view is outstanding, space is limited, so it is to a drivers benefit to maximize space wherever possible, creativity here can be your best friend. Lots of things can, and should, do double duty, keeping the things you use most often at your fingertips. One of the first and most important things about the cab interior is the scent, ALWAYS keep it smelling fresh, choose something you like and keep it well supplied!

Over the seat organizers can hold everything from pens, scissors, maps, CAT scale and truck stop directories, stapler, calculator, back scratcher, notebook, miscellaneous bookkeeping supplies, dash duster, etc. They also keep things neatly stowed in colorful organization. It is also helpful to have a good LED flashlight on a strap so that you can hang it from a hook or elsewhere for ease of use in the dark when you need to grab it in a hurry for inside or outside use.

We all have our favorite colors, the ones we use to brighten up the interior and maybe co-ordinate with the exterior of our trucks. We use them to complement other colors and generally just personalize our space. One of the quickest, easiest ways to start is to get some rugs. Bathroom rugs work really well, the ones with the rubber backing as they don’t slip and slide all over on any type of flooring your truck may have and as a bonus, they keep your feet warm! The contour rugs, those made to fit around the base of a toilet fit perfectly around the base of most air ride seats. They also fit nicely around the boot of a transmission. If you have 2 full sets of these you can have a spare for spills or wet and salty, muddy conditions. They also keep your floors (whatever surface you have) clean and easier to maintain. There are many styles of floor mats also readily available, in case you don’t want or like the idea of rugs.

Best Tips for Personalizing Your Cab Interior- Most drivers spend more time in their trucks than they do at their house, so it’s very important that every time you open that door it welcomes YOU home. This is your personal space, your office, your headquarters for operations.
Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth & 2010 Reitnouer Trailer – Pure Attitude – 2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Speaking of floors, there are many different surfaces you can install in your truck if you own it, from carpet to laminate, wood to tile. These are available in a plethora of colors and styles as well, to meet your needs and taste. Some of them are quite durable as well and can be kept clean very easily. Getting a ‘blow gun’ and having it installed beneath the driver’s seat is a great, time saving tip that works really well, much better, in fact, than a whisk broom or vacuum, as it reaches spaces the others can’t. Usually, even if you drive a company truck, when you buy one of these the company will allow their own shop to install it for you since it is such a handy tool, as long as you are willing to leave it in the truck when you switch out.

The seats in your truck are yet another area that can be customized, either the seats themselves, if you are an owner operator, or with seat covers you can purchase in many styles and fabrics for company drivers. Even owner operators who like the seats in their trucks can change it up inside the cab by simply buying a set of seat covers in a fun and comfortable fabric. We’ve been told that sheepskin covers are highly recommended for comfort in both winter and summer. You don’t have to break the bank to be cool or comfortable.

Keeping a place specifically for your glasses is a good idea as well, having one spot to hang them, always, will help keep them from getting broken. Same can be said for your headset and cellphone charger, those removable hooks are a fantastic option for those items. You can mount them to the surface inside your cab somewhere and hang these things in the same place every time. This way, you will instinctively know exactly where it is when you need it and reach for it in just the right spot. I have always been the night driver and I found this part of setting up our truck especially important.

Using brightly colored towels or throw pillows inside the cab area will complete the setting, bringing your own personality to the space. These can have a team or color or branch of military service, whatever is important to you. Doing this personalizes an otherwise impersonal space and makes it your own, turns that truck into your home!

Stay safe out there and Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 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.


 

Show It Off:

Tips for Getting Your Truck Show Ready

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Getting Your Truck Show Ready | Trucker Tips

Mid-America Trucking Show or MATS is the unofficial, yet very official kickoff to the truck show season. Yes, it IS a thing! If you want to take your truck and/or trailer to a show just pick a weekend, you should be able to find one someplace.

Iowa 80, of course, has the world famous Walcott Truckers Jamboree the weekend following the 4th of July every year, which includes the truck beauty contest, and it is one of the most exciting, fun filled events of the entire season, so all of you should definitely try to attend this year’s event. We are both planning on being there again, and the entire staff at Iowa 80 do everything they can to make it an event to remember since it is their gift to us, the drivers. The Moon family does this to thank us.

Tips for Getting Your Truck Show Ready- Getting your truck ready to be judged is a huge undertaking, but the rewards for driving a truck that sparkles and shines after a show are just as big!
2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Getting your truck ready to be judged is a huge undertaking, but the rewards for driving a truck that sparkles and shines after a show are just as big! It’s like getting a new truck over and over again, only better, because showroom shine isn’t clean enough to win a competition these days. It’s got to be much cleaner than that to be serious. To get it show truck shiny requires serious work, every nook and cranny has to be touched, but because you are touching all these places, you are much more likely to find a potential problem BEFORE it becomes a problem, so all that hard work does have its rewards. Another advantage is more often than not when you are pulled in to a DOT checkpoint they will be awestruck by your equipment rather than looking for something to pick apart.

There are so many new products for cleaning and shining everything these days that it really is up to each individual and the look he/she wants to achieve. Do you want your tires finished with a shiny, wet look or a dry, clean finish? Paint pens have been used to letter tires for many years and can be purchased at lots of places and in lots of colors and brands. They work well, but tires need to be clean and free of dust, then lightly wiped with a small amount of paint thinner where the lettering will be applied. This will remove any oils and allow the paint to adhere to the rubber. When dry, apply a very light coat of spray-on clear acrylic sealer. After this entire process is complete, you can carefully stage your tires and use whatever tire protectant you choose and your lettering will look perfect.

Waxes and polishes are too numerous to count, again, personal preference will win out. Use whichever products you like best for a base, but on judging morning, a quick detail product works great so you can spray and wipe down the entire unit. If you have the chance beforehand to get all of your aluminum buffed out to a pristine finish, it helps greatly, but you still need a quick detail product so you’ll be able to wipe down everything, aluminum included, because water spots will be there from a wash or dew or something. It’s really a must have.

If you are entered in an interior class, the same applies, clean as if it were brand new. The more miles on the truck, the more points it gets, the dirtier it is, the more points you lose, so clean it up. Make sure you don’t overlook those hard to reach places, clean things you don’t generally think about, pull out your seat belt and wipe it down, it gets dusty. The seat bases get dirty too in everyday use, whether or not you have a skirt to cover them, make sure they are spotless. The pedals and the boot for your shifter; those two places gather a LOT of dirt and muck yet were most often overlooked when we were judging interiors, and those places are right out in the open! Don’t worry so much about scratches or wear, be concerned with DIRT, cleanliness, or lack thereof. Another thing to be aware of when entering an interior class is the smell inside your truck. You want it to smell inviting, not irritating. Add some air freshener or aftershave, a freshly baked item, something pleasant and not overpowering, just enough that’s hardly noticeable, that would be a winning move!

Under the hood a good degreaser and power wash is a must. If you want to add little things to your engine to dress it up you could start with a few nut covers and some colored wire loom on hoses that match your truck. Looming is sold in a variety of colors and sizes and can be complemented with ties of the same or contrasting colors. This is an inexpensive way to get started dressing up your engine if you don’t get too carried away. If you can afford it, then, go ahead, get carried away! You can also take your paint pens and paint your belts to match the loom and tires if you get really into it.

During the show, be sure to start up the truck from time to time, many a show truck have needed a jump at the end of a show because they’ve forgotten to do that. Take part in the light show whenever you can, they are SPECTACULAR!
Go out there and enjoy the compliments you get when you leave the show! The real fun of having a show worthy truck is driving it every day all across America, day and night!

Stay Safe out there and Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 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.


 

5 Top Ways to Dress Up Your Dash

5 Ways to Dress Up Your Dash | Trucker Tips
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

We all have an office with a view and that view is constantly changing. The scenery below that view can be changed by dressing it up a bit. There are many things you can do to customize your dash, beginning with switching out the stock yellow and red brake knobs with anything from carved wood to engraved colored to molded plastic ones that have your branch of military emblazoned on them.

There are many choices, many price ranges and many options for company drivers as well as owner operators, small changes that can be made without damaging the truck so that when you get a new truck, provided you keep the original parts, you can put it back in the same condition you received it in and take your pieces with you into the next truck.

5 Top Ways to Dress Up Your Dash- We all have an office with a view and that view is constantly changing. The scenery below that view can be changed by dressing it up a bit. There are many things you can do to customize your dash, beginning with switching out the stock yellow and red brake knobs with anything from carved wood to engraved colored to molded plastic ones that have your branch of military emblazoned on them.
Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth & 2010 Reitnouer trailer – Pure Attitude, 2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

1.  There are a huge variety of bezels (rings of different shapes and sizes formed and molded to fit around existing pieces) to choose from, for everything, from the gauges to the turn signals. They come in chromed out plastic or metal, flat or visored, shiny or colored. There are also name plates available, colored and engraved in different fonts that fit inside the bezels and cover a small portion of the gauge, if you so desire, that dress it up and identify them giving the entire space added personality.

2.  You can add switch extensions to all those toggles along the dash, ones that even have jeweled ends on them if that suits your taste, or just an anodized finish if you prefer, the choices are, once again, almost endless. If you have a newer model truck, one that doesn’t have those types of switches, but has rocker switches instead, there are a number of options for those as well. There are covers designed specifically for the switches on each particular model truck, you just need to ask.

3.  There are a variety of custom wood, stainless and plastic pieces available for the glove box and other areas of your dash that you can get and install without doing ANY damage to the truck, so all of you company drivers CAN do some customization without putting your job in jeopardy. It’s entirely possible for any driver to make that dash shine, and on any budget!

4.  You can also purchase, and have installed, beautiful steering wheels that are available in many different materials. They come in wood, aluminum, plastic, and again, there are many options, limited only by imagination, style and budget. You can buy a steering wheel cover and install it on any steering wheel, possibly with a few modifications. But a steering wheel change is also not a permanent change, so it can be done to a company truck, with permission, of course, and then returned to stock condition before you leave that truck. The covers are a great option for all you drivers who are unable to change the wheel itself, they too come in all kinds of fabrics, materials, colors, prints, even furry finishes if that’s what you enjoy.

The possibilities are truly endless for customizing your dash, it all is up to you. It makes no difference if you own the truck or drive it for someone else, it is your office, the place you spend most of your waking hours on any given day so it only makes sense that you would want to personalize it a bit, put your own stamp on it.

5.  If you own your truck you can actually paint the dash pieces that are black or wood-look from the factory to match the exterior of your ride. If you don’t own it a good option for you would be to install a removable shelf paper to the surface, much like you would apply wallpaper to walls in a house. This has a sticky back, but not a permanent application so that it will peel off easily when you get ready to switch trucks. You need to always keep that in mind when you are driving someone else’s equipment.

Remember, when you are dressing up your truck, whether you own it or someone else does, do not damage it when doing the customizing, it isn’t necessary. If you are replacing parts either keep the original ones so you can put them back before trading or expect, up front, to let your investment in the new parts go with the truck. If you are a company driver, make sure to respect the truck you are assigned, don’t make any changes that involve cutting, drilling or gluing things that cannot be easily removed without damaging the vehicle.

Stay safe out there & Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 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.


 

The Bunk

Making the Most of Your Home Away From Home

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Sleepers today come in all shapes and sizes, lots of companies are taking driver comfort into account when they order trucks. There are many choices when it comes to the bunk itself, you may have one equipped with anything from a classic flat top, to a company stand up, to a full on custom show stopper. Whatever the size, it’s all about making the most of the space that you have.

The number one job of your bunk is to be a comfortable place for you to get good rest during your 10 off, but they can also be used as a kitchen, dining room, office and living room. For this post we are going to focus on the sleeping aspect, but we will be addressing other uses in future posts.

Mattresses are available these days in many venues, and in various configurations from foam to spring to combinations. A good mattress is a sound investment whether you own the truck or not because your sleep is an invaluable commodity, it’s actually priceless, in my book. You can buy them at truck stops where they are either kept in stock (at the largest truck stops) or ordered for you, custom sized for your particular truck. If you cannot get a new mattress a good alternative is to get yourself a thick memory foam topper, these can really make a difference in how well you sleep, especially if you run team and your rest must be taken while traveling down the road.

Most standard bunks will take a twin size sheet or an extra long twin, but if you are lucky enough to have a thicker or wider bed, you may need to get full sheets and tuck under the extra fabric. You also can get sheets, custom sized at truck stops, specifically made for sleeper mattresses. You can go with plain white or get a wild print, get a coordinated blanket and comforter, add a couple of pillows and you have a beautiful, welcoming, inviting bed. Cotton sheets are a good choice in the summer, but during the colder months flannel sheets or the new fleece ones are a better choice. There are also heated blankets and bunk warmers that plug into your 12 volt outlets you can pre set to your desired temperature, let them warm up, then snuggle in!

The whole idea of creating a home like atmosphere is meant to bring a tranquility and peacefulness to your environment so that when you park for the night, or you switch out with your co-driver, you can shut out the world and relax your body and your mind so that you are able to get the sleep you need in order to start anew the next day. Another way to achieve this ‘homeyness’ is to add a rug, match the rugs you use in the cab only in a bigger size. The floor of the bunk can be very cold, even if there is carpet from the factory. Adding rugs will help your feet stay warmer as well as help keep the floor cleaner, catching things you may drop or spill. You can easily pick up a rug and throw it in the wash, or shake it out whenever need be, much easier than vacuuming two or three times a day!

Making the Most of Your Home Away From Home- Sleepers today come in all shapes and sizes, lots of companies are taking driver comfort into account when they order trucks. There are many choices when it comes to the bunk itself, you may have one equipped with anything from a classic flat top, to a company stand up, to a full on custom show stopper. Whatever the size, it’s all about making the most of the space that you have.
Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth & 2010 Reitnouer trailer – Pure Attitude – 2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Keeping a small wastebasket around is necessary and doesn’t take long to fill, so every time you fuel or make a rest stop get into the habit of taking out the garbage at that time, doing so helps keep the bunk clean and fresh and makes it stay a place you want to sleep. As with the cab interior, it’s very important that you choose a fragrance system you like, then make sure you keep it supplied. You want to be sure your bunk ALWAYS smells fresh and clean and inviting, like a place you want to spend time.

There are so many closet organizing solutions available these days that no matter your truck, you will be able to find something that works for you. A little bit of trial and error at first when you get in a new truck, whether to fold or hang up shirts and pants depends on your available storage area, the configuration of cubbies and closets, but with such an assortment of plastic and canvas containers and drawers you should be able to find things that will fit in the spaces you have to work with. Getting things put away and knowing where they are when it’s time to get them together when you need them can be a real time saver.

Use removable products (so you can leave the truck in good condition when it’s time to switch trucks) that are designed to attach securely, without damage to the surface you’re attaching to, to hang family photos and mementos so that you can feel close to those you love. Decorate the inside of the bunk to mimic your home as closely as you can without doing any damage, in order to feel connected to them no matter how far from home you may be.

If you are really creative, you can make your little bedroom as picture perfect as some of the ones in a magazine, then crawl into bed and get some good sleep so you will be ready to go out there and take on the day! (or night, depending on when it’s your turn to drive!)

Stay safe out there, and Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 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.