Category Archives: Interior

Holiday Shopping Guide for Truckers

When looking at your list of loved ones to buy gifts for this holiday season, you may wonder, “What is a good gift for a truck driver?” You might consider snacks, a few good downloads of some favorite songs or a nice looking shirt, but is there anything that might really benefit your loved one on the road? The following are some ideas to consider for the truck driver in your life.
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Five Products to Help Long Haul Truckers Stay Alert and Comfortable

Whether you or someone you know is a long haul driver, everyone knows it’s important for all drivers to stay alert and comfortable while on the road. Long haul drivers have a demanding job, so it’s only fair they have the comforts of home while they’re away from loved ones. The following are five products that might help.
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Winter Driving Essentials for Truck Drivers


Winter can bring a lot of hassles and dangers to truck drivers. As you prepare for winter, there are a few essentials that you should be buying to make trucking in the snow easier and safer. Beyond just reading up on and committing to memory winter driving tips for truckers, you also should consider buying the following items.
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Why Minimizer Products Should Be at the Top of Your List This Season

Owner-operators, logistics company managers, drivers and other professionals instantly know the Minimizer name. This American family-owned company’s commitment to inimitable quality produces not only the best semi truck fenders in the industry but also long-lasting floor mats, mud flaps, lights, seats and other tools and accessories. Unparalleled performance and durability guaranteed by lifetime warranties are just a couple of reasons why you need to source Minimizer gear for your rig this season.
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Shifter Knob Installation Guide For Truckers

If you want to add some character to your truck, then an easy, fast and affordable way to do that is to change your shifter knob. You can find them in a range of styles to match whatever look you are going for. There are even custom shifters for semi trucks just as there are for other types of vehicles. Regardless, installing your new shifter knob is pretty straightforward and simple.
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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.