How to Choose the Best Lug Nut Cover Style

Changing out your lug nut covers is something you may do if you want to change the style or if you have broken or lost a lug nut. Your lug nut covers are a quick way to add some style to your rig, too. They are not too expensive, and they are easy to change. However, buying the right semi lug nut covers requires knowing how to measure leg nut size. A good fit is essential.
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Cargo Securement: Which Tie Down Is Best for You?

Just like almost everything in life, when it comes to tie-down straps you have a number of options. How wisely you choose can spell the difference between riding down the road with a secure load or watching your goods spilling out onto the highway. If you operate a big rig or a flatbed trailer or a moving van you will no doubt need to secure a valuable load from time to time. Fortunately, there are many excellent products out there to help you keep your items safe and secure. In short, using the best hardware for your cargo will give you the best chance for success.
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5 Benefits of Using AutoSock as Your Winter Traction Aid


With brutal winter conditions possible in many parts of the country, drivers need to be prepared. That goes double for commercial truck drivers powering through bad weather over both short and long distances., Snow tire chains have been a classic vehicle accessory for driving in ice and snow, but AutoSock is an innovative traction solution that prevents spinning tires, wheel slippage, fishtailing and other weather-related road hazards. AutoSocks for trucks is an efficient and safer alternative to tire chains, offering five unique benefits for owner-operators, drivers and fleet managers.
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2018 Walcott Truckers Jamboree Concerts Announced

Iowa 80 Truckstop is pleased to announce the musical acts who will take the stage to entertain attendees at this year’s Walcott Truckers Jamboree. “We are excited to announce these great headliners,” says Heather DeBaillie, Marketing Manager.

On Thursday, July 12th attendees will enjoy a performance by Logan Mize courtesy of CAT Scale. “Logan is a great entertainer,” says DeBaillie.  Some may recognize his hit “El Camino” and his latest album “Come Back Road” which was released and debuted in the top 20 Billboard Country Albums and reached no. 2 on the iTunes Country Charts.

Logan Mize

Friday, July 13th will feature the Grammy winning group The Kentucky Headhunters, brought to you by Mobil Delvac.  “Their high energy show is sure to have everyone on their feet”, says DeBaillie. “Live, outdoor music is one of the best parts of summer and we are excited to be able to continue to hold concerts at Iowa 80!”

The Kentucky Headhunters

Join the Jamboree fun and experience the Super Truck Beauty Contest, Antique Truck Display; Iowa pork chop cookout; over 175 exhibits, Trucker Olympics; carnival games; two fireworks displays, a 100th birthday party for Iowa 80 Trucking Museum’s 1918 Independent (built in Davenport, Iowa) and lots more fun for the whole family!  Admission and parking are FREE!  Concerts are FREE!  Complimentary shuttles will be provided from the parking area to the event grounds.

The 39th Annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree, will be held July 12-14, 2018 at Iowa 80 Truckstop, I-80 Exit 284, Walcott, Iowa.  More bands are still being added to the concert line up. The most up to date information can be found at www.truckersjamboree.com.

ELDs

Are You Ready?

By Larry Pruitt

With the FMCSA‘s Electronic Logging Device Mandate deadline quickly looming, Owner-Operators and small fleet owners alike are trying to wade through all of their options for the upcoming mandate deadline.  They’re trying to decide what will work best for them.  I know some companies have been testing different products on some select trucks in their fleet, while other operations are holding out hope that there will be a stay at the eleventh hour.  In my opinion, Congress doesn’t seem to agree on anything these days and unable to get anything passed, so I seriously doubt that this will get stopped before December 18.

With that being said, there is a very large contingent of drivers that have made the statement that they are leaving the industry when this mandate takes effect.  Some may leave and will probably move on to other careers, but most will continue on and adapt to the mandate. This upheaval in the industry will subside, and as my Mom would say, “This too shall pass”, and I agree with her, “This too will pass… it may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass”.  I’m old enough to remember back in the late-eighties or early-nineties when the CDL License Program was being introduced into the Trucking Industry.  There was a large number of drivers that were afraid that the CDL process would be so complicated that there was going to be a large shortage of drivers.  Drivers were going to leave the industry in droves because of something that today is viewed as no big deal and just part of the process of the regulations that we are saddled with today.

I’m not going to try to change anybody’s mind here on whether you want ELDs or don’t want them.  I’m just going to pass on my experiences, as I switched over to an ELD a little over a month ago.

To give you a little bit of background, I’ve been doing my logs on a tablet for the past 5 years or so using the Big Road app. I found that my logs were much easier to make sure that they were filled out completely and most of all, correctly.  This helps ensure you have a lesser chance to fall victim to a form and matter violation at a roadside inspection. The app would not let you sign your log unless everything was filled out properly.  I installed the connection to ECM back in September using the same app Big Road app.  I chose this product for a couple of different reasons, one was that I already was familiar with the app and the other was that I had good luck with tech support previously.  I wanted to get acclimated to using an ELD now versus trying to get compliant in the middle of December and having trouble.

The process of switching over has been pretty much uneventful so far.  I haven’t been caught about to run out of hours in my day yet, but I’m sure that will happen eventually.  I’m very fortunate that my operation allows me to be home every night.  I will admit that e-logs make it easier to keep track of duty status changes, it automatically knows when you start driving and when you stop driving, so you don’t even have to look at it for the biggest part of the day.  I will go back into it later and add notes to my stops whenever I have the time.

I think that ELDs are going to affect the industry over the foreseeable future.  I think that changes are going to be just as hard on shippers and receivers.  The truck lines are going to force shippers to get their trucks in and out and back on the road.  Let’s face it, companies are not going to be able to let trucks sit at a shipper or receiver for roughly 8 hours and then only have 6 hours left for their day and still be able to make any profit whatsoever.  Shippers will have to get better or their freight will lay on their dock, because no one will waste their time with that shipper.  I can see more drop and hook freight in the future, in segments that have never before been drop and hook operations.

One thing is for sure, the small fleet folks may have to change how they do business.  I think most small carriers will be able to adapt if they approach this from working within the system rather than trying to work around the system.

Well, that’s my opinion and experiences on the ELD mandate.  There are folks that agree with me and most definitely some that do not agree with me but are very passionate about their opinion.  No matter what anyone’s opinion is, let’s revisit this issue in about a year or so and see what the industry and it’s logging issues are at that time.  To everyone involved, GOOD LUCK with the mandate!

Iowa80.com offers a variety of e-log devices, shop here.


Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.


 

Heart Your Kidneys on the Road

By Sarah Moon

Kidneys are small but mighty. They filter around 50 gallons of blood every single day to remove waste products. Working hard day in and day out can cause stress on the kidneys if you aren’t taking preventative measures and living a healthy lifestyle. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which kidneys do not filter blood properly and leaves the body’s waste products to build up. This can lead to many negative health effects, but the primary concern of CKD is it leading to kidney failure, and when your kidneys stop working, so do you.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for kidney disease and prevalence is on the rise. Often times, people do not even know of their condition until it is too late. Some risk factors to consider are diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, being of age 60 or older, and a family history of kidney disease. If you have one or more of the following risk factors, it may be a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor next time you’re in and talk about kidney disease, or stop by one of the free KEEP Healthy kidney screenings.

Prevention is crucial with kidney disease, but it is not always an easy road. Truckers have a more difficult and unique challenge when trying to be kidney-healthy. Between sitting in your truck for a good part of the day to the food choices on the road, it can be a whirlwind of obstacles to get through to keep your kidneys’ strong and pristinely functioning. Here are a few tips to #HeartYourKidneys and reduce your risk of developing kidney problems:

  1. Stay hydrated
    • Water is crucial to kidney function. When you stay hydrated, blood flows easier to the kidneys. Dehydration can slow that blood flow down and eventually lead to kidney damage. To ensure you’re getting enough, try this water bottle that tracks your intake and reminds you when you need fluids.
  2. Don’t smoke
    • Smoking is a risk factor for many chronic illnesses and kidney disease is no exception. The kidneys can’t filter properly because smoking decreases blood flow throughout the body.
  3. Skip the salt
    • The recommended amount of sodium for a day is one teaspoon. However, Americans consume about 50% more than that on any given day. Cutting down on salt is a difficult task because it is hidden in a number of foods. Asking your waiter/waitress to serve your meal without salt is a good start. You can also try reading food labels for a week. You may be surprised what types of foods contain salt!
  4. Don’t skip the fruits and vegetables
    • Diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure both can stem from a poor diet. The easiest swap that can be done on the road is if you are eating at a restaurant, swap fruit or vegetables in for fries or any starchy side dish.
  5. Exercise When You Get the Chance
    • Exercising regularly helps the body maintain a healthy weight and prevents many diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. It also helps regulate your blood pressure. Prolonged sitting can be linked to kidney disease, so exercising can be done to offset the negative effects. Opt for the stairs or park your truck at distance for easy ways to get in more steps!

Kidney deterioration happens over the course of many years from the added stress we put on them, but by being mindful of the risks and working to mitigate those stressors we can have happier and healthier hauls in the future!

Have questions about kidney disease? The National Kidney Foundation can help! Call toll-free at 1.855.NKF.CARES (1.855.653.2273). For more tips on keeping your kidneys healthy, visit www.kidney.org or follow them on Facebook!

Keep on Truckin’ & Showin’

By Larry Pruitt

We haven’t shown very much in the last couple of years.  Bustin’ Out! is now over ten years old.  Our priorities have changed somewhat as we have been off racing with the grandkids.  Along with that, the truck is starting to show its miles and as much as you try to keep up with making a good showing wear and tear has taken its toll.

We are making plans to do quite of bit of work and make some (we think) pretty cool changes to make it new and improved.  Work has already started on some new and different stainless and we are going to tweak the paint a bit along with updating and changing the lighting package.  We are planning to start showing again next year.

This truck showing bug gets in your crawl and it’s hard to shake it off.  As far as addictions are concerned, we think this is a pretty good one to have.  You go down the highway everyday and you catch yourself looking at trucks that go past and you say to yourself, “I like what they did with the lights there or the way they used a different piece of chrome here and there.”  You’re always thinking of ways to incorporate something new into your ride and making it your own design so it doesn’t appear that you just stole the idea from somebody.  It does become challenging to add any kind custom work to your truck.  Every time you think you’ve run out of ways to customize an aspect of your truck, somebody somewhere in this great country of ours will come up with something completely new that we have never seen before, and within a couple years there will be variations that builders will make to that new innovative idea.  So, it’s an ever-evolving phenomenon that seems to always take it to a higher level of cool.

I must caution you with new and innovative cutting-edge ideas also comes the practical dilemma.  As I have said before, you have to make sure the changes to your truck is conducive to the application of your business.  For example, don’t install a big rear drop bumper with twenty LED lights on a dump truck.  You will most definitely have the coolest truck in town, that is, until you unload it for the first time.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the working trucks.  The trucks that you see on the highway when it’s pouring down rain and you’ll also see them sitting in traffic in the middle of an ice storm.  I have to take my hat off to those men and women.  They’re the same people that you’ll be competing with at the truck show next summer.

2017 Walcott Truckers Jamboree Supertrucks Beauty Contest: Trucker’s Choice Winner, 1st Place Polish & Detail, 1st Place Working Truck Combo 2012-17, 2nd Place Custom Graphics, 3rd Place Lights at Night Road Legal, 3rd Place Interior OEM Sleeper. Brian Dreher of Campbellsport, WI. 2016 Peterbilt 389 & 2016 Great Dane, $$$.

At times there seems to be a growing disparage between “show only” and “working trucks” and I’d like to commend the truck show promoters on their ability to keep them separated at all of the big shows.  If you let the two together it only serves to make the competitions less fun and as I believe, unfair for both groups.  As far as I’m concerned, those two groups are opposite ends of the spectrum.  I have seen so called “working trucks” show up to a show on a trailer.  One thing that a truck show competitor loves to hear is when someone walks up to them at a show and says, “You don’t use this truck for work do you?” and you see the pride in their face and hear it in their voice when they tell them, “Oh no, this truck runs five or six hundred miles a day.”

2017 Kenly 95 Gear’d Up Truck Show: Best Interior Winner, 2nd Place Tractor Trailer Combo, Honorable Mention in Lights & Uniqueness. Mike Harlow, 2016 Peterbilt 389 Carhauler.

I would also like, at this time, to thank the great folks at the Iowa 80 Group for giving me this platform.  I have enjoyed this opportunity to be able to share some of our experiences and kind of reminisce about our travels as truck show competitors.  I would like to give a big THANK YOU to all the folks who have taken the time out of their day or evening to read my ramblings.  Some have told me how much they have enjoyed my story and I must say I was really touched by those nice comments.

So long for now, you never know we may come back with another group of stories, we’ll see! Until then, keep on truckin’ and showin’.


Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.


 

Your First Truck Show

By Larry Pruitt

Hello again.  Well you should have your truck in good shape by now, Righttttttt!  It’s time to find out what the judges think now.  CLICK HERE to read more posts from my blog series.

The first time is always the most difficult.  We have found that the best way to go about the show type cleaning is to start at the top of the truck and work your way down.  That way you won’t have to go back and redo something you have already cleaned.  One exception to this rule is tire shine.  Don’t put tire shine until your truck is in place for judging and before you do your cleaning on the fenders.  I guarantee, if you’re anything like me, you will find that stuff in places you never thought you could — that stuff goes everywhere!

Our 2007 Mack ‘Bustin’ Out!’

Your first show will have you working harder and redoing stuff more times than you could ever imagine.  I remember at our first show, we worked until late in the night for a couple of nights before the show.  I can remember sitting there at about midnight a couple of days before the show thinking, “If we don’t win something at this show I’m may have to rethink this deal over.  This may not be worth the effort.”  For the record let me tell you it was well worth it.

Our first show that we really tried to compete, was at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree in 2010.  We had the truck looking good, we left the house early on Wednesday morning and I think every bug in the state of Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa converged on us and committed suicide on the front of my truck.  Then to add insult to injury, I believe it also rained before we got there.

Colin Stuart’s Peterbilt

The first stop after unloading everything was to the Truckomat.  That gets you a pretty good start on the cleaning process.  Dry the truck as fast as you can so you have as few WATERSPOTS as possible (see The Road to Becoming a Truck Show Competitor for more advice about avoiding the dreaded waterspots).  Now it’s time to get parked.  The folks at Iowa 80 park the show trucks in line, they wanted to put me next this really nice Peterbilt owned by Colin Stuart.  Colin is a very successful and experienced truck show competitor.  I can remember asking the Iowa 80 Super Trucks Beauty Contest people, “Can you park me somewhere else?  I don’t stand a chance sitting next to this truck with airbrushed horses on the side of the sleeper.”  Not only did his truck have a beautiful paint job, but I found out later that it also has a working fireplace in the sleeper.  They told me, “Don’t worry, you guys are in separate classes”, so I thought, “OK, I’m good with that.”  I introduced myself to Colin and told him this was my first real show and I didn’t really know what we were in for.

I want to publicly let people know how much people like Colin Stuart and Ron Brubaker helped us at that first show THANK YOU so much for your help and guidance.

Ron Brubaker’s 1993 Peterbilt 379 ‘One of a Kind’

 

So back to the cleaning.  We worked all Wednesday evening and then again Thursday morning all the way up until they called ‘rags down’ at 10 o’clock.  When the judges started to make their rounds, I was lucky enough to watch Colin talk with the judges.  Colin told me that when the judges come around, show and explain what you have done to your truck and why you did certain things.  Point out all the details that you’ve done.  For example on Bustin’ Out! we have puppy paws at different places on the truck near a handrail or door handle.  This is something the judges may not notice until you point it out to them.  Remember also, that when you show the truck you are as much a part of the truck as the truck itself.  We had polo shirts embroidered with the name of the truck made that we wear, we even had them made for the kids and grandkids too.

The judging took two or three hours to complete, so now the only thing to do now was wait for the awards.  We didn’t really expect much as this was our first show and all.  I believe if I remember correctly, we wound up getting 2nd in our class which made me perfectly satisfied.  I’m sitting there reveling in our accomplishment and then they got to the other awards for theme and polishing.  We wound up getting an award for our fireman theme and 1st for OEM sleeper detail.  To say the least, we were most definitely blown away by how much success we experienced on our first big show.  Tradition at Walcott is that all the winners get together for a group photo and I remember Colin asking me if I thought that all that work was worth it, I told him, “I believe it was!”

Larry, Colin, & Ron receiving trophies at the 2010 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

I can remember driving home the next day and I would start laughing out loud and Jeanette asked me what was so funny, and I said, “I can’t believe what just happened!  I never expected all of this.”  So then the conversation started about what are we going to change to get even better for the next show.  It was an incredible experience that we look back on often, and as I said before, “I believe the effort was well worth it.”


Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.


 

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.