Tag Archives: gift ideas

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

Cooking in the Truck 101

Cooking in the truck 101By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Some drivers have cooking in the truck perfected, but this blog is for the drivers who are just getting started or want to dip their toes in the kitchen and see if this will work for them.

Let’s get cookin’!  A lot of companies provide generators and a small refrigerators in each truck.  If your company provides these it will be easier, but if they don’t you can still make it work.  After all, we did years ago before many of today’s conveniences became standard equipment. For a minimal initial investment you can get started cooking your own meals. This allows you to keep the wheels turning and earn money while the smell of dinner cooking wafts throughout your entire cab! When it’s time to stop for the night you’ll have fresh, hot food ready to eat right in your truck.

If you don’t have a generator or an inverter you can purchase appliances that use power from the 12-volt cigarette lighter plug.  A lunch box cooker is priced at most truck stops between $30-$40, a small hot pot runs about $20-$25, and a refrigerator will cost $200+ (you can even start out with a cooler and ice until you gather all these other 12 volt goodies!) If you are going to cook, it’s a must to be able to keep food cold.

After gathering a few of these appliances, you will need the food. The cookers include a few recipes and there are also many online resources you can tap into for ideas. Let’s use a simple dinner example of pork chops and mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and peas.

First make a list of ingredients. It’s really easy to over-buy, which can be a problem if you don’t have much storage space. Get a couple of spices, salt & pepper, and butter. These are staples that we always seem to use. The lunch box cooker will let you cook meats, bake a cake, and get creative all while enjoying the aroma of your cooking lunch or supper. Get a small package of the foil liners for the cooker, it makes clean up a breeze!

Back to the list. On that list you should also add everything you need for easy clean up.  Paper plates and bowls, plastic silverware, paper towels, baggies and a big container of antibacterial wipes. I’ve used them for years without ever having a problem getting sick from clean up of my appliances or utensils.

Cooking in the Truck 101- Some drivers have cooking in the truck perfected but this blog is for the drivers who are just getting started, or want to dip their toes in the kitchen and see if this will work for them.Get a small package of pork chops (2 chops), 1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, 1 small bag frozen petite green peas, 1 small envelope of garlic or butter instant potatoes, 1 small container milk, 1 small butter/margarine, salt and pepper.

First, put the pork chops into the foil liner inside the lunchbox cooker and cover with the cream of mushroom soup. Then, plug it in and cook it according to directions, usually 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pork, like chicken, needs to be thoroughly cooked and the stirring keeps it from sticking to the bottom. The foil liner isn’t a requirement, but you will find that it is well worth the extra investment! Depending on the thickness of the chops, the time to cook will vary, you will have to determine that by checking them yourself.

When you stop, fill the hot pot with water to boil the peas. When they are done, remove them and use the same water to add the instant potatoes in a bowl so you get the nutrients from the peas as well as the flavor! If you don’t have enough water left, add some and reboil before making the potatoes, making sure to add dry potatoes SLOWLY as they take a few seconds to get to proper texture.

When everything is done, put it together on a plate, add the gravy on top of the chops and potatoes and voila! Hot, hearty supper in the truck! This works no matter where you happen to be! Cooking in the truck can be a life saver, and a reminder of home, when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. You may find that you enjoy it and just the beginning of a lifetime of “Cooking In The Truck.” Happy Cooking!

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


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


 

Trucker Movies & Shows

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm






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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


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


 

Shop Across America

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Our dear friend and mentor Bette Garber used to say we get to ‘shop across America’ because we actually do, and when she rode with Kim, she did too, and she LOVED IT. Trucking across America means that we, literally, get to shop across America.  It gives us access to trucks stops like Iowa 80 in Walcott, IA, Joplin 44 Petro in Joplin, MO, Oak Grove 70 Petro in Oak Grove, MO, Kenly 95 Petro in Kenly, NC, which are all under the Iowa 80 Group umbrella.  They each have amazing gift shops that allow you to buy unique gifts for the ones you love back at home.

Shop Across America- Our dear friend and mentor Bette Garber used to say we get to ‘shop across America’ because we actually do, and when she rode with Kim, she did too, and she LOVED IT. It’s hard being gone all the time, really, it’s the most difficult aspect of our lifestyle. But being able to bring home something really special helps your loved ones realize just how much you think of them while you are away. The folks at Iowa 80 have a real knack for finding heartfelt gift items that can say that for you. These items can become a daily reminder of how much you love that special someone when you are not there in person. Neither of us EVER passes up an opportunity to shop at one of these gift shops, and we ALWAYS find something special, many times, it’s more than one thing.

If you have the time take a stroll through the gift shop and look specifically for whatever it is your loved one might collect.  Cute little figurines, a spoon from every state you visit is another popular collectable.  There are some wonderful things to choose from scarves, jewelry, furry boots or moccasins, candles, metal signs, yard art, leather goods like belts or purses, there are just SO MANY beautiful things there, you’re bound to find that perfect gift.

Even if you don’t have a lot of time it’s easy enough for something special to catch your eye.  During the holiday season some truck stops even offer gift wrapping for drivers, so that when you get home your gifts are ready to put under the tree. You can just join in and let the festivities begin with your family.

I’ve had friends make special requests for me to look for something specific in my travels.  It’s awesome when you can make that find and your friend can give a special gift as well.  I, for one, enjoy the hunt for little things that will become a treasure to the ones I love.  I remember finding a little purple rock that says “You Rock” and my sister loved it! Or when I came across that little angel made in New Mexico out of the dark iridescent colors that was perfect for my sisters truck “Dark Angel” and she loved it too!

The wonderful thing about our lifestyle, the ‘flipside’ you might say, is that we, unlike the average citizen, are not limited to the local big box stores and malls. We have the option to “shop across America” in our pursuit of just the right Christmas gift. Over the years our ‘homes away from home’, the truck stops that dot our landscape, have developed into pretty unique shops as well as offering our basic needs, so take the time to check them out, you won’t be disappointed!

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.