Tag Archives: travel tips

It’s Cookout Time

It's Cookout Time | Trucker Tips

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

One of the things most of us look forward to this time of year is getting outside and firing up the barbecue. After the long, cold winter nothing beats getting out and grilling your favorite; whether it is a steak, burger, hot dog, chicken, or a pork chop.

On the weekends a backyard barbecue brings friends and neighbors and it becomes a party. Break out the grill in a truck stop, and we have seen that same party you would have at home happen in a parking lot. Drivers will all chip in and buy the ingredients for the perfect barbeque.  Friendships can be made, not to mention that it’s really nice to spend time with other people who do the same thing you do and really understand what you are doing for a living. When you are on the road it helps to bring just a little bit of the normalcy of home.

It’s Cookout Time- One of the things most of us look forward to this time of year is getting outside and firing up the barbecue. After the long, cold winter nothing beats getting out and grilling your favorite; whether it is a steak, burger, hot dog, chicken, or a pork chop.If you have the space to store a small grill and a bag of charcoal, you can buy a nice little Smoky Joe Weber for about $30, or tool box size propane fueled gas grills are also readily available. We carried a cool little collapsible charcoal grill that folded completely flat and fit into a carrying bag that measured about 12”x12”. It was perfect for the truck and was less than an inch thick when flat. We used pre-soaked charcoal so we had less stuff to tote. If you don’t have the space to store something disposable, one time use grills are available. They come complete with charcoal and you can purchase them almost anywhere. With this style, after you use it, be sure to let it cool down or soak it completely before throwing away.  Likewise, if you purchase a grill you can reuse ALWAYS make sure it’s completely cool before you clean it up and put it away.

It doesn’t take up much space to carry along a few spices, the necessary tongs (which will probably handle anything you would ever cook on the grill) along with a metal brush to clean off the grill and you’re all set! Paper plates and plastic utensils are your friend here, easy clean-up is a must when you are having fun!

We would like to share a yummy summer recipe from our dear friend Bette Garber. Years ago she was at our house after the Jamboree and we were having a barbecue. She decided to put a little twist on the traditional cucumber salad. I’ve been making it ever since. It’s always a hit.

Bette’s Cucumber Salad

  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato
  • 1 small can jalapeno sliced black olives
  • 1 small jar of artichoke hearts
  • Bottle of Balsamic Vinaigrette

Slice the cucumbers and onions. Cut up the tomatoes. Drain the juice off the olives. Cut up the artichokes do not drain the juice. Mix everything all together including the artichoke juice pour on the balsamic vinaigrette to cover. Enjoy! This is a great dish to take to a summer potluck. Make it the day before. It’s even better after the flavors mix!

Here is another easy and healthy recipe that you can keep in the fridge and use at your barbeque or as a snack.

Summer Cottage Cheese

  • 1 tub of cottage cheese
  • 1 medium tomato
  • Fresh Basil (dry if fresh is not available)
  • Pepper

Cut up the tomato. Chop the fresh basil. Mix everything together add pepper   to taste. This is better if you let it set and the flavors mix before serving.

It’s Cookout Time- One of the things most of us look forward to this time of year is getting outside and firing up the barbecue. After the long, cold winter nothing beats getting out and grilling your favorite; whether it is a steak, burger, hot dog, chicken, or a pork chop.

Both of these recipes are easy, healthy and ingredients are readily available, plus they can be easily made in your truck. We would also suggest using a can of baked beans which are very healthy, delicious and can be heated either in your microwave or on your grill right in the can (once you’ve opened it, of course!) Eating like this gives drivers the opportunity to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and meet other drivers. It promotes camaraderie that you don’t otherwise get; trust us! Breaking bread with fellow drivers in a parking lot can be a very rewarding and really fun experience!

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.


 

Signs

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

When we hit the road, there are a plethora of signs we need to recognize and understand. Some are suggestive, some are required, some are cautionary, and some are informational. It is SO important that we know which is which so that we can always obey the law.

We all know and recognize the red octagon, the famous STOP sign, STOP is NOT a suggestion! People running these, along with their electric counterpart, the red light, kill or maim innocent people every day. It is for our personal safety as well as the safety of everyone else that these signs are put in place to protect us.

Speed Limit signs that are white and black are law, but they also represent ideal conditions, if the weather conditions are bad you could be cited for traveling the posted speed limit so you always need to use good judgement as well. There are a lot of new electronic signs erected all over the country that will post adjusted speed limits or alert drivers to accidents or bad weather and all kinds of useful information that needs to be communicated to the motoring public that are very helpful.  There are a few states such as Wyoming and Georgia that have speed limit signs that will change with the weather or traffic conditions.

Signs- When we hit the road, there are a plethora of signs we need to recognize and understand. Some are suggestive, some are required, some are cautionary, and some are informational. It is SO important that we know which is which so that we can always obey the law.

There have been several accidents lately involving low overpasses and weight limits on certain roads.  In one instance, a woman destroyed a historic bridge in a town she was familiar with,  after the damage was done she said that she didn’t know how much a ton was.  A ton is 2000 pounds and many roads and bridges are marked with Weight Limit signs telling a driver what is allowable.  If you are over this weight and something as catastrophic as tearing the bridge down occurs you or/and your company just became responsible for that bridge.   Most but not all trailers are 13’6” high which is a standard in the industry, height over that in many states require you to have permits and depending on how high you are they will also require pilot cars.  Each state differs so you should know before you go.  If you approach an overpass that says the clearance is 13’6” slow down!  Some states will pave and not change the signs.  Slowing down could save you the damage and enormous expense of such an accident.

Railroad Crossing Signs warn you of tracks that you are about to cross and you need to heed them. When it comes to truck VS train the truck will lose every time! This sign is even more important to trucks who carry Haz Mat or who pull trailers with low clearance. Getting stuck or hung up on a track could become a major disaster!

Orange signs are used to warn us of upcoming construction, they could tell us there is a flag person ahead or workers and equipment on the roadway. Whatever they tell us, take them seriously, road construction is a necessary part of life and the people who perform it have a very dangerous occupation already, let’s do our part to help keep them safe! Let them do their job and we will reap the rewards of safer smoother roads.

Then there are the blue signs, the service related signs, those telling you where the rest areas are, hospitals and gas stations. All kinds of things we need, restaurants, hotels, motels and other services motorists will need at any given time, that’s when we need to look for those blue signs. We both remember all too well when those signs weren’t around, it was much more difficult to locate necessary places back then, almost a guessing game if you had never run that lane before. Believe me, blue is better! We are grateful for those blue signs!

Another helpful tip is to know that the brown signs out there are used to designate historic places such as National Parks, Zoos, Museums, Visitor Centers and various tourist destinations such as campgrounds, picnic sites, theme parks and such. All in all, we have a very significant and helpful series of signs to help guide us along our travels for all types of purposes. You can joke about that old 60’s song with the chorus that goes “signs, signs, everywhere a sign, blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind” by Five Man Electrical Band. But in all honesty? I’d hate to think where we’d be without them today!

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.


 

Our Interstate System

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Our Interstate System- We have a truly magnificent Interstate Highway System here in America that connects states to one another almost seamlessly today. It hasn’t always been so, in fact we remember when we began driving big trucks there were a lot of unfinished roads all across the country.

We have a truly magnificent Interstate Highway System here in America that connects states to one another almost seamlessly today. It hasn’t always been so, in fact we remember when we began driving big trucks there were a lot of unfinished roads all across the country. It is a very intricate system, like a circulatory system (that’s why they call them arteries) of roads, highways, bridges, and tunnels. There are a few basic tools you may already be using, but if you don’t know them, there’s no time like the present to learn them.

When our Interstate System was developed, the engineers and their counterparts came up with some rules that are still being used to this day. East/West interstates are numbered with even numbers, Southern mostly being smaller numbers working their way bigger as they go North (the idea originally was to avoid conflict with the numbered US Highways already in use, but in reverse). The North/South interstates are numbered with odd numbers, low to high, from West Coast to East Coast. This system makes it simple to locate any interstate, anywhere in the country, on any map at any time. (This is why, in ALMOST every state, mile markers are numbered West to East and North to South as well.)

Once a road is determined to become a part of the Interstate System and the funding for that road is approved, it is assigned a number. That number is based on what type of relationship the new road has to the existing highway. If the new road is going to branch off the existing road and not rejoin it, it’s called a “spur”. If it leaves the main interstate, but will rejoin it at another point further down the road, it’s called a “loop”. A spur will be numbered with an odd number attached to the main interstate number and a loop will be numbered with an even number. This is important to know because if you find yourself in an unfamiliar place, lost and wondering whether or not you’ll be able to get back onto the main interstate from where you are, this knowledge can help you figure it out.

A good example of this is in southern California where I-10 runs East and West through Los Angeles area. Some time ago, the federal government agreed to include the 7, 11, & 210 local freeways in the Interstate System so they changed their designations to the I-710, the I-110 & the I-210. Both the I-710 & the I-110 are spurs, they leave the I-10 and head South but the I-210 leaves I-10 at the base of the grapevine and runs along the foothills all the way to Redlands where it rejoins I-10. If you are on the I-210 and want to get out of town just continue heading East, eventually you will rejoin I-10 on the other side of all the traffic! This is also good information to keep in mind anytime you are in a new location and need to travel off the main highway.  Remember, if you are on a spur you’ll probably need to make plans to retrace your steps to get back onto the major interstate when you’re all finished with your load that day. I can’t tell you how many times just knowing this has helped me during my 40 year career!

Another useful tip we can share with you about signs on interstates, is to pay attention to the placement of the exit number, is it on the right side or the left? Depending on the answer, this will tell you which side your exit will be on, right or left side.

We understand that many of you use a GPS these days, heck we do too. But, we thought you might want to know these facts just in case you are in a situation where you need to revert back to using an atlas.


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


 

Hello, I’m A Truck

Tribute to the Best Trucking Songs of All Time

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!


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


 

What’s Your Parking Plan

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

The planning stage of your trip is getting to be so much more important when it comes to parking. Due to increased regulations that require drivers to rest more frequently and for longer periods of time, combined with the shortage of safe places to park, it has become necessary to plan well in advance where and when you are going to be stopping for your 10 hour break. Places to park are easier to find in the middle of the day, yet, when the sun goes down (or your 14 hour clock has run out) the places get tougher and tougher to find.  When you need to stop you don’t want to be unable to park and go to sleep.

It doesn’t hurt to call a shipper or receiver to see if they have staging areas available and how long before your appointment you might be able to check in. Or,  if there is a place close by that you can park.  I always ask two questions “is there a place to park” and “is it safe to park there”? I’ve found that people are usually very honest when it comes to this. If you get a reply like “I wouldn’t park here at night” that tells me everything I need to know.

Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to get a little creative. Late one night the truck stop was full and I saw a large facility just down the street. I found an employee outside and asked if it was alright if I parked out of the way. I got his name when he told me that would be fine. It was not fine 20 minutes later when a local police officer came by to tell me that he had gotten a report about my being there. I told him that I had asked permission and he said that didn’t matter, the company didn’t allow overnight parking. When I asked him where a safe place might be he was very nice and gave me directions to a street just across the Interstate that was not technically within city limits and where he could not cite me for being. He added that it was patrolled all night long and I wouldn’t be bothered.

 What's Your Parking Plan-  Due to increased regulations that require drivers to rest more frequently and for longer periods of time, combined with the shortage of safe places to park, it has become necessary to plan well in advance where and when you are going to be stopping for your 10 hour break.
900 truck parking spots to choose from at Iowa 80 The World’s Largest Truckstop in Walcott, IA

The local authorities are familiar with the area and it’s their job to keep the public safe, so it’s a source that many drivers probably wouldn’t think of utilizing. Another night I was at a different truck stop and not too far from there was a company where I load at occasionally I asked the security guard who happened to be behind the fuel desk about going there. He said that they were getting funny about that, but directed me to a lot close by that the company lets them use on the weekends. It was clean, quiet and there were only three of us there. The need for more safe parking is real. There are a few Wal-Mart stores that still allow us to park but many will not let you stay overnight. It’s not hard to Google search and call to ask if they allow overnight truck parking.

We have been noticing lately many more than ever big trucks on off-ramps sleeping. This is a dangerous situation, PLEASE, don’t get into this terrible habit! If you absolutely have to stop on a ramp, at the very least, make it an ON-ramp. The chances of being involved in an accident are significantly reduced on an on-ramp than on an off-ramp. The off ramp side has speeding traffic coming down the ramp. Sure, it’s slowing down from highway speed, but it’s still much faster than traffic just turning onto an on-ramp. Also, the chances of being rear ended are much less on and on-ramp than if you were on the off-ramp.

Above all, wherever you park, PLEASE, be SAFE! Remember Jason’s Law? It was passed in 2012 as part of MAP-21 (the then two-year reauthorization of the highway bill) and in memory of driver Jason Rivenburg who was murdered in 2009 while parked at an abandoned gas station in SC while waiting to deliver a load of milk. Stay safe and use your head when you plan your trip. Many truck stops even have reserved parking these days. You can call ahead or use an app to reserve a spot. There are options available for us, we just need to learn what they are and how to use them.

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.


 

Food & Fitness on the Road

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

It’s not always easy to get and stay healthy when you are a driver, but many truck stops like Iowa 80, are helping by offering fitness centers where drivers can workout whenever they have time off. Some truck stops have even built walking paths where a driver, or a driver and their pet, can get out and take a nice leisurely walk.

Walking is great exercise, its low impact, good for getting your blood pumping and working your muscles, besides, getting fresh air is always good for you! Parking way at the back of the lot is an option many times, doing this will increase your exercise for the day just by making the distance you have to walk that much farther to get into the truck stop itself. If you choose this option, be sure you are extra vigilant when you are out walking around among moving trucks, always be sure they can see you and take extra precautions to remain safe. NEVER walk out from between two trucks, stay in aisles and driveways, stay in lighted areas, wear visible clothing, carry a small flashlight to be sure other drivers can see you! The best prevention is caution.

Food & Fitness on the Road- It’s not always easy to get and stay healthy when you are a driver, but many truck stops like Iowa 80, are helping by offering fitness centers where drivers can workout whenever they have time off.
Fitness Center at Iowa 80 The World’s Largest Truckstop

There are many useful tools today that are available to help us get and stay fit; from something as simple and basic as a pedometer to something that I, personally have, a FitBit. I love it! It not only keeps track of my exercise, my steps, my calories, etc., it tracks my sleep! It tells me how much, how well and how interrupted my sleep was. It’s amazing. I set it to sync it with my iPhone continually and I charge the dongle about once a week (it even tells me when it needs to be recharged), and it keeps me on track with as much information as I choose to input. This thing even has a feature on it that allows me to set a silent alarm! It vibrates around my wrist so it can wake or alert me without bothering anyone else, I happen to think that’s pretty cool. There are also plenty of apps available you can put on your smartphone that are free and easy to use; apps like Map My Walk, Fitness Buddy, Daily Workouts and such. All of these can provide  you with help on your journey to get fit.

 

Eating right is not always easy to do while on the road. The ‘grab -n- go’ choices that are so readily available to us are usually the wrong choices. There are alot of greasy, fatty, salty, starchy, sugary fast foods with zero nutritional value. Thankfully though, changes are being made, there are healthier options showing up if you just look for them. There are fresh salads and fresh fruit cups at almost every truck stop fuel island these days along with mixed nuts, hard boiled eggs, celery and carrot sticks as well as yogurt and cottage cheese. There are also a variety of granola and protein bars. The right choices are there and available, it’s up to us to choose them. You have to fuel your body like you fuel your rig if you expect to keep them both running and running right.

Soup is a winner any time but seems to taste even better on a bitter cold day or night. Chili is good and most places have that one as a staple and then offer a variety of other choices sometimes rotating them on a day to day basis. We have noticed that a lot of truck stops have begun carrying 3 or 4 different soups on their take out counter area so that its an easy thing to get, hot, nutritious soup to go.

Food & Fitness on the Road- It’s not always easy to get and stay healthy when you are a driver, but many truck stops like Iowa 80, are helping by offering fitness centers where drivers can workout whenever they have time off.
Fitness Center at the Joplin 44 Petro

The beating our bodies take while driving our nation’s highways is beyond description at times and it definitely does a number on us physically. There are times you get so out of whack that you really would benefit from a visit to a chiropractor, both of us are firm believers in them! It’s a wonderful thing when you find a truck stop that has one, getting an adjustment can do wonders for an aching body!

 

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.


 

Winter Wellness

Winter Wellness- The cold, dry air of winter is hard, not only on your truck, but on you and on your skin as well. You need to bundle up when the cold temperatures are hovering outdoors! Staying warm; keeping your core temperature up becomes a priority.

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

The cold, dry air of winter is hard, not only on your truck, but on you and on your skin as well. You need to bundle up when the cold temperatures are hovering outdoors! Staying warm; keeping your core temperature up becomes a priority.

It’s important to remember to wear gloves or mittens to protect your fingers and hands and to wrap a winter scarf around your neck and face. When it’s very cold outside having a scarf covering your nose and mouth will help tremendously because it will filter the air you breathe in,  warming it before it enters your airways.

Whenever you are going to be out in the cold for any length of time wearing a stocking hat that keeps your head and ears covered is a necessity since we lose most of our body heat through our heads.

It doesn’t take long to get frostbite on fingers and toes, and, if it’s extreme enough, you could lose some of those digits. So, make sure you have heavy socks and good winter boots, along with a pair of warm insulated coveralls included with your regular wardrobe during the winter months.

As our dear friend Bette Garber always used to tell us, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Keeping your skin hydrated is important, using a good moisturizer is a necessity for men and women, especially at this time of year when cold temperatures cause all of the moisture to disappear from the atmosphere. Get, and use, a good ChapStick for your lips as they are almost always exposed and dry out easily.

You still need to use sunscreen, just like it was summer, maybe even more so. In winter the UV rays have less contaminants in the atmosphere to block them, so even though the days are shorter, the harmful rays are still shining down and the reflective effect off the snow is dangerous.

Another winter tip we use but often forget to mention is saline spray for nasal passages. Doing what we do, traveling through climate changes and altitude differences daily, one of the things we can experience is sinus pressure. We have found that carrying a bottle of saline spray mist is a very useful tool that helps tremendously to relieve the pressure buildup and headache that oftentimes accompanies the pressure. The problem is created due to the drying out of the nasal passages, using the saline mist puts moisture back into those areas.

We have also noticed that there are even snow chains available that you can get to “chain up” your shoes. These studded shoe covers can be a lifesaver when it gets icy out! A slip on the ice could be devastating to you physically, emotionally, as well as financially if it resulted in an injury that prevented you from working for weeks or months. The recovery time for an event like that could crush a family, so take care!

The basic winter checklist should still apply here:

  • Winter clothing: coats, boots, hats, gloves, extra clothing
  • Sweatshirts, insulated pants, thermals, layer clothing
  • Extra blankets or comforters/throws
  • Food, peanut butter & crackers, tuna fish packets, granola bars
  • Bottle water!!
  • Fresh batteries & flashlight
  • Rock salt to help if you get stuck to the road surface
  • Pet Parents – Remember to pack plenty of food & bottle water for your fur baby!

Speaking of pets, don’t forget them when the temperatures plummet! Have a coat and boots for them and use a warm, dry towel to dry them off as soon as they get back in the truck. Be sure to carry plenty of bottled water for them so you can be sure of what they’re drinking. Keep plenty of food onboard, you never know when or where you might get snowed in.

Lastly, always keep your fuel tanks at half full or higher whenever the weather forecast looks ugly! You never know when you may need that extra fuel to last due to a road closure! It’s ALWAYS better to be prepared and safe.

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.


 

Count Your Blessings

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Count Your Blessings- This has been an amazing year for both of us! We are both blessed and thankful for each and every one of those blessings.

This has been an amazing year for both of us! We are both blessed and thankful for each and every one of those blessings. We would like to thank Heather DeBaillie and the Iowa 80 family for giving us the opportunity to write this blog for Iowa 80 Group. We are proud to be a part of the Iowa 80 family!

The Mid America Truck Show kicks off the truck show season in March and we were blessed to be able to attend the show together. Getting to share in seeing some new things in the industry, meeting up with old friends and having a good time, taking pictures of the beautiful trucks, and spending time together with trucks and truckers.

I am blessed and so grateful that this year I became an owner-operator again. Leasing my truck and trailer on with D & G Transportation was like going home, in fact I was going back to my last home as an owner-operator. Now, being back for nearly a year, I know it was the right decision and I look forward to many more years here.

Judging at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree in July was a highlight of our year and we already can’t wait for next year’s event! We get better at it each year and are so grateful to be able to use our experience in this way. We both KNOW how it feels to BE judged, and neither of forgets that, for even a second, when we are judging. We are happy to report that this year we did the pre-trip on the golf cart and judging lights was accomplished without a breakdown.

One load this summer took me to New York, and while the visit with Roger and Heather was too short, it was better than no visit at all. Any time it works out to spend even a little time with friends is a blessing. You never know what tomorrow may or may not bring. This is one lesson we would dearly LOVE to impart upon each and every one of you, that the people in our lives are what makes our lives worthwhile! If it works out in you travels to see old friends, make the most of it!

We are thankful for little Emma Jean, baby daughter of our friend and driver Brian & Lynda Higbee, who celebrated her 1st birthday this year on April 18th. She wasn’t supposed to even be named, according to her doctors. Her parents were told not to bother because she wasn’t going to make it. Kim got to go and take her 1st birthday pictures! She’s a little miracle girl and we are thankful for her and her family.

2015 has been a great year and we are looking forward to 2016 with great excitement! We want to thank all of you who follow our blog, and ask you to leave us comments. We welcome any ideas about subjects that you would like to see us write about.

Thank you God for the new people you have brought into our lives this year and for all the blessings you give us every day. We join our friends out there reading this in thanking you too, for whatever blessings that have been brought into their lives this year.

We hope that your blessings are many and that you were able to make it home to your families for the holidays, to be with the ones you love and work so hard to support by being gone. Most of all, thank you for helping keep our nation moving.

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.


 

Home for the Holidays

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Home for the Holidays- This is the time of year when many drivers are trying to get home to spend time with their families over the holidays.  Drivers who run with their significant others, or drivers who do not have family to go home to, will often times stay out on the road to give drivers who do have small children or family an opportunity to spend the holidays at home.

This is the time of year when many drivers are trying to get home to spend time with their families over the holidays.  Drivers who run with their significant others, or drivers who do not have family to go home to, will often times stay out on the road to give drivers who do have small children or family an opportunity to spend the holidays at home.

We have a few hints for you before going home for the holidays.  If possible, get all your laundry done ahead of time so to free up precious home time you could be using for activities with your family that are a lot more fun.  Those moments are precious and you can never get them back!  If you are at all like we are and take the opportunity to shop on the road, (being an OTR driver affords us opportunities to buy such unique gifts!) take the time to wrap those presents.  We both carried the wrapping supplies with us so that whenever we had a little down time we could get that out of the way.  It will be one less thing to do at home and you’ll be ready to take them in the house and slip them under the tree.  Get creative in hauling them in your sleeper, it will help get you into the Christmas spirit as well save more of the time you want to spend visiting with the people that you love.  We used our top bunks for storage, put rectangular laundry baskets up there.  They ride well and make great organizers plus, they are awesome for hauling more than just laundry from truck to house and vice versa!

Home for the Holidays- This is the time of year when many drivers are trying to get home to spend time with their families over the holidays.  Drivers who run with their significant others, or drivers who do not have family to go home to, will often times stay out on the road to give drivers who do have small children or family an opportunity to spend the holidays at home.I’ve been reading a lot of Facebook posts recently about the kind things drivers are doing while at home to help other drivers who are not as fortunate.  Some took homemade Thanksgiving dinners to local truck stops and distributed them to the drivers who were sitting there.  My mom always asked us to go to the truck stop, and if anyone we knew might be in town, bring them home for the holiday.  She couldn’t stand for any driver to be lonely.  Others would bake pies and take them to share a piece of homemade pumpkin or apple pie with the drivers.  I think this is a wonderful idea, at Christmas maybe you could come up with a new family tradition that would involve wrapping a few small gifts and doing the same sort of thing?  Maybe go to the truck stop and give a few drivers a present to open on Christmas?  There are many little things we could do to show drivers that we appreciate their hard work, a small stocking stuffed with some fruit and nuts would be very sweet and well received by a lonely driver far from home during the holidays.

I think any driver who is just starting out has to, many times, work through a major holiday or two, so, even if we get to go home this year, we need to remember that it wasn’t always so.  Roger and I always worked through Thanksgiving so that we could be home for Christmas, but even then we took the very first load after Christmas.  SOMEBODY has to.  The freight must move.

BUT, while you are at home, get in the spirit and enjoy your time at home with your family!  Bundle up and go out to see the Christmas lights with someone you love, take them out for hot cocoa afterwards.  Pop popcorn and string it with cranberries to make a garland for the tree or use it elsewhere, almost no-one does that anymore!  Take the time to teach these things to the younger generations, show them how to make a snow angel, make a snowman together using a carrot for a nose, sticks for his arms and the whole deal.  Make it a fun memory!  We all work really hard all year long and every driver deserves a break to have some fun and make some memories with the people they love!

Merry Christmas and have a Safe and Happy New Year!

Home for the Holidays- This is the time of year when many drivers are trying to get home to spend time with their families over the holidays.  Drivers who run with their significant others, or drivers who do not have family to go home to, will often times stay out on the road to give drivers who do have small children or family an opportunity to spend the holidays at home.

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.


 

Great Tips for Cooking in the Truck

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

We are planning on making a spin-off of this blog which will include all kinds of cooking information, such as recipes, supplies, etc.  There are more and more drivers who are cooking in their trucks and sharing their cooking secrets, pictures of the wonderful food they prepare, and how they do it in the truck.

Great Tips for Cooking in the Truck- There are more and more drivers who are cooking in their trucks and sharing their cooking secrets, pictures of the wonderful food they prepare, and how they do it in the truck.We will give you tips on things like how to set up your truck in order to have a safe kitchen. If you are not an owner-operator you might have to check with your company to make sure you are allowed to do this to your truck.

Years ago we both had a 2000 watt inverter. We had them installed at Kenworth dealers (different ones) but they took the time to make sure the heavy duty wire was routed to the batteries and that they were properly grounded. This allowed us to run appliances in our trucks in the 90s that are run today mostly by APUs or GenSets. There are a lot of companies who have those installed in their trucks these days allowing their drivers comforts we could only dream about back then. More and more trucks are equipped with a refrigerator and microwave. Also those generators are able to power appliances like toasters, slow cookers, electric skillets, and my favorite, a George Foreman grill.

There are still a lot of you who don’t have the power available to operate the appliances that need 110 volts, but there are all kinds of appliances that plug into the 12 volt cigarette lighter. You can make fresh coffee, warm up foods already cooked, or even cook foods in a crock pot that’s plugged into a 12 volt outlet. It takes longer, so more planning is necessary.

Make a grocery list and take advantage of getting to a grocery store or a Wal-Mart, at home or on the road. If you have a fridge, it’s easier to keep healthy food on board such as fresh produce, yogurts, meats, and cheese.

A collection of spices that you like are also a good idea. Even if you don’t get carried away you should at least carry basics like salt and pepper. Anything that doesn’t require refrigeration (spices, condiments, etc.) are useful since all OEM refrigerators are small. Zipper storage bags work better than anything else for storing food since they can be used in or out of the fridge and take up much less space, plus they are sealable. The freezer ones are best, since they are the strongest. You can use a variety of sizes from snack size to gallon size for organizing all of your supplies. Rectangular plastic baskets work out really well and fit great into most cubbies in sleepers. You’ll have to measure your particular sleeper and take those measurements with you when looking for baskets to fit.

Get creative with your storage spaces. The more “stuff” you carry, the more you need to organize it. Make sure you always secure your cooking space. The last thing you need is a crock pot flying through the air if you have to make a sudden stop.

I would like to share with you a simple recipe that is both good and good for you. Ingredients: a tub of cottage cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil, and an onion (optional). Mix all ingredients together and let the flavors mingle into something fantastic.

I also have a suggestion for those of you who want to eat healthy but don’t know how to cook or don’t have the facilities to do so. This is simple; get yourself one of those little 12 volt lunch box looking heaters. After you get that, you can pick up those single serve Lean Cuisine dinners from the frozen food department in the grocery store. Put one into the heater and plug it in. In about 30 minutes your food will be steaming hot and ready to eat. You can pull over, get out your plastic fork, and bon appetit!

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.