Follow by Email

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Classic Car Stories - My First Corvette

My 1967 Convertible

In a previous post, I talked about what a great car I had with the 1993 Z28 Camaro.  The LT1 Corvette engine that it had was fantastic and I loved that car.
My fascination with Corvettes started during my pre-teen years, thanks to my Uncle Jim.  My dad’s brother had enlisted and became a US Marine back in the late 50’s.  Four years later, when he got out of the service, he came home and with a bit of the cash he had saved up, bought an early 60’s jet black Corvette convertible with a red interior. He drove it over to our house and it was the most beautiful car that I that had ever seen!  Being awestruck, I watched as he invited my dad to go for a ride with him.  Of course, all Corvettes are two-seaters, so there was no room for me to go along.  After they got back, he asked me if I wanted to help him wash it.  Alas, I was too shy to ask and he never thought about taking me for a ride!  Not too long after, he became engaged, got married and with a baby on the way, had to get rid of it.  He sold it and bought a Hudson!  What a letdown when I saw him in that thing!

Anyway, after that I always wanted to own a Corvette.  Along about 1973 or ‘74, I found out that a guy I went to high school with had a 1967 convertible for sale.  I went over and looked at it and found it to be in decent shape.  Originally, it came with a 427 cubic inch motor but the previous owner had the car stolen at some point.  They recovered it a while later with the engine and transmission missing and he replaced the motor with a 327.  It was a beautiful silver with a black convertible top and factory side pipes.  It had the original 427 hood scoop on it and fooled a lot of people!  But frankly, it wasn’t much fun to drive and I put a wheelbarrow full of money into the brake system and suspension just to get it to handle properly.  In fact, returning from a vacation trip to Canada, I had a rear wheel come off on me while driving down the highway.  It was due to a mechanic improperly tightening an axle retaining nut.  Fortunately, the wheel came off and wedged up in the wheel well, so there was no body damage. Earlier that same day, I received a speeding ticket from a Michigan State Trooper!  That was a rather lousy trip home.

It wasn't long before I grew tired of the ongoing expense and put it up for sale.  I paid $2500 for it and sold it for the same amount.  Wouldn't you know it, not long after, the prices on used Corvettes and muscle cars started to skyrocket?  In fact, the guy I bought it from called me back a few months later and wanted to buy it back from me, if I still had it.  The numbers didn't match, because of the replacement engine and transmission, But I’m sure I would have gotten a lot more for it, had I kept it another year!
So, that was my first of two Corvettes and a great classic car story. Part 2 comes later, Dan
See the Youtube video below to hear a real 400 horsepower 427 idle!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This Should Make Us Think!
Why you should drive a little slower when it is slick. Keep your eye on the SUV in front.  Be careful out there! Click the link below:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

8 Common Mistakes Filing Tax Returns
Issue Number: Tax Tip 2012-58
Inside This Issue
Eight Tax-Time Errors To Avoid

IRS Tax Tip 2012-58, March 26, 2012
If you make a mistake on your tax return, it can take longer to process, which in turn, may delay your refund. Here are eight common errors to avoid .
1. Incorrect or missing Social Security numbers When entering SSNs for anyone listed on your tax return, be sure to enter them exactly as they appear on the Social Security cards.
2. Incorrect or misspelling of dependent’s last name When entering a dependent’s last name on your tax return, make sure to enter it exactly as it appears on their Social Security card.
3. Filing status errors Choose the correct filing status for your situation. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. See Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information, to determine the filing status that best fits your situation.
4. Math errors When preparing paper returns, review all math for accuracy. Or file electronically; the software does the math for you!
5. Computation errors Take your time. Many taxpayers make mistakes when figuring their taxable income, withholding and estimated tax payments, Earned Income Tax Credit, Standard Deduction for age 65 or over or blind, the taxable amount of Social Security benefits and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
6. Incorrect bank account numbers for direct deposit Double check your bank routing and account numbers if you are using direct deposit for your refund.
7. Forgetting to sign and date the return An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it is invalid. Also, both spouses must sign a joint return.
8. Incorrect adjusted gross income If you file electronically, you must sign the return electronically using a Personal Identification Number. To verify your identity, the software will prompt you to enter your AGI from your originally filed 2010 federal income tax return or last year's PIN if you e-filed. Taxpayers should not use an AGI amount from an amended return, Form 1040X, or a math-error correction made by IRS.

• Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deductions and Filing Information

YouTube Videos:
• Tax Return Errors English | Spanish | ASL

Monday, March 26, 2012

Donald Driver
Tune in to Dancing With the Stars to see Donald compete!  He's a been a class act and super athlete for so many years with the Green Bay Packers!  A man that is really worthy of respect. We'll see if he can dance!

Preventing Online Infidelity - Kim's Columns –

Something to think about, see the following article written by Kim Kommando on her site.  My wife has always had access to all of my accounts and passwords.  And I have access to her's.  Seems like this would prevent anything like this from happening!

The Internet can be a marriage killer, one of my listeners told me in an email last week. He wasn't speaking philosophically. He said it almost happened to him.
This wasn't because his wife spent too much money on eBay, or the result of his fascination with streaming online sports. Instead, they had each, separately, fallen down the rabbit hole of online infidelity.
"Our counselor said the problem is growing, especially among couples that have been married more than 18 years," he said.
It's true that the Internet has made infidelity much easier. According to, the Internet is now where the majority of people go to find sex partners.
Additionally, there are numerous sites specifically devoted to helping married couples cheat online. And I know this is where you might expect me to name some of those destinations. But I'm having nothing to do with handing anyone a link to destructive temptation. Trust me, there is no shortage of examples.
The culprit in all of this is Internet anonymity. It leads to connections that wouldn't be made offline. It also encourages participants to share more about themselves with online partners than they do with their spouses, says researcher Beatriz Mileham. Her University of Florida study on Internet infidelity looked at 86 cyber-cheaters.
In almost every example, the online relationships began as curious friendships, but soon became more.
Mileham interviewed men and women who used popular chat rooms specifically geared for married-but-searching individuals. Almost a third of the study participants went on to meet the person with whom they made contact.
The study participants included stay-at-home moms, construction workers, engineers, nurses and presidents of large corporations. Her research showed that more men than women used chat rooms.
But more recently, women are catching up to men when it comes to infidelity, says Katherine Hertlein, a licensed marriage and family therapist and assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Hertlein specializes in helping those who are experiencing marital difficulties caused by online cheating. She recently told Discovery News that she blames the growth in female infidelity on social sites. She said it is a result of their anonymity - and their popularity among women.
Can technology be used for good in this situation? There are many useful tools available. Here are just two, but each is useful for a different approach:
OpenDNS and FamilyShield are prevention tools, offering protection against adult websites. The sites primarily block pornography, drug content and violence, but can be broadened to include places where spouses are likely to wander.
For those more interested in monitoring, a program like TimeSnapper can be used. It takes screenshots of a computer monitor at regular intervals and reveals how it's being used. It will record all the dirty laundry, whether it's pornography or inappropriate chatting.
But is such spying just as harmful to a marriage? Dr. Willard F. Harley Jr., author of several books on the subject and founder of marriage counseling center, Marriage Builders, believes a spouse has every right to investigate, whether it involves installing tracking software or hiring a professional.
"A husband and wife should be so transparent that any effort on the part of one to look at what the other is doing should never be considered off limits," says Harley.
Many counselors now recommend that both partners have total access to each other's sites, including Facebook and Twitter, to build accountability.
Researcher Mileham believes it's time for couples to discuss the Internet as seriously as they discuss whether or not to have children before they marry.
"To prevent future problems, young couples, as well as long-term committed couples, need to talk about what role the Internet will play in their relationship," she said.
That was the advice my listener and his wife received from the counselor they eventually consulted.
"She recommended that we both have total access to all of each other's sites and passwords," he said.
"Please warn couples about this," he urged me in his email. "It's an important part of anyone's digital life. Open access is the only solution."

Preventing online infidelity - Kim's Columns – Reviews and Advice on All Things Digital - The Kim Komando Radio Show:

'via Blog this'

Saturday, March 24, 2012

World's Worst Highways #6

Thanks to

#6. Lena Highway Eats Your Car and Casts You into a Hopeless Dystopia

It carries the loving nickname "Highway from Hell ," and when travelers say they're "neck-deep in mud," they're just trying to give an accurate measurement:
"Hon, would you mind getting out and giving us a push?"
And in fact ...
... they might be making an understatement.

Friday, March 23, 2012

2011 Goodyear Highway Hero -
Trucker Who Rescued Woman From Gunman is 2011 Goodyear Highway Hero -

Your Tax Dollars at Work!

Thanks to the Journal Sentinel and John Diedrich,

Watchdog Reports

Woman at center of massive child-care fraud to plead guilty

By John Diedrich of the Journal Sentinel
March 21, 2012 5:12 p.m.
Cashing In On Kids
Ongoing Journal Sentinel investigation details how parents and child-care providers work in cahoots to easily scam the $350 million Wisconsin Shares program.Read the series and ongoing coverage
The woman who built a 7,600-square-foot mansion and bought a Jaguar convertible while collecting roughly $3 million in taxpayer subsidies from her Milwaukee child care centers has agreed to plead guilty to fraud, theft and conspiracy.
Latasha Jackson, 34, faces a maximum of 35 years in prison, but she is likely to get far less time under federal sentencing guidelines, according to a plea agreement filed this week in federal court in Milwaukee.
Prosecutors will ask that Jackson be ordered to pay $333,000 in restitution. No sentencing date has been set. Jackson most recently was living in Texas.
Jackson, who also is listed as Latasha Wilder in court documents, was charged with using two centers to defraud state and federal programs designed to help poor mothers go to work. Regulators ignored red flags for 10 years that she could be cheating the system, the Journal Sentinel's " Cashing in on Kids" investigation found.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ryder Team 3 Driver of the Year!

 Congratulations to Luke Siler, of our Salt Lake City Ryder account.  He has been selected as Team 3 Driver of the Year!  Luke has over 2 million miles without a preventable accident and was nominated by our location.  He will have been with Ryder for 20 years this coming July!  Out of more than 700 drivers on our team he was chosen as this years “the best of the best”.  A dinner for Luke and his family was held in his honor Wednesday evening.  In addition to our local management, the dinner was attended by our Director of Logistics and a Group Logistics Manager who flew in for the occasion.  A good time was had by all and congratulations to Luke!  We have an outstanding group of drivers in Salt Lake City!  Dan

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pick-up Truck Tonneau Bed Cover Review
This a GREAT product. I've had one on my 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD pick-up for many years and it still looks like new.  This vinyl coated aluminum paneled cover rolls up into an aluminum housing in the front of the bed when you need to load the truck.  Works great with fifth wheel trailers because you can partially close the cover while towing to reduce turbulence in the bed of the truck.  With the bed covered, my mileage goes up almost 1.5 MPG on the highway! This is a quality product that I highly recommend.  I installed it myself (I'm not a mechanic) and it cost less than $800.00 for an 8 foot bed. You can click on the link below to right to the Amazon store. Thanks, Dan

Pace Edwards TR2032 JackRabbit Tonneau Canister

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Classic Car Stories - My 1993 Camaro

One of the great cars I have been fortunate to own during my life was this 1993 Camaro. That was the first model year of the completely redesigned new car.  Frankly, the previous generation of the Camaros were not very good cars. The worn out assembly lines were so poor that Chevy resorted to gluing some of the body panels together.  

In 1992 I started reading about a new model coming out that would use the LT1 Corvette motor in the high performance Z28 version. And the Z28 would cost many thousands less than the Corvette!

Well, after doing a lot of research, it took quite a few months to convince my wife that we really “needed” this car!  Finally, one day I got her into a dealership to look and at least sit in the car. Immediately, she complained that she couldn’t see the front of the car and she would be unable to drive it.  I finally wore her down. After promising her that I would put something on the front end of the car so she would know where it is, she agreed. (That’s what the antennas are for on the license plate bracket!)

Then came my wake up call!  We had stopped at a Chevrolet dealer in Green Bay, which was a much bigger city than the small town I was living in.  Although our little town of Crivitz had a Chevy dealer, I believed that I could get a better price in the “big” city.  I walked up to a salesman and asked what kind of a deal he could make me on a new Z28? His response was something to the effect that they were selling every Camaro that came in.  I said “that's fine, I can special order one and wait”.  He then said they were getting about $2000.00 over “sticker” for them!  I said something to the effect that it would be cold day in you know where before I let anyone rip me off like that!  I then turned around and headed out the door.

The next day, I went in to see our small town Chevy dealer, the salesman was also a co-owner of the dealership.  Knowing that they didn’t have any new Camaros in stock, I walked up to him said hello.  I just stated in a matter of fact way that I wanted to buy a new Z28 Camaro, wanted to patronize a local dealer and was willing to wait to have it built. I then stated that I knew what the invoice pricing to the dealer was and I was willing to give him $900.00 over his invoice.  I about fell over when, without even hesitating, he said “sure”!  We went to his office to spec the car and about an hour later we had a deal.  Ed Banaszak of Banaszak Chevrolet retired many years ago (the dealership has been sold), but he was a good guy to buy a car from and I’ll always be grateful. He actually tried to give me another great deal a few years later on My Second Corvette, which unfortunately, he wasn't allowed to do because of GM's quota system!

Indeed, production was behind schedule and I ended up waiting a few months for the car.  They even had to halt production of the T-top cars (mine was) for a couple weeks so they could fix some issues with leaks. In fact, during this wait I had decided to transfer out to Utah with Ryder in July and the car still hadn’t been built. The dealer worked with me and we were able to change the delivery point to Salt Lake City with another dealer doing the final setup.  It was a long wait, but it was worth it.  That was a great car and I kept it for 5 years and about 40000 miles!  Had a lot of fun with it and it's a great classic car story!

Other of my Classic Car Stories:
Mom's 1961 Plymouth Valiant
1970 PontiacGTO - Dick Hands Me the Keys!
Driving My Buddy's 1968 Plymouth GTX
My Hemi Chrysler
My 1965 Buick GS 400
My Three Camaros, One Good, One Bad and One Great!
My Second Corvette
My First Corvette
My 1993 Camaro
Mopar Man to Chevrolet

Follow Me on Pinterest

Monday, March 19, 2012

Check out this 192 Wheeler!

Got an 800,000 pound load to move from California to Utah?  Now, this is "Extreme" trucking!
Thanks to Mack Trucks and Today'

Today' / One on One with Jerry Moyes
Courtesy of Today'

One On One with Jerry Moyes, Swift Transportation
  - by Jason Rhyno

As CEO and founder of Swift Transportation — the largest trucking company in the U.S. — Jerry Moyes knows a thing or two about trucking. As the Keynote Speaker at this year's Fleet Managers' Breakfast at Truck World, we thought it was good opportunity to get to know the trucking legend, talk shop and get some business advice.
When did you realize you were destined for trucking?
My father used to drive for C.R. England, and as a young kid — five or six years old — I was always in the truck and driving with dad. So I've just always been around trucking my whole life. It was the direction I was going from day one.
Any lessons you learned in the early days of Swift?
We came up during the years of regulation, when we had to have ICC Authority and you had to do it differently or better than the existing carrier to be able to get the Authority. With that background, we always ask how do we do it differently and how do we do it better to get the business.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for trucking companies in 2012?
Government regulations. We're just getting bombarded with various government regulations from CSA to different engine EPA requirements. Our costs are going up dramatically, too. I've never been in an era when costs are as high as they are — that's our number one challenge: what we are going to do from a costing side going forward?
Swift has been experimenting with LNG. Where are you now?
Where we are with natural gas is one of the important things in my presentation at Truck World. We're very excited about it. We have three different test projects that we are working on today. One is the Cummins 8.9 litre that is very underpowered but we're working some dedicated operations where we don't need a lot of power. We're also testing Cummins 11.9 litre engine that has some great promise. We're also involved with a company where we are mixing CNG and diesel — a hybrid that we're getting some excellent results on. We really believe that natural gas is a thing of the future. There's probably a five-year window to get into it. The manufacturers, like Cummins, are just starting to develop their 11.9 litre engines today. I don't know exactly what their time frame is on their 15 litres — probably a year or two behind. But we really think that this industry over the next five years could be close to 50 percent natural gas.
How should a carrier treat its drivers?
I've been in this business for 45 years and the number one problem has always been drivers. It's not going to change. For us to solve this, we've got to give them a lot more money. It's still a very difficult job, even though I believe the job itself is getting much better because they aren't required to unload like they used to and the equipment is getting so much better. The offset of that is that we aren't getting the driver that's the old trucker anymore, it's the opposite of that: it's the new kid that's coming off the street. He wants all these different benefits and he's just not willing to work in the way that the older driver is. The industry has to look at that: number one, we have a different driver we gotta take care of — he has different attitudes and different wants — and number two, we gotta pay him more money.
If you could give one piece of advice to a company that was on the cusp of taking its business to the next level, what would it be?
Watch the numbers. You've got to know where you are on a daily basis as far as revenue and miles. Break everything down.
If you could go on a long-haul with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Well, my dad died 25 years ago and he and I used to drive together. So if I had to select someone, it would probably be my father. It would just be fun to go trucking with him again.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Deciding on a Trucking Career, Part VII

Mary and me at Lambeau Field in Green Bay

(This is Part VII of a series, “Deciding on a Career”.  I would suggest reading Parts I through VI first, they were posted earlier in this blog.) Links provided below:

I Married a Truck Driver!
Through most of the 1990’s and into early 2000’s I had been travelling extensively with my job as Driver Trainer for Ryder.  Being gone so much was starting to take a toll on me and fortunately things started to slow down a bit.  Our local Director of Logistics left the company in 2003 and Ryder reorganized somewhat, and moved assigned areas to different teams.  Most of my travel stopped and I was able to focus more on our team of core drivers in Salt Lake City and Idaho. My primary boss was now a Senior Logistics Manager.

Along about March of 2002, we were looking to put a couple of drivers on to be ready for the busy summer season.  We had an ad in the paper and were taking applications.  One of the drivers we brought on board was a woman named Mary.  We went through the orientation and I rode with her quite a bit the first couple weeks for training. She was a good driver, did a great job and got along with everyone.  In the five months she was with us, I never heard anyone (drivers, customers or managers) say a bad word about her.  She was well liked and, when she announced that she had to resign after 5 months, it was a shock to everyone.  She was married at the time and her husband was not happy with the erratic work schedule she had.  Everyone was sorry to see her leave, including myself.  My marriage was falling apart in 2002, but I never considered making any advances towards her, as we both were still married.

About five years later, in September of 2007, I was sitting at my desk doing paperwork and I looked up to see Mary standing in the doorway.  I was quite surprised and after a short conversation, learned that she was looking for a job.  We had an opening for another driver, so she filled out an application and I got to work on it as soon as she left.  Our senior manager happened to be on vacation but I knew she would not hesitate to bring Mary back, if we could qualify her.  The other two managers were in favor also.  She had made a reference to being divorced somewhere on her application and that sure started me thinking.  I had gotten divorced in 2003 with the idea that I would never, ever be interested in getting married again. It turned out that she had the same feelings after her divorce!  Having been alone for five years, I was living in a nice fifth wheel trailer and was pretty comfortable.  I still think to this day that she is the only person that could possibly have changed my mind about marrying again!

So, it took a couple weeks to get her background info and all the paperwork done.  I rode with her the first week to refresh her on the procedures and paperwork.  This time, I was trying to find out a lot more about her.  This was pretty sneaky, but I remember asking one of our supervisors to make sure I was the only one to train her the first week!  The more I found out, the more I liked her and by the end of the week, I figured what the heck, I’m going to ask her out.  The worst that could happen was for her to say no.  And she did!!!  On a Friday afternoon, she said no.  That upcoming week-end was sure a miserable one that I spent alone.  She was scheduled to be turned loose to go by herself the following Monday, but at the last minute, they scheduled me to ride with her for two more days.
So, on Monday morning we met up and I apologized for putting her in a bad situation.  My intent was to ask her out after her training was done, so as not to put any pressure on her, but they scheduled us two extra days.  I think I ended up riding with her for most of the week and I left the issue alone and didn’t mention it again.  At the end of our last day together, she said words I’ll never forget.  They were, “I’ll go out with you, Dan”!  I remember, all I could say was “You will?”  lol.  So the following Saturday was the first date with Mary!
My wife and her mom
It didn't take very long after dating her and meeting her family, to realize that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this woman.  We got married about a year later back in Wisconsin in September, 2008.  Our honeymoon was going to a Harley motorcycle rally in Tomahawk, Wisconsin.  She no longer drives professionally, the physical demands were getting to be too much for her.  I’m proud to say that she is the “love of my life” and it is never too late to find the right one! Dan

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lone Survivor Book Review
This is an incredibly good read and a true account by the only surviving member (Marcus Luttrell) of a 4 man Navy Seal team whose mission was to go after a Taliban leader in Afghanistan in the 90’s.  I bought the hard cover book several years ago and it was very hard to put down, once I started reading.  Last year, I bought the audio book and it is also available as an eBook.
I was amazed at what these soldiers go through to become Navy Seals, and the story of their mission and fight with the enemy is incredible.  They are truly the “best of the best”.  I highly recommend this book and have had a much deeper respect for the men and women in our Armed services than I ever did before reading it.  Notice how tall Marcus is (he is on the far right in the picture)? He refers to his height many times in the book, now, I know why!

It is so sad that he is the only one that survived of those four heroes, it will bring tears to your eyes.
I am such a fan of this book and that is the truth! After I read it the first time, I passed it on to my brother in Minnesota and another in Milwaukee, telling them both I wanted it back. And I did get it back, with rave reviews!
The book is available in hard or soft cover, eBook and audio book. You can click the link below to go right to the store! Thanks, Dan

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

Deciding on a Trucking Career, Part VI

(This is Part VI of a series, “Deciding on a Career”.  I would suggest reading Parts I through V first, they were posted earlier in this blog.)

So, it’s July of 1993, and I have just made the biggest change of my life by packing up and moving to Utah.  Being pretty certain that the opportunity with Ryder and Coke was a good one, I wasn’t too fearful.  Our customer has sales centers throughout the inter-mountain west, the drivers, I found were pretty well satisfied and all went pretty smooth.  I was able to settle in and enjoy my job traveling throughout the beautiful western states.

The early part of 1994, our Senior Logistics Manager’s responsibilities were growing.  Ryder had signed new business in Salt Lake, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other areas and those were reporting to our Senior Manager in Salt Lake.  At one of our safety meetings, he announced that he was looking for 4 drivers to step up and become Driver Trainers.  The position would involve traveling to the other locations he was responsible for whenever needed for training, emergency relief driving, what ever was needed.  While not driving, we were to help out in the recruitment, hiring and training of new drivers wherever and whenever they were needed.  I submitted a resume to be considered and after an interview, I was picked as one of the four.  So began my 18 years and counting as a trainer!

The next nine years were quite a whirlwind in my life.  Ryder’s business was growing rapidly and Craig’s responsibilities were growing with accounts in Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle reporting to him.  During some extended periods, we were traveling constantly, spending weeks at a time assisting at start-ups, hiring and training drivers and backing up drivers at every location he was responsible for.  We were so busy at one point, I did a start-up at a remote location by myself and flew to Medford, OR.  I spent nearly a month meeting with the customer, hiring two drivers, equipping a couple of tractors, setting up the on board computers and training the drivers.

One of our major customers had remote locations in Alaska and Hawaii and I spent five weeks on Oahu with Craig doing a start-up.  Pretty heady stuff for a cheese-head truck driver from Wisconsin!  While working with Craig in Hawaii, he received a promotion to Director of Customer Logistics!  It was a special time and I was proud to be working for him.  The one thing I will always be grateful to Craig for, is he taught me how to work!  He was a hard man to keep up with but he was always willing to step in and do whatever he expected us to do.  I found out that when you bust your butt and do a good job, you may be drop dead tired at the end of the day, but there is a lot of satisfaction in a job well done!

So, throughout the rest of the 1990’s and into the early 2000’s, I was gone quite a bit.  In the early 2000’s, Ryder reorganized, moved teams around and Craig left for a role as Vice-President at another company.  Having spent all those years traveling, I was more than ready to spend more time at home!  Our customer has production centers in Salt Lake City and Idaho and we keep plenty busy with about 50 drivers handling their transportation needs.  We just added a couple of drivers that are domiciled in Phoenix this year.  In fact, I spent a couple weeks down there training and that was the first time in years that I had to fly anywhere.  So, life goes on and all in all, I can say that so far, I’ve had a pretty good trucking career!  In fact, it must have been good, as I married a truck driver!

You’ll have to check back for that story! Dan

Link to Part VII - The End (for now) - As of 2/22/13, the story continues!

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII

Kindle Product Review

Kindle Product Review
Truck Drivers need entertainment while having to lay over on the road.  If you’re not familiar with eBook readers and books, it’s time to get into them.  The deals on Kindle readers are outstanding!  If you don’t need the newest, latest and greatest full color Kindle Fire (for $200.), the price of the older black and white Kindle Keyboard with wi-fi is only $139.  There is a new, bit smaller version called Kindle with a 6” screen for only $79.00!!!
I’ve been using my Kindle Keyboard for a couple years now and have countless hours of satisfied reading time on it.  I’m so satisfied with it, I don’t see a need for the fancier versions.  One battery charge and the unit will last a couple weeks.  With these prices you can’t go wrong and eBooks are much cheaper than hard copy books!
You can click the link below to go right to Amazon.  Thanks, Dan

Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored ScreensaversKindle Keyboard 3G, 

Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Downhill Braking

Within the last couple of months, I had a driver say to me “You know it’s normal to see a little smoke from your brakes on a long downgrade.”  I asked him who in the world taught him that? And he gave a vague response.  That kind of misinformation can be disastrous for a driver!

I’ve had to ride along with hundreds of drivers and I am always somewhat amazed at how many brake improperly on downgrades.  It’s been taught for many years now that steady light pressure on the brakes is not the right way to go downhill.  If your brakes are even slightly out of adjustment, on light application of the pedal, the brakes on some wheels will not be doing as much work as others.  That can cause some brakes to heat up and others not.  This can quickly get you in trouble, especially if you do not have a strong Jake brake.

The proper way to brake on a downgrade is a firm intermittent stab of the brake pedal to take your speed down 5 or 6 MPH.  I don’t mean “slamming on the brakes”.  Just firm pressure to insure that all the brakes are engaged and doing their share of the work.  When your speed drops down 5 or 6 MPH, release and let the Jake work until it climbs back up and your rig needs another brake application.  This has been the recommended method for many years and it does surprise me the number of drivers who do it "old school".

And please, all you newer drivers out there, if you see your brakes smoke on a downgrade, you are not braking properly!  Needing to use an emergency sand pit run off leads to short careers in the trucking industry.  Sorry if I sound like a preacher, but downhill grades are serious business.
Happy Trucking, Dan

IRS Tax Tips - Reduce Your Stress

(Note for Truck Drivers: There are many deductions available for over-the-road drivers, including meal deductions, job expenses, etc. If you are not very familiar with all of this, you would more than likely be much better off using a paid preparer with experience in the trucking industry. Dan)

Issue Number: IRS Tax Tip 2012-50
Inside This Issue
Six Tips for Reducing Tax-Time Stress
Tax preparation doesn't need to give you a headache. There are several ways to make it easier on yourself. The IRS offers six tips to help make your tax-filing experience a breeze this year.
1. Don’t procrastinate. Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. Rushing to meet the filing deadline may cause you to overlook potential sources of tax savings and will likely increase your risk of making an error.

Scam Alert

I sent this out last year to everyone in my address book, so I know many of you have seen it.  For those who haven’t, this is a very true story and I understand the criminals are still working it. A copy of my original email follows and after, the account of what happened, written by my sister-in-law.

This is me, Daniel S. Bridger, and I am sending this message out to everyone in my address book!  Please read the account from my wife’s sister below.
My mother-in-law is close to the same age as my mother.  My mother-in-law is a very intelligent, accomplished mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Bottom line, she's is of SOUND mind.  What you will read is astounding, a mother, grandmother will sacrifice anything for their kin if she believes they are in trouble.  Bad thing is, the dredges of our society know this and are always thinking of how to take people's money.  I was totally and completely shocked at how close these bastards came to succeeding.  My mother-in-law has allowed me to forward this and I applaud her for that.  She does not want anyone else to have to go through this.  Please believe me, if anyone asks you to send money anywhere, for anything, please, please confide in SOMEONE close to you!!!  If you think that it can't happen to someone you know and love, it very nearly did to us.  Click on the read more link below to see the letter.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Safe Browsing Tool | WOT (Web of Trust)

With most all of us familiar with computers, I’m sure you’ve all come across web sites that you wish you had never visited.  There are a lot of sites loaded with spy-ware or are just plain out and out consumer rip-off scams.  It happened to us, being overcharged for a worthless product, not seeing the hidden “fine print” that you were signing up for monthly shipments at a ridiculous cost.  We spent an enormous amount of time and effort getting refunds from a criminal Internet scam company.  (By the way, the scam is “teeth whitening products”  Please, beware, you will be ripped off!). Our Utah Attorney Generals office got involved.

There is a free download you can install on your computer.  WOT is a community-based, free safe surfing tool for browsers that provides website ratings & reviews to help web users as they search, surf & shop online.  See the green icon?  It should be OK.  See a red icon?  Very risky!
The best part?  It’s FREE!  See the link below.

Safe Browsing Tool | WOT (Web of Trust):

'via Blog this'

Monday, March 12, 2012

Deciding on a Trucking Career, Part V

(This is Part V of a series, “Deciding on a Career”. I would suggest reading Parts I through IV first, they were posted earlier in this blog.)

Back in the 1980’s, if anyone would have suggested that I would move from Wisconsin and live out west In Utah (for almost 19 years now), I would have said they were full of bananas (or honey, but at the time I didn't know that Utah was known as the "beehive" state!).  I had never, ever considered the possibility of leaving "Packerland". I was happy in a small town, rural area about 50 miles north of Green Bay. Had a decent house that I could afford with three acres of land, peace and quiet. And I could “hunt” dear in my back yard every hunting season!

I had spent about a year with Ryder up until the end of 1992 and had settled in with them. I wasn’t unhappy and was making a decent living. We had been hearing rumors of Frigo Cheese’s continuing financial difficulty, but I figured the milk and cheese markets are always up and down and they would weather the then current situation.  Suddenly, in early 1993, it was announced that Frigo had been sold to an outside buyer. He would retain the Frigo name and trademarks, but he was the new man in charge.

And the “new man in charge”, we soon found out, was not fond of 3rd party logistics providers. Seemed like he was more interested in finding the cheapest “provider” of transportation than in customer service.  Although Ryder had a three year contract and Frigo Cheese had a five year obligation on the tractors, he was looking to ways to get out of it, even taking bids from other trucking companies to assume the contract.  Looked like "the writing was on the wall" again! One of the great things about Ryder is that if you maintain a good work record, you can transfer anywhere in the country they have an opening. They will always let you transfer before they hire from outside.

So, not knowing what the future held, and after spending a few months thinking about it, we decided to put our house up for sale. We were almost a year and a half into our contract and I just could not see the possibility of them renewing.  The wife I had at the time had lived in Salt Lake City with her ex-husband for 15 years and always felt it was a good place to live, so I scheduled two weeks vacation in June of 1993 to drive out there and check it out.  I wanted to visit the Ryder accounts in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Reno, and see what was available.  Our first stop was Salt Lake, where we had an account with Swire Coca-Cola.  I stopped by and was introduced to the Senior Operations Manager, Craig Schneider.  He interrupted a meeting he was in with another person to invite me in and the three of us talked for quite a while. He explained what the job was all about, even though they didn’t have any current need for a driver.  Craig even took me over for a plant tour, and I was so impressed with him and the operation that I made the decision right then and there, asking to be considered for the next available opportunity to transfer.  We then went on our way to Las Vegas and Reno to visit the other Ryder locations. Nothing we saw changed my mind and on the second week, we went back to Salt Lake City.  It seemed like a nice place to live and I stopped by the Ryder office to let them know that I was still interested in transferring.  Michelle Lochhead was one of the supervisors and when I went in to say hello, she said “Guess what?  We had two drivers resign in the past week.  When can you be out here?”

Talk about sudden reality!  Holy Cow, I had to get on the phone with my manager back in Wisconsin and ask permission to transfer.  He said yes, but he wanted two weeks, which was good with me. We then ran around the rest of the day looking for an apartment, found one, and put a deposit down. Then it was a race back to Wisconsin (stopping for gas, food, and to change drivers only) as I had a heck of a lot of planning and packing to do, as well as work two more weeks with Frigo.

On top of all that, I had special ordered a brand new 1993 Camaro Z28 from my Crivitz Chevy dealer and was waiting for them to build and ship it. Our house hadn’t sold yet and we were considering what to do about it. We weren’t back more than a couple days and got a call from a prospective buyer who just happened to be a Sheriff's Deputy for the county.  He came over, checked around, and asked if he could bring his wife over.  After she approved, he made an offer and we accepted.  There was no way we could close on the house however, before I had to be out to Salt Lake City in two weeks.  I ended up giving my wife power of attorney and she stayed in Wisconsin for an extra month to finish up. As the Camaro ran into production line problems and still hadn't been built, I was able to change the delivery to a Salt Lake City Chevy dealer.

So, two weeks later, we had a 29 foot U-haul truck filled up with all I could take, plus my motorcycle inside, towing a car behind and I was heading west to Utah!   I started my new job on July 12, 1993 at Ryder Integrated Logistic’s Swire Coca-Cola account in Salt Lake City, Utah!

Check back for Part VI
Link to Part VI

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII