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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Truck driver seeks new employment opportunity!

Another trucking school graduate gets turned loose! From the "unbelievable" file.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Then & Now: Recreational vehicle, 1923 and 2013


The RV (recreational vehicle) industry had its beginnings in the 1920s, shortly after the advent of the automobile industry, when a number of companies began manufacturing house trailers or trailer coaches, as they were then called. An early attempt at a self-contained RV featuring all the amenities of home is pictured in Tampa in the 1923 “then” photo, apparently built on a Ford Model TT truck chassis.
Today, more than 9 million Americans own a recreational vehicle, a 16 percent increase since 2001, and a 64 percent gain since 1980. The RV industry is projected to be a growth industry as the baby boomers prepare to retire.
In the “now” photo, an RV is on display at the 2013 Florida RV SuperShow at the Florida State Fairgrounds. The 2014 show opens Wednesday and runs through Jan. 19. Adult admission is $10 for a two-day pass and parking is $6 for cars or $12 for RVs and oversized vehicles. (Kids under 16 are free.)
For information, visit rv-shows/florida-rv-supershow.
Greg S. Carr

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Classic Car Stories - 1970 Pontiac GTO - Dick hands me the keys!
Classic Car Stories: While in high school, I had a job pumping gas at a Clark filling station. I wasn’t yet 18 years old when I graduated in the spring of 1970 and started working third shift full time afterwards.

A guy by the name of Dick worked part-time third shift on weekends. He was in his 30’s, married and had a full time job as a semi-truck driver during the week. Due to my working third shift Sunday through Thursday nights, I kept pretty much the same sleep schedule on weekends. Spending considerable time hanging out at the station when he was working, we became good friends. He was a great guy with a good sense of humor and became almost like a father figure to me, giving me a lot of good advice about life and how to handle myself growing up.

Dick worked hard and played hard. The reason he had the part-time job was for extra money that he could buy his toys with. One Friday night he came for the start of his 10 PM shift driving a brand new 1970 dark green Pontiac GTO! It had the 400 cubic inch V8 and four speed transmission in it. It was a great looking car with hood scoops and rally wheels, I think it also had a Hurst shifter in it.

Back in those days, we didn't know many people that could buy a brand new car and this was quite a shock, Dick was the center of attention for awhile with his muscle car.
A few weeks later I was at the station one Saturday night hanging out. It got to be about 1AM in the morning and said to Dick that I was going to go out and pick up a sandwich at a Suburpia sub shop before they closed. I asked him if he wanted me to pick him up one and he said “sure”. He reached in his pocket to take out some money and handed it to me along with his car keys! “Go ahead and take my car”, he said as I stood there dumbfounded. I couldn't believe he would let me drive his pride and joy (especially without him in it) and thought he was joking at first. I stammered something saying thanks and told him I would drive it safely.

So I nervously went out and got into his car. I started the motor and concentrated really hard to let the clutch out easy so I wouldn't look like a fool and stall the engine. That trip to the sub shop was sure a memorable one. I remember the car feeling so powerful on the freeway. Barely moving the throttle the car would effortlessly accelerate. I downshifted into third gear and mashed the gas peddle, shifted back to 4th, and it rocketed to over 90 MPH seemingly in an instant.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the first year the GTO had “variable ratio” power steering and a rear anti-roll bar and I remember noticing how well it steered and handled. It was quite unlike the 1968 Plymouth GTX that I had an opportunity to drive and did a story on.

I was so grateful he let me drive his car car that I didn't dare abuse it by burning rubber or driving carelessly but I did get on the throttle a few times and was able to feel the power. The new car smell, sound and power, I'm sure, were contributing factors convincing me to spend a heck of a lot of money on cars for most of my life! What a cool experience and one I will never forget. In fact, that was the first time I had ever driven a “new” car (barely broken in) and it was a 1970 Pontiac GTO! How cool is that for a gas pump jockey just barely out of high school making about $2.00 per hour?

And more than a decade later, I chose professional truck driving as a second career, and am still at it, after more than 30 years.

What happened to Dick? A while later, the company he drove semi-truck for went bankrupt and he lost his full time job. He was tired of driving anyway and ended up getting a job waiting tables at an upscale restaurant. We all felt sorry for him. But, as I said, Dick worked hard and played hard. Within an amazingly short period of time he ended up managing the place!

You can watch an automatic being put through it's paces on the YouTube video below.

Other of my car story posts:
Classic Car Stories:1970 Pontiac GTO - Dick Hands me the Keys!
Classic Car Stories: My Buddy's 1968 Plymouth GTX
Classic Car Stories: My Hemi Chrysler
Classic Car Stories: My 1965 Buick GS400
Classic Car Stories: Mopar Man to Chevrolet
Classic Car Stories: My Second Corvette
Classic Car Stories: My First Corvette
Classic Car Stories: My 1993 Camaro Z28
Classic car Stories: My Three Camaros - One Good, One Bad and One Great!
Classic Car Stories: Mom's 1961 Plymouth Valient

Friday, February 21, 2014

Driving an old twin stick

I'll bet there aren't a great many of today's drivers who were around to drive the old twin stick trannies decades ago. I started driving truck driving in 1980, so it was before my time also. Here's a cool video by Jim Park of showing how it was done.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Public Private Partnership Abuses

James J. Baxter
By James J. Baxter   9/19/2012 
Help support the National Motorists Association. You can join for free at the links provided:
The current political rage of “Public Private Partnerships” has shown it’s underbelly in the transportation sector through the cancer of ticket camera installations, privatized parking meters, and toll roads. The potential for corruption and citizen abuse reaches new heights when governmental power is merged with corporate profit motivations. Controlling and mitigating forces like legitimate regulation and fair competition are rendered impotent when governments go on the hunt for profits.
One of the most egregious examples of late, and there are many to choose from, is the new Texas toll road Between Austin and San Antonio, State Highway 130.
Knowing that motorists want faster roads, the private company that built SH 130 campaigned for high speed limits, up to 85 mph on the wide open stretches of the new toll road. However, the TX transportation authority deemed that such a high speed limit required special consideration, specifically a $100 million dollar bribe—er—payment to the state. Not to be unreasonable, the state only wanted $67 million dollars for an 80 mph speed limit. The entrepreneurs went for the whole enchilada, $100 million and 85 mph.
Of course this transaction has been promoted as being all about safety (after all TX DOT did conduct the requisite studies to determine an appropriate safe speed limit), but most mere mortals haven’t been able to figure out why a $100 million dollar bribe makes an 85 mph speed limit safe, or why $33 million fewer dollars require a “safer” 80 mph speed limit.
State officials must feel they need much of this extra money to replace speed limit signs on the existing public (non-toll-way) highway where the speed limit is arbitrarily being reduced from 65 mph to 55 mph, of course, again, for safety. I should mention that the state is also guaranteed a percentage of the tolls collected on SH 130. It’s probably safe to assume that some of this new found wealth will be used to establish perpetual construction zones, oppressive enforcement, lane closures, and ticket cameras on adjacent (read “competing”) highways.
That any public official, or private business person, can publicly stand up and proclaim that these measures are dictated by public safety is the epitome of arrogance.
However, I’ll admit that the same officials could have publicly proclaimed that they cut a deal with the toll road owners in which, for $100 million dollars and a percentage of the profits, they would go along with higher speed limits (fine by me) and drive traffic to the new road by making travel on adjacent roads as miserable as politically possible. That’s the real deal and anyone with an average I.Q. knows it, and that’s the way it goes down. Public Private Partnerships in action.
- See more at:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Rent in ND city of Williston exceeds New York City!
Thinking about moving for the big money oil field jobs? It not all a bed of roses up there in the tundra. Story thanks to Links provided:
2/16/2014  WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - The rapidly growing North Dakota oil patch city of Williston has the highest average rent in the United States, a national study from an apartment renting guide shows.
A 700-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in Williston costs an average of $2,394 a month, according to Apartment Guide, an online website for apartment hunters. The same apartment would cost $1,504 in the New York area, $1,411 in the Los Angeles area or $1,537 in the Boston area, the Williston Herald reported (
The population of Williston, in the northwest corner of the state not far from the Montana border, has more than doubled since the 2010 Census, with estimates of more than 30,000 people now within the city's limits.
The city and developers have lagged behind the influx of oil field workers, whose sometimes six-figure salaries can bear inflated rent and have caused a shake up in housing supply and demand.
"A lot of management companies have long-term projects projected, as long as the demand and infrastructure are there," Pam Winter, Apartment Guide's Regional Sales Executive for North Dakota, said in a release. "Projects that will be 300 units by the end of the year are looking to be 800 if it continues to boom. Currently, I have not seen many concessions, and one of the developers raised his rent in January."
Nearby Dickinson, N.D., ranks fourth on the list at an average of $1,733 a month. Boston is sixth, New York is seventh, Los Angeles is eighth. Chicago didn't even crack the Top 10.
Williston city officials recently established an Affordable Housing Committee to look at how the community can encourage more developers to build with reasonable rental rates and home prices. The state has created the Housing Incentive Fund, which provides dollar-for-dollar tax breaks for donations to help build affordable apartment units for essential workers.
Many of the new apartment buildings feature mudrooms, where workers can remove dirty shoes before entering.
"I think they are optimistic the oil boom will be around for the next 20 years because of the different levels of oil they now have access to through fracking," Winter added. "I just don't know with the weather that many people who are working in the oil fields will stay for more than a couple years."
Information from: Williston Herald,


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Classic Car Stories - My buddy's '68 Plymouth 440 GTX

The "gentleman's" muscle car!

Classic Car Stories: Back while we were still in high school, my friend Ross’s brother bought a brand new 1968 Plymouth GTX. He was several years older than us, had a decent job and could afford to buy a new car. It was a great looking dark “Race Green” color with the hood scoops and racing stripe along the side. It had the 375 HP 440 cubic inch motor in it with a Torqueflite automatic transmission. Both Ross and I had 1962 Chevy Impalas and we sure were envious of his awesome car.

The Road Runner was a cheaper, bare bones twin, came standard with the 383 motor and outsold the GTX more than two to one.

Several years later, in the early 1970’s, Ross ended up buying that car from his brother. It was still in decent shape and I remember riding around as a passenger in it, listening to the great sound of that big block 440 engine. Ross took great care of his vehicles and didn't care to abuse them and I don’t remember him burning rubber or going all out in it while I was with him.

One night he offered to let me use the car and keep it overnight. The reason I needed it is another story in itself, but I gladly accepted the chance to drive it!

As I took off down the street and made the first turn at a corner, I was astonished at the effort it took to turn the steering wheel! The car had no power steering, which I knew about, but the weight of that big cast iron 440 and automatic on the front end sure made it an arm workout to go around a corner. He had one of those leather wraps around the edge of the steering wheel to enable a better grip on it.

Those big Mopars were built to go fast in a straight line down a quarter mile track, not for a race course. But go in a straight line it could and it was thrilling when I got a chance to “open it up” a couple of times. I didn't go burning rubber with it, as I knew how Ross took care of his cars. The acceleration and sound of that GTX was awesome. But I tell you what, I would have had second thoughts about throwing that car into a corner sideways and being able to come out of it in one piece with that steering.

But I sure would love to get the chance to drive another one. What a blast! You can listen to a GTX running at the YouTube video below, this one having been sold.

Other of my car story posts:
Classic Car Stories:1970 Pontiac GTO - Dick Hands me the Keys!
Classic Car Stories: My Buddy's 1968 Plymouth GTX
Classic Car Stories: My Hemi Chrysler
Classic Car Stories: My 1965 Buick GS400
Classic Car Stories: Mopar Man to Chevrolet
Classic Car Stories: My Second Corvette
Classic Car Stories: My First Corvette
Classic Car Stories: My 1993 Camaro Z28
Classic car Stories: My Three Camaros - One Good, One Bad and One Great!
Classic Car Stories: Mom's 1961 Plymouth Valient

Friday, February 14, 2014

As Seen in ‘Goodfellas’: Arrest Is Made in ’78 Lufthansa Robbery

Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters
The mob is still alive and active back east! 
I just happened to catch the movie "Goodfellas" again on TV this afternoon. It was a very good movie and now we know how the real story turned out.

New York update: Article thanks to and

The crime gripped the public’s imagination, for both its magnitude and its moxie: In the predawn hours of Dec. 11, 1978, a group of masked gunmen seized about $6 million in cash and jewels from a cargo building at Kennedy International Airport.
The Lufthansa heist, as it was known, was billed as the biggest cash robbery in United States history, and it played a starring role in the 1990 Martin Scorsese movie “Goodfellas.” It remained unsolved for four decades, perhaps because many of those who might have known something turned up dead.
But more than 35 years later, federal authorities on Thursday charged a 78-year-old man, Vincent Asaro, with playing a role in the robbery, saying they had four cooperating witnesses from organized crime families who linked Mr. Asaro, a reputed capo in the Bonanno crime family, to the robbery.
It is an unexpected turn in a famously unsolved case that had long been attributed to the Lucchese crime family. The indictment makes clear that the authorities now are convinced that the Bonanno family was also involved. 
The man thought to be the mastermind, a Lucchese associate named James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke, died in 1996 in prison, where he was serving a life sentence in a different case.
The only person ever convicted in the robbery was a Lufthansa cargo agent, described as the “inside man” in the plot.
The indictment, alleging a racketeering conspiracy from 1968 to 2013, represents the first time an organized crime figure has been charged in the $6 million robbery — the equivalent, adjusted for inflation, of $21.4 million today. But Mr. Asaro, a resident of Howard Beach, Queens, does not appear to have grown rich from the crime; as late as 2011, he was recorded complaining about his take, according to prosecutors.
“We never got our right money, what we were supposed to get,” Mr. Asaro said to another mob figure, who is cooperating with the government.
“Jimmy kept everything,” he added, apparently a reference to Mr. Burke, according to legal filings by prosecutors.
The indictment charges Mr. Asaro; Jerome Asaro, 55, his son; Jack Bonventre; Thomas DiFiore; and John Ragano with a conspiracy that plays like a Mafia highlights reel: robbery, extortion, murder and more. 

Mr. Asaro, for example, was accused in the far-ranging indictment of muscling his way into the pornography business, and of robbing Federal Express of $1.25 million worth of gold salts, which are sometimes used in medicinal treatments. The indictment also accuses him of seeking to have his cousin murdered after the cousin testified in court about an insurance swindle.
“Those suspected of cooperating with law enforcement paid with their lives,” said the United States attorney in Brooklyn, Loretta E. Lynch, whose office is prosecuting the case.
Some of the crimes alleged in the indictment predated even the airport heist, including a homicide committed in 1969.
The federal investigation became public in June, when agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation descended on a home owned by Mr. Burke’s daughter in the South Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens and began digging in the basement, soon finding human remains.
The remains, the indictment states, belonged to Paul Katz, who was identified in court papers as an associate of Mr. Burke’s who had a warehouse used by Mr. Asaro and Mr. Burke to store stolen goods. After the warehouse was raided, Mr. Asaro began to suspect that Mr. Katz was an informant. He later told a government informant that he and Mr. Burke had killed Mr. Katz in 1969 with a dog chain and buried him under cement in a vacant house, according to a legal filing submitted by prosecutors.
Years later, according to a filing, after a police detective reopened the Katz murder case, Mr. Asaro directed his son and another man to dig up the remains, which were then buried under the home of Mr. Burke’s daughter.

The five defendants, who investigators said were all linked to the Bonanno family, were arraigned in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, where they were ordered held. Each stood with his hands behind his back. Vincent Asaro, who wore a black sweatsuit, running shoes and tinted eyeglasses, pleaded not guilty.
His lawyer, Gerald J. McMahon, said in an interview outside the courtroom, “Literally and truly this is the sequel to ‘Goodfellas.’ ”
“Marty needs a screenplay; Loretta said she would help him out,” Mr. McMahon said of Mr. Scorsese and Ms. Lynch, the prosecutor.
“We’re confident,” he said, noting, “Vincent Asaro said categorically, ‘We’re going to trial.’ ”
Prosecutors say that Mr. Asaro is currently a captain in the Bonanno crime family, but that his standing has varied over the years, and that at one point he was demoted for taking too much money from his underlings.
The legal filings by prosecutors do not say precisely what Mr. Asaro’s role in the Lufthansa heist might have been, although he is charged with the robbery itself as well as with planning it.

“Asaro himself was in on one of the most notorious heists — the Lufthansa robbery in 1978,” the F.B.I. agent in charge of the New York field office, George Venizelos, said. “It may be decades later, but the F.B.I.’s determination to investigate and bring wiseguys to justice will never waver.”
Prosecutors believe that Mr. Asaro gave some of the stolen jewelry to a superior in the Bonanno crime family. That superior later became an informer and is helping prosecutors with the current case, according to a legal filing. The cooperator is not named in court papers but appears to match the description of a former boss of the Bonanno family, Joseph C. Massino.
The F.B.I. agent who supervised the investigation decades ago, Steve Carbone, said in an interview that he had always suspected that Mr. Asaro was “in the mix as a player” who had connections at the airport. But Mr. Carbone, who retired in 1998, said it would be a surprise to him “if Asaro was physically involved in the heist” as one of the gunmen.
Investigators believe that about a half-dozen gunmen were involved in the robbery. Among the suspects, Mr. Carbone said, were Frank Burke, James Burke’s son; Thomas DeSimone; Angelo Sepe; and Anthony Rodriguez. They all are dead or presumed dead.
Mr. Burke was eventually sent to prison on information provided by Henry Hill, the mobster-turned-informant of “Goodfellas” fame, who helped plan the Lufthansa heist. But the conviction was unrelated: It involved fixing college basketball games. While in prison, Mr. Burke was convicted in a murder.
The only person convicted of the Lufthansa robbery was the cargo agent, Louis Werner, who had gambling debts to pay off. Mr. Werner took the idea for the crime to his bookmaker, who introduced him to another bookmaker, a beautician from Long Island, who is believed to have passed along the tip to Mr. Burke’s crew. Mr. Werner was indicted in March 1979, within four months of the robbery.
Only a tiny fraction of the money stolen at Kennedy Airport was ever recovered.
By 1980, when Mr. Hill began cooperating, several corpses of people connected to the robbery or to its participants had already been discovered.
Mr. Hill died in 2012, having had heart disease and other health problems. It is thought that Mr. Rodriguez might have died from a bite by one of the dozens of pet snakes he kept in his home, according to his lawyer, Marvyn Kornberg. But Mr. Carbone said that over the years, “I got to believe 15 people were killed solely because of this case.”
Reporting was contributed by Kitty Bennett, Sheelagh McNeill, Nate Schweber and Mosi Secret.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Where is the Trucker Who Saved My Life

Posted by thebridge on  in 2013 Issues2013 Supplement

A stranger’s help on a lonely highway rescues the victim of a mysterious, late-night accident.

by Betsy Frothingham
It was almost midnight on August 1, 2012, and I was driving my Toyota Camry on Kansas highway 96 about 12 miles from Hutchinson. The weather was clear and calm, and there was no traffic in either direction. Just about four miles east of Haven, Kansas, a sleepy, little town of 1,200 inhabitants, my car was devastatingly rear-ended, breaking the stillness of the summer night.
From that first moment of impact, I have always felt that this car accident was deliberate. I was an independent candidate for federal election and was gathering 1,500 signatures as part of the election process in a wheat state where independence was in short supply.
After the horrifying impact, I didn’t lose consciousness, and in the first moments after the accident, I took stock of my situation. I was strapped inside the car and, after the impact, trapped. Only my right arm could move. I fingered the gray felt visor above me. Raising my eyes, I peered into the vanity mirror. It provided a frightening sight. Rivulets of blood streamed all over my face.
In an instant, everything had come to a screeching halt. A local Kansas fellow (I found out later in a newspaper story that he was 29 years old) walked to my open driver’s window. He took a casual look at me, ignoring the blood and my many other injuries. I wasn’t angry with him. I didn’t reproach him. I just knew he wasn’t going to help me. I tried to stay calm. As I turned my face to look forward, I clung to the conviction that somehow my life was going to be saved.
The midnight horizon spread before me, and I saw ahead the lights of a truck that had stopped. An unknown figure appeared at a great distance and seemed to move toward me. Like a matchstick mounted at the highway’s edge, the apparition became a single line of light slowly advancing toward me. Was it possible that this vertical line of light separated from the clustered mass of truck lights in the distance was a truck driver coming to help me?
The form of a man took shape through the windshield. With a purposeful stride, he reached my car. He stuck his head inside my open window and saw the streaks of blood, now dried all over my face. “Madame,” he said to me forcefully, “I am going to get you help right away.” And so he did.
Soon the bright lights of an ambulance flooded the darkness. A wooden stretcher wrapped with red ropes was shoved inside along the dashboard of my car. Somehow my body was extricated from the seat, lifted out straight and bound upon the stretcher.
First, I was driven to the regional hospital in Hutchinson where I was brought into a series of well-lighted rooms. There was a huddle of doctors, medics, nurses. My head and neck were checked. Words were spoken that I could not understand.
Then the medics put me back into the ambulance for a journey of 43 miles east to the John Wesley Medical Center in Witchita. Dr. Harrison, chief general surgeon, assumed command. I lost all consciousness to time and place. Hours passed with no recollection of what had happened.
Worst of all, when I finally woke up, I found that I had lost all track of the trucker. Never did I thank him. Never did I tell him how he had saved my life.
I am writing this 16 months after the accident, and I am more determined than ever to find that trucker.
Elizabeth Frothingham, Ph.D., is a writer and fundraising professional currently living in Montpelier.
Help Me Find the Trucker Who Saved My Life
If anyone is a trucker or has trucking connections or ideas about how this person might be found, please contact the author in care of The Bridge.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Inverters: Choose wisely, install correctly!

Story thanks to Link provided below:

Fleets Find Benefits in Factory-Installed Inverters

Dec, 2013  In Joe Egan’s office, a framed picture shows a long-haul tractor, or more precisely, its charred remains.
“It’s not one of our trucks, but it illustrates what can happen when an electrical fire is caused by a bad inverter installation,” he says. “It gives a visual reminder to any driver who comes into my office what can happen if an inverter isn’t installed correctly.”
As director of maintenance for Richmond, Va.,-based Abilene Motor Express, a 350-tractor fleet, Egan says inverters have long been a popular addition to the fleet’s trucks.
 “Drivers have always wanted the comforts of home and AC power is at the top of the list.  If you’re on the road, you want to be able to plug in a TV, laptop or microwave,” he explains. “Plus, several of our drivers use CPAP machines.
"Prior to 2009, we were allowing our drivers to install their own inverters, but that became an increasingly difficult situation for our company. We were worried about poor installations – thus the picture on my wall – plus when they moved to another truck they would want to pull out the inverter and reinstall it in the new truck. That was a headache for them as well as for us. So, in 2009, we changed ourpolicy and decided to have inverter/chargers factory-installed with each new truck order. That ensured a proper installation and gave drivers what they wanted.  It’s been a great decision.”
The company runs a mix of tractors – Volvo VN780s, the new Kenworth T680, some Freightliners and Macks. Each truck maker offers Xantrex inverter and inverter/chargers ranging in power from 1,000 to 1,800 watts. Each is rated at double their power for “surge” power (the power needed for the initial load when a microwave turns on for example). Plus, they are equipped with a low-voltage disconnect (LVD) to shut down the inverter, once the system detects low-battery power. This safeguard preserves the starting power in the battery. 
According to Steve Carlson, OEM sales manager for inverter supplier Xantrex, when it comes to getting even more from inverters, many fleets are gaining extra “staying-on” power by installing dedicated deep-cycle batteries.
“They’ll add additional cost, but unlike a starting battery, they can be deep discharged with no less impact on battery life, and the LVD can be set to 10.5 volts versus 11.8,” he says. “In many cases, the driver can go a full rest-period without worry of running out of power. We also recommend the dedicated batteries when drivers are using medical equipment, such as CPAP machines. to ensure they have enough power for their sleep schedule.”
Gordon Trucking, based in Pacific, Wash., uses Thermo King TriPac APUs on all its long-haul trucks to provide auxiliary heating (via bunk heater) and air conditioning. The APU also features a Xantrex 1800-watt system, for hotel power loads.
“A quality inverter is very important within that system,” says Kirk Altrichter, vice president of Gordon Trucking. “In earlier APUs we were running, an off-shore brand inverter was used, and it gave us nothing but trouble. When the inverter went out, that meant our drivers couldn’t use hotel loads in the cab and sleeper. So, we were very pleased that our new TriPac units were equipped with the Xantrex inverter – we haven’t had a problem whatsoever and that’s been big for us, and for our drivers. I can tell you that offering AC power to our drivers is a huge retention factor for us. It does make a difference.”
With the TriPac APU, Gordon Trucking uses four AGM batteries which the inverter converts to AC power for all the truck’s hotel loads. Once the system detects the battery bank needs recharging, the APU automatically fires up to recharge the batteries. Once the batteries are topped off, the APU shuts down.
Because Gordon Trucking’s inverters come with the TriPac system, the long-haul trucking company is set for power conversion. But for fleets that don’t have inverters integrated into their APUs, Altrichter has some words of wisdom.
“With inverters, you truly get what you pay for,” he says. “Installation is also critical. You have to have the right wiring to match the amperage draw -- it doesn’t take much to burn down a truck.  In the early days, we saw the problem with drivers installing inverters themselves, so we decided back in 2006 that our trucks should have inverters – we wanted to provide them with AC power and we wanted the installation done professionally.”
Carlson says proper installation and a quality inverter go hand-in-hand. “Most inverters you find at a truck stop are not UL approved,” he said. “And that’s where most inverters are purchased. I can tell you unequivocally, that it is worth the extra cost to buy an inverter with a ‘Regulatory Listed’ approval – such as UL or ETL with UL458 rating. This means the inverter was inspected and approved by an independent agency, which safeguards against issues with electricity. UL458 is the listing for inverters and chargers in mobile applications. They must meet strict vibration, environmental, and thermal requirements to be approved for that listing.”

Friday, February 7, 2014

Blue Tiger USA bringing a real tiger to the Mid-American Trucking Show!

Blue Tiger USA, makers of the Blue Tiger Elite Bluetooth headset, are planning something a little different for the 2014 Mid-American Trucking Show in Louisville, KY.  For the first time in history, a live tiger will be appearing on the exhibition floor. 

“We’re hoping that our mascot, Blu, will bring in some visitors to the show and drive some excitement for the whole event,” said company founder and president, Fieras Saah.

Don’t worry, the excitement will be kept in check as Mr. Saah also promised that Blu, a fully grown tiger, will be kept caged when she visits on Friday, March 28th.

“Blu” is being brought in for a celebrity appearance to assist in what Blue Tiger is calling “The Official Launch of the Elite.”

Blue Tiger’s Elite headset is touted as the new industry standard in professional communications devices featuring the longest talk time, up to 34 hours, most comfortable fitting headband, and clearest communication of any headset on the market.

“Really, the Elite was made available to our customers a few months ago, but demand has been so high, we’ve been unable to meet supply requirements,” Mr. Saah continued. “MATS is the perfect platform to finally make the headset available to all of our customers that have been waiting so long.”
Blue Tiger test

Stop by Blue Tiger USA at booth #64072 on Friday, March 28th at the Mid-American Trucking Show in Louisville, KY to meet Blu, and the rest of the Blue Tiger USA team.

Last November I had the opportunity to put a brand new Blue Tiger Elite headset through it's paces and gave it the ultimate test. You read it by clicking this Link.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Women of Trucking HERstory
Story thanks to 
I've been happily married to a woman truck driver since 2008 and have heard her story of how the business can be difficult for women.  See "Deciding on a Trucking Career". 
Links provided for additional reading:

January 5, 2014 By 
Women are not new to the transportation of freight; women working as truck drivers are merely modern day female freight movers and they have been present for nearly a century yet rarely recognized.
Luella Bates drove a class B truck for the Four Wheel Drive Auto, Company from 1918 -1922 in Clintonville, Wisconsin. She was the first licensed woman truck driver.
Lillie Elizabeth McGee Drennan is often credited as the first licensed female truck driver. Lillie was given up for adoption shortly after her 1897 birth in Texas. She had only a fifth grade education when she married at the age of 15 and became a Mother; she was divorced 2 years later.
Lillie married and divorced twice more in her lifetime. During her second marriage she was introduced to the business of trucking. She eventually became a truck driver and the sole owner of the Drennan Truck Line.
Lillie had a hearing impairment that threatened her being granted a license by the regulatory commission of her day. According to the Texas State Historical Association, Lillie perceived “sex bias” as a factor rather than her hearing ability presenting a safety risk. She argued her case successfully and was granted her commercial truck-driver’s license in 1929.
Women working as truck drivers during WWII were not uncommon according to Adriesue “Bitzy” Gomez, a female trucking pioneer that has been lost in trucking history. She says that women were encouraged to take up male-dominated jobs during the 1940’s war efforts but after the war, the women were expected to get back in the kitchen. During the 1960’s, the sexual revolution heated up the equality issues in the workplace, many which remain today.
It is hardly recognized now that it was Bitzy and the 1970’s Coalition of Women Truck Drivers, a 150 member group that organized to fight hiring discrimination and sexual misconduct in trucking companies that paved the way to modern day recruitment campaigns that encourage women to apply for truck driving jobs.
While we know that women make excellent and conscientious professional commercial drivers, we are now also becoming aware that past EEOC discrimination cases brought by courageous women truckers like Bitzy created hiring mandates.
Unfortunately for women entering trucking in 2014, the problem known as the “Sleeper Test” from Bitzy’s era has not been resolved. Male trainers and co-drivers continue to coerce badger and/or force sex from female drivers. The “put out or get out” mentality is alive and well in many larger truck driver training carriers and sadly some female students do “put out” wrongly believing it is the only way to get a passing grade for a commercial driver’s license.
Education is imperative for women entering trucking and women that are already in the industry both as drivers and as related support personnel to improve retention numbers but all too often the women in trucking work against one another.
Whether these women are well intentioned but powerless, on a prima donna power trip, feeling as though since SHE has become a qualified driver and has not encountered obstacles that SHE has no one to thank and does not need to help anyone in the future. We should not view this as an achievement for women, these are not trucking heroines.
The women in the trucking industry, as with women around the world that are struggling for very basic rights must recognize that to truly “REPRESENT” something awesome it takes great courage. The courage to speak up and not back stab, to refrain from gossip, to stop “accommodating” and acting like you need to apologize for being a woman in a male dominated industry. Women need to learn compassion and understand that just because YOU did not experience harm, it is not a license to attack those that have.
The REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. vision is to unite women truckers that have the desire to help others that are struggling just as the Coalition of Women Truckers did in the 1970’s.
It is true that the majority of men welcome women to the industry, although it is not uncommon to be shouted down or told to go home and bake cookies on a regular basis. Still, there remains a greater problem, unaccountable sexual misconduct which seems to thrive in government subsidized truck driver training carriers. This problem is most frequently reported from trainees where the “team business” model is practiced and/or lease truck programs during training are pushed. (CR England, CRST Van Expedited, New Prime, Inc. and Covenant Transport)
“It is unreasonable to require a woman to team truck drive with a man as a requirement for employment” ~ Quote from Adriesue “Bitzy” Gomez
Women play a critical role in the future of trucking and it’s time for the true history of the women in trucking to be revealed. These are not pretty fairy tales and we are still very far away from having a happy ending.

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