Let’s break Women, Tequila and Hardware Stores down to where the idea came from.
Women. This one started when I had to give my daughter a hand with a front brake job on her GMC. When I asked how she removed the lug nuts, she showed me her galvanized pipe breaker bar – 6 feet long. Totally BADASS! Show me a woman who’s not afraid to take on basic auto repair, and I’ll show you a badass.
Tequila. I caught a Ron White interview where he talked about his own brand of tequila. He claims tequila isn’t a depressant because it’s not made from the same sugars as other liquor. True or false?
Finally, the PC police are quietly taking their toll on the hardware stores. The auto parts stores have to be close behind. We aren’t talking about the employees, competent or otherwise. We’re talking about marketing, and the names of parts and services.
We’ll wrap it up with a really bad ad, and what we learned this week. Our question to you is what did you learn?
Okay, I’m not a big conspiracy theory kind of guy. But I do believe the deep state has a pretty large data base. I also think they have their own agenda. That leads us to the story of Kevin Rutherford’s bogus bust.
Kevin told the story on an episode of Let’s Truck. Just look for the February 26th episode with Larry Winget, author of Grow A Pair and several other titles. I’d add a link to the post, but the best I can find is the audio on YouTube. Start at 2 minutes, 30 seconds. It’s this host’s opinion that his name is in a data list, and they knew what to look for before they pulled him over.
Truck Crash And A Lesson We Need To Learn
I hate to go negative, but PUT THE PHONE DOWN. This guy took a life while dreaming about his future. Now we have one dead person, and one less truck driver. Follow the link and listen to the interview with this driver’s friends and neighbors. It’s heart wrenching.
But wait! There’s more.
We have a guy who’s girlfriend roughed him up, a $1,600 Uber ride home for a drunk, a drug suspect who hasn’t pooped for 40 days, and more.
Why the short show notes?
Blame it on Dan, my tax guy. I’d rather make the 500 mile round trip to get my taxes done by dan than take my chances with anyone else. It also gave me a great chance for a much needed road trip and some time with Don and his family. It also gave us a chance to do the show together for a change.
The Trucking Podcast On YouTube
We have been recording the show every Sunday night at 8:45 pm. We do this live on Facebook at Facebook.com/truckingpodcast. We’d love to have you join us.
Starting with episode 2015, I will be uploading the video to our Youtube channel. Although it won’t be live, you can catch the show on Youtube around the same time as the podcast publishes.
Quick tip for those who’ve read this far: The first shot at downloading the podcast goes out to our twitter followers. The feed to the audio show is posted there a few days sooner than it’a published through the website, Itunes or any other channel.
Let’s be blunt here. I’m writing this for those of you who are where I used to be. Buck’s top 7 fast food tips was a big part of fixing a lot of physical problems in my life. If you’re where I was, I feel your pain. Here are my original goals from day one.
Drop my weight to 194 – I lost 10% of my body weight from when the diabetes was found.
Control my blood sugar – staying awake matters to truck drivers.
Look good in a T shirt – because man-boobs just aren’t attractive.
Feel better about myself – the belly and man-boobs have an effect on self esteem.
Spend 30 minutes a day or less on exercise – because I hate exercise.
The Journey Begins
Before I dive right into the top 7, let me give you a quick background on my journey, and why I suddenly took my health and fitness so seriously. I wasn’t always a fitness nut. Frankly, I just don’t have time for it.
This all started with my type 2 diabetes diagnosis at age 49. My wife Kris was still recovering from her stem cell transplant for cancer treatment. It was a scary time for both of us. Kris did nothing to invite cancer into our lives. But my diabetes was partially self inflicted. It’s hereditary and in my family. Proper diet and exercise may have put the diagnosis off for years.
Do You Value Your CDL?
That CDL and medical card allow me to make a pretty good living at a job I love. I needed to get this under control, and fast. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than truck. And how else can a fat guy with man-boobs make 60 grand a year?
How To Find An Exercise Plan You’ll Stick with
I started with a good pare of cross trainer style running shoes. Then I walked every other day for 24 minutes. I did weight training on the other days. You don’t need a gym membership for this. Just check out YouTube or core workouts. Pick something you can do, and do it. Most health and fitness magazines also have great core workouts with pull-out charts.
I started working out with a cheep barbell set from Walmart. Starting at 5 pounds, I progressed and created the habit. Avoid the most common mistake of jumping right in with 20 pound weights. No one wants to be that fat macho trucker who wrecked a shoulder tendon on day 3 of his exercise plan.
You Don’t Have To Be A Runner
If you wonder how long it takes to enjoy going for a run, it’s 2 years. At least that was how long it took me. My dad was a runner. Don was a runner. I wanted to be a runner. But you have to do what works for you. If it’s walking, that’s fine. Just get off your ass and move.
I Hate Counting Carbs And Callories
I couldn’t tell you how many carbs or calories are in any of my top 7. Counting that stuff is a drag. The best way to track success is with a bathroom scale. I also checked my blood sugar every morning.
I’ll give you a few common sense rules to use. The scale will tell you if you’re on track.
Stay away from white. Sugar, flower, potato, rice and mayo are at the top of the list.
Avoid anything that comes out of the deep-fry.
NEVER eat at the buffet.
Don’t go water crazy, but do drink more water.
One more thing. I’m not a big Burger King fan. They aren’t on the list because I just don’t go there often. Just use the common sense approach from the other choices. The above rules apply.
Buck’s Top 7 Fast Food Picks – Drum Roll Please
Mcdonald’s Egg McMuffin.
Eggs don’t count in the “avoid white” rule. The egg is protein. So is the ham. I often toss the top half of the bun to cut carbs, but you don’t need to. Protein fills you and keeps you feeling full.
Mcdonald’s Breakfast Burrito.
I generally buy 2 of these. They aren’t deep fried and they’re filled with protein. Watch out for the fast food burrito offered at other chains. They like stuffing them with potatoes. Potatoes are useless calories and bad carbs.
McDonald’s Fruit and Yogurt Parfait.
I would generally grab 2 of these and keep them in my cooler for later in the day. These replace the sugary crap I used to binge on. Portion controlled snacks are a big win.
Hardee’s Low Carb Burger.
Seriously, give this a try. It’s filling and delicious. The low carb burger is just like the regular burger, but served in a lettuce wrap. It has no bread bun. I don’t worry about what kind of sauce or dressing they put on this thing. I’ve cut enough out by getting rid of the bun. Use a plastic fork and knife to eat this thing. It’s messy if you try to pick it up.
Taco Bell’ Chicken Soft Taco with Pinto’s And Cheese.
Have 2 tacos if you really need to, but don’t skip the beans. They are great for fiber. I always add cheese and hot sauce.
Wendy’s Single, or Chili.
Notice I didn’t say both. I order the single with cheese, ketchup and and mustard. Toss that top bum. It’s pure carbs. The chili with cheese and onions is delicious. I add a couple packet’s of saltine crackers. I said a couple. Don’ go nuts on them.
Subway Foot Long Veggie Sub.
Want to stuff yourself? This is your chance. Choose your bread, but have them rip out a bunch of the soft bread inside. Don’t worry about them thinking you’re a nut. A lot of people mane this request. Go ahead and pick your cheese. Go easy on the lettuce, it’s nutritionally useless. Load up on the other stuff.
You’ve dumped a ton of carbs with the bread they tossed out. Don’t ruin this thing with a fatty dressing. No ranch, mayo or crap. Make a healthy choice. And don’t be afraid to ask for a little bit of two dressings if you want.
Some Other Stratagies
I knew going in that running would help lower blood sugar. I started my 24 minute walks. Slowly but surely, I mixed in some short, easy runs. Soon I was running for 24 minutes. I wasn’t paying attention to heart rate or distance. The only thing that counted was the scale and the blood sugar.
Pack your own food. Kris and I packed about 75% of my food from home. Keep a standard grocery list so you can take quick advantage when you’re anywhere near a grocery store.
Sleepers – How Big Is Enough
I saw a hot shot truck with this Cow Town sleeper last week. The small fiberglass sleeper sat across the front of the box. This thing was legal, but it’s only good for sleeping. On the other extreme are the big custom sleepers with kitchens, bathrooms and showers. How small is too small? How big is big enough?
I spent the bulk of my OTR years in a 48 inch Unibuilt. Most were mid-roof, but my favorite truck was a 48″ flattop. I had the passenger seat of that truck removed for more space. I also spent a year on the road in a Dodge quad cab. That one was doable, but tight.
This question actually came from a friend who’s thinking about hot shotting full time. We’ll line out a few assumptions. Then we’ll help decide whether to use load boards or a dispatch service.
Full disclosure here. The Trucking Podcast does get a commission from sales of Trucker’s Edge, but that’s not the point of this article. The point is to help a new independent owner operator get a strong start. Big truck or hotshot, we want to help you succeed.
Starting Point Assumptions
You want to do your own thing, with your own authority.
You want to find your own freight, and have some in-house contracts.
You’ve already decided, and your ready to buy your equipment, big truck or hot shot.
You want your virtual back office (virtual because it’s in your cab) up and running quickly.
Gas or Diesel For Hot Shotting?
We talked about this back in episode 79, Ford Triton V10 For Hot Shots. It’s worth a second listen. I have to follow the example of some of the larger fleets on this one. I’m not thinking trucking companies here. I’m thinking utility trucks, service trucks and other companies that use small and medium duty trucks.
Miles per year would be my deciding factor. The general consensus of fleet management uses 55,000 miles per year, give or take 5 grand. If you’re miles are less, go gas. If you’re going OTR, go diesel.
The Peter Principle
The Peter Principle is a book originally published in 1969. I truly believe it’s alive and well today. In my years of working in car dealerships and other businesses, I saw the principle play out. Mostly dealing with corporate America, author Laurence J. Peter was focused on a major theme. “managers rise to their level of incompetence.”
Truck drivers are somewhat isolated from the day to day B.S. associated with this principle, but not completely. I have no doubt it’s alive and well in many trucking companies.
I’ve also been reading a book titled The Big Leap. Dealing with mindset and self improvement, the author breaks down your career performance to 4 levels.
Zone of Incompetence
Zone of Competence
Zone of Excellence
Zone of Genius
These four categories tie right into the discussion, so I have to bring them up. The book mostly deals with why we place limits on ourselves, so it ties right in with the discussion above.
The hook. My goal is to help you NOT become one of the thousands of incompetent independent owner operators who fail in their first year. Start with the proper guidance. You’ll know when you’re ready to be completely independent.
Begin with the end in mind. Start where you’ll learn the skills you need to succeed. Learn the business, freight and lanes. Build up the credibility of that DOT number and establish yourself. Find your “duck eggs” and step out. You’ll land in your zone of excellence, and move to your zone of genius in time.
We’re veering off the beaten path of trucking this week. Instead, we’re talking about pickups, cowboy hats and dive bars. I love the first two, and have a fair amount of experience with the third.
These were all inspired by the ol’ email in-box. I subscribe to an abundance of websites and blogs, then cherry pick the best for content. The goal is to entertain and inform you, the listeners.
New American Pickups
There’s a Dodge, a Chevy an a Ford on this list from Autoguide.com. They give us a winner, a looser and one they’re undecided about. This list isn’t entirely trucks, and we do have to give an honorable mention to one of the little imports. Any screaming tuner with 275 horsepower and a sticker price around 22 grand gets my respect. Even if it’s a Hyundai.
Want Your Favorite Cowboy Hero’s Hat?
And what do you wear when cruising around in your classic truck? (Because your $3,000 87 half-ton is WAY cooler than a new Ram) How about a classic cowboy hat. I’ve always believed that high back bucket seats and huge headrests were responsible for the demise of the cowboy hat. At least among the urban crowd, cowboy hats are just not popular like they were years ago.
If you decide to rekindle that cowboy spirit, and you want to wear the hat of your favorite cowboy hero, go right ahead. Movie star hats from True Grit, 3:10 To Yuma, Lonesome Dove and more are available. Some are more expensive than others, but you can buy yourself one.
TrueWestMagazine.com has a fairly inclusive list. A simple Google search will tell you where to score others. Personally. I would recommend 2 cowboy hats. You will need a felt hat for the colder weather, and a straw hat for summer’s hottest months.
Ordering A Drink In A Dive Bar
From SuperCall.com comes this piece about ordering a drink in a dive bar. I don’t know what’s more fun here. Although there’s a common thread here as far as what you can safely order, some of these bartenders are a bit on the snooty side. They make easy targets for our critique and ridicule.
Seriously, I used to keep a pint in the pickup truck. Then, I’d stick to tap beer, and take a stroll out to the parking lot from time to time. With the DUI and open container laws of today, that probably isn’t a smart play. Come to think of it, it wasn’t a smart play then either.
If you haven’t heard of Brayden and Jenifer Tucker’s Dying Breed Diesels Facebook page, you must be driving a Prius and living under a rock. Their page will probably top 60,000 members by the time this is published. I had a chance to talk with Brayden last week via Facebook live.
The Tuckers are what I can only call the American Pickers of old semi trucks. Living in eastern Ohio, they are in a great location to pick trucks on the east coast and the Midwest. The three Freightliner cab-over trucks we talk about in this conversation are prime examples.
The Dying Breed Diesels Mascot
That’s Tawny on the left. You will hear the pooch snoring in the background from time to time.
As Brayden and I were having our conversation, I started hearing an occasional noise. The Tucker family bull dog decided to take a nap close by. From time to time you will hear the Tucker Equipment mascot as he snores away in the background.
Where To Find Trucks, The Apparel and Brayden
Brayden is old school with trucks and technology. We had our conversation via Android phone. But they do have a website. Check out DyingBreedDiesels.com and take a look. Not only will you find some really cool vintage trucks, you will find some cool merchandise. T-shirts, travel mugs and other items with the cool DBD logo are available and reasonably priced.
Although Brayden will sell a truck just the way he found it, most of these trucks get a bit of reconditioning before they find their next owner. Focusing on safety, Bryden walks us through his process of bringing these old rides back to life. They may become hobby trucks or projects, but many go back to work as freight haulers.
Let’s stick a fork in some assumptions about landing a trucking job. We will kill 7 myths about becoming a truck driver. Although all of these may be considered traditional, they certainly aren’t cast in stone. There are ways around everything. Just ask any former farm kid turned trucker.
So, you’ve never driven a truck before. Part of the reason is the process seems daunting. You may even think you would never qualify. Trust me, I was there. You may also have no interest in signing a 2 or 3 year contract for repaying the cost of a company sponsored driving school. Don the Beer Guy landed his trucking gig with absolutely no trucking experience, no contract and no training costs. It can be done.
Here are 7 myths. Things that would-be truckers assume are true. Many newbie drivers leave the industry after 3 months, and they owe the former employer thousands. Don’t let that be you.
You Need To Sign On With A Big Company For Training
Absolutely not. Becoming a truck driver doesn’t have to be expensive. I went to a small, independent truck driving school. I would recommend this school to absolutely no one. I signed a contract with the school for a $2,400 loan. They offered a hotel room and an open tab at a restaurant for meals. Of course, this would all be added to that high interest loan.
That school was supposed to be 8 weekends long, but we finished in 6. It was 200 miles from home. Heading out every Friday after work, I slept in my car. My wife packed my food and we never added another penny to that loan balance. My goal was met, learning trucking’s basic skills, receiving my CDL and medical card.
I’ll talk about how I found my first trucking job a little bit later in this post.
You Need To Go To Some Kind Of Truck Driving School
I went to a truck driving school, but you certainly don’t have to. You can get your Class A permit and medical card on your own. The only requirement after that is your ability to find someone with the equipment and time to train you. Remember, you need a driving test in qualifying equipment to turn that permit into a CDL.
Don went this route. He was hired, then trained. Finally, he took his driving test and was let out on his own. He’s been at that company for several years now, and he’s quite happy.
You Need To Spend Or Borrow Several Thousand Dollars For Training
We just killed this myth in the previous myth, but it’s too important to gloss over. Would I ever recommend a paid trucking course? As Don says, absolutely. But I’d never recommend a CDL school that’s run by the same company I am going to work for. Call me cynical, but I don’t want to be obligated to my employer for anything that doesn’t end if we part ways.
Don’t Sign That Company Contrct
What I would recommend is the accredited community collage or technical school truck driver training. These usually last several weeks, and are quite a bit more hands-on than anything a company offers. They also offer you the ability to keep your training costs separate from your pay check. Some companies may offer tuition reimbursement, and that’s fine. But you don’t have to keep sending checks to a company you decided to leave.
Some of the best companies offer no beginner training, but hire out of these schools. They know these students are more motivated, better trained and meet a consistent minimum training standard.
You Have To Be Willing To Be Out For Weeks At A Time
If you want to go on the road and see the country, go for it. I loved it. Although I am home every night now, I miss the road. It’s in my DNA, but it’s not for everyone.
Living in Wisconsin and being home every weekend came with some trade offs. I could run the midwest and south, but not the west coast. I had 10 years of trucking under my belt before I ever spent a weekend away from home. Don has never been away overnight with his trucking job.
If You Don’t Want To Go Over The Road, Don’t
Companies big and small are always looking for local drivers, shuttle and spotter truck drivers. Even most over-the-road jobs have weekly home time. Define what fits you and search for it.
I think many of these stay close to home are some of the best jobs in the industry. Many also combine different skill sets. As a livestock hauler for a small company, I knew I could work as a livestock buyer, seller or barn manager if my diabetes prevented me from renewing my medical card.
You Have To Be 25 To Be Hired
Several large companies have an age requirement of 23 or 25. This is driven purely by insurance. More and more companies are backing off on this one. The legal requirement for interstate commerce is 21 years of age. Intrastate is 18 years of age in nearly every state.
If you’re 18 to 20, you still have a way to go. We hired several drivers under 21 to deliver livestock when I was in the business. If we had a part time high school kid working in the barn, we’d teach the basic skills, then pay for their CDL test and medical card. They handled quite a bit of our in state pick ups and deliveries.
Once you hit 21, there are plenty of OTR companies that will hire you. At the very least, your in state driving proves your skill. It also proves your commitment and dedication to the industry.
I Have A DUI, Or A Criminal Conviction
They say time heals all wounds. But time changes people. Both of these are true. I know several drivers who’ve had drunk driving tickets. One of them was caught while driving a big rig. Different states have different rules. You’ll also need some time between that conviction and the new trucking job.
Whatever the offence, don’t spring it on a potential employer at the last minute, and definitely don’t hide it. This is one area where humility and remorse are everything. If a company decides they like your character and honesty, you’ll be surprised at how willing some might be to give you a chance, even if it means getting you home for any kind of mandatory meeting schedule.
I Have To Have A Perfect Driving Record
Again, the same rules as above apply. I haven’t had a single moving violation since I started my trucking career. To date, I think I’ve paid about 125 bucks in fines. Once was for my logs not being up to date. The other for being over weight on one axle set. But I didn’t start out this way.
I had one wreck and three tickets within the two years prior to earning my CDL. Everything was over a year old, so it wasn’t an issue with the companies I was hoping to work for. As I advised with the criminal record, just be humble and honest. Own it, and don’t make excuses.
You need 3 things to be a trucker. Basic skills, Credentials, Employer wiling to hire you Click To Tweet
We’ve Killed The Myths. But How Do I Find These Jobs?
You need 3 things to be a trucker.
Employer wiling to hire you
And here’s the good news. You can find number 3 first. In my case, I was working for a cabinet company as a laborer when I decided to go to truck driving school. I told the lady in charge of human resources what I was doing after the third week. They offered to let me work in shipping, and be a back-up driver. I packaged cabinets 2 or 3 days a week, then delivered cabinets in Wisconsin and Michigan’s upper peninsula. After 6 months of that, I went over the road with a company near by.
My advice is to start with small companies that are close to home. Have your spouse, family and friends pay attention too. Also, look for businesses that don’t consider themselves trucking companies, but they own and operate trucks. They make or distribute a product, and delivery is a necessary evil.
Don and I found great examples of doing things this way. Don found a beer distributor and offered to work for less than what they were offering if they’d give him a shot. They hired and trained him. He took his CDL exam in one of their trucks. He’s been there over 5 years now.
That cabinet company had two employees who’d been there for several years, waiting for “their turn” to move into that back-up trucker job. I was hired in front of both them. Had either of them stuck their neck out and went to that sh## hole trucking school, that job wouldn’t have been available.
I put about 250K on this 07 Dodge. Although this one had the 6.7 engine, it was absolutely my favorite hot shot hauler.
If you know me at all, you know I love hot shot trucking. I have nearly 7 years experience in hot shotting. I spent a year hauling RVs as an owner operator. I also spent almost 6 years hauling livestock with a 1 ton dually and goose-neck trailer. I made good money doing both. I also had great home time and spent most weeks working 40 to 50 hours. These hot shot trucking game changers would make me think twice about going back into hot shotting.
I’ve always thought I’d return to RV hauling as a semi-retirement job, but these are things that will definitely weigh heavily into that decision. The rules have definitely changed.
Hot Shot Trucking Game Changers
My time in hot shotting started back in 2005, but a lot has changed in the last decade or so. Three things specifically come to mind when it comes to using a dually as a commercial vehicle. These may not be a good enough reasons to stay out of hot shot trucking. But they are serious things that have changed drastically in recent years.
These may not be a good enough reasons to stay out of hot shot trucking. But they are serious things that have changed drastically in recent years. Click To Tweet
Newer Equipment Costs A Lot More
The newer trucks aren’t cheap. As a company driver, I was driving $65,000 pickup trucks. You can easily spend a lot more on a crew-cab with full options. The used truck market has gone up quite a bit too. You’re definitely going to spend a lot more on that truck, new or used.
The initial cost isn’t the only thing that’s more. Maintaining the new trucks has definitely gone up. Newer trucks have hundreds of computer sensors, and they’re everywhere. High pressure fuel injection, DEF, DPF and new computer technology has drastically reduced the amount of work you can perform yourself. And those shop rates aren’t cheap.
I’ve seen a lot of hot shot truckers get a million or more out of that Cummins 5.9 liter engine. A good friend of mine made it to 1.3 million, then performed a complete overhaul and ran it up over 2 million before finally retiring the truck. He performed nearly all the work himself. I doubt that will happen on the new trucks.
Fuel Mileage Is Not What It Used To Be
They’re coming a long way with this one, but it’s still not what it once was. I could deadhead that old 5.9 and get 24 mpg at 70 mph. Even towing the bigger RVs, I was able to average at least 14 mpg if I kept my speed around 62. I did get an occasional pig of a trailer that would test my will. Between the huge frontal area and the North Dakota headwinds, that instant mileage gauge would drop to abut 9.5. If it looked like the wind was going to die down, I’d just park for a few hours.
E-Logs Are Here
Electronic logs are a game changer for the industry, but hot shotters could easily feel it the most. This is especially true if you run a lot of dead head miles. I learned early on that I could run 62 mph, loaded and dead head, and save money. (There are no empty miles pulling RVs. You’re either loaded or dead head.) I soon discovered I could run 56 mph loaded and 72 dead heading back, saving even more fuel. Needless to say, e-logs will create a new cost of slowing down, less miles covered per day.
E-logs also create more work when it comes to personal conveyance miles. Those are the miles we put on our trucks for personal use. You can still do it, but you’ll have to keep track via notations in your logs.
DOT Cop In The Studio
Kevin Colton is back again. A former US Marine, trucker and career law enforcement officer, Kevin spent 5 years in CMV enforcement in the Atlanta area.
This time the topic is hot shot trucks. We covered a wide range of topics. Some of my favorites were discussion about home built trailers and hitches. You’ll enjoy the conversation. We also talked about auxiliary fuel tanks, length limits, load securement, even a case of a CMV using bungee cords for seat belts.
Really Bad Ads
I don’t know if we should call this week’s show Really Bad Ads or Really Bad Daughter. Either way, it’s definitely funny.
If you find a really bad ad, be sure to send it our way.