Posted by: fringe62 | February 6, 2013

Maiden Voyage – August 5th

Thursday, August 5th – AM
Finally went to bed at 12:15 am last night. Woke up when we arrived at a giant truckstop near Gallup, New Mexico at 1:45am. Saw lots of cattle yesterday – 1000’s in what appeared to be a great pasture. This truckstop is quite a place – probably holds 400-500 trucks. Hookups for fax, cable tv, phone etc… at each parking space. Everything anyone could want – like an office – repair facilities, food, showers, fuel etc…

Noise – I was up twice during the night. The noise from the reefer unit is great all night long. Didn’t keep me from sleeping however.
Lights – all kinds of lights – trucks, companies etc…

We ate breakfast before we left – pancakes, eggs, coffee $8.90 is not bad. We later had a rest stop at a Walmart where Heather hit the lampost rebar and busted a tire last year (see post – “What I Want For Christmas”) We pulled out at 11:45am, 9:45 local time.
We’re now in Navajo country – billboards line the highways for jewelry and other handmade crafts. Indian homes – hogans and a few cattle. A stop near Winslow at the WalMart then on through Flagstaff past the Motel 6 where (church) mission group stayed one night. Then Williams, AZ – saw the motel up in the pines where we, Jan and I, Peggy and Max stayed two years ago (when Dad and Max were hiking the Grand Canyon and touring AZ, UT and CO).

We are now west of Kingman, AZ – 50-60 miles from Needles on the California border. Shower and change – showers are spotless. It’s 7:40pm eastern time and 5:40 here. It will soon be 4:40 pacific time.

Heather says we should be in to receiver about midnight and will go right on in so we’re in good time for unloading. At this point I’m not sure where we will eat. However I’m not really hungry. When we got here it is very hot – near 100 degrees.

We have been in and out of heavy rain all day. Heather doesn’t like to drive in the rain. I’m surprised at the greenness. I haven’t been here in summer before except in 1962?… can’t remember. The rain they have had really keeps things green.

Stop at Port of Entry right over the border. Officer wants to see Heather’s bills (of lading) and ask her where she’s going, where she came from and what she’s hauling. She told me that if it was any kind of plants we’d have to pull over and be inspected. One time she brought in some bulbs that were going to a bunch of different Home Depot stores all over southern CA. She had to pull over and wait while an officer climbed up in the trailer and inspected every pallet she had on there. Because so much of what we eat comes from CA, they are very particular about what comes in and out of their state. If they had found any bugs or fungus or anything suspicious on or in the bulbs they wouldn’t let you deliver the load.  (story continues below California Port of Entry picture)

California Port of Entry on Interstate 40, near Needles.

California Port of Entry on Interstate 40, near Needles.

We stopped in Vernon, California to have the truck washed last night about 12:00. Took about one and one half hours with a 1/2 wait. They really do a good job. Spanish or Indian (workers). $55.00

(I almost always washed my truck once into CA and before heading inland. In CA, a clean truck looks like a well-taken care of truck and less likely to lead to inspections at the many weigh stations they have all over the state.)

The manager said they did 32 trucks the previous night – 60+ a day at $55. Not bad.
We then had 2 hours to Los Angeles. I slept for an hour then sat up for the last hour plus 20 miles down the mountain into San Bernadino. We see two huge truckstops – the only ones in the LA area. CB is impossible (to listen to… too much chatter and crap).

We get into the general area to unload and after the third time around the area we find the street where the receiver, JJ Snacks is. Heather checks in and backs the trailer in at odd angle area and we sleep. It is 3:30am pacific time. At 5:30 they begin to unload (the trailer). Completed about 6:30. I turn the reefer unit off. Heather signs out and begins to debate if we should get out into rush hour traffic. It’s almost 7:00 pacific time. She makes a few phone calls about pick ups.

The trip from Scranton to our delivery in CA is 2739 miles. PA, OH, IN, MO, OK, TX, NM, AZ, CA.

Posted by: fringe62 | February 5, 2013

Maiden Voyage – August 4th

Wednesday, August 4th – AM
Finally went to bed last night about 12:45am. Heather said she was going to drive for awhile, maybe to Oklahoma City. I never did wake up when she stopped at perhaps 2:00am. We were 60 miles from OK City at Kendrick.

This a.m. I woke up about 4:30 or 5:00 and had to use the pee bottle (per my rest area rules / 5am would be 4am Oklahoma time… way before it gets light out.) Went back to sleep until 8:00 then got up and read until Heather woke up about 9:00. We ate breakfast and drive through Oklahoma City to Weatherford about 40 miles west of OK City. We fueled up (80 gallons) needed for a free shower… my first at a truck stop. A new place and very nice/clean. Showered and changed clothes and had a cup of coffee until Heather was out. Felt like a new person. Heather did her log and we were soon on the way about 1:00pm

This a.m. saw real red Oklahoma soil at a new construction site that was being leveled out near OK City. It was orange-red. Saw other spots similar in Colorado and Oregon.  Lots of grain fields – wheat already cut – being prepared for fall planting. Never knew there was grain in western Oklahoma! Also lots of cattle and oil wells. Her log is complete and we are on our way west again. Next stop, Amarillo for a fuel stop.

It’s amazing as you look at state maps, how many town names are the same around the country. Vadalia I know is in Georgia, also Ohio and Missouri.

According to Heather’s log we have now traveled 1466 miles since Monday evening. Monday evening, Tuesday and Wednesday am.

Hometown boy – Garth Brooks – Yukon, OK

At about 5:00pm we had a real hard rain. As one driver said on the CB – “where did the road go?” Kind of scary.

We fueled up in Amarillo (Flying J truckstop) $160.00 I had coffee and finished my blackberry pudding for supper. Heather had a chicken sandwich while completing her logbook. Fuel mileage is 5.75 miles per gallon and we move out at 6:20pm.

We stopped at a place near Groom, TX that Heather wanted me to see. A very unique place. A giant cross (190 feet high – 110 feet arm). The largest in the western hemisphere. It is white metal. In a large circle around the base are the 13 stations of the cross – depicted by life-size, bronze figures of Jesus and others involved at each station… soldiers etc… Each station had a plaque quoting scripture – ending with the last on a hill with Jesus on the cross with the two thieves. Very well done. Also (in a small building that housed a museum) there was a replica of the Shroud of Turin. All built by private donations.  (SEE PICTURES BELOW)

Heather says we might make Flagstaff, Arizona when we stop tonight.

Groom, TX cross at dusk.

Groom, TX cross at dusk.

Jesus carrying the cross.

Life-size Jesus trying to lift the cross.

Life-size Roman soldier nails Jesus to the cross.

Life-size Roman soldier nails Jesus to the cross.

Jesus with the two thieves on the cross.

Life-size Jesus with the two thieves on the cross.

The Cross in Groom, TX as the lights come on.

The Cross in Groom, TX as the lights come on.

The cross in Groom, TX at night.  It can be seen for miles.

The cross in Groom, TX at night. It can be seen for miles.

Posted by: fringe62 | February 1, 2013

Maiden Voyage – August 3rd

Tuesday, August 3, 1999
It’s 7:30am – I’ve been awake for awhile. 8:00 and I decide to get up. Heather wakes up when a jake brake (engine brake on trucks) roars near us as a truck drives by. Heather had given me strict instructions on the rules while in a rest area. Basically, no going anywhere after dark without her with me. And if it was too late (or too early in the morning) she had a bottle to use.

( Rest area’s are very dangerous places. If it was after 9pm or still dark in the morning, Duke got a quick walk right near the truck and I never used the restrooms. The stories I heard of men and women being mugged and/or raped by people hiding in the stalls at rest areas were enough to take extra precautions. People would also hide between the trailer and truck and mug you when you come back to the truck. )

Another cool, great day. We cross into Indiana at 9:50am, heading for Indianapolis. This area is where I had basic training in 1953 – February-June. Heather updated her logbook before we started and of course checked on fuel. 5.69 miles per gallon was the average for the previous day.
It was a long way across Indiana because of 55mph (speed limit for trucks) – police all over – 5 bears and one in the air in a 5 mile stretch of highway.
Western Ohio, Indiana and Missouri – all soybeans and corn in most areas and very flat. At Richmond, Indiana, 20-30 acres of Carpenter buses at factory. Some more rest stops – St. Louis and The Arch and on to Springfield. Supper at a Waffle House – $8.90 and we browsed at a factory store; walnut salad bowls, case of Chicago cutlery, Zippo lighters.
Heather decided she needed a nap after dinner, so it’s now 7:45 eastern time and she is in the bunk. She indicates we will get to Tulsa yet tonight by about 12-1:00am. Then, on to Oklahoma City for fuel and a shower and points further west. So far – PA., Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and soon Oklahoma.

This is from a previous trip where I got to play professional tourist.

This is from a previous trip where I got to play professional tourist.

Even though Dad and I weren't able to stop here, we did go right by it.

Even though Dad and I weren’t able to stop here, we did go right by it.

 

Posted by: fringe62 | January 29, 2013

Maiden Voyage (almost)

In the summer of 1999 I bought a brand new truck at the Freightliner dealership in Branford, CT.  It had 310 miles on it from transport to the dealership.  A beautiful, deep maroon color with a long hood and a Cummins 500hp engine.
My father had always wanted to go trailer-truckin’ with me on a trip out west.  So, with a request to my dispatcher, I picked up a load on an August afternoon in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Once I was loaded I called my mom and dad and told them to meet me at the Petro truckstop in Milton, PA., which was about 20 minutes from their house.
My dad kept a journal during the trip and with his permission I am publishing it here.  Keep in mind with some of his observations, he was raised on a farm in central PA and grew up to be an Ag Agent for Penn State, so crops and dirt are his thing.  If I add any embellishment or highlights for context I will put it in parentheses.  I also spell out most of his abbreviations.
Because it is rather long I’ve split it into a different page for each day of the trip.  I’ll be posting subsequent days within the next couple weeks. Enjoy!

Monday, August 2 – 5:00pm
Heather calls – meet her at Milton truckstop at 6:15 – we’re going truckin’.  Jan (my mom) and I arrive at truckstop at 6:00.  I order two grilled cheese sandwiches and learn a trucker’s cost, $7.00  Then Jan said that Heather says to order for children “out in your truck” and the sandwich is only $4.00.
We get a quick tour of her truck facilities – lights (switches for overhead and in the bunk area), refrigerator, microwave, storage etc…  Heather and I remove the plastic protective seat cover (from the passenger seat – new truck) and I load my luggage in under the bunk and the closets where she had made room.  (Duke, my dog had to go stay with “grandma” for the next week or so).
We need two gallons of oil because oil pressure is not what Heather thinks it should be.  A long wait.  Nearly two gallons of oil into the 500 horsepower Cummins diesel engine.  Heather updates her logbook and we start west on I80 a little after 7:00pm
Lots of trucks (on the highway).  Through Union County, then Center, Clinton etc…  A beautiful evening as the sun goes down.  A real golden/red glow on the mountains west of Snowshoe, PA.  Heather says her new truck pulls the mountains really well.
On west – Brookville, Clarion, Mercer, Sharon and finally cross into Ohio at 10:07pm.  Heather says we’ll be on the other side of Columbus before stopping for the night – possibly by 2:00am.  She is just like in an office – driving, checking on the CB (radio), on the phone to friends to see where and how they are – watching the radar detector (which is illegal in an 18 wheeler), watching the dials… one has a light out which is annoying her.
I’m getting sleepy – it is 12:00 midnight – I crawl into the bunk and soon asleep.  Sunbury, Ohio – I’ve slept for an hour.  We pull into a truckstop for fuel.  I help with the fueling – one tank is full and one is empty (two fuel tanks at 150 gallons each – one on each side of the truck under driver and passenger doors)  We pull out and soon I’m sleepy and ready for bed again.
It’s 1:35 and we have pulled into a rest area west of Columbus.  I pull on my sleeping clothes and am soon again asleep.

Dad and I in front of my new truck somewhere in California

Dad and I in front of my new truck somewhere in California

Posted by: fringe62 | December 10, 2012

All I Want For Christmas Is…. New Tires?

It was hot that early December, even for Winslow, AZ.  I pulled off Interstate 40 into a WalMart parking lot.  I needed to pick up some items and get a prescription filled before I headed East for home.  It wasn’t a very big WalMart and as I steered around the parking lot I noticed that many of the light poles stood at weird angles.  “Careless truck drivers, not paying attention to where they’re parking”, I thought to myself… “Idiots!”  There was no excuse for such poor driving skills especially when it damaged private property.

I managed to pull in next to a few other trucks.  I didn’t like parking on the end of a row as it raised the risk of getting clipped by another truck trying to park but there was nowhere else to go because of the way these trucks were already parked.  As I dug around in the bunk for my wallet I heard a loud hissing noise coming from behind my tractor.  I stepped down out of the cab walked to the space between my truck and trailer and looked around.  There was definitely air leaking out of my tractor.  At first I thought that one of my airlines wasn’t on tight enough.  I re-twisted them into place.  That wasn’t it.  I could still hear it.

As I walked further back I realized that the loud hiss of air was coming from my drive tires.  I squeezed my head and shoulders under the trailer and between the two sets of tractor tires.  The smell of asphalt and hot rubber was almost overwhelming.  The hiss was definitely louder and coming from the inside, front drive tire.  I reached with my right hand and started feeling the sidewall of the tire.  I felt a hot rush of air and as I pushed against it I realized my index finger fit very nicely into the hole.  “Just great”, I thought.  Not only was it huge, it was just into the sidewall, not the tread of the tire.

I wondered whether I would be able to talk someone at the tire shop down the road into patching it.  All of a sudden I realized that I was still hearing a loud hiss of air coming from my right.  With my left hand I started feeling around the sidewall of the back, inside drive tire.  “Oh no, you’ve got to be kidding”, I groaned to myself.  There was another hole into which my left index finger fit perfectly!  I pushed my finger into the hole…. silence!

So there I am, wedged between the tires, trying to keep my hair out of the grease and dirt on the underside of my trailer, arms crossed with each index finger firmly plugged into a hole.  I realized what a sight I must be to anyone walking by and I laughed out loud.  What in the world did I think I was doing?  Was I going to crouch there all day and hold my fingers in the holes?  I slowly pulled my fingers from the holes, slid out from between the tires, and let out a sigh that was drowned out by the steady hiss coming from my slowly flattening tires.  I watched as they drained themselves with a final whisper.

I walked back along my trailer looking at the blacktop.  What on earth had I run over?  I almost didn’t see them sticking up about two inches out of the asphalt.  Four, green pieces of steel rebar stood in a perfect square where there had once been a light pole base.  There was no way I would have seen them from the driver’s seat.  I had just missed having two or more flat trailer tires when I had swung in to park.  The arc of the track of my trailer tires had cleared them by about a foot.  Another few inches to the left and I might have had four flat tractor tires.  Thanks goodness for small favors and damned be the dumb truck driver that had knocked over that light pole!

I went into the store.  As I was waiting for my prescription to be filled I decided to speak with the manager.  I told her what had happened.  She wasn’t too sympathetic.  She said they had so many light poles bumped and knocked over by trucks that it had gotten to the point that they didn’t replace them when they finally fell over.  I told her that I understood her frustration but that maybe they could have the rebar cut off even with the asphalt.  It would be just as devastating if a car ran over them.  She sent a guy out to flip a cart upside down over them but that was about all she could do.  I can’t say as I blame her.

I picked up my prescription, finished my shopping and walked back out to my truck.  I drove down the street to the truck tire place I’d seen earlier.  It’s against the law to patch the sidewall of a tire.  These holes were definitely in the sidewall but just at the edge of the tread.  I managed to talk the guy into patching them for me.  I told him I didn’t have enough money to buy tires and that I was on my way home and would replace them then.  What I didn’t tell him was that home was over 2000 miles east!

The patch held up and after I unloaded near home I drove to my local tire shop.  The guy told me about something called vulcanization.  I’m not sure what the process is but it was a legal way of patching the holes in the sidewall of my two damaged tires.  If it had been my brand new steer tires then I would have had to buy new ones out in AZ.  I wouldn’t take the chance of blowing a steer tire.  That would mean quite possibly having an accident.  So it was either the vulcanization process for a couple hundred dollars, or buy two new tires for a few hundred dollars each.  I hated to buy new tires since the ones on there were not nearly worn out yet and I had just spent around $800 to buy two new steer tires earlier that fall.  I took the cheaper option.

A few weeks later found me driving East on Interstate 80 in Wyoming, headed home for Christmas.  I was running with another driver that was a friend of mine who lived in a town near me.  He had also picked up a load in California and was on his way home for the holidays.  Chatting on the CB helped to pass the long hours spent driving.  I was watching the sun set in my rearview mirrors when I realized that small pieces of rubber were flying around the back of my tractor.  “Miner” I said, (his CB handle) “Did you blow a tire?  I keep seeing pieces of rubber blowing out from under my tractor.  Am I kicking up stuff your throwing off of a tire?”

“Pull up next to me and see if you see anything” he said.  There was nobody behind me so as he slowed down I pulled into the left lane and looked at all of his tires on his trailer and then his tractor.  I slowed down and pulled back in behind him.  He moved to the left lane and slowed again so I could check out the right side of his rig.  I didn’t see any sign of a tire shredding but we decided to pull off at the next exit to take a closer look.

We pulled over onto the shoulder of the exit ramp and did a thorough inspection of all of his tires and found nothing.  I started walking around my truck and then bent down to take a closer look at my drive tires.  It was getting pretty dark but my hand felt what I did not want to see… shredded tires!  I grabbed my flashlight out of the driver’s door pocket and got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach at what the light revealed.  The whole tread was almost off of one and the other was also close to coming off!  I climbed into my truck and started calling the nearest truckstops.  The closest one was still 100 miles further East and the other one was almost 75 miles back West.

Then I noticed that the exit where we’d pulled off had a little tiny diesel stop down over the hill.  By this time it’s dark and I can see the lights are still on.  Miner and I drove our trucks down to the station and pulled in just as the lights started going out.  I jumped out of my truck and ran in the door.  “Sir, do you have any truck tires” I asked?

“I do but I’m closed.  You’ll have to wait until morning.  You can park right there and I’ll wake you up when I get in at seven” he said.

“Oh” I said.  “I’m trying to get home to Pennsylvania in time for some family Christmas get-together’s.  Isn’t there any way you could change a couple tires before you leave?”

He glanced at the clock and muttered under his breath but grabbed a flashlight off of the desk and walked out to look at what I needed.  I showed him the two tires and explained what had been done to them.  He walked back into the shop, disappeared into the back and a few minutes later came out rolling two obviously used tires in front of him.  “I think these will work.  Five hundred each and I’ll include the labor and disposal for that price” he said without blinking an eye.

I just stared at him in disbelief!  “But, they’re used” I said!  “I just bought two new steer tires a month ago that didn’t cost that much.  You want a thousand dollars for two, very used drive tires?  You’re joking right?” (steer tires have a thicker tread, therefore usually cost a bit more than drive or trailer tires)

“They’re not so bad” he said as he shrugged his shoulders and glanced at the clock again.  “I don’t have all night.  I’m already late for dinner.  Take it or leave it or I’m closing up.”

I opened my mouth to argue and then closed it again.  I let out a long exasperated breath.  He had me and he knew it.  Where else was I going to go?  He knew that I was loaded and couldn’t drive much further without risking doing damage to the other two tires on that side of the truck.

“Geez.  Happy HoHo to you too” I said.  “Where do you want me to drop the trailer.”

“You’re fine right there.  I’ll need cash or a credit card.  I don’t take checks” he said as he rolled the tires out the door.

I followed him out, dropped my trailer and as he jacked up the tractor and changed the tires.  I walked over to Miner’s truck and told him what was going on.  He couldn’t believe the price either.  “Wow.  Merry you’re screwed Christmas” he said.  “What happened to the spirit of the season and all of that?”  He walked into the office with me and grabbed a couple bags of chips and a soda.  As the tire guy walked in Miner tossed his purchases on the desk.  “Put these on her tab” he said as he laughed and then pulled some money out of his pocket.

“I need a written receipt” I said as I threw my credit card onto the desk.

A short time later as we pulled back onto the interstate the tire guy was on his way home to a cold supper with a very nice holiday bonus in his pocket and I had a huge hole in mine.  We drove another few hundred miles and called it a night somewhere in Iowa.

When I checked in with my dispatcher the next morning and told him about it he laughed.  “You need to take a picture of those tires and put it under your Christmas tree when you get home” he said.

“Why?” I asked.  “I don’t think any of this is very funny”

“Because” he chuckled, “when everyone asks you what Santa brought you for Christmas, you can point to the picture and tell them, new tires!”

“Very funny” I said.  “All I want for Christmas is some good paying loads from my dispatcher to pay for those tires.  That’s what I get for trying to take the cheap way out.”

 

 

12/10/12

Posted by: fringe62 | June 22, 2012

CB Radio – Trucker Slang Definitions

This is a pretty comprehensive list.  So, as you’re reading my stories,  if you run across some funny words and want to know what they mean, here’s the definitions.

“A&A”

Aggravating Agitator – This term refers to a CB user who is trying to cause trouble.

“Advertising”  

A police car with its emergency lights flashing.

“Affirmative” 

Yes.

“Alice in Wonderland” 

Someone who is lost or seeking directions.

“Alligator”

See “Gator”  Tread from the tire of an 18 wheeler on the road.

“Anchor Clanker”  

Boat trailer.

“Anchored Modulator” 

CB Base Station.

“Anklebiters” 

Children.

“Anteater”  

A Kenworth T600/T660 tractor, because of the long sloping tilt up hood.

“Antler Alley”

Deer Crossing.

“Baby Bear / Cub”  

A rookie (or a very young) officer.

“Back Door” 

The area behind a vehicle or the last vehicle in a line. To say “I got your back door” means that someone is watching another’s back. “Knocking at your back door” means approaching from behind.

“Band-aid Buggy” / “Meat Wagon”  

Ambulance.

“Base Station”

Radio installed at a fixed location, ie: a house or business.

“Bear”  

A police officer. The terms “Smokey” & “Bear” are both direct references to Smokey Bear, a character image commonly seen along U.S. highways, as part of warnings not to cause wildfires. He wears a hat very similar to that of state highway patrol uniforms in the U.S.

“Bear Bait” 

An erratic or speeding driver.

“Bear Bite” 

A speeding ticket.

“Bear’s Den”  

A police station.

“Bear / Smokey in a plain brown wrapper”  

A law officer in an unmarked police car. The term “plain wrapper” is sometimes used, depending on the color of the vehicle.

“Bear In the Air” / “Spy in the sky”  

A police aircraft.

“Bear In the Grass” / “Smokey in the bush”  

A speed trap.

“Bear Taking Pictures”  

Police with radar.

“Bear with a Customer” 

A patrol officer who has pulled someone over.

“Bear With Ears”  

A police officer listening to others on the CB.

“Big Orange”  

Schneider company truck.

“Big R”  

Roadway Express company truck.

“Big Road” 

Interstate highway, as opposed to smaller highways and city streets.

“Binders” 

Air brakes.  As in “hitting the binders” means hitting the brakes.

“Black and White”  

Highway Patrol.

“Blinders” 

High beams (headlights).

“Blue Light” / “Blue Light Special”  

A law enforcement vehicle, especially with a stopped motorist.

“Blow My Doors Off”

Usually means passing someone with great speed.  Can mean a very loud CB radio

“Bob-tail”  

A semi-tractor operating without a trailer.

“Brake check” 

A traffic slowdown.

“Breaker 1-9” / “Breaker, Breaker”

Telling other CB users that you’d like to start a transmission on channel 19.  (“One-nine” refers to channel 19, the most widely used among truck drivers).

“Breaking Up”

Your radio transmission is cutting in and out.

“Brush Your Teeth and Comb Your Hair”

Radar gun ahead (you’re going to get your picture taken).

“Bull Rack”/”Cattle Wagon”  

Livestock truck.

“Bumper Sticker” 

A tailgating vehicle.

“Buster Brown”  

A United Parcel Service truck.

“Buzzard Truck”  

A Stevens Transport company truck, because the birds on the truck all face the same direction as if flying in a circle.

“Cab-over”  

Term for tractors designed with the cab directly over the engine.

“Camera”  

Police radar unit.

“Camper”  

A RV, such as a Motorhome. AKA a “Portable House”.

“Care Bear”  

Police car located within a construction zone.

“Cash Box”   

Refers to a toll booth or toll plaza.

“Catch Car”  

Police car past radar set-up.

“Catch Some Z’s”

Get some sleep.

“CB”

Stands for Citizens Band radio and is what truckers use to communicate on the road.

“Cheap Hardly Effective Virtually Runs On Luck Every Time”  

Acronym for a Chevrolet Vehicle.

“Checking My Eyelids for Pinholes”  

I’m tired.

“Checkpoint Charlie”  

Old CB slang for a police checkpoint placed to look for drunk drivers, etc. This looks like a roadblock.

“Chicken Choker”  

Poultry truck.

“Chicken Coop” or “Coop”

Weigh station.  (“Hey East bound are the coops open or closed?”)

“Chicken Truck” / “Portable Runway”

Usually an owner operator with more than the usual number of lights outlining all sides of the truck and trailer.  Also called a portable runway since at night, from an airplane it must look like a moving runway.

“Chief Hood Lifter”  

Service Manager at a truck repair garage

“Choke and Puke” 

Roadside diner (After the poor quality of food at some establishments).

“City Kitty”

Refers to local law enforcement monitoring a particular stretch of interstate which runs through their jurisdiction.

“Clean and Green”

As in, “You’re clean and green back to the 180”.  There are no bears or slowdowns back to the 180 mile marker.

“Cocaine Cowboy”  

Drug Enforcement Police, usually used when a car is pulled over and being searched.

“Come Back / Come On” 

A request for someone to acknowledge a transmitted message or reply to a question. (“Hey East bound how about a bear report, come back.”)

“Comedian” 

Refers to the median between a divided highway.

“Comic Book” 

A trucker’s log book.

“Commercial Company” 

Prostitute who hangs out on the radio looking for her next job, usually around truck stops.

“Convict Wagon”  

Prison Transport used by the Department Of Corrections, terminology is named for the caged wagons used to haul convicts to prison and/or to executions in the US in the 19th century. Usually it is a large bus that is the size of a standard city bus, painted white, has the D.O.C. markings on it, state or Federal markings on it as well.

“Convoy” 

A group of 3 or more truckers in a line, usually exceeding the speed limit.

“Copy”

Receiving a message (you got a copy on this radio?).

“Cornbinder”/”Barnyard Buick”  

A Navistar International truck (formerly International Harvester).

“Cornfield Cadillac”  

A John Deere tractor.

“Corn Flake”  

(CFI) Consolidated Freight Lines company truck.

“County Mountie”  

A Sheriff’s deputy car.

“Covered Wagon”  

A trailer that resembles a Covered Wagon of the old west, normally used for carrying steel rolls.

“Crotch-Rocket Cowboy” 

Refers to an individual on a sport bike (motorcycle) riding recklessly. Usually used as a warning to other drivers to watch for erratic behavior.

“Dead-head” / “Dead-heading”

A truck operating with an empty trailer.  (“I’ve got to deadhead 130 miles to pick up my next load.”)

“Dead Pedal”

Slow moving car or truck.

“Detroit Vibrator”  

A Chevrolet truck

“Diesel Cop” / “Diesel Bear” / “D.O.T. Bear”

State department of transportation personnel, usually enforcing weight limits and safety rules.

“Dirty Side”

The East coast of the country.

“Disco Lights”  

The flashing emergency lights of a law enforcement vehicle.

“Disco Party”

When more than one emergency vehicle are gathered with their lights flashing.

“D.O.T.”

Department of Transportation – responsible for vehicle safety.

“Double L”

Making a phone call on a landline.

“Double Nickel” 

The 55 mph speed limit for trucks.

“Doughnuts” 

Tires.

“Down and Out”

Finished talking on the radio.

“Down and On The Side”

Finished talking but still listening to the radio.

“Draggin Wagon”  

Wrecker.

“Dream Weaver”

Tired driver that is weaving all over the road.

“Dressed for the Ball”

Listening to the radio to find out road conditions.

“Driver” 

A polite form of address used when you do not know someone’s on-the-air nickname. (See “Handle”)

“Drop and Hook”

Unhooking and leaving a trailer and picking up another one at a certain location.

“Drop the Hammer Down” 

Pressing the accelerator to full speed.

“Dry Van”

Trailers that don’t have refrigerated units on the front and so haul non-temperature controlled freight.

“Ears” 

CB radio (ex: “How bout ya JB, got ya ears on?”)

“Easy Chair” / “Rocking Chair”

Middle vehicles in 3 or more trucks in a convoy.

“Eaten By a Bear” 

Someone who is arrested by police, you can see the arrested person in the patrol car, especially if said patrol car has a “cage” in it.

“Eighteen-wheeler”  

A Tractor/Semi-trailer or transport truck with trailer.

“Evel Knievel”  

A police officer on a motorcycle.

“Eyeballs” 

Headlights.

“4-10” 

A reversal of the ten code “10-4”, when asking if someone agrees with something said, or to ask if one’s transmission was received. (“That was a nasty wreck. Four-ten?”)

“Feed The Bear”  

Pay a traffic fine.

“Fender Bender” 

A road traffic accident/crash.

“Fifth Wheel”

Part of the tractor that the trailer hitches onto.

“Fixed Overhauled Reconditioned Dodge”,”Fixed Or Repaired Daily”, “Found On Roadside Dead”  

Acronym for Ford cars and trucks.

“Flash For Cash” 

Speed camera.

“Flip-flop” / “Flip-side” 

The return leg of a trip. (ex: “Catch you on the flip-flop” means “I’ll contact you again on the way back.”)

“Four” 

Short for the ten code 10-4, which means acknowledged, okay, etc.

“Four-wheeler”  

While this is commonly used to refer to a four-wheel-drive vehicle (such as a jeep or pickup), among truck drivers it refers to any vehicle with only 2 axles, as distinguished from an “eighteen-wheeler” (a semi truck).

“Four Wheel Phone Booth” 

Someone using a cell phone while driving.

“Freightshaker”  

Another term for a Freightliner truck.

“Front Door” 

The first vehicle in the line of a convoy and is supposed to watch for bears.

“Full-Grown” / “Full Grown Bear”  

A state policeman/trooper.

“Gator” / “Alligator” 

A large piece of a truck tire’s tread in the roadway. The name comes from the tire tread’s resemblance to the scaly ridges of an alligator’s back, or the propensity for these pieces of tread to be drawn up between the cab and trailer by the air currents of a truck at highway speeds “like a snapping gator”, and sever the air brake lines between the tractor and the trailer. Most newer trucks have shield plates designed to prevent this.

“Gator Guts” 

Smaller pieces of shredded tire usually preceding a larger piece of “gator” or “gator back”.

“Georgia Overdrive” 

Shifting into neutral on a down grade to gain speed without using fuel.

“GI-Joe”  

Truck carrying Hummers, soldiers, tanks or other military equipment.

“Go Breaker”

Invitation for someone to speak that asked for a break on the CB.

“Go-go Juice” / “Motion Lotion” / “Pusholine” 

Fuel (usually Diesel, since large trucks seldom run on gasoline.)

“Good Buddy” 

In the 1970s, this was the stereotypical term for a friend or acquaintance on a CB radio.   It is now the modern term for a homosexual.

“Good Neighbor” 

This has replaced “good buddy” as the acceptable term for friend.

“Got Bit By A Bear”  

Received a ticket.

“Got Your Ears On?” 

Asking the receiver if they are on the air and listening.

“Green Stamp”  

A toll road since on most maps toll roads are highlighted in a green color.

“Grocery Grabber / Grocery Getter” 

A Minivan, station wagon, or other family car.

“Granny Lane” 

The far right lane (slow lane).

“Gum Ball Machine” / “Bubble Gum Machine”  

Refers to a popular style of rotating light used by many state police and some other law enforcement agencies of the roof.

“Hamburger Helper” 

Power amplifier / Linear, used to boost transmission power.

“Hammer Down”

Vehicle moving fast (“smokey is west bound and hammer down) or telling someone to move faster (come on, hammer down!).

“Hammer Lane” 

The far left lane (fast lane).

“Handle” 

The nickname a CB user uses in CB transmissions. Other CB users will refer to the user by this nickname. To say “What’s your handle?” is to ask another user for their CB nickname.

“Harvey Wallbanger” 

A driver who appears to be drunk or is driving recklessly.

“Haz-Mat”

Hazardous materials – which requires a special license to haul and placards on the trailer.

“Hauling Fence Post Holes” / “Hauling Sailboat Fuel” / “Hauling Dispatcher Brains”

Hooked to an empty trailer.

“Hitting the Jackpot” 

Getting stopped by a state trooper. Lights on trooper cars look like slot machine lights.

“Hole In The Wall” 

A tunnel.

“Home Twenty”

Where’s your hometown.

“How ‘Bout Ya?” 

A query used when seeking another, usually followed by their CB handle, or some other identifier if you don’t know their handle.

“How Many Candles Are You Burning?” 

Asking how old someone is.

“Ice-Capading” 

Losing traction on the roads due to icy conditions; can refer to either the trucker, or witnessing it happen to someone else.

“I’m / We Gone” 

Indicates that one is finished transmitting and may not be listening to the conversation any longer, or may be traveling out of receiving range. Equivalent to “Signing off”, “Out”, or “Clear” in formalized radio voice procedure.

“Jake Brake” 

Jacobs engine retarder brake used to help slow rigs on down grades. Now used to mean any similar system using engine compression to hold back a rig on a down grade (IE. the pac brake = pacific engine brake). Both make a loud roaring sound. Some townships have bylaws in place that limit the use of such brakes in residential or other areas due to the noise.

“Jet Pilot” 

Speeding vehicle.

“Jibber Jabber on Channel 9” 

Someone using foreign language on Channel 9, which is not illegal. Channel 9 on the CB is supposed to be used only to report emergencies.

“Jimmy”  

A GMC tractor.

“Joke Book”/”Comic Book”

A trucker’s log book.

“Keep It Between the Ditches” / Keep The Bugs Off Your Glass and Trouble Off Your Ass” / Keep The Shiny Side Up and The Greasy Side Down”

Have a great trip and drive safely.

“Key Up” 

To engage the microphone button. ex: “When did you key up your mike last?

“Kick a Tire” / “Watering the Tires” 

To urinate alongside the truck or trailer near the rear tires of either one.

“Kick It In” 

What the person who is being called will say on his radio as a response. (for example: “How ’bout ‘cha, Blue Beard. You got a copy on Shamrock?”  “This is Blue Beard. Kick it in.”)

“Kicker” / “Boots” / “Shoes” 

A Linear Amplifier that is used to boost the transmitting power of a CB Radio above the legal limit.

“Kiddy Car”  

Refers to a school bus.

K-Whopper” / “Kitty-Whopper” / “K-Wobbler” / “KW”  

A Kenworth Tractor.

“Lag Time”

The amount of time it takes once the brakes are pressed, for the air in the braking system to reach from the tractor all the way back to the trailer brakes.

“Lights Green, Bring On The Machine”

Road is clear of police and obstructions.

“Lincoln Bound” 

Illinois bound Traffic, not Chicago.

“Little White Pills” 

Stimulants used to keep the driver awake on long hauls. Mentioned in Dave Dudley’s original version of the song “Six Days on the Road”.  These days used  more as just a saying than actually taking anything illegal because of mandatory drug testing for all drivers.  So can actually mean another cup of coffee or caffeine-filled stimulants.

“Load” / “Loaded” / “Getting Loaded”

When a driver picks up a load he is picking up freight for his next run (getting loaded).  Loaded means his trailer is full of freight.

“Local Yokel” / “City Kitty” / “Town Clown”  

A law officer with a city or township police force, seldom encountered on interstate highways.

“Log Book”

Where a driver is required by federal law to record all of his working, driving and sleeping time.

“Logging Some Z’s”

Getting some sleep.

“Lookin’ for Local”

A driver looking for local information, usually trying to find a shipper or receiver.

“Loot Limo”

Armored car.

“Lot Lizard” 

Prostitute, especially one that frequents truck stops.

“Magic Mile”

The last mile of any trip.

“Make a trip”

Change to another channel (“did you make the trip?” to an upper or lower CB channel).

“Mama Bear” / “Honey bear”  

A female law enforcement officer.

“Mile Marker”

Every interstate is marked each mile with a little green sign with white numbers on it to show how many miles you are from either the western edge of the state or the southern edge of the state.  A driver should always know about what mile marker she’s at in case something happens or a cop is spotted. (sometimes the signs are white with black lettering)

“Nap Trap” 

Motel or rest stop.

“Negatory” 

No.

“Office on Wheels” 

Office workers using the car as an office while in traffic.

“Organ Donor”/”Donorcycle” 

A civilian motorcyclist, especially one without a helmet, usually driving erratically and/or under the influence.

“Outbander”/”Freebander” 

One who operates an illegally modified CB radio, often broadcasting outside the regulated frequencies.

“Over and Out” 

Phrase meaning the CB’er is stopping talking and either turning the CB off or going to another channel.

“Papa Bear”  

A police supervisor.

“Paper Hanger”  

Police giving speeding ticket.

“Parking Lot”

A car-hauler.  Also  means a jam-up on the interstate.

“Pavement Princess”

A hooker.

“Pay Wagon”/”Piggy Bank”  

An armored car.

“Pete” / “Petercar” / “Poor Boy”  

A Peterbilt Tractor.

“Pickle Park” 

An interstate rest area frequented by prostitutes.  Also used for rest areas in general since families tend to stop and use them for picnics/meals.

“Picture-taker” / “Smokey taking pictures” / “Kojak with a “Kodak” / “Hemorrhoid with a  Polaroid”

A law officer monitoring traffic with a radar gun. Today, this can also refer to an automated speed camera.

“Plain (Brown) / (White) Wrapper”  

Unmarked police car (often referred to by the car’s actual color).

“Polar Bear”  

An all-white highway patrol car.

“Pony Express”  

Mail hauler.

“Portable Barn Yard”  

Cattle truck.

“Portable Parking Lot” / “Mobile Parking Lot”  

A car hauler

“Professional Tourist”

What truck drivers sometimes call themselves.

“Protecting and Serving” / “With a Customer”  

Officer with a car pulled over.

“Pumpkin”  

A Schneider National company truck – because of the orange color of their tractors and trailers.

“Put the Hammer Down” / “Put the Pedal to the Metal” / “Put It On The Floor and Looking For More”

Slang for flooring the accelerator.

“Radio Car” / “Super Trooper” 

Either a marked or unmarked state trooper vehicle sporting additional antenna on the trunk or sides of the vehicle.

“Radio Check”

Asking to see if radio is working (“Breaker 1-9, can I get a radio check?”).

“Raise”

As in trying to reach someone on the radio – trying to “raise” them.

“Raking the Leaves” 

Refers to the last person in the convoy, who watches for cops coming from behind.

“Ratchetjaw” 

An obnoxious person talking non-stop and saying nothing.

“Read”

To receive or hear someone (“I read you loud and clear”).

“Reefer” 

A refrigerated trailer, identified by the large refrigeration unit on the front.  Used for transporting produce, meats, other food products and perishable items that need to be temperature controlled.  Usually cooled or frozen but sometimes in cold weather there are commodities that need to be kept warm.

“Re-Power” 

Term referring to a truck taking a load from another truck that cannot make the destination. This is usually done if the original truck has broken down, the previous driver has run out of hours, or if the load has a long way to go and needs a team that can run with the load 24/7 and to get the load to the destination faster.

“Rig”

Truck or truck and trailer.

“Rip-off Ralphy” 

A truck stop dope dealer who charges extremely high prices.

“Rifle Barrel”  

A bulk liquid trailer round in shape with no internal baffles to break up the sloshing of any liquid it’s carrying.

“Roach Coach”  

Lunch wagon or food trucks that frequent large businesses so that employees don’t have to leave for meals.

“Road Ho” / “Road Juliet” 

Refers to a female escort usually found at truck stops and rest areas that wants to ride along with drivers they pick up.

“Road Pizza” 

An animal that has been run over and flattened on the pavement.

“Rocking Chair”

Any trucks that are in between the front door and back door of a convoy – if the front and back doors are doing their job it means anyone in the rocking chair can relax.

“Roger”

Means yes or okay.

“Rollerskate”  

Family Car/Truck/SUV.

“Rolling refinery”/”Portable Gas Station”  

A tank truck carrying fuel.

“Rubbernecker” 

Vehicles that further slow down or impede already congested traffic by rotating their heads 180 degrees to view the accident or traffic incident and not paying attention to the road ahead.

“Safe Driving Award”  

Traffic Ticket While Being Pulled Over by Police or the DOT.

“Salt Shaker”  

A snowplow.

“Sandbagging” 

A term used to describe the activity of a person not participating in conversation but listening only, despite having the capability of speaking. This is not the same as listening in using a simple receiver, as the person doing this activity can transmit using the two-way radio, but chooses not to.  It is done to monitor people for entertainment or for gathering information about the actions of others. Often, CBer’s will sandbag to listen to others’ responses to their previous input to a conversation, sometimes referred to a “reading the mail.”

“Schneider Eggs” 

Orange barrels filled with sand at construction sites to serve as a protective barrier for construction workers against moving traffic. The term is a reference to Schneider, a large trucking company known for its orange-painted trucks.

“Seat Cover” 

A attractive female passenger in a vehicle.

“Shaking the Trees” 

Refers to the truck driver in the lead in a convoy, watching out for troopers up ahead.

“Shanty Shaker”  

Mobile home hauler.

“Shoot You In The Back”

Police with a radar gun aimed at vehicles as they pass him (“Eastbound watch at the 210 mile marker.  You got a bear in the bushes shootin’ you in the back).

“Shoulder”

Side of the road (“got a bear up here on the shoulder with a four-wheeler”)

“Show Off Lane”

Passing lane.

“Skateboard”  

A flatbed truck or trailer.

“Sleeper”

Bunk area on the back of a truck cab where a driver sleeps.

“Sleeper Leaper” 

Prostitute, especially one that frequents truck stops.

“Slip Seating”

Some trucking companies, if you take time off they make you clean out your truck and when you get back, even if it’s just for a couple days they give you a different truck

“Smokey”  

A law officer, particularly one from a state police or highway Patrol force. A “smokey or bear report” is what CB users say when they have information on a law officer, such as location or current activities.

“Smokey’s Got A Customer” 

A cop who pulled someone over.

“Stepping On” / “Walked On”

Somebody trying to talk at the same time you are (“can you repeat that somebody just stepped on you”).

“Suicide Jockey” 

A trucker hauling explosives.

“Streets”

While driving up Interstate 81 a driver might say he’s going to jump on 80th street East.  Drivers call the Interstates streets since they get to know the US like their hometown.

“Sunoco Special”  

New York State Police patrol car because of the colors used on the car

“Super Trucker”  

Truck Driver Ignoring The Speed Limit / Traffic Laws.

“Swindle Sheet” 

A trucker’s log book.

“Taking Pictures”

Police operating a radar gun.

“Tandems” 

The rear wheels on a trailer.

“Team Drivers” / “Running Team”

A truck in which one driver sleeps in the back while the other one drives.  Except for fuel, meals and bathroom stops, the truck runs 24/7.  Teams are used to get freight delivered from point A to B faster than a solo driver can legally take it.

“10-4” / “4-10” / “4-Roger” / “4” / “That’s a Four” /

Affirmative. Can also be used to denote agreement (“That’s a big 10-4.”)

“10-9”

Repeat what was just said.

“10-20” (more often simply “20”) 

Denotes location, as in identifying one’s location (“My 20 is on Main Street and First”), asking the receiver what their current location is (“What’s your 20?”), or inquiring about the location of a third person (“Ok, people, I need a 20 on Little Timmy and fast”).

“10-33” 

An emergency situation (“You got a 10-33 at yardstick 136, they got 4-wheelers all piled up”)

“10-36” 

Asking for the correct time (“Can I get a 10-36?”)  Drivers must log their working hours in their logbook according to the time of their home terminal.  If your home terminal is on the east coast and you’re delivering in California you might ask for a time check since California is on Pacific time, therefore 3 hours behind your east coast time.

“Thermos Bottle”  

Driver pulling a chemical trailer.

“Thirteen Letter Shit Spreader”  

An International truck.

“Trip”

Picking up and delivering a load.  (“This trip I picked up in the Buckeye and I’m headed to Shakey.”)

“Twister Tracker” 

Someone who is chasing tornadoes or other storms.

“Unit”

A truck and trailer hooked together are a unit.

“United Package Smashers”

United Parcel Service truck.

“Wall To Wall Bears”

Cops are everywhere.

“Wall To Wall and Treetop Tall”

Very strong CB signal.

“Walking The Dog”

Very clear CB reception.

“Willy Weaver” 

A driver who is weaving, due to lack of sleep or excess of alcohol.[10]

“Window Washer” / “Free Truck Wash”

Rain.

“Wiggle Wagon” / “Widowmaker” / “Set of Joints”  

A semi truck pulling two or more trailers in tandem.

“Yard” / “Junk Yard”

Name of a driver’s home terminal of whatever company they drive for.

“Yard Jockey”

Driver of the yard truck.

“Yard Mule”  

Short truck used for pulling semi-trailers in shipping yards.

“Yardstick”

Mile marker on interstate highways.

“Your Telephone Is Ringing”

Somebody is calling for you on the CB.

“Zipper” 

Painted dashed line dividing lanes (“He is hogging the zipper”).

Destinations

“Armpit”  

New Jersey

“Badger Bound”  

Wisconsin bound

“Bikini”

Florida

“Bean Town”  

Boston, Massachusetts

“Beertown”  

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“Big A”  

Atlanta, Georgia or Amarillo, Texas

“Big Apple”  

New York City

“Big Arch”  

St. Louis, Missouri (After the Gateway Arch)

“The Big Easy”  

New Orleans, Louisiana

“Bluegrass”  

 Kentucky

“The Bluff”  

Poplar Bluff, Missouri

“Bullshit City”  

Washington DC

“Chocolate Town”  

Hershey, Pennsylvania

“Choo Choo”  

Chattanooga, Tennessee (After the song “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”).

“Cow Town”  

Fort Worth, Texas

“Derby”  

Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby.

“The Dime”  

Interstate Highway 10

“The Dirty Side”

The east coast of the country.

“Double Deuce”  

U.S. Route 22

“Flag”  

Flagstaff, Arizona

“Garbage State”  

New Jersey

“Gateway”

St. Louis, Missouri

“Gay Bay”  

San Francisco Bay area

“Ghost Town”  

Casper, Wyoming (After the cartoon character Casper the Friendly Ghost)

“Guitar Town”  

Nashville, Tennessee

“Hoosier”

State of Indiana

“Indy 5, Indy 500”  

Indianapolis, Indiana

“Keystone”

State of Pennsylvania

“Little Cuba”  

Miami, Florida

“Mardi Gras”

New Orleans, Louisiana

“Mile High”

Denver, Colorado

“Motor City”  

Detroit, Michigan

“Music Town”  

Nashville, Tennessee

“New Jersey Termite”  

New Jersey Turnpike

“Okie City”  

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where I-40, I-35 and I-44 all cross paths.

“Philly”  

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Salty”  

Salt Lake City, Utah

“Shakey”

California because of the earthquakes.

“Shakeytown”  

Los Angeles, California so nicknamed because of the earthquakes that occur there.

“Steel City”  / “Steel Town”

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“Sin City”  

Las Vegas, Nevada (Also called “Dice City”, “Gambling Town”, “Lost Wages”)

“UFO Central”  

Area 51, other areas known for UFO activity.

“Windy City”

Chicago, Illinois

Posted by: fringe62 | October 7, 2011

Road Test

To say I was nervous was putting it lightly. My mouth felt as though I were chewing on cotton and my heart was thumping in my chest so hard I thought for sure Dave could hear it. I had just climbed into the driver’s seat of a Kenworth W900L at the Blue Mack Transport terminal in Pottstown, PA.

 I had applied for a driving job there and even though I had a clean MVR they wanted to road-test me.  When I had started driving 3 years earlier, it was in a cabover… a flat-nosed truck that had me sitting up over the steer tires so far I felt I could almost see the road right under my feet.  For the couple of years I’d been with Southwest Motor Freight I had driven a Freightliner that had a nicely sloped hood that was easy to see over.

This was going to be a different story.  At the time, these Kenworths had one of the longest hoods in the industry.  As I gazed out of the windshield it was almost 6 feet to the hood ornament.  I felt like it went on forever.  A 275 inch wheelbase meant that it would take a football field sized parking lot to turn the tractor around let alone with a trailer hooked on.

Dave was the guy in charge of hiring new drivers.  He was tall, probably about 6’4” and lanky with steel-gray hair styled a bit like Pat Boone.  Not a bad looking guy but as we walked out of the office he confirmed what I had suspected – that his gravelly voice was that of a smoker.  He lit a cigarette, inhaled deeply and with a smoky exhale, pointed out a truck that was already hooked up to an empty trailer.  We spent the next 15-20 minutes walking around the rig so I could prove that I knew what I was looking for when I did a pre-trip inspection.

“Alright,” he said as we came back around by the driver’s door, “let’s take a ride.”

I climbed up into the truck as Dave walked around the front of the truck I realized with a sinking stomach that not only was this hood extremely long, it was also tall.  For a split second he totally disappeared!  I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly as my eyes wandered over the dash to make sure I knew the location of all the switches and knobs I might need.

“Oh no” I groaned to myself as I glanced at the shifter, “an 18 speed?  What in the hell am I doing here?”

The other door opened and Dave climbed into the jump-seat.  As I rolled down my window I hoped he wouldn’t notice that I was sweating profusely.  I tried to swallow the dry lump in the back of my throat and I seriously debated whether I was going to throw up.

As he settled into his seat he repeated once again what he had been telling me since I’d met him earlier that afternoon, “You know, we’ve never had any women drivers at this company.  You could be the first!”  I glanced over at him and started to wonder if this was just something he says on a regular basis or if he was trying to hint that he wanted something else in order for me to get the job.  I became extremely aware of the yawning, black, hole between our seats that led back to the sleeper behind us.  I decided that if he made any moves I’d be parked, out of the truck and walking back to this yard so fast it would make his head spin.  This would be, of course after I’d punched whatever body part was the most convenient at the time.

I licked my lips and dug into my pocket for a packet of gum.

“Want one?” I asked him as I unwrapped two pieces and shoved them both into my mouth hoping it would help to calm my queasy stomach.

“No thanks” he said, “you ready to take a ride?”  I nodded my head and he pointed to a space between some trailers further down in the yard.  “See that hole down there?  Before we hit the road let’s back the trailer in there and see how that goes.”

“SHIT” I thought to myself, “this can’t be happening.  I should just get out of the truck and go home!  Just tell him sorry, this was a mistake and GET OUT!”

I gripped the steering wheel, and after a few seconds of furious chewing got the gum down to a manageable lump, took another deep breath and turned in the seat to face him.

“I hope you have most of the afternoon available” I said, “ ‘cause that’s how long it’s going to take for me to get this trailer into that hole.”

He looked at me a second and then asked “Why is that?”

It all came out in a rush, “Because, when I drove team for Southwest my partner wouldn’t LET me back up!  In the last two years I have literally only backed a truck up 4, maybe 5 times.  He was a perfectionist and I never did it fast enough, smooth enough or I was taking too many pull-ups.  Even if I was driving when we arrived at a customer, if he was sleeping I had to wake him up so he could back in.  It wasn’t worth trying it myself because it would just make him even more mad if he woke up and found me backing up.  So, I can’t back up.  I’ve never driven a truck this long.  I’ve never driven an 18 speed.  And for the record I really don’t care whether you’ve never had a woman driver work here.  If you think I’m going to sleep with you or give you a BJ to get this job you’d better think again and….” I clapped my hand over my mouth…  “OH MY GOD did I just say that?” I thought to myself.  His face had turned a bit red although I was pretty sure it wasn’t nearly as red as mine!

I turned back to stare out the windshield over that impossibly long hood, gripped the steering wheel and took a few deep breaths.

“Look” I said.  “I’m sorry and that was un-called for.  I don’t even know you but I’m extremely nervous.  The thing is… I’m a very good driver.  I love what I do and I would be great for this company.  I’m conscientious.  I take good care of my rig, I run hard and do what I’m told.  Everything I just said was the truth.  There’s going to be a bit of a learning curve here with this truck.  My ex-teamdriver was mentally abusive and I could do nothing right.  I CAN back this rig into that hole, and I CAN take it down the road but it’s going to be ugly.  I can also promise you that I don’t take chances and I won’t wreck your truck.  Bottom line – I’m a great driver and you won’t be sorry you hired me”

Dave pulled out another cigarette, fumbled in his pocket for his lighter,  lit it and took a few deep draws.  As he shuffled thru my paperwork, he looked at me and started laughing.  “Well, now that we got that out of the way, let’s hit the road,“ he said as he pointed out the gate.

I did pretty good on my test drive.  I think I only hit a few curbs on the turns.  It only took me 3 pull-ups to get the trailer backed in to the space Dave picked out when we pulled back into the yard.

Several hours later I pulled out of the gate and onto that same highway, only this time with truck #535 and a load in the trailer.  I rolled down the window, turned up the radio and smiled as I shifted through those 18 gears again.  I’d show them why they should hire MORE women to drive for Blue Mack Transport!

Road Test Certification Card

Road Test Certification Card

Posted by: fringe62 | May 8, 2011

Hen Pecked?

“A cool summer night – perfect for a short jaunt to Columbus (OH)”  I thought as I finished putting clean clothes, food, water and my dog Duke into my newly cleaned truck and headed over to the lot to hook-up to my trailer.  It was going to be a ‘windows wide open, radio blasting kind of driving night’.

It had been a short but relaxing weekend at home.  Usually I was loaded with some kind of perishable that needed babysitting in case the reefer (refrigerated) unit shut off.  This meant several trips a day down to the parking lot where I kept my trailer to make sure the unit was still running.  There were kids in the neighborhood that might think it was funny to start pushing buttons on the front of the unit.  Unfortunately there was no way to lock up those buttons and keep people from messing with the temperature in the trailer.

It was about 8pm and I was leaving in plenty of time for the ten hour drive to my 9am appt. as I eased my rig up the ramp onto I80 westbound.  From my exit for about 20 miles it was a slow but constant upgrade.  Being fully loaded meant it took awhile to get up to speed as I shifted thru all 13 gears.  There wasn’t much traffic on my side of the highway but I noticed that the “Hunts Point 500” was in full swing on the Eastbound side of the highway.  This is what the nearly constant flow of tractor-trailers on I80 headed to NYC and points East was called, especially on a Sunday night.

Duke was sitting in the jump seat and scratched on the window.  “Okay buddy,” I said.  “Opening the window for you.”  It could be 100 degrees or below 0 and he always had to have the wind in his face.  I didn’t mind it tonight.  There was a clear sky and very little traffic going West.  I turned up the music on the radio and Duke and I sang along with the country station for the next 45 minutes while we climbed the mountains through central Pennsylvania.

After finally reaching cruising speed I turned on the CB radio to listen to what was going on.  “Hey Eastbound.  How about a bear report” I asked.

Another driver answered back, “Westbound, you’re clear.  I haven’t seen anything since the Buckeye (OH)”.

“Thanks Eastbound.  You’re good back to the 210 where I jumped on” I replied.

“Hey babydoll.  Where you headed?” came another male voice on the CB.

I jokingly replied, “Driver, my age doesn’t qualify me as a baby anymore and I quit playing with dolls a long, long time ago”.  That got a chuckle and a few comments out of several other drivers.

“Well, maybe you should be home taking care of your babies instead of out here playing big rig driver”.

“Oh brother” I thought “here we go”.  What had started out as a wonderful evening was starting to turn a bit ugly.

“Driver, I don’t have any babies to take care of.  I just take care of myself and that’s more than enough” I said.

“Well, no wonder you don’t have babies.  You probably don’t have a husband either!  Who’d want their wife driving around playing big rigger when they should be home cooking and pregnant” he retorted.  “I’ll be damned if my wife would be out here driving around.  Maybe you’re too ugly to keep a husband.  Maybe you’re one of them dyke’s.  Man, guys have you ever seen one of them women?  I mean they could put some of us men to shame” he continued.

I tried to make a joke and laugh it off.  “Driver, are you so hen-pecked at home that you’ve got to come out here and harass the first woman you hear on the radio?  Must have been my lucky night”

“Babydoll, maybe you just need a real man to keep you home and satisfied.  Know what I mean guys?”

“Driver” I said, “why don’t you pull your little truck over somewhere and see if you have the balls to say all that crap to my face”.

“Well, miss big-rigger” he said, “if you think you can catch me in your little 55mph company truck then get on up here.  I got more than enough balls for you”.  That, was the last straw.

I downshifted and put the hammer down.  I started passing trucks on the straightaway’s.  “Buddy, if she’s in that beautiful black-cherry, truck that just blew my driver door off, you are in BIG trouble” a guy said on the radio from a few trucks back.

“Yeah, I don’t think I’ve got to worry about it much”  the first driver said.  “Tell ya what missy, I’ll be pulling off at the truckstops at Exit 78 in Brookville.  If you even remotely catch me by then we’ll have a chat”.

“Not a problem driver, I just passed the 150.  Where are you at?” I said.

“You’ve got miles to catch  me” he said as he laughed.

I looked down at the speedometer and asked again for a bear report from the eastbound traffic.  The coast was clear… so far.  If there were any bears listening in on the conversation I was in trouble.  At the speed I was going, I’d probably be hauled off to jail if I was pulled over.  The radio was buzzing with talk about whether I was going to catch the asshole and whether he’d have the guts to have the same type of conversation to my face when I did.  The general consensus was that even though I was not built at all like the idiot thought I was, that he was going to be in for a good ass-whuppin’.

The other driver kept up his barrage of comments about what exactly he’d like to do to me when I finally caught up to him.  None of it is worth repeating.  Needless to say most of it involved a sexual act of some kind and what he thought he might be able to teach me as obviously since I didn’t have a man at home I needed some lessons.  He thought he was the perfect man to take care of that task.  According to him it would be an ugly task but he was willing to take it on the chin for all the drivers out there.  He was sure I was so fat and ugly that it would be quite unpleasant for him.

It was obvious that I was catching him.  His radio was sounding louder and I could tell by several comments from other drivers that I must be close.  He was still rambling on and suddenly told me that he was just coming up on Exit 78 for the truckstops.  “Imagine that”, I said, “I just passed the 1 mile to Exit 78 exit sign.  So where are you planning to park?”.

Silence.

“How about it driver?  Which truckstop are you going to park at?”  I asked, since there were 3 truckstops at that exit.

Silence.

I started gearing down and with the Jake brake rumbling pulled off the highway onto the exit ramp.  Duke jumped up in his seat thinking we were going to stop.  “I’m coming down the ramp driver.  Which way did you turn” I said again as I noticed several trucks pulling off the highway behind me.  Anybody that had the time to stop wanted to see the show if the guy did have the guts to tell me which truckstop he was parking at.

Silence.

I came to a stop at the bottom of the ramp.  “Which way driver?”  I asked again.

Again no answer.

“I’ll bet I passed your ass several miles back and you got scared ’cause I actually caught you.  God forbid you might be seen saying ‘yes ma’am’ or maybe ‘sorry ma’am’ to a little lady that could probably whup your dumb, fat ass.  Well, you know what.  If nothing else, we all now KNOW that you’re henpecked, have no balls and can’t back up one damn word of what you’ve been rambling on about for the last hour or so.  I’ve got to be in Columbus in the morning and the best part of all of this is that everyone now gets a good laugh at your expense and I’m going to be super early for my appt. so I’ll have time for a nap in the morning.  Goodnight asshole”.

There was much laughing and joking and talking about how everyone wanted to see the idiot get his ass whupped.  I noticed as I crossed the road and pulled back onto the interstate that most of the trucks that had followed me off were now following me back on.  And that guy?

Silence.

Posted by: fringe62 | March 16, 2011

The First of Many

While I was working for J. B. Hunt, I was put on what is called a dedicated run.  This was a really “gravy” dedicated run.  No matter how many miles I actually drove, I was guaranteed to be paid for 3000 miles per week.  It was part of some deal that JB Hunt had to cover Schneider Trucking Company loads until Schneider’s new terminal in Mehoopany, PA was finished.  There was a huge Proctor and Gamble paper-goods factory there and Schneider had gotten a contract to haul all of P&G’s products.  They were building a terminal to manage the shipment of the loads.

There were 12 drivers that were put on this run.  We were given our dispatch in the morning by 10am and the loads were usually ready by early evening.  All of the loads were to be delivered to either NYC, northern NJ or any of the New England states so it was a short 2-400 mile overnight run to the receiver.  We’d unload in the morning and then have all day to deadhead (run empty) back to Mehoopany.  The following day it started all over.   We had weekends off and could basically drive the tractors anywhere we wanted within reason.  Like I said, gravy.

I had hooked up my heavy load of cases of toilet paper and was driving east across I84 into CT for a delivery the next morning.  There were sometimes 4 or 5 of us running to the same place at the same time but on this trip I was alone.  JB Hunt restricts the engines of their trucks from going more than 55 mph – this is called governing the truck.  So to make up time I would sometimes let it roll a little down the hills, especially on nights when it was late and the roads were deserted.  I had hooked up with 4 or 5 drivers from some other companies whose trucks went a little faster than mine.  I was keeping up pretty decent by coasting a bit down the hills.  I was slowly climbing up the last steep hill before the highway levels out a bit down into Newburgh, NY.  My running buddies were already headed down the other side of the mountain. As I crested the hill one of them called back on the CB radio “Let ‘er rip JB you’re clean and green to the bottom”.  Just as I replied I watched in my side mirror as a car came up the ramp of the last exit and entered the highway.  I had a funny feeling about it and asked the ABF truck behind me if he could see what that car looked like.  He didn’t answer so I assumed he was talking on a different CB channel.  Some trucking company drivers claim a certain channel on the CB is the company channel.  When these drivers from the same company run together they usually talk on this company channel to avoid all of the chatter on channel 19.   I started to let my truck drift a bit to make up some more time.  The ABF truck was keeping up with me (their trucks are also governed at 55 or 60mph), a truck in front of me was coasting along at over the posted speed limit of 55 and three trucks were in the process of passing me at an even faster clip.

Then there it was, a flash of reflective material in my mirror from the headlights of a truck coming over the crest of the hill.  Too late I realized what it was and my heart skipped a beat.  I grabbed the mike to warn everyone else just as the blue and red lights started flashing, their brightness a bit startling in the darkness.  Everyone hit the brakes as those flashing lights reflected off of the backs and sides of the trucks around me.  As we all slowed down I made room for one of the trucks from the passing lane to get out of the way and he slid into the granny lane (slow lane) in front of me.  My heart started beating even faster as I noticed that the cop had slipped in behind me.  I slowed even more and so did he, staying right behind me with the lights still flashing.  I couldn’t believe it!  He was pulling me over!  I noticed there was nothing but guardrail on my right, no place to pull over.  I put on my four-ways to let him know that I was aware that he was behind me.

“Smokey Bear” I said on the CB, “as soon as I find a space wide enough I’ll pull over”.  He didn’t answer me but I knew he was listening, they always are.  The guardrail finally ended and I pulled over onto the shoulder, made sure my doors were locked and waited for him to come up to the truck.

As I listened to the radio crackle with all the jokes and talk about the bear pulling over a JB Hunt truck, the officer walked up to my door and tried to yank it open.  Since it was locked he crawled up on the side of the truck so his head was even with the window.  I had my hands on the steering wheel and when he asked I handed him my license and registration.  He also asked for my log book and told me to come back to his car.

As I sat in the back seat he started filling out a ticket and asked questions.  “Do you know how fast you were going?”

“No sir I don’t”, I replied.

“65 in a 55.  Don’t you think that’s pushing it driver?”

“If you pulled me over then I guess it might be”, I said.  He handed me my cards and logbook and I signed the ticket.

“If you go to court on this they may knock it down to not obeying posted signs or something like that”  he said.  I handed him the clipboard and he ripped off my copy of the ticket and handed it back to me.

“Are we all thru” I asked?   He said yes.  I looked at him and started laughing.

“What’s so funny driver?” he asked, as he turned around and stared at me.

“You” I said.  “I know exactly what’s going on here”.

“Driver, the only thing going on here is that you were doing over 65 in a 55mph speed zone and I pulled you over”.  But as he said it he kept biting his lip and his eyes had a strange glint.

“No, I get this scenario completely”, I replied.  “You’re going to go back to barracks tonight when your shift is over and start spinning this fairytale and you and all your fellow officers are going to have a really good laugh”.

“Now what would be so funny about this?” he asked as he smiled at me.

“What’s funny,” I said, laughing again, “is that out of 6 trucks letting it coast a bit down a hill, you pulled over a female driver in the slowest truck!  Now that you’ve got a good look at me, you can verify that I’m not a big, fat “trucker mama” which in itself is unbelievable.  But you’re going to have a hell of a time explaining to your fellow officers how you pulled over a 55mph…  JB Hunt truck…….      for speeding!  What a story!”

He just stared at me for an instant with a smirk playing around the corners of his mouth.   He twisted fully around in his seat to look at me and as his eyes danced he finally let out the laugh he’d been having a hard time holding in.

“Driver, you’re going to have a good story too, but you’re right, it won’t be as good as mine”.

First speeding ticket in a big truck

First speeding ticket in a big truck

Posted by: fringe62 | March 8, 2011

A poem sent to me by a friend –

There were nights, the wee hours of the morning actually, when I would be driving across deserted interstates in Wyoming, with a full, bright moon reflecting off of the snow that I felt I could do this – drive for miles without headlights.  Even in the summer if the moon was bright enough, and I turned off the headlights for a few seconds, everything looked brighter and more surreal than you can imagine.   

I’d also like to take this time to remind you that when you’re traveling, rest areas are the most dangerous places to stop at night and sleep.  You’re better off pulling into a truck stop and parking in the car area.  Another pet peeve – if you pull a camper of any kind please DO NOT park in the truck parking area of a rest area overnight… even though the signs say that you should.  Believe me, the cops are not going to give you (the tourists – spending money in the state) a hard time for parking in the car area but they are certainly going to give a trucker a hard time and probably a ticket for parking there.  But I digress… I’ll be writing on that subject another time…   on to the poem – thanks Joan S!

Rest.
by Richard Jones

It’s so late I could cut my lights
and drive the next fifty miles
of empty interstate
by starlight,
flying along in a dream,
countryside alive with shapes and shadows,
but exit ramps lined
with eighteen wheelers
and truckers sleeping in their cabs
make me consider pulling into a rest stop
and closing my eyes. I’ve done it before,
parking next to a family sleeping in a Chevy,
mom and dad up front, three kids in the back,
the windows slightly misted by the sleepers’ breath.
But instead of resting, I’d smoke a cigarette,
play the radio low, and keep watch over
the wayfarers in the car next to me,
a strange paternal concern
and compassion for their well being
rising up inside me.
This was before
I had children of my own,
and had felt the sharp edge of love
and anxiety whenever I tiptoed
into darkened rooms of sleep
to study the small, peaceful faces
of my beloved darlings. Now,
the fatherly feelings are so strong
the snoring truckers are lucky
I’m not standing on the running board,
tapping on the window,
asking, Is everything okay?
But it is. Everything’s fine.
The trucks are all together, sleeping
on the gravel shoulders of exit ramps,
and the crowded rest stop I’m driving by
is a perfect oasis in the moonlight.
The way I see it, I’ve got a second wind
and on the radio an all-night country station.
Nothing for me to do on this road
but drive and give thanks:
I’ll be home by dawn.

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