Thursday, December 26, 2013

Job Hunting

If your anything like me, you hate looking for a new job.

In today's truck driving industry it has become a bit simpler to search for work, as you don't have to travel around and log a bunch miles on your personal vehicle to put in apps. Now-a-days, you can just hop onto the internet and within a few hours have a hundred or more truck lines to check out.

With my experience, I also got about ten to fifteen phone calls from recruiters, but that might not be the norm, I don't know.

At any rate, thought I would write about one of the pitfalls I have been able to spot as I have been going through this process.

As I wrote in "So, You Want To Be A Truck Driver" our industry is filled with dishonesty and that is especially true when searching for work. Remember a recruiters job is to fill driver seats, the bigger the company the more likely they are to waste your time since you are just a number to them. If you are experienced with three or more years of driving and have a clean MVR (Motor Vehicle Record) and a 0.0 CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) score the recruiters will work harder at trying to sign you up for orientation.

One way I have tried to cut through all the nonsense has been to seek driver comments on any company that I am interested in. I have been able to find driver reviews at several web locations; Rip-off reports  just to name a few. But, there are problems with relying on these reviews, especially if you only read the first one you come to. Often the first review you see is written by an angry disgruntled ex-employee who is not above lying about the company he/she just left, so read several, if they are all saying the similar things then stay away from that company.

You also should be aware that some company recruiters will check out these driver reviews and post good reviews that appear to be coming from a driver. So read as many reports as you can and watch for similarities in both kinds of reports, good and bad, only the most experienced writers can hide their style.

Shouldn't need to be said, but, you can pretty much discount any report written by someone who doesn't know how to write, or tell the whole story. If you are not an experienced driver the whole story will be much harder to spot, but if the writer doesn't confess to some wrong doing on his or her part then they "ain't" telling all since we are all human and there is always blame enough to go around when there is a problem. Here is a good example of what I mean: Boyd Bros.Review

One more thing you might want to check out is the companys safety rating which you can get for free here. They use our safety ratings to determine if they want to hire us so let's turn the tables on them and use their safety data to determine if we want to work for them.

One last thing, you should know what you want in a job. How much home time do you want, is insurance important and how much are you willing to pay for it, and of course how much do you want to get paid as well as how many miles do you want to run weekly? These are important questions to answer before checking out any company, but don't buy their answer until you check them out or until they are willing to put it in writing.

Well, I am scheduled to start orientation with a company on Jan 6th 2014, but still have my ear to the ground.

Keep the rubber side down.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Your Fired!

Words no one wants to hear..."You're Fired!"

Well on Dec 10 2013 I got to hear those words for the first time in 10 years or so, and like then it wasn't unexpected.

Like ten years ago, my firing was due to an accident. Unlike, back then, someone did get hurt and man do I feel bad.

When you drive truck for a living accidents are something you do your best to avoid but lets face facts they do happen. All it takes is a split second of inattention, a wrong assumption, a misunderstanding, someone else's mistake, truth is when your a big boy or girl playing with big toys, at high speeds it is inevitable at some point in time you will have an accident. Mine was a misunderstanding between the loader and myself, he got hurt, he could have been killed, in which case I would have been jailed for manslaughter, so I thank my God that a few broken ribs and a broken collar bone was all that happened.

But that is not what I really want to write about today, it's the aftermath of being fired and trying to find a new job, that I want to focus on.

Our industry has become super sensitive to safety issues and being fired for an accident has some very serious consequences. Let's start with the CSA score.

Having a high personal CSA score (get yours here) will cause you some very serious problems because that is one of the first things prospective employers are going to look at. I have found out that being fired will in fact cut your prospective employers by at least one third. Many of the big carriers have told me that I would have to work for someone else from 6 months to 3 years before they would even consider me, even some of the not so big carriers have this policy. Oh, yeah, just being fired will do this, it doesn't have to be for a safety related issue.

If you have ever been fired then I don't need to tell you what it feels like. In short it feels like you have let your family down, like the word worthless is tattooed all over your body for everyone to see. It shakes your confidence in who you are and what you do right down to the foundation of your soul. So, what are you going to do, sit in the mire of self pity or get off your butt and find work.

Honesty, is going to be of great help in finding work, don't think for one second you can get away with a lie or omission with a prospective employer, remember CSA and DAC and don't forget your previous employers MUST be contacted before you can even be considered. Be courteous to the employers, it does cost them time and money to do this research so let them know up front if there are any problems and let them decide if they are willing to spend that time and money.

Finding a job is just like sales, most times it's a numbers game. Getting leads and tons of them is critically important. I have found the internet extremely valuable in this regard and it has gotten much better in just this past year for finding leads. My first application was placed on this resulted in about 80 e-mails and 20 phone calls from prospective employers. My second app was placed on CAD and my app was sent to 28 employers and resulted in 5 phone calls with about 30 e-mails. My wife also helped by finding other employers to apply to while I was filling out online applications and taking calls.

The result of these massive numbers is that I am scheduled to begin orientation, January 6 and I still have many more people to talk to before then who may offer me a better deal. Believe me, my self esteem has recovered.

Bottom line don't let those words get you down. Just get it in gear, and plow forward.

PS. I could really use the money right now so please if you haven't checked out the book I wrote go and buy it NOW, please. Buy a dozen to pass out to those curious young people that think trucking is so cool. You can find it here

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cooking on The Road

 Hi all,

Got another product review for ya.

Mind you I do not get paid for this I just want to share some valuable information with you to help you eat and stay healthy (and keep more of your paycheck in your pocket) while doing the work that makes this nation great.

I am of course hoping that you will decide to check out the book I wrote, "So You Want To Be A TruckDriver?" and buy it for someone you know that's thinking about joining us out here. My book is not the run of the mill book of this type and you can preview a bit of it at the link above, or on Amazon (available on Kindel also).

Okay, so back to business.

In the photo above you see the Rival, 2 quart crock pot. This is my second one, the first one disappeared between jobs, gotta be around the house but just can't find it. And that's part of what makes this little gem so awesome, that's the price, right about ten bucks at most Wall Marts. Lose it or break it and it's very affordable to replace.

Another wonderful thing about this little guy is that you can operate it on a 300 watt inverter which these days runs between 20 to 30.00 dollars at the truck stops. On high, it uses about 80 watts of power.

Within a few meals it will pay for it's self. The black bean chili that is in the photo below makes three 1 cup servings, about three meals. The ingredients for the chilli cost me right about $3.00, or about $1.00 a serving. try to beat that at the truck stop! Add a can of veggies, some tossed green salad and a piece of fruit and you have a full course meal thats very filling, low in calories and under four bucks.

There is only one draw back to this product and that is that the lid does not lock down, so if your going to cook a meal while driving better find some way to secure the lid. I don't cook in it while driving, I usually start cooking before going to bed so it's done or near done when I get up.

Chilli is one of the many things I have cooked in it. I have cooked sweet potatoes, potatoes, squash, stew, chicken thighs and breast, and sausage.

I would be remiss if I didn't include my recipe for my delicious black bean chili, so here it is.

Throw into the crock pot in this order:
1 cup uncooked black beans
1 can stewed chop tomatoes
1 to 1/1/2 lbs of meat (chopped steak or roast or hamburger, I sometimes use turkey sausage
1 package of chili seasonings (I use Great Value from Wall Mart)
Onion and Jalapeno peppers in any amount you want
and about 2 cups of water.

Mix, put on high and forget it for 8 to 10 hours or until the beans are as done as you like.

That's it. Enjoy.

I also have a web site that you can check out at

Friday, November 1, 2013


Ahhh, the smell of freshly perked coffee!! A hot dinner, YES!!! Eggs and oatmeal on a cold morning, mmmm.

Simple pleasures that the non-trucking public take for granted.

Even in theses modern times, most semi-trucks come with a bunk, a few shelves, and little else. Somehow, they forgot that the monkey behind the wheel needs fuel just as much as that cat under the hood. Then again, maybe it's a great conspiracy with the truck stops who are in such a hurry to provide us with the latest greatest health killers on the market, like Micky D's.

Real restaurants with truck parking are getting scarce.

And the cost!! 3 meals a day at an average of $12 a meal for a total of  a whopping $252.00 a week add $1.00 a cup for coffee (I drink three a day), and you have spent $273 a week or about 1/3 of the average drivers paycheck. Who can afford it?!

Well, good news! There is a solution. Get an inverter.

Most companies will install an inverter for you, if you ask nicely. If you are an O/O then you should know how to instal one yourself. Be sure it is installed correctly or you may kill you batteries or cause a fire. That being said, what size and brand should you get?

Regarding size, it all depends on what you plan to run on it. For a 900 watt microwave, you will need at least a 1500 watt inverter as it will pull right about 1100 watts or so. My coffee pot pulls 670 watts while it is perking and about 60 watts to keep the coffee hot. When I say 1500 watt rating on the inverter, I mean continuous operating watts, NOT peek watts. The peek watts can only be maintained for a short time before the inverter overloads and shuts down. Most appliances pull a larger amount of wattage during start up, which is why the peek wattage is important. My opinion is, if your start up pull is greater than your continuous wattage, the inverter is too small.

Regarding Brand, get the best you can afford. That being said, let me tell you about the one I purchased a month ago.

The one I bought is the Whistler Pro-2000W (pictured above). What I liked about it was the price at $149.00 which is about $100.00 to $50.00 less than a comparable model at the truck stops. So far it has preformed like a champ. This past Sunday I cooked a weeks worth of chicken breast and pork chops in my 900 watt microwave and didn't have a lick of trouble with it overheating although I did have to run the big motor as my APU couldn't keep the batteries sufficiently charged under that much demand.

Already the Whistler Pro-2000W has paid for it's self and provided hot meals and fresh brewed coffee. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Hi all

Boredom can be a killer, especially in our line of work, boredom can cause us to drift our attention off the road and our rigs into the ditch.
Boredom can cause our imaginations to drift into all sorts of chaotic thoughts that can disturb our minds and truly distract us from doing our Jobs.
Then there are those long 10 hour breaks and even longer 34 hour breaks on the road that can really get boring if you don't find some kind of entertainment.
One of the things I have done for the past few years is teach myself to play the harmonica to fill in those long miles and boring breaks, it keeps the mind and hands from becoming idle and the mind from being dull.
Harmonicas are wonderful, they are still somewhat inexpensive, can be played with one hand and take no special skill to learn. Also, they take very little of that precious space in the sleeper.
Here are a couple of the tunes I have learned to play:
Play Music - Share Audio - Put your hand in the hand
Listen Music - Upload Audio - 09 13 How Great Tho Art
Embed Music - Embed Audio Files - Angels we have heard on High

As I am sure you can hear you don't have to be perfect, after all it is mostly for your own entertainment but who knows you may be the next Buddy Green.
I have seen Harmonicas for purchase at a few of the bigger TA's and of course most Wall Marts have a good cheap one with instructions. Give it a try I need a few guys to jam with so I can get better.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tailgating Disaster

Hi all.

Took this photo on I-40 near the North Carolina and Tennessee border  a few days ago. It's a bit blurry thanks to the lousy camera that's in my phone but what your looking at is three Fed X trucks the two in the rear are tailgating, each being less than 1 second away from each other. The speed was 65 mph.

Now why am I putting this on a blog about truckers health? The answer is because it's hard to be healthy when your dead. Also, any discussion about health that does not include mental health seriously lacks full content.

Those of us that don't eat well while we are on the road and gain lot's of weight are just like these Fed X drivers who are asking for trouble. That said there is the mental health issues as well. Loneliness, boredom, fatigue, anger at other drivers, customers or dispatch all add to our overall health picture.

In my case I had to learn new ways of dealing with these emotional issues while and after loosing the weight. The food was a drug of sorts to help me deal with all the above mentioned mental issues. What has worked for me has been developing a relationship with the God of the Bible. It's amazing how much better I feel after I say a quick prayer for numbskulls like the ones in this photo, shure I still think they are lunatics driving this way but I don't have to be mad or afraid over others foolish behavior and I don't have to eat to numb out those feelings.

Most drivers I have talked to are believers though you churchy folks wouldn't think so cause we are still a bit coarse in our language and the nature of the job keeps us from attending church regular, but most of us have a spirituality that comes from personal experiences. I will relate some of mine some time here on this blog.

Tailgating, like the guys in this photo is dumb, it is asking for real trouble and yes you may get away with it for years but someday you wont. The same is true with our health, keep doing the unhealthy thoughts and behaviors and you may get away with it for years but then there will come that day when the guy ahead slams on his brakes,and guess what, game over.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stuck in Shelbyville, IN this afternoon, thanks to a slow, like frozen molasses slow, shipper  in Alabama. Why bother with appointment times if they aren't going to keep them. Of course, I still could have made it here in time to off load if it wasn't for those stupid HOS rules. Missed the delivery time by 1 hour, ugh.
Oh, well at least it gives me time to write this post. What's the old saying, "you gotta make lemonade when handed lemons"?

Thought I would update you on my health progress since this blog is supposed to be about truckers health.

Last July the Doc told me to quit losing weight so I added a few calories to my food plan and well, I guess, I added a few too many and quickly went back up to 210 lbs. My wife is happier as she said I looked sick at 180. The insurance charts say I should be at 160 for my height and build, but as we all know insurance companies don't live in the real world. I could use a few more pounds off as my blood sugar averages have climbed up into the one-teens, but that is still considered normal so I am not too worried about it.

Since it's been a long time (a little over a year) since I last published my food plan here is a link to it

A diagnosis of diabetes does not have to be as scary for us (truck drivers) as it once was. If you discipline yourself to eating healthfully. Leave the truck stop garbage in the truck stop, park a bit farther away so you have to walk some and deal with the emotional issues in a healthy way, then you can get control of this disease.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Job 03-04-02013

I've been on a new job for about a week now and really appreciate my weight loss even more than before since I have gone back to “flat-bedding”.
Up till now I hadn't written anything about the CSA rules cause I don't like reporting on rumors and speculation when I can avoid it, but my new Safety Director put a lot of emphasis on it in orientation. I have a clean CSA score so I have not been to concerned with it since I am a professional and conduct myself accordingly.
For those who don't know, the CSA is a scoring system based on safety issues such as inspections, log books, traffic citations and accidents. It will eventually be the basis’s for issuance ratings on the company and the employ ability of the driver. So, right now it isn't a big issue for the driver but it will be soon enough.
The bottom line here is; be a professional and it wont make a difference to you.
Most of my new companys violations is Log book not being current, there is no reason for this, if you can drive you can draw a line, so do it.
The second most common violation received by this company is light violations, let's face it guys sometimes lights do burn out while driving but in most cases if the pre trip is done then light violations wont happen as much..
If you are struggling with weight issues or diabetes issues then check out the food plan that I used to reverse my diabetes and loose 169 lbs. It is easy, it is free and I hardly ever get hungry, so give it a shot you got nothing to loose but the weight and every thing to gain in health.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Not a lot going on this week, so I thought an update on the diabetes management would be a good thing to write on.

Even though I have been off of all medications since July of 2011, I still test daily, usually three times per day. Up until recently I had been very pleased with my readings, but over the past two months they have been slowly climbing back up and so has my weight.

There is a definite correlation between weight management and diabetes.

So, what happened.

Well, back in August of 2012 my Doctor said don't lose any more weight. What I heard was go ahead and fudge on your food plan. Guess I better get my ear and brain connection checked, something seems a bit broke.

At any rate, a little extra here and a little extra there ended up in a 40 lb weight gain from August to January

If your diabetic, at least in my experience, there is no such thing as returning to my old way of eating. Everything must be weighed and measured and for me my overall calorie intake must not exceed 2500 calories in any one day and preferable about 2000 calories.

Also, that means for me, I must stick to my meal plan which is fairly well balanced nutritionally and supplement with a good multivitamin. Don't underestimate proper nutrition , especially if your diabetic.A really good supplement that I have found can be checked out here: 
A friend of mine distributes this supplement and if you like what you see on the web site you can contact him to order or get more Info at His name is Terry, tell him Les sent you.

Well, I have been back on my food plan about three weeks now and am seeing results already. I dropped about 6 lbs and am seeing lower blood sugar readings.

Food cravings make it hard to stay on a food plan. In the past I suffered from food cravings really bad and I have learned that there are two types of cravings; emotional and physical.

Honestly, most of my cravings were of the emotional type, pent up anger, fear and failed expectations were the primary culprits. Here my re-found relationship with Jesus has definitely helped. Learning how to forgive and relying on Him has really stabilized my emotions and when they do get out of whack I have an understanding ear to bend anytime, any place and if I trust Him he can deal with it.

The physical cravings, I have learned, can be caused by poor nutrition. These type of cravings usually demand a certain kind of food whereas the emotional cravings don't seem to be as food specific, though usually sugar, flour or greasy food products fit the bill, especially if they are in large quantities.

For more information on nutritional cravings here is a website I found helpful:

Bottom line here is if you crave foods even after you have ate, then check out your emotional state first, then consider your nutrition and pray about it. The right answer will come if you seek it.

Staying on a food plan for the diabetic is critical, if you don't and your a truck driver, better plan or retiring early with a great medical insurance plan cause your gonna need it.

Keep the rubber side down and God Bless


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Well winter is finally here.

From the Illinois border to Loves at exit 168 Newton, Iowa I think I counted 20 cars and six semi's in the ditch, something is wrong with this picture. There isn't a load worth my life so my policy is if chains are required, it's time to park.

Back in the days when I ran Donner Summit everyday, that wasn't my policy, but I guess with age comes wisdom.

At any rate, I have not yet in 20 years had a accident caused by slick roads, (knock on wood). I don't think it's because of anything more than snow and ice scare the heck out of me. I slow down or find somewhere safe to park until the road crews have done their job and then a bit longer for the brain dead to get on down the road.

Yes, there are brain dead drivers out there. They are easy to identify. They tailgate, they drive way to fast for conditions, they cut in and out of traffic no matter how heavy. These drivers clearly don't understand that they are at risk of loosing everything the own or ever want to own. Law suites involving semi's are expensive and aren't won by the driver very often. Perhaps they don't know working for a company doesn't exempt them from lawsuits, especially if there is a fatality.

At any rate it's past my bed-time but wanted to make a quick entry since I have now been back on the road for three weeks, it still sucks.

While home I did put a bit of weight back on but now am back on track. Still free from any type of diabetes drugs all though I have seen a bit of increase in the blood sugar with the weight gain.

In a future post I will tell you all about my experience with short term disability  A word to the wise don't waste a moment trying to get your benefits on your own, hire an attorney immediately it's worth it.

I did finish my second book. It is still being edited but it is available as a free download  here I had mentioned in a previous post that I had returned to my childhood faith and that is the subject of this book. I really don't know how I did this job for so long without a working faith in God, now the loneliness and boredom is so much easier to deal with and those difficult people we all meet are much less difficult when I practise my faith.

Keep the rubber side down and God Bless


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Well, Christmas is over and the New Year has been ushered in.

My other writing projects are winding down and are now in the editing process.

Both cataracts have been replaced with implants, which means it's time to go back to work.

It's with mixed feelings that I return to work, I Love my Job but I Love my family more. It would be so nice if the trucking industry could find a way to allow us drivers to spend more time with our family s and still be able to make the wages we need in this expensive economy.

It's tough emotionally to be a truck driver and very few non drivers have any real appreciation for what we must endure spending weeks and even months away from our loved ones. Most drivers have been divorced more than once because it is also tough on the spouses. It takes a real commitment to each other to endure the forced separations.

It's tough on kids too.

I thank God that since I have been making my living this way that I live in a time and age when electronic communication has developed to the point where it has, but it's still not the same as being home.

This is a big consideration for anyone considering truck driving as a career  Sadly few people will ever be honest with themselves in this arena, the money blinds them to reality, and it's only after you have been on the road for awhile that the reality sets in. That reality is that you will be a stranger in your own home.

The distance between you and your spouse is always present even when you are home, both of you know that at some point you will again leave and it stands in the way of the deep bond most of us want to form. Some people find ways around this subtle form of isolation, I haven't, if you have, please share it with us.

The loneliness I experience on the road has been made easier by listening to books on tape or Cd and now iPod. Of course the chapels at truck stops help when you can find one that is open. What has helped the most has been developing a relationship with God, I can talk with Him anytime, of course it's not the same as face to face with another human but He does know my needs and provides just in time when I trust Him.

The writing projects help too. So does learning how to play the harmonica, it's one of the few instruments you can play while driving and has provided me with many hours of enjoyment.

My book, "So, You want to be a Truck Driver" has so far been a disappointment  In the two years it has been available I have sold less than ten copies.guess I need to find some money in our budget to promote it. Any ideas e-mail me at subject line, book, thanks.

Till' next time, keep the rubber side down and God bless.