July 2013 Letters

Tall tales … but true
Just wanted to say thank you! I recently started getting Land Line. I had been telling my adult kids about how trucking used to be. I was a teen working at a local truck stop and things were touchy at best, guys wanting to block fuel islands.

There was high animosity for the few guys that had to run, a kinda “Wild West.” We kept a “hog leg” under the register in case we needed to keep order in the lot. I hate to say we had to take that dog for a walk a couple of times, but it never got worse than a good reasoning with those involved. All the tales of life on the road from guys I would come to admire prompted me to get my CDL and so began a life as an OTR driver.

The tales that I thought to be tall at best, I learned to be truths for the most part. And now my kids are reading about the shutdowns and blockades of truck stops, looking at the old man with a new set of eyes, realizing there is truth in at least some of the tales they’ve heard me tell. So thank you very much.

Mike Freeman Sr.
Farmingdale, Maine

Memories of the old days? Boy howdy
Boy oh boy! Did your May 2013 cover ever evoke some long-buried feelings. Yes, I do remember those days. I broke into the field about then and, yes, I was one of the dissent truckers, did highway stoppages, ran miles in long protesting convoys – which back then were illegal. And, yes, we also blocked up shippers and receivers, those of us who were at the dock already, and we refused to unload.

I suppose those signs on the May cover today would read something like this: “Shut down or be taxed AND REGULATED out of business!”

 Land Line and OOIDA are the best. You are doing a great job! Don’t stop!

Edward Hoda
Aransas Pass, Texas

Wilder days
I really enjoy Land Line, and the article “The way we were” really brought back memories. I was wildcatting in those years and it was tough. I spent about 46 years long-haul trucking and I miss it, but would not – for any amount of money – put up with the regulations and the DOT and all the stupid stuff the government puts out.

I am about a hermit now. I live in a remote place, no phone service, don’t even have a TV – but I can enjoy my old memories and the old trucks I ran.

W.W. Brown
Valley Spring, Texas

That TA at Exit 58 on I-55 mentioned in the May issue of Land Line (Pork Chop Diaries) was maybe the truck stop that I stopped at the most when I was first driving. They had cheap fuel, and it was a Union 76 then.

I grew up with Union 76s being the great truck stop. They had Road King magazine, which was pretty cool – free. Reader’s Digest-sized. The 76s were always old. I don’t think I ever ate at that one. Maybe a honey bun. Mostly just fuel and go. There was not a 76 by our hometown, so it was getting into real truckin’ country to find one. It was easy math to count down to the 58 mile marker. No matter which way I was driving, the stop there was well-timed.

One time at 2 a.m., I left that truck stop, and the next time I opened the door or touched the clutch I was on the west side of Houston. That was 700 miles, 10 hours, and the speed limit was 55. I loaded in Chicago and they wanted it in Houston by noon. Paint in a 48-foot van. My personal-best record – I never hope to beat.

That truck stop – they don’t make ’em like that anymore. … I still stop there in a car when I drive through (because I can) for the great memories.

Danny Schnautz
Pasadena, Texas

‘Struggling for every dime’
I’m reading the opinion/editorial by Todd Spencer in the May edition. I’ve listened to Todd on Sirius XM radio many times while he’s being interviewed on “Land Line Now.” In his editorial, Todd points out the fact that the drivers are really the bottom line when it comes to pay.

The theft of our time by the industry is only accomplished when we allow it. As more and more young people enter the industry and decide that they won’t tolerate this kind of activity, change will come.

More small carriers have increased the base pay to their drivers and added accessorial pay. They are hoping that by doing this they will attract better quality drivers and therefore improve their position in the industry.

Surprisingly, the effect of CSA and the resulting improvement in the driving records and the management of small carriers is accomplishing part of what the feds were trying to do. Gradually, the bad carriers are being weeded out and pay for drivers is slowly improving.

Unfortunately, as always with large sweeping mandates by the federal government, the unintended consequences of HOS changes and other regulatory decisions are causing extra problems for drivers and motor carriers. FMCSA must be held responsible for these problems, and they must be required to make the adjustments in the regulations to correct them. As with driver pay, we – the affected – are the only way these changes will come.

Your article and cover photo “The way we were” reminded me of two things. First, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Second, in the words of Mark Twain, “History doesn’t repeat but it does rhyme.”

Jim Getten
Payette, Idaho

Memorial Day for fallen truckers?
I’d like to give a thank you to your columnist Bill Hudgins for writing on a Truckers Memorial Day in the June issue of the mag. As the administrator of the Facebook cause/group of “Remembering Fallen Truckers” memorial page, we do our best to honor those drivers who have lost their lives from all types of circumstances. It also is our purpose to show our support to the families of these drivers, letting them know they have not been forgotten in their time of loss. The name is also on LinkedIn.com.

I agree with Bill there does need to be a community effort to get Congress, despite their troubles, to officially dedicate a set day for our fallen comrades of the road. I would suggest a date of Nov. 1 as it is the start of the time many of us truckers look forward to the time with family, yet many have never made it home and the family suffers.

Thank you and may the Lord provide continual safety to the nation’s other heroes and comfort to the many families that have lost a loved one. The life of a trucker continues on.

David Lippert
Watertown, Wis.

Happy 40th anniversary, OOIDA
I am an OOIDA life member. I have known Jim Johnston forever, before there was ever a Land Line Magazine – before there was ever an organization. I have seen him get up on flatbeds and make speeches and stuff like that. Every time I turn around this guy is fighting for truckers and we appreciate him.

Clarence Patterson
Dayton, Ohio

Proud member
I am a life member of OOIDA and I’ve been driving since 1965. I have a clean record, no accidents, and am still driving. I haul gas and propane mostly, all mountains. OOIDA is a very good organization and I’m very proud of them and for what you stand for. Proud to be a member.

Paul Lambert
Cortez, Colo.

Wish there were two
I have been retired now for about two and a half years and I do miss it. I dream almost every night about driving a truck. But I do get my Land Line, and I wish there were two issues a month.

I have read the last one about three times and I mean every article. Just wanted to tell you what a great job all of you do there at OOIDA.

“Big Daddy” Jesse Wood
Aiken, S.C.

Not just trucks
I am a life member of OOIDA, joining about three years ago. I do not own trucks but do have a small mixed fleet of OTR charter coaches and school buses. We face many of the same problems on the road, particularly the never-ending regulations coming from Washington. I read Todd Spencer’s editorial about “Struggling to earn every dime.” The crux of your editorial applies to our industry as well as the trucking industry.

In fact, many of the articles in Land Line apply to coaches as well as trucks. 

Land Line is a great source of information. I look forward to every issue.  

Rick Thielen
Thielen Bus Lines Inc.
Redwood Falls, Minn.