Cedar Plank Grilling

Lee Fisher, an over the road company driver from Colorado, has liked cedar plank cooking ever since he tried it one year ago and won an online cooking challenge with the recipe. This Easter, Lee and his wife, Kari, will be spending the holiday on the road. But that’s not stopping them from cooking Easter dinner on 18 wheels. They’ll be preparing their winning recipe: cedar plank salmon.

“The more we experimented with cedar plank cooking, the more we learned how to do it properly,” Lee says.

The key is to soak the cedar plank in warm water for one hour before cooking, Lee says, then place the plank on a warm grill for about seven minutes before adding the fresh salmon—“to where the plank starts to smoke.”

Truck drivers prepare Easter dinner on the roadWhen the salmon is done cooking, it retains a nice smoky flavor. On Easter, the Fishers will serve it atop a bed of wild rice and accompany it with grilled asparagus for a complete, healthy meal.

Cooking on the road has brought the Fishers ever closer, Lee says, especially on holidays such as Easter. “It’s a joint effort when we cook. It’s made our relationship stronger. Those days where basically I’m stuck in high traffic situations, breaking the grill out, it’s like therapy.”

Keeping it Simple

People with CDL trucking jobs prepare Easter meals on their trucksEarl “Bugsy” Milroy will be cooking an Easter dinner on the truck for the first time this year. “I just figured I’ll be out here anyway, so why not?” reasons the OTR owner operator leased to C.R. England. Milroy plans to cook something simple, like ham with carrots and potatoes.

Milroy, who’s had a CDL trucking job for 23 years, enjoyed cooking Thanksgiving dinner on the road last year and is eager to see how his Easter meal fares. In cooking, Milroy relies most on his plug-in cooler and Lunch Box stove. The stove, shaped like a lunch box, works like a slow-cooker.

“I like the fact that I made it,” Milroy says of his cooking. “More and more at truck stop restaurants, the food doesn’t seem to be prepared with as much care as I would give my own food.”

Milroy, a Christian, savors the tradition of the Easter meal as much as the food itself. “I was raised with traditional holiday values,” he says. “I learned most of my cooking from my ex-wife. My mother, God rest her soul, couldn’t cook worth a damn. But my ex-wife is a really good cook, and I learned most of what I know from her.”

Lightening-Up Traditional Meals

Truck drivers cook Easter meals in their trucksLike Milroy, Carie Partin is a Christian who loves the tradition behind holiday meals.

“Easter means life, resurrection. It means hope for us,” says Partin, who made an Easter meal on the truck for the first time last year. “I still want to carry on my mom’s Easter tradition. It was important to her, and it’s something I never want to die out. Even if it’s just me and my husband, I want to hang on to it.”

Partin rides shotgun with her husband, James, an owner operator lease-purchase to U.S. Express. Their Easter dinner will be smaller and lighter than last year’s meal. Like the Fishers, the Partins are on a health kick. James has lost 21 pounds, and Carie’s blood pressure is lower than ever.

Truck drivers make Easter dinner on their trucksThose results have inspired them to cook lighter alternatives like cauliflower “mashed potatoes.” But Partin will make her signature deviled eggs again. Last year she shaped them like chicks; on Sunday, she’ll make them flower-shaped with a garnish of spring onions.

“It’s still the Easter tradition,” Partin says. “But getting healthier makes the culinary experience more fun.”

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Ever wonder if your brakes are safe enough for your trip? Getting brakes inspected regularly and practicing braking system safety extends their life. In addition, it ensures the safety of people with CDL trucking jobs, states a CCJ article from Feb. 11.

In the article, writer Jason Cannon writes about the importance of brake inspection. They also say technological leaps in braking systems are only as good as their upkeep.

“It is critical [brakes] are kept within their adjustment spec, which will give the vehicle even and balanced braking for better control,” says George Bowers, director of maintenance operations, Ryder. “Proper brake inspection is more than just the ability to stop the vehicle. It is about vehicle control.”

Matthew Mendy, product segment manager, Daimler Trucks North America Aftermarket, says fleets can actually lower their cost-of-operation by having brake maintenance procedures meet all industry standards and state and federal regulations.

Brake violations were one of the three most cited violations in the past 5 years. In his article, Cannon reiterates the importance of routinely checking your brakes.

A driver’s pre- and post-trip inspections are critical parts to identifying issues before violations occur. Rust streaks; air leaks; oil stains; worn, missing, broken or loose brake components; air lines rubbing on cross members or frame rails and/or bad or missing glad-hand seals are all obvious red flags every driver should be on the lookout for.

Routine brake inspections will not only keep you safe, but will also extend the life of the brake system itself.

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A new profile of the domestic small business climate in USA Today says that potential wealth isn’t the No. 1 motivator for small business owners, including those in trucking.

More than financial rewards, many small business owners seek more personal rewards, such as  creative expression and overall satisfaction.

The results apply to small business owners in various industries, whether they’re trucking companies hiring or something else entirely.

“For small business owners – like many young people entering the workforce — opening their own business is about quality of life and a sense of independence,” the article stated.

“When you’re a small business owner and want to make things happen, they do happen,” says Octavio Pina, 54, an Allstate agency owner in Santa Ana, Calif. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment knowing that if you do this, you’ll arrive at the point you want to be. You’re making things happen for yourself and your family.”

The USA Today study drew on federal data and a national survey of small business owners.

It seeked to understand the “health and vitality” of the U.S. small business sector.

The study found high levels of optimism (scoring 79 out of a possible 100) and innovation (73). What do small business owners get out of this working environment? Nearly half of the more than 2,600 who were surveyed said being their own boss gives them enjoyment. More than a third cite flexible work hours. And nearly a quarter get satisfaction from creating something all their own or following their passion. The real surprise? Just one in five point to money as one of their top two motivators.

The article goes on to say that other small business owners say they’re inspired by their own ability to control their destiny.

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Oklahoma City news station Fox 25 rode along with DOT Foods to show what truck drivers see on the road. And the report found that people with CDL trucking jobs have a serious reason to gripe about other drivers on the road.

From forgetting to signal to texting and driving, possible distractions make truckers nervous.

“You get in that truck, you hold the responsibility of all the people around you,” said Jim Leon, a 30-year trucking veteran with a stellar safety record.

The report uncovered that car drivers allow their cellphones to distract them.

But even bigger problems exist, the report noted.

The biggest problem today exists from drivers changing lanes without signaling. It happens over and over.

“That is a major problem,” said four-year trucker Rozanne Bright, who trains drivers. “They fail to communicate their action, and this happens all the time. It gets to the point when you are amazed when you see people use a blinker.”

When other drivers fail to signal, it hinders people with CDL trucking jobs. This happens because it takes trucks much longer to slow down than other vehicles.

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Truck driver hit by RV rushes to save girlEveryone loves a good hero story, especially one about a truck driver! Here at Drive My Way we are always looking for outstanding people with CDL trucking jobs to feature.

On February 25th, Live Trucking reported on a trucking accident on an off-ramp near Harrisburg, Oregon.

37-year-old truck driver Sergio Valente was asleep inside his semi truck when it happened. “Suddenly, I felt the truck move, and I woke up,” he said. “I went into shock. I did not know what to do.”

Valente got out of his truck to see what happened and saw the RV was on fire. He immediately tried to help put out the flames.

 As he was fighting the flames from the accident, he heard cries from a young girl inside the camper. He then broke the camper’s side window and pulled a 5-year-old girl to safety.

Sgt. Alan Gilbert of the Oregon State Police confirmed that the truck driver was not cited in the crash, and praised his heroics.

Unfortunately, the girl’s father and grandmother, who were also in the RV, died in the accident.

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After years of stagnant pay, truck drivers are finally seeing bigger paychecks, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

driver pay

“Many freight haulers have in the past year pushed through their biggest raises in decades,” the article states. “Truck-stop job boards and satellite radio airwaves are saturated with want ads, some offering sign-on bonuses topping $5,000 and free bus tickets to drivers willing to switch employers. Companies are equipping their fleets with satellite televisions and other amenities to make life on the road more comfortable.”

According to the article, the economy is expanding and the strong dollar is increasing demand for imported goods that must be moved from ports to municipalities across the country.

Average pay for long-haul truckers jumped 17% since the end of 2013 to a record $57,000 this year, according to the National Transportation Institute, a research group. U.S. wages rose by less than 4% over the same period.

Higher driver pay, the article stated, is being passed along to retailers and other shippers as well.

“Everyone is fighting over the same drivers,” said Dan Pallme, director of the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute at the University of Memphis. “Eventually, what has to happen is salary has to rise, and the only way motor carriers can do that is by increasing the costs to their customers.”

 

Featured image from Google.com; story image from wsj.com

finance habits

Sure, half a minute doesn’t sound like much time, but turns out you can get a lot done in half a minute–if you adopt some of these great habits. And they can have a lasting impact on your career and finances.

As soon as you pour that cup of morning joe, pinpoint your top three—and only three—most crucial to-dos for the day,” states the Fast Company article.”Once you’ve identified what’s important, you’ll often find it’s not many things,” says Josh Davis, Ph.D., author of . “Having a small number of things also makes it easier [to accomplish the tasks].”

Davis, the author of “Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done,” suggests blocking off the two best hours each day for accomplishing those three tasks. He also suggests writing things down, such as important points right after a meeting, to help cement details in your memory.

Taking small steps like these can put you on the path to success quickly.

Image from geralt / Pixabay

 

 

Chris Cox is cooking dinner. But he’s not in his kitchen. He’s cooking meals from a much more unlikely place — his semi.

For the veteran truck driver, who has found his niche as a company driver for Ozark Motor Lines, the road to this culinary triumph was long and full of misunderstanding.Chris Cox photo 2

“For a long time I was operating under these misconceptions about not being able to cook in the truck,” says Cox. “For some reason, I just thought it couldn’t be done.”

But that was bound to change.

And about five years ago, it did change, when Cox fell on hard times. Cox’s former employer was bought out, he took a huge pay cut, and he was going broke. He had to reduce his expenses in a hurry.

For Cox, who for years dined out twice a day, reducing his expenses had to start with his eating habits. He began cooking in the truck.

“For me, that was hard,” he says. “It was a big change of my lifestyle.”

For two years, Cox struggled with cooking in his truck. He did the dishes with bins of soap and water. It was a splashy mess. Then Cox discovered the Big Truck Cooking Group on Facebook, and his culinary world changed.

“It was my involvement with Big Truck Cooking that radicalized everything for me,” he says. “All those years of failure, and then all of a sudden I just stumbled across this group — those people are doing this on a truck? Aw, no way!”

For Cox, the group was a godsend. Through it, he learned he could clean up with baby wipes, that they wouldn’t leave a residue on his dishes. He ditched the soap and water, and his imagination soared.

The man who grew up watching his grandmother cook (and who once worked as a professional chef) had found his creative outlet again. It freed him to cook in the spontaneous style he loves, right on his truck.Kilbasa

Cox’s grandmother, now 96, was his biggest culinary influence. She grew up during the Great Depression. “That’s a whole other style of cooking,” Cox says. “You couldn’t go to the store to buy the ingredients you didn’t have. You just had to go without them. And that’s how my grandmother cooked. She made due with what she had. As a young boy, I picked up on that.”

To this day, Cox likes improvising. Big Truck Cooking introduced Cox to the Aroma cooker, which diversifies his menu with its versatility. It’s a steamer, skillet, crock pot and rice cooker all in one. He often uses it to cook Eckrich kielbasa because any unused sausage is easy to seal and store.

“The Aroma was a game changer for me,” he says. “The Aroma and baby wipes were necessary for me to fall into a groove. Now I’m definitely in it. It’s a good place to be.”

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Featured image from Pixabay.com; other images courtesy Chris Cox

 

Veggie dish

Veggie-a-go-go

Veggie-a-go-go Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • Half cup of rice
  • Half cup of water
  • Tablespoon of butter
  • 1 bunch of green beans
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 small or medium can tomato sauce
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 container sliced mushrooms
Directions:

  1. Put half cup of rice, half cup of water and a spoonful of butter in an Aroma cooker. Put Aroma on White Rice setting and wait for timer to beep when done.
  2. While rice is cooking, cut the ends off a bunch of green beans and cut the green beans and corn cobs in half. Slice onions and mince garlic.
  3. Open a can of tomato sauce
  4. Slice sweet, yellow peppers into “matchsticks”
  5. When rice is done cooking, put in a bowl and set it aside for the last step. Put corn cobs in bottom of pot. Put green beans in steam basket with 3 cups of water.
  6. Put Aroma on Steam setting and set the timer for 20 minutes. Close lid, press Start.
  7. The Aroma has a count down timer. At 10-minute mark, add crushed, minced garlic to the beans in the steam basket.
  8. At 7-minute mark, add yellow peppers in steam basket.
  9. At 3-minute mark, add sliced mushrooms and onion to pot where the corn is.
  10. When timer goes off, butter the corn and plate it.
  11. Drain the water from the pot and add the rice set aside earlier, along with all remaining veggies, to the Aroma pot (except corn).
  12. Put Aroma on the STS setting (Sear Then Simmer), add can of tomato sauce and stir while pot bubbles with flavor. Serve when the smell starts driving you crazy.

 

Truck Driver Appreciation Week

The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) annual National Truck Driver Appreciation Week continues through Sept. 19. To commemorate the occasion, carriers and truck stops nationwide are offering specials, holding award ceremonies and grilling out.

ATA created appreciation week in 1988 to honor America’s 3.4 million drivers for all their hard work. It has been commemorated every year since then.

“National Truck Driver Appreciation Week provides us the opportunity to honor the millions of men and women who safely and professionally move freight across this great country each and every day,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in a video message launching National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. “We know what a challenging job driving a truck can be, but we also know that trucks move America forward and without each of you we just simply couldn’t get that job done.”

TravelCenters of America takes honoring drivers one step further, hosting special events at many of its TA and Petro locations all month long—up until Oct. 2. Each location will hand out driver appreciation giveaways, and many locations also are celebrating with games, health fairs, dog washing and live music.

“Millions of professional drivers deliver our goods across America safely, securely and on time every day,” said Tom O’Brien, president and CEO of TravelCenters, in a release. “Not only are they handling one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs, but they are also helping keep our highways safe.

Image from pixabay.com/users/flok85

Truck Drivers, Thank You

As you may know, this week is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. We wanted to honor it today by posting this trucker’s prayer. Please know, drivers, how much you are appreciated by the Drive My Way team—and so many others. Thanks for all you do! Stay safe out there.

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