CDL Truck Drivers Are Making Wishes Come True Event

While families are sitting down to celebrate Mom on Mother’s Day, May 8th, truck drivers in Lancaster, Pa., will be lining up by the hundreds for another important cause: the 27th Annual Make-A-Wish Mother’s Day Convoy.

What began in 1990 with 40 trucks and a little boy who yearned to talk to his sister over a CB radio has blossomed into something much larger.

Today, drivers from 35 states and Canada participate in the Make-A-Wish Mother’s Day Convoy.

This year, organizers are going bigger than ever, looking to break the Guinness World Record for the longest truck convoy.

“We’re shooting for 500 trucks to smash the world record of 416,” says Ben Lee, regional director for Make-A-Wish in Susquehanna Valley.

The convoy is part of a day-long festival that draws 5,000 local residents annually. Last year’s convoy raised $300,000 for Make-A-Wish, and organizers are striving for $350,000 this year. Much of the money is raised by participating CDL permit holders, who open their hearts and wallets for the cause. Each driver donates $100 to participate in the convoy, and many raise additional contributions.

CDL Truckers Love to Help Wish Kids Dreams Come True EventRob Finch, an owner operator leased to Landstar, is one of those drivers.

He’s been lining up for the Make-A-Wish convoy for 13 years, almost as long as he’s held a CDL trucking job.

“It’s something all the trucks in this area participate in,” he says. “My first year, I just wanted to show off the truck and meet other drivers. But then you start meeting the kids and you see how much these wishes change their lives. It makes you want to get involved more and more.”

For years, Finch contently gave a $100 donation.

But four years ago, he ramped up his involvement, emailing his contacts for contributions. His emails alone reaped $3,000 this year. Finch also hosts a $20-per-plate dinner to raise funds for the event. Since 2012, he has raised $15,000 for Make-A-Wish. Donations matter, he says.

“Because a family is burdened by hospital bills or a parent had to give up a career to care for their kid, so many of these kids don’t get to take a vacation,” Finch says. “So these donations really mean a lot to everybody.”

The more donations, the more wishes that can be granted, Lee says. “The funds that the convoy has raised over 27 years has eclipsed $5 million,” he adds. “That translates to an almost incalculable number of people who have been impacted by this convoy.”

CDL Truck Drivers Are Making Wishes Come True Event

Mackenzie Kirchner and her parents, Chris and Dawn Kirchner, with Rob Finch’s truck

Every year, Lee is touched by the former “Wish Kids” who return to ride with truck drivers as the convoy motors 26 miles past scenic Amish farms. Between 75 and 100 Wish Kids return for the event annually. Finch will be riding with a Wish Kid for the first time this year—his friend’s 16-year-old daughter, Mackenzie Kirchner.

For Lee, seeing the Wish Kids get such warm support from so many is the highlight of the event.

“Many of them have struggled with feeling like a burden, or feeling unattractive, or they have all sorts of questions about faith,” he says. “You take all of that wrapped up and then for them to come out and be hugged and cheered and told they’re the heroes, I love seeing the smiles on their faces.”

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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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If you want to be successful, work yourself into a frenzy. Or so we’ve been led to believe, anyway.

But one psychologist, Emma Seppala, says something quite the opposite in her new book, “The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success.” Business Insider highlighted Seppala’s Top 6 pointers for living a happier, more successful life.

The good news is, Seppala’s pointers are easy enough for all of us to do, anyplace, anytime. So the next time you’re working at your CDL trucking job, try to work some of these approaches into your day. You’ll be happy you did.

1. Live in the moment

In today’s working world, we’re encouraged to work nonstop in order to stay on top of everything. We’re also constantly checking things off our to-do lists. But research suggests that when we’re focused on the present, we’re much more productive and more charismatic.

2. Be resilient

If we can train ourselves to be more resilient to the setbacks in our lives, we’re more likely to bounce back from them, a 2004 study suggests. The study found that resilient people were able to recover faster (as measured by their heart rate and blood pressure) when they used positive emotions to respond to a stressful experience.

3. Keep calm

In 2014, Seppala and her colleagues conducted a small study of 21 veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Half of them were assigned to do breathing meditation, and the other half received no intervention. The group that did the meditation reported lower PTSD symptoms and anxiety a month and even a year later.

4. Do more of nothing

In Western society, we have this ingrained notion that we need to constantly be doing something, or we’re not being productive. But in fact, research suggests that we are most creative when we’re not at our peak alertness. The findings suggest that we’re at our mental best when we’re not especially alert or focused. So if we want to be creative, we need to give ourselves more time off.

5. Be good to yourself

Research suggests that a fear of failure can lead you to choke up, make you more likely to give up, and lead to poor decisions such as cheating or making questionable investments. It may also make it harder to pursue the career you want. Instead, Seppala said, be kind to yourself and observe your negative thoughts from a distance without letting yourself really dwell on them.

6. Be compassionate

Finally, we often assume that we should be looking out for ourselves first and foremost. But in fact, research suggests that you’re better off nurturing supportive relationships with others. If you have good relationships with your boss, colleagues, or employees, you’re more likely to inspire loyalty, which in turn makes everyone more productive, Seppala said.

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truck driver dogsOwner operator Wendy Trudeau loves her mutt, Missy, so much, she couldn’t help but post photos of Missy on Facebook. A lot of them. She posted them so often, in fact, that Trudeau’s brother eventually came up with a silly new nickname for his sister: “the crazy dog lady.”

She’d show him. As a joke, Trudeau decided to start a Facebook group for people with CDL trucking jobs, a place where they could post photos of their pets. She called the group “Trucking Fur Babies” and approached it with a laugh.

One year later, Trucking Fur Babies has 978 members, and the group’s robust following is nothing to scoff at.

“It makes me feel really good,” says Trudeau, an owner operator leased to Mercer Transportation in Louisville, Ky. “It’s like, wow, I started something kind of half heartedly and now it’s full of wonderful people. It’s a happy group. I call it my happy place.”

In Trucking Fur Babies, people with CDL trucking jobs post photos of their pets, bond over their common interest and bring levity to one another’s days.

Drivers in the group say taking their pets on the road with them has enhanced their enjoyment of work, given them companionship and created unexpected health benefits.

“He just brightens our life,” says Dee Shunk of her dog Pa-Lo (pronounced Paolo), a cattle dog mix she and her husband, Kevin, found abandoned outside a bar four years ago. “He’s our baby. He surprises us every day. He goes crazy for peppermints.”

How pets enhance life for people with CDL trucking jobs“And he absolutely loves the bath,” adds Kevin Shunk, who has had an owner operator trucking job for several years. “Oh God, I just said ‘bath’ and there he goes. Pa-Lo’s sitting in the bathtub right now.”

Such antics are recounted in Trucking Fur Babies day after day.

Sandra Card loves being a part of the group, too. She rides along with her husband, Luigi Dimeo. Dimeo has an owner operator trucking job that can take the couple OTR for months at a time. Life on the road can make for a lot of togetherness, so the couple’s dog, Toby, is a vital peacemaker for the pair when tensions rise.

“Toby’s role is to keep us from killing each other,” Card jokes. “Me and my husband sitting next to each other 24/7? We get irritable. Toby’s a mediator. I don’t need a therapist, I got my dog.”

How pets enhance life for people with CDL trucking jobsWhile Card says all of this with a laugh, she makes a serious point. Toby, a shih tzu, lowers the couple’s stress levels and helps them cope during long stretches on the road. “When we’re stuck in traffic, having Toby helps immensely,” Card says.

Walking the Walk

Those with CDL driving jobs say having their dogs with them on the road has another big benefit—more exercise. Trudeau goes walking twice a day with Missy, once in the morning and again in the evening.

“We go off the beaten path,” says Trudeau. “We’re country kids. Missy is good for two miles at a time.”

And for Card, who has diabetes, making time for such walks is all the more important.

“I know it’s healthier for you to have an animal, I’ve read the studies on that,” Trudeau says. “The little furball just knows if you’ve had a bad day. Then you go for a walk and life is good.”

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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

 

 

Fatal work-related injuries to commercial truck drivers last year reached a critical point, and not in a good way. In fact, driver fatalities in 2014 reached their highest level in six years, states a summary of preliminary results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2014, just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chart: Bureau of Labor Statistics
work related fatality

 

BLS said that “transportation and material moving occupations” accounted for the largest share (28%) of fatal occupational injuries of any group of workers last year. Fatal work injuries in this group climbed 3 percent to 1,289 incidents in 2014, marking the highest total since 2008 (see BLS chart above). Heavy-truck and tractor-trailer drivers incurred their highest total since 2008– with 725 fatalities recorded in 2014.

According to the census, truck drivers and drivers/sales workers accounted for nearly two out of every three fatal injuries in the overall group (835 of the 1,289 fatal injuries in 2014). BLS also found that in 2014, transportation-related fatal work injuries rose slightly, from 1,865 in 2013 to 1,891 in 2014.

Overall, the article stated, transportation incidents accounted for 40 percent of fatal workplace injuries in 2014.

 

thumbnail courtesy of truckinginfo.com

 

scenic roads

We know you spend enough time on the road as it is. But all work and no play makes John a dull boy, as they say. The next time you find yourself on a beautiful stretch of highway with nothing to do and nowhere to be (There’s a first time for everything?), treat yourself to a detour of the most beautiful kind. You deserve it!

Here are five gorgeous rides from Yahoo! Travel to whet your appetite for solitude, adventure and even some quality grub. Happy trucking!

1. Big Bend Scenic Loop, Texas 
This spectacular 250-mile route through western Texas skims the Mexico border and the path of the Rio Grande. The route, from Presidio to the Rio Grande Village, carves its way through the Big Bend Ranch State Park — a rugged desert wilderness area bigger than Rhode Island. With over 300 different bird species living in the park, it is a haven for birdwatchers. Or for those seeking a more exhilarating experience, the park is packed with outdoor activities, from rafting, horse riding, and 4×4 tours to canoeing, mountain biking, and fishing.

2. Colorado Scenic Byway
For wildlife lovers, there is no better road trip destination than through Colorado, where you are likely to catch a glimpse of bears, wolves, birds of prey, and many other forest-dwelling animals. The Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway runs 80 miles from State Bridge to Grand Lake, cutting directly through Rocky Mountain National Park.

3. Montana to Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Begin your journey in Bozeman, Mont., by taking a dip in the geothermal hot springs before starting the 135-mile trip through Yellowstone National Park, across the state border into Wyoming, and down to the historic Old Faithful geyser. Breathtaking panoramic views and incredible wildlife spotting will keep you entertained the entire ride.

4. The BBQ Trail, South Carolina
Aside from taking road trips, there is another pastime that has become just as synonymous with American culture — the art of barbecue. So what better way to vacation than to combine the two activities. While Texas and Kansas are both big contenders on the “World’s Best BBQ” front, South Carolina is actually the birthplace of this fabulous food genre. The South Carolina Barbecue Map offers trippers the opportunity to customize their tour among more than 250 BBQ joints, so whether you want to journey to one or attempt to tick all of them off your list, the BBQ Trail might just be the greatest foodie challenge ever.

5. Eureka, California to Coos Bay, Oregon 
While the Pacific Coast Highway is the West Coast’s most iconic roadway, the 250-mile journey from Eureka in Northern California to Coos Bay on the central Oregon coastline is just as spectacular. Starting out in the historic Redwood Empire region of California, visitors can check out the historic old town or even venture up into the national forest to check out the towering redwoods in person. From there the journey weaves along the stunning coastline, with white-sand beaches, sand dunes, and even the dramatic forest-scapes where Jurassic Park was partly filmed.

 

Image credit: Blaine Harrington III / Alamy

It’s all in a day’s work for Virginia trucker Steven Peloquin, who won a $91.8 million jackpot this month, thanks to a pit stop in Penn 80/Flying J Travel Plaza in Pennsylvania. Peloquin, a 30-year veteran driver, says he’ll retire early to spend more time with his family.

Read more here.

Image from www.q13fox.com

 

 

 

 

Tom Rogers had it good. He had a stable job abroad at a start-up in The Philippines, a salary that let him live well enough, and a promising future. But then he watched a TedX video that changed his perspective. And he chose to change his path.

“The whole point of the video was that life passes us by, if we don’t make it a point to pursue living a memorable life,” Rogers writes in an essay for the website Rappler. “For others, a pursuit of a memorable life may be spending more time with their children and working less. To me, a memorable life is to travel and experience different cultures, food, and ways of life.”

Since then, Rogers hasn’t looked back. He and his and his girlfriend, Anna Faustino, travel the world full time, repurposing their lives through travel, living simply and building their blog, Adventure In You.

We want to inspire people to live the life they have always wanted,” Rogers says. “Whatever you want in life, pursue it relentlessly and live your life free of regrets of the things that you didn’t do.”

It’s an inspirational lesson for all of us. You can read more of Rogers’ story here.

Images from Tom Rogers/Adventure in You

 

If there’s a shortage of car hauler drivers out there–and there’s a shortage of about 3,000 of them–one truck company executive says she knows why. Such drivers simply aren’t having much fun, says Kathleen McCann, CEO of United Road Services Inc., a suburban Detroit trucking company that moves about 3 million new and used vehicles a year. Automotive News drew the scenario:

Imagine driving a 75-foot rig through the snow to an auction house to pick up a load of used cars and trucks. The vehicles aren’t parked where they are supposed to be. The key is missing from one and the paperwork from another. All are covered with snow. Now what? You find the cars and you find the keys, and while you wait on the paperwork, you clean the snow from the vehicles. That’s all before driving each vehicle carefully onto your rig and hitting the road.”

McCann says that’s the norm for drivers of car haulers. And that reality is not attracting an onslaught of new drivers to the profession, to put it simply. The good news is, United Road Services is doing what it can to make the system more efficient. And that’s not all.

Now, it’s considering a step that would encourage auctions, dealerships and others to get more efficient in their dealings with car haulers, too: allowing drivers to review auctions and other customers, much as customers review restaurants online.

As the economy recovers, demand for goods is up. That includes demand for new and used vehicles. Increased demand strains the trucking industry, which needs about 16,000 car-hauling trucks and drivers to meet customers’ needs.

“We think we’re well short of that,” McCann said.

Read more.

Image from autonews.com