Monday, March 1, 2010

Trucking: America’s Greatest Resource

Hey all,

It's time for another guest blogger and before I introduce her, let me reiterate my Saturday announcement. Since Jonathon is now taking Wednesday and Thursday's off over here in Singapore, it makes more sense to have a guest blogger cover one of those days since he and I will be out and about. So today's guest blogger will be the last one done on Monday before the switch.

Starting next week with Heather Gardener, the guest blogger will be seen mid-week on Wednesday. I may or may not have a blog on Thursday depending on if I am here or not. If we are out traveling as we think we probably will be, I won't be around to do one.

Clear as mud? Good. So, let's move on to more interesting things, our wonderful guest blogger, Rie McGaha. This interesting introduction is straight from her WEBSITE and as a fellow dreamer and traveler, I have to say I think I've met a new soul sister!!! *smile*

As a dreamer of dreams and being born with a a gypsy soul, Rie has lived all over the United States. Settling in SE Oklahoma in 1989, she enjoys a quiet life in the Kiamichi Wilderness where she takes in abused and neglected animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find them new homes. The ones that don’t find new homes remain with Rie and she currently has 7 dogs and 3 cats

When not caring for the animals, Rie tries to find a few moments to write.

Rie is also a free lance editor, review editor for The Pagan & The Pen , runs a promotions business and produces book trailers.

So please welcome Rie McGaha!!!! Let's see what she has to tell us!!!

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In 2002 I got my CDL and drove big trucks cross-country for a couple of years before deciding this wasn’t the career of a lifetime for me. My husband, Nathan, on the other hand, has driven for more than eight years and on occasion I go with him for extended periods of time. In January 2010 he came home and loaded up my stuff, along with me and my French bulldog Harley Davidson, and I’ve been onboard since then. We have traveled approximately 25,000 miles since then, which is roughly the distance around the world. During my time as a truck driver and since, as a seat cover, I have seen a lot of pretty strange things and some things that tick me off. One of the main concerns is the lack of parking space for big trucks and the lack of respect for their size and their drivers.

Driving truck can become very tedious, boring, and tiring when you cover the same roads over and over, especially when you have little sleep trying to make drops and pick-ups on time. In the northeast, as well as along the entire east coast, there simply isn’t enough truck parking, which I don’t understand. Trucks are the reason there is food on the shelves of your local grocery store and clothes and shoes in your favorite department store. Without trucks delivering goods, America would literally come to a standstill.

So why aren’t more states trucker friendly? I wish I knew the answer, but this is what I do know. The government has regulated trucks and truckers to the point that getting loads delivered on time is nearly impossible. States on the east and west coasts have emission regulations that keep truckers from idling their engines while parked, which means if you are trying to run your heater or air conditioner, you are breaking the law. Further, the state of California has regulated reefer trucks to the point that companies are refusing to go into that state. This is the first year the new reefer law is in effect, (and I’m not referring to the medical marijuana law here), but to a law that says reefer engines must be replaced every seven years, which will mean 7-10K dollars per truck. Companies simply cannot absorb that kind of cost.

With companies refusing to send their trucks into California because of this law, consumers can expect even higher prices at the super market, especially with fresh fruits and vegetables since California supplies more than eighty percent of the country’s produce.

In addition to such regulations, diesel prices continue to climb, tolls on the east coast and mid-west have jumped for trucks, all resulting in higher consumer prices. The trip across Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts and back cost more than two hundred dollars in tolls alone.

There has been talk for several years about a truck driver sit out, where all trucks come to a halt at the same time and sit still for a week. While truck drivers everywhere favor a sit out, actually being able to stage a mass sit out of this type is logistically impossible. But let us suppose all trucks came to a halt for one week. Seven days with no deliveries to grocery stores, pet stores, malls, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, and no deliveries to McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, or any other fast food joint. Imagine no fuel deliveries to your local gas station, no cigarette deliveries to your local 7-11, no beer deliveries to your local Circle K. What kind of problems would this create?

First of all, the convenience stores would have to close their doors within the first twenty-four hours. Secondly, no one would be able to travel because there would be no gas, no diesel and that would also mean no airlines, no city buses, and no school buses running. By the third day, most local grocery stores would close because the shelves would be empty and they don’t have enough storage space to keep more than a couple of days worth of products on hand. By the fifth day the larger stores, including super Wal-Marts, would have to close for the same reason. Large stores like Wal-Mart and super Targets have distribution centers that warehouse products for them and delver several times a week to keep the shelves full, but without fuel, the distribution center’s trucks are sitting still too. If you use propane in your home, you no longer have heat, hot water, or a way to cook your meals. Your garbage is going to begin to pile up because garbage trucks use diesel too.

The mail you receive every day would stop arriving because mail is shipped by trucks, the medical care you receive would stop because hospitals and clinics would not have the supplies they need. Dentists will shut their doors, and eventually, every job in America will come to a halt because every business is directly or indirectly impacted by its ability to ship or receive products that are delivered by trucks. Whether or not you believe this as fact, each individual person in the United States depends upon trucks and truck drivers to keep America rolling.

Despite this fact, truck drivers are the most mistreated, underpaid, and hardest working men and women in the country. There is a huge demand for truck drivers because there is more and more demand for the products you want. However, fewer people want to be truck drivers or continue driving because of the over regulation of the industry, the pure bullshit drivers have to put up with from shippers, receivers, autos on the road, and the public in general. So think about this, headhunters from American companies are recruiting drivers from other countries who don’t speak English and can’t read the road signs.

But if trucks stopped, what would you do? Just how long would your family be comfortable, fed, clothed, clean, and have the things they are used to getting by simply going to the store?

For more info and photos of my road trip, please go to

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Thanks so much, Rie. That is a lot of food for thought. I know I take truck drivers for granted and rarely think about them. As long as my food and fuel is where it is when I want it to be, I'm cool. But she's right folks, these people keep America fed, clothes and on the road. Let's have a little more respect.

For more information on Rie, you can visit her website or go see what she's doing on her blog. Give her and her husband your support for the wonderful job they are doing!

Thanks, Rie for guest blogging!!!! You're welcome back any time!!!

And I'll be back tomorrow with the first of my two day series on Bintan, Indonesia!!!!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

I can't imagine being a truck driver. I was so tired after the road trips I took the last few weeks I knew there was no way I could do it. In Nebraska we have truck stops and rest stops that have room for trucks and no tolls. I don't see how they can do it either. It's a long tough job.

Julie said...

I have a lot of respect for truck drivers. I come from a family that has had several. Dad even drove for a while but, he decided it wasn't for him. I went with him on a run once. I love road trips but it was so boring when we got where we were going. Waiting to unload and stuff. I can't imagine doing it all the time. Especially with all the regulations you have to deal with now.

SJR said...

Hi Rie [aka ‘seat cover’, LOL],
Kudos on your work with animals.
I think it’s too bad that there can’t be a sit-out or literally a ‘Truck Stop’ protest. It seems that nothing gets done unless there is some big media event about it that the press hooks into. I shudder to think of the consequences but people would definitely pay attention. And I agree that truckers should be supported in their work, not hassled. [As cute as you say that ‘Full grown’ was, couldn’t he have given you a warning instead?]
BTW, I loved your blog about CB Lingo, aka Trucker Speak. Thanks,
Wishing I was on a road trip,
Sara J. ~ : - ]

Marie McGaha said...

Hi everyone, I would like to thank CJ for having me and I apologize for being so late, but wifi service isn't what one might think on the road! Thank you for your comments and support. I appreciate the fact that there are so many who can identify with what truckers go through and hopefully my articles will bring more around to our way of thinking!

CJ England said...

No worries, Rie,

I figured you were out and about. Please let us all know if you have more info on how we can make a difference.

Blessings and good travels. (I was going to say, Keep On Trucking, but it was just too trite. LOL)


Nichelle Gregory said...

Truck drivers do so much and they are definitely undervalued. Not enough parking?!! Unbelievable! America WOULD come to a standstill without the goods truckers bring to our shelves everyday. Thanks for sharing this enlightening post, Rie! :)

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

Wow, what an eye opener. We are such a spoiled lot, aren't we? All this has been taken for granted, but no more. Though there have been truck drivers in Ang's family, and although in the back of our minds we have always known the import of truckers, you have brought to the forefront the true devastation of what could happen. Truckers are the heroes and sheroes that truly are under appreciated.