Archive for April, 2010

Repetition

It is beginning to happen. Much sooner than I thought. We are going to the same places or areas. Tonight we picked up in North Bergen, NJ. This is the third time I have been here and the second to this shipper. We are going back to Illinois following the same route we just did getting here from Nebraska. We will probably spend the night in the same small truck stop we have twice before. We need more trips to new places. We have only been to Florida once, same with South Carolina. We have not been to New England other than western Massachusetts and there is a lot of the pacific northwest yet to see. If we have to do repeats at least let it be the Golden to Elkton run as it is beautiful and one of these days we will get the timing right so we can see Tamarack, WV.

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You don’t care about the environment

When you look at a truck going down the road you probably assume it is packed from stem to stern. A lot of the time that is true. Other times, like our latest load it doesn’t seem like there is much in it if you look but it is heavy. Twenty-one 2′ x 2′ x 1′ blocks of lead don’t take up much space but they weigh a total of nearly 44K pounds so that makes a ‘full’ load.

Where you end up with a less-than-truckload, or LTL, is with FedEx and UPS. There are other LTL carriers, all those doubles you see are LTL but most of them are not as time sensitive so they can gather up several LTL loads going to the same place and fill the trailer.

So where is this going. You sit at home and sort your recycling and take it to the curb or the center and feel real good about yourself. Then you order something on-line and have it sent overnight because you just can’t live without it any longer. It goes from warehouse to truck to plane to truck to sorting center to truck to you in 24 hours. That day both the overnight company and USPS came to your house. When I ordered my Austin City Limits concert tickets I had the option to deliver overnight. The tickets ship in June and the concert is in October. I think I can wait a couple of days for delivery. Think of the carbon footprint of that thing you ordered compared to waiting for regular mail delivery where things tend to get grouped in big lots for shipping.

Next time you buy on-line take time to think about how soon you really need it. Reduce the energy and save a few bucks.

Speaking of the Econmy

As a truck driver I am out here in the economic trenches. I am sure there are sectors that are more sensitive to economic tides but trucking is a good indicator of what is happening.

From where I stand I can tell you things are turning around. Companies are going from reporting quarterly losses to gains. Freight is up over last year as well as last month and quarter. A lot of trucks stopped rolling during the recession. Some permanently some just until things turn around. Because of this the uptick in freight is about to reach the current capacity to carry it. Tractor sales are up. Trailer orders are up. One manufacturer is bring back 190 employees, at least temporarily, to meet production demands.

I don’t know how fast or strong the recovery will be but it is underway.

All of the above comes from reading the Transportation Topics newsletter. http://www.ttnews.com/

This Beautiful Country

We really do live in America the Beautiful. I have traveled about 100,000 miles since last August to nearly every part of the lower 48 and nearly every where most of the time is something beautiful or interesting or historic or fun or …

Yesterday in central and south Texas spring was going strong with wild flowers every where. West Texas is greening up too. Tomorrow it looks like we might see a lot if snow in the northwest.

Last week we saw the same kind of range in the east.

We drive past civil war battle fields, revolutionary war monuments, museums for pinball and Barbie and science and natural history and presidents and everything else you can think of.

I guarantee that within 500 road miles of your home are many things you want to see or do. GO DO AND SEE THEM. Turn that next three day weekend in to a four day one and go somewhere. It won’t cost all that much and it will create great memories. Plus just imagine the boost to the economy.

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