The End of an Era

IMG_1979There may be a few who will disagree with me on this topic, but from what I’ve seen in the past couple of years, I think I can safely say that what we’re seeing is the tail-end of the independent hotshot era.

It was fun while it lasted, but dang, it’s pretty much over for most of us.

Not to be too discouraging, but the truth of the matter is that the big boys are in the mix up to their eyebrows, there are too many idle trucks, the rates are being driven down by too much competition, and it’s darned hard to justify the expenses involved in independent hotshotting if you don’t have a gob of good customers to keep you running a bare minimum of three decent loads per week.

And by decent, I mean $1000 plus loads.

That kind of load volume is tricky to obtain, nearly impossible to predict, and exceedingly difficult to maintain.

The other trouble there is the fact that loads never, ever end up distributed evenly throughout any given month, so the first and last weeks of a month may be busy, or the middle, or whenever the customer has their shipping rush, so inevitably the independent hotshot guy is going to have weeks where nothing is moving, which means no cash is flowing, and other weeks where he misses out on good loads because he can’t be in two places at one time.

That’s the catch to hotshot work. I’ve said a million times before, hotshotting is a feast or famine roller coaster, and I don’t say that just to be cute.

It’s a grueling, brutal, super-competitive field and the little guy, unless the stars just magically line up perfectly every week, is not going to win. At least not enough of the time to thrive. It’s a struggle that repeats itself over and over again, and getting ahead is pretty much unheard of these days. The normal for independent hotshotting in this modern age is fighting for every load and hoping to God that something else will break loose before you go broke waiting. And that’s if you have a few good customers to start with, otherwise you won’t even get out of the gate.

Now, if things were like they were in the “good old days” of hotshotting, one hotshot could manage to have all the work he could handle, simply because not everyone and their dog who had a pickup truck was out there competing for the work. But these days, it’s a real madhouse of competition.

The trouble with competition on steroids like this is that when you get two or three big outfits sucking up all of the customers, and giving the biggest and best customers cut rates to get their business, you’re not only killing off the little independent guys, you’re also taking bread off your own driver’s tables. But from the big outfit perspective, that’s the way to get enough customers to run their volume-driven business model.

Where the independent guy tries just to get enough volume to keep himself busy and fairly profitable like in the old days, the big outfits have to suck all the air out of the room just to make a small profit per truck. It’s the fact that they have thousands of trucks making weekly little profits for them that drives this business model. And the big guys know how to defray all of their daily costs onto their drivers, while also getting paid by each truck, which is their bread and butter. So they have to run more and more trucks, even if those trucks only bring in one load a week. If you have 3000 trucks handing you around $200 a week each, then you have something going on. They don’t care what the load is, what truck hauls it, what trucks are sitting idle, or what drivers get the “good loads” or the “bad loads”, as long as their trucks move a little and pay out the basic minimum every week they’re happy. And that’s how they work.

They bring in enough to cover their office folks salaries, pay their own light bills, and set aside a chunk for profit. To do all that takes a lot of cash, and that’s what the big outfits are all about.

In order to get that necessary volume, these big outfits set out years ago to starve out all of the little independents by slowly but surely luring their customers away. And it’s not that the big outfits are evil, they’re just doing what big outfits do best. They do what the independent guy can’t possibly do.

They provide a full stable of drivers on call 24-7, never turn down a load, take crap loads and good loads indiscriminately, and send the big oil outfits one easy to pay bill at the end of the month. From the perspective of the big oil players, this is a great way to get their stuff moved. One call to get a truck, one account to keep track of, and one check to cut come pay-time. So really you can’t blame either the big hotshot outfits or the big oil outfits for working hand in hand in this fashion, it’s efficient, it works, and everyone involved is happy.

Except the individual leased owner/op and the independent hotshot, that is.

Now, I’ve been there, done that on both sides of this coin, so I can tell you from personal experience that when your operating costs are a minimum (if your equipment is paid off, that is) of $600 per month in insurance alone – if you are old enough and have a good enough record to get commercial, cargo, and liability that cheap, – plus every other cost involved in moving the loads you do get including fuel, truck maintenance, tires, motels, food, and everything else you can think of that it takes to get something moved from point a to point b, and you have to have continual cash flow to meet those obligations, it’s tough to sit idle for a week or two out of every month waiting for loads to shake loose.

In fact, if you get stuck in a bad cycle for more than a couple of weeks it can and will set you back to square one. With no loads for that long, and waiting for your next loads to pay, you can easily sit for a month and a half with no money coming in. It doesn’t help much to know it’s on the books when it won’t hit the bank for a month. And somehow you still have to keep things moving in the meantime.

Which is where the big outfits get you. You can’t afford to starve as an independent, but you likely will since the big oil players are all using the convenient big hotshot outfits, and what happens is the independent guy finally hits the “no load” wall, gives up his (or her) authority, and signs on with one of the big outfits just to survive.

It’s how the whole thing works, and it’s important to know this up front. Unless you’re “Lucky Luke” or something and just happen to have an inside track to never ending, steady weekly loads, this is usually how independent hotshots end up being big hotshot worker drones once the dust settles.

So this brings me back to the beginning of this post and my rash statement, and I’ll stand by it since I’ve been through the cycle myself, this is the end of the independent hotshot era, and unless the big outfits miraculously decide to close up shop and go home, I don’t expect it to be revived.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but dang, fighting it kicking and screaming doesn’t make it anything else than what it is, and that, folks, is pretty much what it is.

That’s all I’ve got.

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Hotshotting and The Lies We Love to Believe…

Oh mercy, I had another call just this morning from a guy ready to quit a perfectly good and steady paying day job just for the privilege of plunking down around $70K for a brand spankin’ new 1-Ton and 40′ trailer to drive off into the Hotshotting Sunset & Make His Fortune Land, wherever he thinks that mythical place may be.

I’m afraid (or rather, I hope) my blunt-ness burst his dreamer’s bubble, but I couldn’t let him just jump in without giving him a heartfelt warning. Which I’m sure he will ignore, it happens all the time…

(BB told me later I blew my chance to sell him the Beast, maybe he was right but this guy also wanted me to put him to work, and no thanks, I’m still in the process of squirming my way out of that stuff.)

If this blog has done nothing besides keeping one would-be hotshot from making unwise start-up decisions, then I would count it a success…

But… Apparently, as blunt and straight-talking as I am, I’m not blunt enough to get through the starry-eyed (and closed eared) hotshot hypnosis that overtakes even the most normally sensible folks.

And I just don’t get it. I lay it out there and tell it straight, and still people want to argue with me and tell me how wrong I am.

But in the interest of saving someone from the difficult to reverse side effects of this insidious ailment I’ll try again, so here are the top things not to do when starting out as a hotshot…

1. Do not mortgage the farm to outfit yourself with a brand spankin’ new 1-ton truck. Ditto on the trailer. If you must indulge this truck buying/hotshotting compulsion, at least have the sense to go with a used 2-ton and trailer combo, or good used single axle truck, and keep it cheap. You’ll thank me later…

2. Do not buy into the myth that a 1-ton truck is big enough for this work. Fact is, if you fail to heed this rule, you will spend a lot more replacing transmissions and rear ends and whatever else breaks from the excess stress on a too-small for the work truck than you would have spent just buying a 2-ton or bigger truck to start with. Guys argue this with me all the time, usually when their truck is in the shop getting fixed and they have time to stand around arguing, if you get my point…

3. Do not assume that anything anyone “tells” you about hotshotting is true, particularly if they have a vested interest in getting you to pay the bill to haul their loads. Remember, anyone you haul for is expecting you to pay the up front costs. What they are willing to fib about to get you aboard is probably (and usually) proportionate to how badly they need your cash to move their loads.

4. Do not, I repeat do not ever fall for the old line…”You can make enough money the first year to pay off that brand new 1-ton and trailer.” Trust me when I tell you that unless you have enough money banked to run on and live on that entire first year, this is a big, big lie. Sadly, it’s also the lie that usually sets the hook and gets you reeled in.

5. Do not assume that you can even find a hotshot gig if you have no CDL, no verifiable driving experience hauling a 40′ trailer, and no contacts in the business. And sorry guys, but 30 years of driving experience and a CDL in good standing that’s been molding in your back pocket for more than three years is just as useless as no CDL at-all. That’s not the trucking industry’s fault either, blame your government representative for letting the federal government set up that little snafu in the trucking laws.

6. Do not assume hotshotting is great income. The truth is it’s great if you get enough great paying loads. It’s not so great if (and this is the case, honestly) there are too many trucks competing for all of those great loads. And that’s the case right now. Everyone and their dog who has a pickup or bigger truck is apparently signed on with one or the other of the big hotshot companies and everyone is hungry for the loads that are out there, so the obvious result is that everyone is left hungry most of the time, and nobody is fat and sassy, if you get my drift.

7. And last, but not least, don’t quit a decent paying job to go off a’hotshotting. Especially if you want your spouse to continue talking to you, and if you rely on steady paychecks to pay the bills. I’ve said it before and I’m pretty sure I’ll say it again, hotshotting these days is a part-time, off and on, roller-coaster ride and there’s no such thing as a steady hotshot paycheck. Some weeks you get paid, some weeks you don’t. And that’s the truth.

That concludes tonight’s post, I’m sure something else will hit me around noon tomorrow that I just won’t be able to contain myself from yapping about.

Until then…
That’s all I’ve got.

Weigh Stations and The Dreaded Roadside Inspection…

I was recently asked if I had any good stories about weigh stations, and though at the time I couldn’t think of too many, since then I’ve been mulling it over and as it turns out I have seen some funny stuff and had some entertaining and informative moments there at the weigh stations and on roadside inspections.

So, as promised, this is the topic of my post today.

My first inspection out on the road happened in Tennessee. I was headed back from my second load ever (I think anyway) and had high hopes of getting my return load delivered and making it home before a big snowstorm that was bearing down on Oklahoma could snow me in somewhere other than home. Needless to say I was pretty disgusted at being stopped for an inspection when I was so intent on making tracks, but I was also pretty nervous, as I had no idea what to expect.

As it turned out, my inspection was pretty quick, the officer came out and ran me through all of the typical stuff, lights, horn, wipers, etc., then told me to bring in my log book and permits. I gathered all of that up and went in to the office, and the officer started going through my paperwork when another driver came in with his book.

Although he could clearly see the officer was going over my books, the guy started squawking in broken English with some foreign accent (but don’t ask me what his native language might have been cause I have not a clue…) about how long he was having to wait, and sure enough, as they say, crying babies get fed… so…

The officer asked me to wait a minute while he checked out the other guy’s book, which I did, and much to my amusement, the guy’s impatience was the undoing of him. After a few questions from the DOT officer it was pretty apparent that the driver was hauling haz-mat and had no permit, no haz-mat endorsement, and there were other glaring problems with his load.

At that point, the officer turned back to me and cut me loose, handing my books back with a smile, and I couldn’t help but wonder how long that other driver’s truck ended up sitting there in the parking lot after he’d been hauled off to the pokey…

On another trip I was entering Kansas and felt pretty confident all my ducks were in a row until I got called in to the station, that is. The officer asked me where my IFTA sticker was on the driver side of the truck. It was only at that moment I realized that the sticker in question was probably in some junk heap along with the door it had been sticking to… I had crashed the door and had it replaced the week before. I sheepishly explained the absent sticker to the officer and pointed out that there was one on the opposite side, but that wasn’t quite good enough so I got to pay for a permit ($15 if I remember rightly) to travel through Kansas that day. Needless to say, I got the problem fixed before taking the truck out on my next load.

It must have been my fifth or sixth trip into Colorado when one friendly DOT officer informed me that I wouldn’t get called in every time I crossed their scales if I just had the last several digits of my VIN posted on the truck. I asked him if he was sick of seeing me and he was nice enough to laugh even though I’m sure it was about the millionth time he’d heard that one… Sure enough, since I put the numbers on the truck I have never had to hike in with my books again, but get waved on through.

Now, the most aggravating inspection I ever had was the second inspection I had the same day, a few years ago during the Roadcheck event. Early in the day I got flagged for an inspection on the Oklahoma border, and passed with flying colors. I’d been heading back empty to pick up a second load. I got the second load on and headed into Texas, where, just as the sun was going down, a trooper pulled me in for the last inspection of the day. Having just passed one inspection I wasn’t worried, but that darned trooper was intent on finding something to write me for, and nothing was going to deter him until he found it. And find it he did. I got a nice little ticket for being 2′ over length, had to drop my loaded trailer in the DOT yard, find a motel and get an “overlength” permit from the State of Texas via the internet, and wait until 8 am the next morning to go show them my permit and get my trailer back.

All of which would have been far worse had not some very nice drivers (probably in the same boat I was) happened to take pity on a skinny woman trying to crank up a fully loaded gooseneck trailer off the ball and stopped to help me get the thing loose. (There may be some advantages to being both skinny and older, nice guys seem to be willing to at least ask if I need help.)

So my load was late, I was annoyed, and Texas made a whopping $113 bucks off of me that day…

Which all made me a little more gun shy of getting inspected, and when I got pulled over at about 2 am heading north of Waco one night, no trailer, just me and the truck, I was worried about those overzealous troopers. When the trooper came up to the truck he seemed surprised and a little thrown off his game when I turned out to be me… I think he was expecting a man to be out driving that time of night. Well, as it turns out that probably wasn’t what had him out of whack, it was more likely the sticker across the rear of my truck that says… “Apportioned Tag.”

He hemmed and hawed and asked me for my license and registration, then wandered back to his car, but not long enough to run my info unless things are a lot faster than they were when I was the one out there pulling people over, then he came back and basically apologized for stopping me and told me he stopped me for not having a plate on the back of my truck but didn’t see my sticker until he was parked behind me with his lights illuminating the thing.

Poor guy, I have to give him full credit for letting me go without doing anything more, since, technically, he could have done a full-blown inspection if he’d been in the mood to do it. But he did walk up and look to make sure the Apportioned Tag was on the front where it should be. So he covered his bases like a good trooper should.

I guess that’s about all I’ve got on this topic, and I suppose if there has to be a moral to the story, it’s just this… be polite if you get inspected and hope you get a trooper or DOT officer who’s not in the mood to write tickets. If they are, you’ll probably get one…

Surviving Hotshotting & Maintaining Your Sanity…

As I’ve posted numerous times, hotshotting is nothing if not unpredictable.  If the “ups,” running your tail off doesn’t get you, the “downs,” or slow work periods just might.  And the downs happen more often than anyone likes, so it’s critical to have a backup plan and something else to do to take your mind off of the lack of work.

When it’s very busy and you’re out there running from sunup to sundown, it’s pretty important to keep a couple of things in  mind… if you don’t take care of you, you will eventually run out of steam.   One of the best ways to do this is to keep yourself fed and hydrated, and even if you’re in a big hurry, take advantage of at least a couple of short stops just to get out of the truck and stretch your legs a little.

You can turn yourself into a dull minded drone in a hurry if you just sit behind the wheel driving like there’s no tomorrow.  And now that the laws have been adjusted again, starting this June you have to remember to take a half-hour break for every eight hours you drive.  So you might as well get into the habit of taking that break now, preferably someplace with a picnic table and some scenery where you can park the truck and just relax.  It will do you a world of good.

It helps to do good trip planning, it’s even better if you’re running a known route and already have an idea of where rest areas or trailer-friendly parking lots are located.  The less time you have to spend looking for a place to park, the better.

I’m also big on staying in motels and not camping out in the truck.  It’s better for your nerves, better for the quality of sleep you’ll get, and safer than trying to sleep on the back seat of that truck.  To be your best while driving you need to be properly rested.  Nodding off while behind the wheel is not something that anyone should think is normal.  It means you haven’t had enough rest, and can cost you (and other unsuspecting drivers near you) a lot of misery if you konk out and crash the truck…

Try to always park your rig where you can see it from your room and whenever possible, park it right under some light.  You’ll sleep better if you know your truck isn’t parked in a dark back lot where someone might just decide to tamper with it.

If you’re like me, you probably eat on the run more often than not.  I’m not big on sitting alone in restaurants, so it’s usually a quick stop at McDonalds or some other such quick place for any meals.  What I do try to do is order stuff that’s not dripping in fat.  It’s easy to pack on the weight when you have a sit-down job anyway, so if I have to resort to fast food I order things plain and never order soda.  I just stick to coffee and tea.

Very few hotshot trips are stress-free, so it’s important to learn to go with the flow.  I always try to give myself an extra hour or two when setting up loads.  A little wiggle-room is a good thing when you nearly always run the risk of hitting heavy traffic or other unexpected delays on the road.  And if you do get delayed enough to make you late, pick up that phone (after you pull off the road, of course) and call the receiver to let them know your actual ETA.  They may not be happy that you’re delayed, but they will appreciate the heads-up on when you expect to get their load delivered.

Now for slow times, the best I can tell you is to keep working contacts for loads and try to work up new customers.  If that doesn’t help right away, it’s probably good to have a cheap hobby that helps take your mind off of work for a little while.  You can definitely drive yourself nuts worrying over where the next load is coming from, but it’s probably better to try to stay sane enough to be able to take that load when it comes.

 

 

Laugh of the Day…

I’m pretty tired after listening to an unhappy couple argue at the motel I stayed at last night, which caused me to do without enough sleep, and I must get a nap pretty soon, but I couldn’t resist posting my personal laugh of the day.

On my way back from Claremore, OK this morning, I noticed a sign on I-40 I had never noticed before, even though I’ve put a few miles in traipsing back and forth through that area.

At exit 262, the road name is… wait for it… Lotawatah Road.   The funny part is that this road runs around the east side of the north end of Lake Eufala, which holds, yep, a lot of water.

Seeing this caused me to suffer from a severe laughing fit for at least two or three miles, and it’s still pretty funny now, even hours later.

(Bahahahahahaha,) hm, sorry…

and you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that Lotawatah is not an actual Native American word!  Someone had a sense of humor naming that road, which we could all use a whole lot more of these days.

Anyway, I kid you not, and here is the proof…

File:Lotawatah.jpg

Picture courtesy of Scott Nazelrod, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lotawatah.jpg.

I was not quick enough to catch my own pic but this nice gentleman has one posted on wikipedia that he allows to be shared.  Thanks Scott!

Poised and Ready to Strike…

Well, my two loads turned into one load, but it’s a very good one.  At least from my personal perspective, it’s always great to get a load that goes to a less familiar area, which means that I get the chance to see some less often viewed scenery.

And today was one of my favorite types of working days.

Now, I’ve been through Mississippi before, a few times on various runs, but I haven’t really ever stopped near Vicksburg for any longer than it took to visit the rest area just inside the border and then get back on my way.

This particular load is going to Vicksburg, and is scheduled for delivery first thing in the morning, so today I just sort of mosey-d on over this way via Arkansas and the northeast corner of Louisiana.  It was pretty interesting, and really was an enjoyable and un-rushed drive for a nice change.

Today’s highlight was seeing this strange leafless tree in Mer Rouge, Louisiana, that was entirely covered with huge pink flowers.  Considering the fact that nothing is blooming in my part of Oklahoma in February, that was pretty neat.  There were other smaller blooming things to admire along the way too, some nice shrubs with red flowers all over them, and it was really nice to see some green stuff too.  We’ve been so dry in Oklahoma that it’s pretty brown and dull, so getting to see green grass and big green magnolia trees was a treat.

As an added bonus the truck liked running today at the lower altitude (I guess, it seems to do better the lower we go) and my fuel mileage stayed above 18 mpg most of the day.

Which brings me to where I’m at now, about half an hour from my delivery point, snug in a clean motel, and I guess you could say that I’m poised and ready to strike… or at least ready to get this freight delivered and complete this run.

I’ll stick to interstate heading home to save time, but before I leave Mississippi I’ve got one stop I want to make, at some little fruit stand/gift shop/cafe combo place just up the road from where I’m making my delivery in the morning.  I’m on a mission to find a particular Mississippi treat to take home, and I’ll let you know next time if I could find it or not…

Stay tuned…

Staying Busy…

I should technically be washing my dishes and finishing my laundry, neither of which, obviously, I’m doing at the moment.  But when the urge to write strikes, it’s best to answer it or it will bug me all afternoon and intrude into whatever level of concentration I’m applying to whatever else I should be doing.

Just so you know, I did already do two loads of laundry this morning and vacuumed the place, as well as taking business calls and scheduling two loads (not laundry, the paying kind), made a pair of earrings to go with the necklace I made last night, (yes, I dabble in jewelery making and knitting and crocheting, they’re good for my nerves…) took the truck to town and fueled it up, had lunch with BB at a little Mexican place, then came home and got the dishes soaking, so I’m not just being a slug.

Happily though, business has been good, and even though I’m afraid to say it, (knock on wood) it’s been steady!

I’ve already completed seven loads this month, and have two more scheduled for this weekend and Monday.  Yeah!  Last year I believe I had a grand total of four trips in January.  This is much better…

And… That translates into cash in the bank, and, let me tell you, that’s a great feeling.  Especially in this business that is usually either feast or famine, and the famine generally drains the bank account down to nothin’ before the feasting resumes.

On a completely different note, I’m really jazzed up this year since I managed to get back to my normal fighting weight.  BB hauled off my fat pants to charity, and I finished stripping all of the left-over fat clothes out of the closet today.  Let’s just say I didn’t think I was nearly as fat as the tags in those old clothes say I was, and I’m down not one, not two, not even three sizes, but *Tadaa!* I’ve actually dropped four entire sizes over the past six months.

Not only do I look better, I really feel a whole lot more energetic, less self-conscious, and generally more like seeing t-shirt weather return than I was this time last year.

So the moral of this story is… dang, I don’t know, maybe just stay busy if and while you can!

 

The Great Hotshot Motel Debate

Now that the law has been tweaked, for now, at least according to the last DOT officer I actually spoke with, motel receipts are no longer required for hotshots.

According to the information he gave me, resting in the truck is now allowed.  He did say it depends a lot on how individual officers interpret that law (which is true of most laws.)  He also added the caveat that the law will probably be fine-tuned and possibly changed in the next lawmaking go-round.  So we may end up back at square one, arguing with one another about whether or not motel receipts are a requirement during an inspection.

The old argument was constantly tossed back and forth.

Some guys were adamant that a DOT inspector has no authority to demand receipts.

Others said they did.

In my own personal experience, the officers who did inspections on my truck did ask for them, and because I had them, I showed them.  And passed my inspections.

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have passed without them, but since I’m big on actually living and sleeping at night in motels like a normal human female type person, it was never an issue for me anyway.

Now the debate has shifted to whether or not our 10 hour break has to be logged on the off-duty line.  According to what I read about the law, yes, the off duty time should be logged there, even if you do camp out in your truck, and not on the sleeper line unless you actually have a legal sleeper.

Just for general info, the back seat of a pickup is not a legal sleeper, and those funky window insert kits do not make it one either.  It has to do with the minimum allowed amount of height from the bed to the roof, access from the driver’s seat, and the length of the bed as far as I can tell.

So, finally, the big question is whether to motel it or to rough it.

This is just my opinion, but I’m a lot more comfortable in a motel for ten straight hours than I would be in the back seat of my truck.  Granted, my truck no longer has a back seat since we jerked it out of there for more storage for necessary gear to keep the bed of the truck clear for cargo since I run truck-only about 99% of the time.

Even so, if there was a back seat in the truck I wouldn’t choose to camp there.  I’m too old, too tall, and too fond of conveniences such as bathrooms, bathtubs, microwaves, and coffee makers to be happy stuck in a confined area like that for more than say, oh, about half a minute.

Not that I actually get a lot of sleep in motels, even though I’m not overly fussy (I do require clean, and a door that actually locks, that’s about it) or easily spooked (a decade of practice as a cop gives a person a certain level of ability to keep themselves relatively safe just about anywhere) but in any new place there are new sounds that  bug me and usually keep me from getting to sleep early.  It’s like my brain is on alert and it takes a few hours just to calm down and relax.

But still, that’s better to me than trying to sleep on a truck seat with towels or whatever up over the windows, knowing if I have to get up to make a trip to the ladies room I would have to muck my way across a truck stop parking lot at 2 am.

Yeah.  I mean, no.  Not this girl.

IMHO if a hotshot isn’t making enough money for reasonable business expenses such as fuel, food, and shelter, then they need to start charging more or spending less on frivolous stuff.  Either they aren’t making enough to start with, or they’re not great with money management, which is a necessary skill in any business, but particularly in any type of trucking operation.

 

 

 

And We’re Off and Runnin’…

It appears that the slow part of the year is over and we’re finally off an runnin’ in a big way.

Thank God!

As usual, the first couple of weeks of January were slow enough to be considered legally deceased, load-wise, anyway.  Then without warning this past week things came back to life and I ran my poor tail off.

It’s so good to be busy in this business, and it doesn’t happen every day.  All told, I made four well-paying runs, one with a return load, and although I had some driving hours left by the time I got home yesterday, I was plumb out of energy.

I’m feeling a little more recharged now, after having gotten in a good solid ten hours of sleep.  That all adds up to a good week in my book.

Now I’m just hoping for a repeat next week.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Who Opened the Gate and Let Stupid Out???

What is going on today on the highways I ask?  Who opened the gate and let stupid out anyway?

On my way home today I counted probably the highest number ever of absolutely clueless, distracted, and completely oblivious drivers.  I counted them because I had to dodge them to make it home.

There were at least half a dozen ‘I’m busy on the cell phone” stupids, three “I think I’ll just suddenly pull out in front of a truck moving 70 miles per hour and poke along like they’re on an open road” stupids, more than a dozen “I’ll just drive up your tailpipe” stupids, at least four “I’m gonna cut clean across 4 lanes of traffic in rush hour to catch my exit” stupids, and another handful of “I’ll just do a little daydreaming while I’m cruising along a busy highway and not pay attention to my surroundings and take up the better part of two lanes at the same time” stupids.

Like I said, somebody opened that gate, now whoever you are, would you please go close it before any more escape?  I’d appreciate it as I have to get back out on the road at midnight.