Interesting Stuff

Changing View From Interstate

The day job took priority this week and for a change of pace, the GUARDIAN took a little drive to points east and this writing comes from Lansing Michigan Saturday morning after more than 2000 miles in three days.
Here are some random observations:

–TRUCKS outnumber cars on UTAH, WYOMING and KANSAS highways as much as 10 to 1, but at least 4-1 all day long during the week, school still in session. Folks are just not hitting the road for fun.

–TRUCK DRIVERS are simply not the “pros” they once were. Don’t know the reason, but they run off the road frequently…cracked my windshield with flying rocks tossed by a wayward truck. They seem to have lots of phones, GPS, computers, maps, food, and other distractions. Also tend to drive like they are in a sedan, passing and changing lanes without due caution. I think coppers would agree on all this.

–ADULT BOOKSTORES and billboards for them abound along I-70 in Kansas and Missouri.
They seem to be thick all along the route.

–CONSTRUCTION ZONES are not to be found as states cut back on projects.

–MOST BORING drive in USA is anythwere in eastern colorado or western Kansas.

–USA, What a country! Something for everyone, history, scenics, weather, religion, wildlife, agriculture, trains, local radio, food, great rivers (Missouri and Mississippi), and great cities (Denver, Topeka, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis so far).

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Did you notice the ruts in the highway from the heavy truck traffic in Dave’s photo? Idaho roads are getting destroyed by these behemouths and they are not paying their share of the damage they inflict.

    If a train can move a ton of freight over 400 miles on a gallon of fuel why are we allowing big trucks to tear up highways?

    It is hard to imagine a 3,000 pound car does much damage to a road bed like what is seen in the photo with this post.

  2. Trucks have always got a free ride. They have a very strong lobbing group. What would you expect from so called big business. Its always make the tax payers foot the bill.

  3. I am a truck driver, son of a truck driver and I would like to add my thoughts this discussion. I own my own truck and lease the authority to operate from a large Boise based business for 26% of what the truck makes.

    First to address Paul’s comment. I payed over $15,000 for road taxes last year, how much did you pay to drive on Idaho roads? I payed over $17,000 in fuel taxes last year, how much did you pay?
    Truck drivers have been waiting many years for everyone to be taxed for ever mile they drive.

    Trains are great for carrying a large shipment great distances without time restraints but if the product you are purchasing was not produced on site, packaged on site and needs to be there tomorrow a truck is the only way.

    We will now take a trip back in time when drivers were known as the “white knights” of the road.
    In my fathers day a driver would stop and help anyone along the road who was having a problem. A driver knew the best places to eat, the quickest road to anywhere, the family friendly towns, the towns to avoid. A driver would lead a group of cars through a mountain pass in a raging snow storm.

    Those days are gone and I agree with Dave has I have seen the same thing. Here are some reasons why;

    When the IPUC deregulated trucking the restrictions for who can own and operate truck became less, therefore less qualified individuals became part of the trucking industry.
    Trucking companies are left to govern themselves which is bothersome as trucking companies are notorious for lying, cheating and general malfeasance.

    Turnover in the trucking industry is another reason. Truckers are created by a truck driving school, drive for three months and quit.

    No pay. A driver is paid for the amount of miles between point “A” and “B” not the actual miles the driver drives but the miles from zip code to zip code. When the driver has a 5 hour loading time and can only legally drive 6 more hours that day he realizes he is getting screwed, he is mad, his mind is not focused on what he is doing. He quits.

    A driver hasn’t been home in 2 months. He is fighting with his wife, his daughter is acting out in school and his mind is not focused on what he is doing. He quits to save his family.

    The Bush administration changed the truck driving regulations that does not allow a drive to pull over and sleep when tired without losing the precious “driving hours”. This change also allowed the driver to park during heavy traffic times and resume driving when traffic was lighter.

    I could go on but why bother…nothing is the same as it used to be and most of the changes needed would increase the costs of getting goods to market and that goes against the corporate motto “Maximize Profit”.


    You think driver are bad now….wait 5 years.
    A full third of the current drivers (remember the older drivers) are approaching retirement and the Mexican trucks and drivers (do not have to follow U.S. rules of driving) are on there way.
    Happy driving.

  4. ROAD RUTS: Yes, we should tax those trucks more so IDT can build a new office building hire more bench warmer employees and a new airplane for Butch to go to meetings with… LOL.

    Rail is very cheap on fuel but they’re really bad about telling you what day or even what week your stuff is gonna show up. The Truck is just in time inventory… the trains are still all tangled in a slow motion problem. If trains ever start to make real money, they also have huge union issues waiting to suck em dry.

    I want to see rail used more too… but it’s got a long way to go. The destroyed road issue could be helped with using more local products rather than junk from china trucked all over the country.

  5. Truck Driving is a bad lifestyle, thus just like other things that are physically harsh it tends to attract folks that can’t or won’t do other things. Many a great person driving a truck I’m sure… but also the other extream seems to be true too. Truck driving is rarely a labor of love. For some reason however the police seem to go easy on stupid/dangerous truck drivers… perhaps because a nasty ticket will end employment for them, and then what will the do?

  6. I appreciate Mike Adams input. Great insight. I give trucks plenty of space and plenty of respect on the road. They keep our system going. They are the red blood cells of this country. They do cause a significant amount of wear and tear on the road. Maybe a better constructed road could be devised? I do not feel that more taxes would help. I like the idea of paying for each stretch of highway. Pay to play.

    Railroad systems are a vestigeal organ of a by gone era. We need to focus on local production and consumption and minimize our need for so many imports.

    Yes Guardian, the stretch of freeway from Denver all the way to the Mississippi is miserable. At least its downhill.

  7. My only complaint about truckers is that they do indeed sometimes act as if they were driving a sports car. I frequently drive the interstate from Boise to Twin Falls, and I get cut off by a trucker at least 3 times each trip.

    Instead of waiting for faster traffic to pass they force their way into traffic to pass a slower rig, and then slow down everyone else because it takes them 2 miles to do so. This is especially infuriating when they do so on a hill, only to realize 4 minutes later they can’t make the pass and they have to pull in behind the truck they were attempting to pass.

    Truckers should at almost all times remain in the right lane.

  8. TJ, you are on to something there. I am forced to make the journey to I.F. about every 6 weeks to see in-laws and I see the truckers doing the same thing. They stay side by side for miles not letting anyone pass. After this last trip it has seemed to be more than just a coincidence. I have been tempted to contact ISP.

    Hey Mike Adams: Is this one of the fun little games the truckers of the interstate like to do to others sharing the road? I would like to think there is a completely logical reason for the drivers to do that.

  9. Interesting about the trains being unreliable as to time of travel, arrival.

    Long, long ago, when I was a kid, people in small towns still set their watches and clocks (yes, those had been invented, although most watches were carried in pockets, not worn on wrists, and they all had hands) by the train passing by.
    Hear the whistle, “Yep, that’s the 5:09.”

    Somehow that has faded away.

    As for local loads, long-distance loads, etc.:
    In areas along the remaining main tracks, I see thousands of flatbed cars carrying either containers or complete trailers from semis. Apparently the truckers can pick up the stuff where it’s made, haul it to the appropriate train yard, and the trailers or containers get loaded onto the flatcars.

    I figure that where they’re going, they either get unloaded at their destination or get unloaded somewhere in the area and hook onto another semitractor for the remainder of the trip.

    Seems to make sense — use the trucks where you need’em and the trains where they go.

  10. Every one complains about the ruts in the roads. No one talks about the fact that Idaho allows higher axle weight (that’s weight per axle) than most other states. So our roads wear out faster. Go drive some state highways in the spud growing areas of Idaho. This is a gift to big agribusiness and we tax payers get to help finance the bill.

  11. I have lived in Boise for most of the last 60 years and am happy to say that I have never driven on the interstate. I have ridden on it with other people only when leaving the state. (That’s why it is called the interstate.)

    It is easy to find roads to drive on going east and west if you are not too determined to have to drive 60 mph plus. Sometimes it is quicker to go 35 than get in a traffic jam and have to wait 20 minutes.

    When my kids visit from out of state they can’t believe we don’t use the freeway. I just tell them try it yourself on a trip from Boise to Eagle and see if it is quicker. People want to think they are going faster, even if it takes them longer to drive from point A to point B. Pretty dumb.

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