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PM #40033055

July 2018

Rig of The Month Featuring Donna & Mike Murchison Starting on Page 16

JULY 2018

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From the Editor’s desk... By John White VOLUME 20, ISSUE 06 OF 11

PUBLISHER/EDITOR John White PRODUCTION/CIRCULATION Tori Proudley ADMINISTRATION Donna White ADVERTISING/MARKETING John White Tori Proudley CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dave Madill • Scott Casey Greg Evasiuk • Mel McConaghy Ed Murdoch • Colin Black • Cyn Tobin Bill Weatherstone • Lane Kranenburg PHOTOGRAPHY Ben Proudley David Benjatschek HEAD OFFICE Ph: 604-580-2092 Toll Free / Fax: 1-800-331-8127 Published eleven times a year by Pro-Trucker Magazine Inc., The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the publisher. The advertiser agrees to protect the publisher against legal action based upon libelous or inaccurate statements; the unauthorized use of materials or photographs; and/or any other errors or omissions in connection with advertisements placed in Pro-Trucker Magazine. The publisher can and will refuse any advertising which in his opinion is misleading or in poor taste. The publisher does not endorse or make claim or guarantee the validity or accuracy of any advertisement herein contained. All materials submitted for publication are subject to editing at the publisher’s discretion. The act of mailing or e-mailing material shall be considered an expressed warranty by the contributor that the material is original and in no way an infringement on the rights of others.


I read a very interesting quote last week from CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie who wants CFL teams to be more ambitious in growing the game. He said, “Not everyone has to build their own widget.” When I read this I immediately thought about the transportation industry. As just one example consider this: The British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA) has been advocating for the use of new generation wide base single tires (NGWBST) and the BC government has been “studying” their use for over 10 years. The study involved, load carrying ability, highway damage and fuel savings. BC is now allowing increased weights for new generation wide base single tires, from 7,700 kg to 8,500 kg per axle (except on the steering axle), effective immediately. The increase gives tandem and tridem axle groups with wide base single tires weight parity with dual tires, and no permits are required.” This change means the maximum weight on a tandem axle group with 455 mm or wider single tires is 17,000 kg and 24,000 kg for a tridem axle group. It also means BC regulations for wide base single tires are now better harmonized with those in Alberta (allowed under permit), Saskatchewan (allowed under permit), Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, letting carriers benefit from fuel efficiency improvements of 6 percent or more (based on a standard five-axle tractor semi-trailer combination using wide base single tires on the drive axle and trailer axle group). So what is my point? Well I don’t have numbers to back it up but it doesn’t take too much intelligence to conclude that the amount of money spent on these “studies” has reached into the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a per province basis. And for what? They all come up with different conclusions. Which is why CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s statement of, “Not everyone has to build their own widget,” struck home with me. Yes individual provinces should have the ability to put on road restrictions and other things that pertain specifically to that province but general rules and regulations that would ease interprovincial travel should be the responsibility of the Federal Government. This brings me back to my favourite rant about a national standard minimum requirement for an entry level truck driver. Not quickie courses like the minimum 70 hour course as was Saskatchewan’s knee jerk reaction to the Humboldt tragedy or the approximately 104 hour course Alberta is considering or the mandatory 103.5 hours of training already required in Ontario. These are all fine quickie courses to put someone behind the wheel in a “Learners License” capacity but it does little to stop tragedies like the one in Saskatchewan. One ICBC inspector candidly told me that he used to tell drivers, “Okay I’ll give you your license – now go learn how to drive.” How sad is that? The industry needs an apprenticeship program with graduated licensing so that a new driver learns through extensive training how to handle the truck and load that they are given. If you agree then the ball is in your court. As they say you can be part of the solution or part of the problem. From talking to drivers I have found that career minded, experienced drivers are always looking for a way to improve their industry. 

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e Whit John gazine

a ker M Truc o r P ite

John Wh Magazine Pro-Trucker

Dear Editor Professional driver training and recognition is overdue. I have read your articles on the need for better driver training standards, testing, follow-up reviews and recognition of large commercial vehicle drivers as a trade and not the present discontent and largely undisciplined variety we see on our highways today. Europe has developed a simple yet highly effective commercial vehicle driver training graduated program, which leads to far better driver standards and discipline on the road. I fail to understand why we are moving backward and not making efforts to follow an effective program such as this or other variations found around the world. North America has always been the wild west lead by the Americans, its time this changed and Canada took a lead in developing one of the highest driver qualification standards in the world. Licensing of commercial drivers (classes 1, 2 and interprovincial class 3 drivers) should be taken under the wing

of Transport Canada while those operating within their respective provinces and not crossing federal or international boundaries could remain provincially licensed, this would start us along a route under which those federally licensed could become certified in a Red Seal program like many other trades. I agree that we need to stop griping about conditions, lack of skill and recognition over truck stop coffee and on the CB or VHF radios and put pen to paper writing those clearly responsible for legislative change to make this into a reality. Politicians are consumers like everyone else, if goods continue to cost more because of accidents and incidents brought about by poorly qualified drivers and rising insurance costs for the same reasons, maybe they should consider that highly skilled and certified drivers would give justification to insurance companies to consider reductions in premiums where fleet operators only employ federally licensed and recognised red seal drivers. A concerned veteran of over 40 years over the road and, 15 of these in Europe ... John, I was going to write a letter to the politicians responsible for transportation like you suggested in the June issue but to be honest I did not know where to start. Could you give us a form letter that we can start with so that it would be easier

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for the common man or woman to do. Not illiterate but not a writer… Tommy Frank Winnipeg Manitoba Editor’s note: Thank you for the email Tommy and thank you for trying to change your industry for the better. In this day and age everyone is so busy that while they may strongly agree that something must be done – they don’t get around to doing it and so nothing changes. For change to happen people have to move out of their comfort zone and do something. As my dear old Dad used to say, “There comes a time when you have to put up or shut up.” Thanks for putting up. I took your suggestion to our writer Lane Kranenburg because of his background in dealing with politicians. This is the letter we came up with. Just fill in the blanks. You can add anything you like but make sure it is respectful or it will be ignored. Below the letter are the people that Lane suggests sending it to. Mr. John Doe Transportation Minister, (province) Honourable Minister John Doe: I am a commercial truck driver and I would like you

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to please look at our commercial vehicle driver training standards. Here in the Province of ________there is no standard and one can practically go to one of a number of companies who offer training and get a few classroom sessions, a ride around the block and be issued a commercial vehicle licence. The position of commercial licence should require a specific number of classroom hours outlining all aspects of safety, hours of service, air brake, dangerous goods, equipment specifics and all highway regulations in all Canadian Provinces, and American States. The new driver should then be required to train with an instructor in the type of vehicle, with the type of trailer, they will be required to drive. I feel that commercial drivers should be classed as “skilled”, more training is required than some apprenticeship programs and yet we are classed as “unskilled”! A truck driver under the current licensing program, with very little training, is licensed to drive any combination of vehicles and trailers anywhere in Canada and the U.S. In my estimation an undertrained truck driver is much more of a threat to human life than many classed as “skilled journeymen”. Currently a person who is earning their class 5 driver’s license, must go through a graduated 3 year procedure to obtain full licensing. If this is deemed necessary for a car because of the length of time it takes to become proficient,

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then it is many times more important to ensure that truck drivers are proficient at their jobs. One of the reasons we have experienced more incidents involving semis is because Canada and our Province have not set mandatory standards and those are sorely needed. I thank you for looking into this important issue. Respectfully submitted, Driver Name and Address List of Provincial Ministers: British Columbia: Honourable Claire Trevena Phone: Victoria, (250) 387-6121 E-Mail: transportation.minister@ Alberta: Honourable Brian Mason Phone: Edmonton, (780) 427-2080 E-Mail:

Saskatchewan: Honourable David Marit Phone: Regina, (306) 787-6447 E-Mail: Manitoba: Honourable Ron R. Schuler Phone: Winnipeg, (204) 9453723 E-Mail: Canada: Honourable Marc Garneau Transport Minister, Canada Parliament, Ottawa, ON No postage is required if writing to a Member of Parliament! ***** THE HANDYMAN HUSBAND... On a cold winter morning, wife texts husband: “Windows frozen-won’t open” Husband texts back: “Pour some lukewarm water over it and tap gently along the edges with a hammer.” Five minutes later wife texts husband: “Computer really screwed up now.”

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iDle tiMe

By Scott Casey Scott, our Rig of The Month for May 2003 has written “Ghostkeepers” a book about his years as a gun toting truck driver while serving as a Canadian Peacekeeper in the former Yugoslavia. Size Matters I’m quite certain that the title of this month’s “Idle Time” caught everyone’s attention. And it is my sincere hope that it did, because it’s a very important issue. There is an unlimited supply of jokes that go along with this topic, some are small, and others are down right off the charts big in humour. In every case though, even the little things matter. I’m long on humour but short on time. But seriously, this is completely in your hands. There must be an explanation for the amount of drivers who feel it’s important to haul the load designated for them, plus the additional overpass or railway bridge. This is of course not limited to overpasses and bridges, but may also include street signage, overhead doors, residential powerlines, and of course tunnels. Oversize loads require accurate measurements that need to be recorded and remembered. If you suffer from CRAFT syndrome (Can’t Remember A F#*#ing Thing) then these important measurements should be readily available. It

will assist you when applying for an oversize load permit, which must be done prior to leaving the shippers terminal. Another important aspect of load size is that it does not pertain specifically to oversize loads but rather, ALL loads. Whether it’s a 14ft wide mobile home or a High Cube sea container, the size of what you are transporting is important. It’s important in relation to the obstacles we encounter on or around our work environment. Of course there are some instances where the load was clear to make it under an overpass, but because of paving and re-paving without updating the signage of the increase in thickness of the road, the structure was contacted by the load. Those encounters are very rare, with the real issue being made by not doing the proper homework. Contrary to popular belief, driving faster does make the load molecularly smaller. It just makes the damage more pronounced. When it comes to the size of your unit, yes drivers, size matters. *****

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Mile After Mile By Cyn Tobin Cyn has been driving trucks for 34 years. She has hauled loads all across North America and specializes in expedited perishable freight. Fred About a month ago, while I was loading at a coastal B.C greenhouse, I opened my window a crack to allow some fresh air in. Ah it felt so good. Then suddenly I was surrounded by flies. Big flies, little flies, buzzing flies, fruit flies.... ugh! even mosquitos were looking for the smorgasbord I was so unwillingly providing for them. Well out came anything I could find to swat away the pesky flying miniature vultures. Finally after what seemed like an eternity I was free of the critters. I leisurely strolled over to the shipping office, with a new bunch of critters in tow. I picked up my paperwork and returned to my truck, feeling confident in the eradication of flying pests, and very pleased with the whole elimination process, I headed out toward the open road. Settling in to the long drive ahead, I never saw another flying critter for the next few hours. By then, night had fallen. Being exhausted I closed my eyes for the night and drifted into dreamland. Only to awaken a short time later


NEW Extended Hours Mon-Fri 8 am- Midnight • Sat 8 am- 5pm to a tickling sensation on my nose. I instantly went cross eyed as there on my nose as if staring me down... was the FLY!!!! So started the weeks of the me hating and it loving our relationship. About 3 days later, while enjoying my cup of coffee, there sitting proudly on my dash watching me sip my coffee.... was... the FLY! Taunting me, as he was forever trying to sample my meals. He watched, kinda in a creepy way, as I slowly sipped my coffee. Enough was enough....I grabbed my hat and quickly BOOM!!! I got him! No more fly! Or so I thought... A few days later I had just crawled into bed after yet another rather exhausting sixteen hour day. Closed my eyes and was just settling into sleep and who should land on my nose again? Yep, the friggen FLY!! Swatting frantically I enacted what seemed like a dance scene from a rave somewhere combined with Mr. Miogie and the Karate Kid moves. I was styling looking cool with all these dance moves trying to do the karate chop on the FLY. After 15 or so minutes of trying to catch the fly, I gave up. Too tired, I pulled the covers over my head and said.... “goodnight fly” and so started the many conversations between the FLY and myself. The next morning.... no fly. Thinking he must have given up and flew out, or starved to death as I was not feeding him. All was good. So carrying on I got into my driving groove and was serenading the windshield when over there sitting on my dash, watching me, was....yes you guessed it..... FLY!!!! But HOW?????? Yet there he was. Bold as day. Since he seemed to be bionic, with 9 lives, and he liked my singing, I figure I had better give him a name. So Fred the bionic Fly, it was! Now don’t get me wrong, Fred was no joy to have tagging along. Possibly the very worst hitchhiker I have ever picked up. Constantly in my face. Countless hours I had to spend practicing my karate kid moves in his presence. I figure I must of have been doing a bang up job as I am certain Fred took great pleasure in avoiding my near frantic swats and Mr. Miogie moves. Everything that I ate, Fred had to touch and sample. He loved his food but he loved my food more. Through every window opening, cruising at about

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a buck, I tried to set Freddy the bionic fly free. Freddy held his ground. Abbotsford to Edmonton to Winnipeg to Montreal. And back again.... this little fly refused to leave my truck. Whenever I least expected to see him ...there he was. Mile after Mile we went up and down these highways. Me mostly annoyed with his persistence and him....laughing I am sure. Some nights he refused to let me sleep. Coming out only to play as I reached for sleep. Other nights he just stared. At nothing. So Fred, became my closest confidant as I could tell him anything. His silent nature rivaled by many. Each day we did a whole host of exercises together. Me swatting, him avoiding the swat. I would wake each morning, say... “Good Morning Fred” as I looked at the ceiling of my bunk where Freddy would be watching me. I think he was just willing me to make coffee. Each day he enjoyed my coffee as well. I would wish him a good night and tell him to guard the truck each time I exited the truck. Then one day in Surrey.... Fly left I had gotten so used to his presence that I chuckle inward at our solitary existence out here on the highways. So very few understand it. So many are quick to condemn us..... yes we really are no different. We have all picked up these pesky flies and travelled with them, regardless of what you drive... they just climb right on in and they come along with us.... Mile after Mile



DriVerS SeAt

By Ben Proudley Ben has been a Class 1 driver for 20+ years. He started out driving wreckers and currently operates a tri-drive crane truck for United Rantals Trench Safety. Ben was our Rig of the Month in March of 2008

Ever notice how technology has changed the way we do things? Back in the day stories were written for magazines on a typewriter and hand delivered to the editor. Now we write them on any number of devices and email them in. Just like writing communication has changed for writers it has also changed for the masses including drivers. It used to be, back in the day, you would talk to a fellow trucker face to face in a truck stop. Meet at the same place for a meal with the same guys and enjoy the company. Tell stories - lies might be closer to the truth. Often while a fly was buzzing around. If you did not meet your buddies at the truck stop and were to pass them on the highway there was this great little device called a CB that would transmit words from one truck to another, the range was not very good, but you were able to have a quick conversation about the road conditions, Smokey Bears in the area, and maybe if you had a juiced up CB, a bit about how life was. The only down fall was anyone on the channel could hear your conversation. As technology improved, VHF radios became common

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place in trucks. Like a CB you could chat about things, but now it had a much better range. Up to 40 or more kilometers at times if you were in a good wide open space like the prairies. Some 4 wheelers had CB’s and VHF radios in them as well so it was not just other truckers listening in on the conversation, even that fly that you cannot get rid of might still be there listening in. Nowadays we have satellite tracking, GPS, and yes of course cell phones, tablets, laptops which all have the ability to connect us with our friends, family, other drivers, and yes even dispatch who often use the power it gives them for evil. But that is another article. Back to the cell phones. We now hold the power in our hands to let anyone we choose know where we are and what we are doing at any given moment in time. That is a game changer. The technology has improved so much that you can pretty much yap on the phone anywhere you feel like it. Now you can plan meet ups better with fellow drivers. Let them know if you are going to be late or not make it at all. Even a call saying you are around and have they got time for a coffee. Not only that you are no longer limited to being a short distance apart you can be just about anywhere in north America and chat. It also lets your editor find you and pester you about your article being overdue. Once again that is a totally different topic. Now the conversations you have are much, much more interesting I am sure. Using this wonderful technology I had a chance to catch up with a fellow driver and long-time friend who I had not seen in years, ever since I quit pulling reefer. It was great to catch up, but alas I was on a tight schedule and had to run. Good news is we still chat a lot on the phone. The funny thing is there is now this fly on the wall in my truck, he will not go away. So as people seem to worry if you talk to yourself too much, I figure the fly would be more than happy to listen to me ramble on about bad drivers, sing off key to music and just about anything else that might come out of my mouth. Then it crossed my mind, fly was not there when I met up with my friend in Surrey and decided to make a call and see if she still had fly with her. After an exhausted search, it appeared Fred the fly was gone. We could only assume he was now riding shot gun with me. We yakked for a bit more and said good bye and carried on with our days. The whole time Fred was sitting there watching me. I laughed and said, “The stories you could tell eh pal.” As the old saying goes I would love to be a fly on the wall for some conversations and I bet Fred had heard many. That night as I parked for the day, I told Fred to keep an eye on the truck for the night. I did not have the heart to tell him he probably would not last the night in there. Next morning I thought Fred was done. Much to my surprise he came back to life once the heat was on the truck. We shared a coffee and some morning gossip, I loaded and got rollin’ for the day. I left the window open, figuring Fred had had enough, but like a good friend he stuck it out, all the strange conversations on the phone, my running commentary of the idiots on the road, Fred is a trooper. Fred has some good stories of his own from his time on the highway, now he gets to add some more from a city driver. JULY 2018


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Alberta Big Rig Weekend July 7/8, 2018 at Blackjacks Roadhouse in Nisku, Alberta



Rig of the Month

By John White There have only been a couple times in the past that we great stories. This one is no different. Our July Rig of the have had the opportunity to have husband and wife team Month drivers are Donna and Mike Murchison. drivers as our Rig of the Month and they have always had Donna’s story:

Geoff Godding


1957 KENWORTH • 800,000 kms • $60,000

Vehicle has had three owners, present owner operated and owned for past 45 years. Tow tractor, day cab - no sleeper, great running condition. Plus 10x8 shed full of extra tires/parts

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I have had quite a diverse working life. When I finished high school in 1978, I worked at Campbell Clinic in Lethbridge as a billing clerk and got quite good at reading doctors scribbling. I then went to Lethbridge College where I took a one year Construction Certificate and later landed a drafting job at Varsteel in Lethbridge. When the economy slowed, so did construction, and my job at Varsteel, so I found a couple horse trailer manufactures and did some drawing and cost accounting for them. During this time I was also a driving instructor for the Lethbridge Alberta Motor Association teaching people how to drive cars. After 10 years of instructing, I returned to College and took the two year Business Administration course and then worked as an office administrator for another 10 years. That was when I met my husband, Mike. He was a truck driver and occasionally I would go on a weekend trip with him. During that time I started getting the bug for driving a big rig. Mike had been a Class 1 Instructor and he would have me drive the truck in a parking lot - building my confidence slowly. While he was on the road driving, I took my air brake course and moved on to the Semi driving lessons, eventually getting my class 1. At first I didn’t intend on driving full time, I had thought I would just have my license in case I went on a trip with him and he needed a break from driving. We owned our own rig by this time and the company we had it on with was good with me driving as long as Mike was in the truck training me. At that time we were hauling flat deck super B’s picking up drilling mud and lumber, so tarping became the norm until one day Mike ended up airborne hanging onto a tarp filled with a nasty gust of the North Wind. “Let Go! Let Go!” I yelled and that was it for Mike and his desire to do deck work. It was just as well as neither of us had our pilot’s license. Once the kids were old enough I went driving full time. For the first couple years we drove team, then it was time to try and make our company grow so we bought a second truck. We had landed some work going to Montreal and Toronto that had a couple loads a week. Often we would load two trips on the same day or one day after and follow each other down the road. We felt being a smaller company we

JULY 2018

Donna & Mike could rescue each other if we had a break down, which did happen a couple times. Once my turbo blew around Dryden, Ontario. It was a long weekend of course, so Mike delivered his load and came back and picked up my trailer and made the delivery on time. It worked well, he got his reload and did a switch with me then, once my truck was ready to roll again, I headed back to Calgary. Another time around Regina, a retread tire on my trailer blew apart and took out my air lines and the suspension dump box. Again Mike was behind me and waited for the tow truck, while I went ahead with his trailer to make his delivery. Most of my experience driving truck has been pulling a reefer trailer across Canada and Western United States. However at one point we traded in the reefer trailer and bought a set of super B’ grain trailers and then we went hauling grain and fertilizer closer to home in Alberta. This is where I learned about getting stuck in farmers yards with half loaded trailers and the importance of the terrain. We also did some flat deck work .One memorable pick was a Anhydrous Ammonia trailer in Saskatchewan, which we

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found after delivering tractor tires to the manufacturer of the trailers. It was big - 12Ft wide. Took up the entire length of the step deck. Over width, Over length. But an interesting haul to say the least. We did a lot of deck work with Randy Brawner owner of Canadian Shelter Corp out of Southern Alberta. Hauled lots of assemble-yourself pre-cut garden sheds and greenhouses to a well-known hardware chain across Western Canada. I also experienced driving dump trucks into gravel pits and on feed lots. Wasn’t so bad once I learned that you had to step on the clutch to operate the hydraulics used on the dump trucks boxes and trailers. Until then PTO was a term I hadn’t been familiar with. One winter we drove our trucks to Yellowknife NWT with the intention of going ice road trucking. The ice roads weren’t open yet, so we were hauling shotcrete cement from Edmonton to Yellowknife. One evening on our way back up to Yellowknife, I was following Mike and an oncoming fuel truck just missed Mikes truck driver mirror. I saw Mike swerve to the right on the narrow snow covered road and next thing I knew my mirror slammed into the side of my door. I was driving a 2007 Freightliner Coronado which has big mirrors, and when our mirrors clipped mine hit my door, the other guy wasn’t so lucky. His mirror just about took his face off when it went through the driver’s window of his truck. We were told that a few weeks before there had been a similar accident but the fuel truck exploded melting the asphalt

and closing the highway for a few days. Unfortunately both drivers succumbed to the event. We took all the courses required for driving the ice roads, but one evening we changed our minds. Mike was nervous if a breakdown happened I would totally be on my own until rescue crew came along. Even if he was few miles behind me the rules of the ice roads was no stopping, no driving over 25kph and no dogs - which we had. We got to thinking about the expense of having a rescue crew coming out if needed and the possibility of trucks freezing up on the ice roads and having to have parts flown in if broke down. So we headed back to Edmonton with no driver’s mirror on my truck, while Mike followed behind acting like a pilot car telling me over the CB when it was safe to change lanes. For you ladies that do it totally on your own, hats off to you. Trucking can be a tough business to do it alone. Not only safety concerns, but discrimination does happen on the job. You gotta put the big girl pants on and drive through the snow storms, icy roads, and deal with idiots on the road and the shippers and receivers attitudes when dead dog tired. I don’t have time for petty matters, but if it concerns someone’s safety I will speak up and this has gotten me into trouble a few times. To make it in this business you have to be a savvy professional. Only 3% of drivers out there are female owner operators running under their own authority, and that’s gotta turn some heads. We have sold our other truck

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and we now run doubles. I not only take care of dispatching, administration, and driving, in this business; I am also a wife, mother, daughter and grandmother, friend and still find time to take care of myself. But when you get right down to the nuts and bolts of it all, trucking is a business. Dollars and Sense. Common Sense. You’re either making money or losing it. Yes there are rate cutters out there. Like any other business. My time is worth something to me and so is the use of my equipment. Mike and I fight for every dollar on every load. Sometimes we win . Sometimes we don’t. We try to look at the overall average per week, month, quarter and year. You have to. It’s a business. The chrome and the bling is nice but at the end of the day are you walking taller? Or selling your soul just to keep your truck moving? I have met some great people in this industry. Seen places I probably wouldn’t have seen had it not been for trucking. I have driven through some gut wrenching snow storms on roads that would make your neck hair stand up. It is hard work at times but I enjoy it for the most part. I just wish that there was more appreciation for the Men and Women of this industry. We have gotten such a bad rap due to a few bad apples. The majority of trucking professionals are just that. Professionals. Running a business, supporting their families and their communities but most importantly, trying to get back home safely. Don’t ever lose sight of that last statement. Donna Murchison

Mike’s story: I was born in Sydney Nova Scotia in July of 1961 to Lloyd and Catherine Murchison. The youngest of Three brothers. If you know anything about Cape Breton, back then the economy was driven by three industries: Coal, Steel and Fishing. Not to mention some of the best music on the planet with its roots steeped in Scottish, Irish and yes, Newfoundland Folk music. My family moved to Toronto in the late sixties during the great migration of Maritimers who wanted a better life away from the coal mines or steel plant. As they say...You can take the boy out of the Maritimes but you can’t take the Maritimes out of the boy. I always go back every couple years to see my folks and brother who have moved back. Living in Toronto was an eye opening experience for a young boy from Cape Breton. Big buildings, concrete, fast paced. Not to mention big schools. Cultural diversity and a lot of competition in hockey. Which I played for well over 20 years. But it was in Toronto where I got the itch , fever or hunger for two things. First was wanting to learn to play the guitar. Got to see Gordon Lightfoot and that left quite an impression on me. So as a young kid learning the guitar (self-taught) took up a lot of free space in my constantly daydream filled head. The second thing that happened was I was exposed to that big super slab known as the 401. When my mom would drive

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me to hockey games, I would see these behemoths up close flying down the road. Kenworths, Peterbilts, Macks, Binders . You name it. Driver sitting way up there hauling those reefers, decks vans and steel coils. Those big trucks left a huge impression on me and I would find myself daydreaming of driving trucks cross country, picking guitar and writing songs . Couldn’t seem to get these NEW two desires out of my mind. It was looking like a normal 9-5 NEW NEW OWNERSHIP career didn’t stand a chance as time went by. OWNERSHIP OWNERSHIP After I finished high school my Brother Neil and I moved out to Calgary where my oldest brother Glen was stationed NEW in the forces with Princess Patricia’s Infantry. Apparently OWNERSHIP NEW according to his description the coffee cup was bottomless, OWNERSHIP cars didn’t rust and the streets were paved in gold. All fine and dandy but, I didn’t have a car, didn’t drink much coffee and my first job was working as a ranch hand on a rundown ranch in Countess Alberta where the fields out there were COMPANY DRIVERS OPPORTUNITIES COMPANY DRIVERS TERMINALS OPPORTUNITIES TERMINALS (Local, Long Haul and Cross Border Runs) OPPORTUNITIESOPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE (Local, Long Haul and Cross Border Runs) paved in manure. AVAILABLE SINGLES and TEAMS Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, AVAILABLE OWNER-OPERATORS SINGLES and TEAMS Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, COMPANY DRIVERS AVAILABLE OPPORTUNITIES OWNER-OPERATORS Proud of my brother for serving, I decided I would try to TERMINALS OPPORTUNITIES (Long Haul and Cross Runs) (Local, Long Haul andBorder Cross Border (Long Haul and Cross Border Runs) Runs) AVAILABLE Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, CROSS OWNER-OPERATORS Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, COMPANY DRIVERS CROSSBORDER BORDER OWNER-OPERATORS OPPORTUNITIES TERMINALS OPPORTUNITIES enlist in the Forces. I was hoping to eventually get into the SINGLES and TEAMS Kingston, Toronto, Montreal, AVAILABLE AVAILABLE OWNER-OPERATORS Vancouver and Bedford AND DRIVERS 1.855.564.8029 andHaul Bedford ANDCOMPANY COMPANY DRIVERS 1.855.564.8029 (Long and Cross Border Runs) SINGLES and TEAMSVancouver Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, COMPANY DRIVERS AVAILABLE OPPORTUNITIES OWNER-OPERATORS Coast Guard. So down to the Harry Hays building I went. CROSS BORDER TERMINALS COMPANYOPPORTUNITIES AND OWNER-OPERATORS Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, OWNER-OPERATORS AVAILABLE Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, CROSS BORDER OWNER-OPERATORS SINGLES and TEAMS Kingston, Toronto, Montreal, AVAILABLE Filled form after form, did interviews with Recruiters and OWNER-OPERATORS Vancouver and Bedford • SINGLE CROSS BORDER Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, AND COMPANY DRIVERS Vancouver1.855.564.8029 and1.855.564.8029 Bedford AND COMPANY DRIVERS Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, CROSS BORDER OWNER-OPERATORS took the aptitude tests. Made it all the way to the medical. • TEAMS DOMESTIC Vancouver and Bedford Vancouver1.855.564.8029 and Bedford AND COMPANY DRIVERS That’s where everything came to a screeching halt. The Forces Physician did the colour blind test, I couldn’t distinguish khaki green from khaki brown and that was all she wrote. No Forces. No Coast Guard. But all was not

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lost. Them big wheels were still whispering in my ear. If I couldn’t be a Sailor on the ocean then by God I was gonna be a Sailor on the Concrete Sea. I had a job with a printing company in Calgary back in the early 80’s when I decided to check out a local truck driving school. Yeah I know what you’re thinking. Driving schools don’t teach you nothing. On the contrary I amassed a great deal of knowledge from my Instructors. Emmett Callaghan, owner of CCA Truck Driver Training and his Assistant Ian taught me some things that proved very practical and useful out there in the big world. After a few years under my belt working with Robyn’s Trucking out of Calgary I went back to CCA and Emmett hired me and trained me as a class 1&3 Instructor and put me through the Air Brake Instructors course at SAIT. So the next 3 years were spent Instructing, teaching and most of all helping people realize they have the potential to accomplish things they didn’t think they could do. Instructing students was one of the proudest times of my life. After the Instructing chapter I hit the long haul lane. One end of North America to the other. California, Colorado, Florida, Quebec, Ontario. Most of my miles were done pulling reefer. It was a good fit. Saw a lot of places, met a lot of good people and took pride in whatever ride I had. I started working for Robyn’s driving a rubber block short wheel based...wait for it! 5 speed R model Mack around town. She had a 700 RPM split between gears and she rolled coal long

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before it was a cool phrase on Facebook. We moved a lot of swinging beef out of Calgary up to Edmonton. Sometimes I would be hauling a turnpike, Rocky Mountain Double or a set of triple pups. You learn to think ahead hauling swinging. It moves around. Gentle on the breaks, gear down for the corners and keep a good following distance . Especially when driving on black ice. More often than not we came back empty out of Edmonton. Which was always fun in the winter with a set of turnpikes. Remember the guitar? Yeah! That was coming along very nicely. Building the calluses on the fingers, learning the scales and writing songs. Still writing and recording to this day. Put out a cd “ Long Journey Home” working on another. So life has and continues to fall into place. Thirty years I have been driving up and down the road. Hauling in one form or another. Mostly reefer. I did Vans, decks and Super B hoppers but I always seem to come back to the reefers. I can’t seem to handle the dust of hauling grain anymore. I think it might be a young man’s game. Some of those boys like Gary Randa, Mark Brant and CCRL have some pretty fine looking long legged low riding machines attached to the other end of their steering wheels. They all deserve a “Thumbs Up” for the effort they put forth in keeping their gear looking so good. In September of 2002, realizing I was getting too stubborn to work for anyone else, My wife Donna and I decided to go out on our own. We Incorporated Faith Trucking. Named so

for our faith in God above and each other. Sixteen years later we are still rolling along. A lot of lessons were learned. Usually the learning curve has a dollar sign in it somewhere. The first truck was a 1999 Kenworth W900L. N14, 4:11 rears on tall rubber with a 13 speed box. Nice truck. Good engine ran well. We purchased a 48ft Dorsey spread axle reefer and ran the Salad Bowl express back to Calgary out of Salinas, Watsonville, Bakersfield. And in the late fall and winter it was Yuma, Calexico, Nogales. Loved seeing the desert. Hotter than hell in the day. Nice and cool at night. Different world . Only downfall was that freight out of Alberta down to California or Arizona didn’t and still doesn’t pay well. There are two terms in the English language I despise. First is Artic Vortex and the second is Back Haul. Remember I said there was a learning curve. So after running a year, not doing too bad, Along comes BSE. Cow Haulers come to a screeching halt. Guys grabbing onto anything they could to survive. Decks, vans, reefers. You know the rest. Rates drop, work slows down. Only work I could find was to run east. So I ran east only to find out that the eastern boys don’t like loading 48 footers. Not to mention due to a lack of research on my part you can’t load 2 48” pallets sideways in a 96” in wide trailer. Solution: Let get a triaxle. So we did. Fixed the problem. Rates could’ve been better. Eventually we bought a second truck. Brand spanking new Freightliner Coronado. Donna

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wanted more room. Well she got it. Nice truck. I didn’t care for the Detroit with the DDEC V and EGR. Did us well for a couple years then I decided to sell it. We bought a second triaxle and we had an incredible run from Maple Leaf Potatoes out of Lethbridge to Transport Robert Cold storage in Boucherville QC. We would load both trucks together, Chase each other down the road to Boucherville. Unload. Then we would reload South African oranges back to Calgary. Couldn’t ask for a nicer set up for a husband and wife. At the end of the day I would sleep in her truck because there was more room on the bed. Unfortunately that came to an end . Cavendish Farms bought out Maple Leaf Potatoes, made some logistical efficiency modification changes and started shipping by rail. Currently we run a 2000 Kenworth W900B with the big 86 inch sleeper. Electric Red Pearl is the colour. We have 2 trailers . Both Great Danes with lift axle kits. One stainless Steel the other white. We have settled into a nice run from Southern Alberta to Idaho and back twice a week. 4400 miles. Donna myself and the 2 Japanese Spaniels named, Wasn’t me and Didn’t Do it! (Buddy and Riley). It’s a good run. But like so many things, economies change. Demand goes up and down. It may not last forever. I found the 2000 Kenworth (I named Brutus simply because it is a brute.) while browsing Kijiji one Sunday night after getting back from Ontario. I always wanted a s studio sleeper. There it was just down the road in Cardston . So on a cold February day Donna and I took a drive down. It was half buried in snow. It was colder than hell out. Batteries were dead. I popped the hood to see what colour paint was on the engine. I had an ulterior motive. A 2000 Kw with a yellow engine could only mean one engine for that production year. The Holy Grail of Cat Engines...the 6NZ. Sure enough, that’s what she had. Along with an Eaton 18 speed, Eaton Super 40’s with a 4:11 ratio on the big rubber. Solid truck. The owner ran down to town and we put 4 new batteries in and after an hour with the Proheat on she fired up. We took her for a drive around some of the ice covered windblown streets of Cardston. The rest they say is history. Brutus has been a solid show up for work every day truck. Best truck we’ve ever owned. Rebuilt her 2 years ago. Replaced things

as they wore or needed it. We get lots of compliments on it. Some people have trouble believing that it is 18 years old. Just over a month shy of E-log exemption. Engine was build February 7th. Truck and engine rolled off Renton assembly line February 26th 2000. It was well built. Solid and heavy. 20,200 lbs full of fuel. We were blessed last year to do some work out of Ontario and Quebec for Yves Cantin and Phil Langevin of Langevin Transport. They’re well known in the business for running some of the nicest gear out there. If I wasn’t running Idaho I probably would be working with those boys. Their Owner Ops such as Dave Rioux, Mike Boisevue, Shane Rochfort are all first class guys who genuinely care about the industry, where it’s headed and try in their own small way to make a difference. These boys do the ugly LTL multi drop work which I love doing and for some crazy reason I miss. I’m proud to know these boys and hold high respect for them. They earn every dollar the hard way. Donna and I are part of a volunteer group of truckers called Furry Hobos & Highway Heroes. Organized and founded by Margaret Foster-Hyde of Kekabeka Falls Ontario. We, when we are available, and a lot of other big-hearted truckers transport abandoned, abused, neglected and adopted dogs from shelters across Canada to Veterinarians, adoptive homes, and rescues and eventually to furever homes. Great cause’ and a lot of people working in the background to make a transport happen. Really. How do you get a dog across the country without paying a King’s ransom for airfare. Margaret saw a need and worked to fulfill it. Donna and I are out there putting the miles on like many others. Away from their families, missing special days at home. There is a price to pay, but there are blessings and rewards you can’t find in any other line of work. I plan on not working so hard this summer. I worked all last summer, Christmas and New Years and hard into Spring. I intend on doing some truck shows. Meeting some more Drivers and swapping tall tales from the hammer lane over a cold one and wings. And yes, camp and fly fish. Most will agree that it has been a very long hard winter. We ran some hair raising miles throughout the mountains this year as well as in Ontario in the early stages of winter.



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There were some truck wrecks we came across where there were fatalities. Those Drivers didn’t start their day wanting to be in a wreck. That’s how quick they happen. You can’t take anything for granted. I don’t think I need to tell you Drivers about tailgating or wiping your tail lights off. Everybody wants to get home safely to their families. Right? This Summer I am hoping to team up with two organization that help Vets and First Responders suffering from PTSD. One of them is Military Minds Inc. Strictly volunteer group across North America that supports and honours those who serve and have served. So you may see me and Brutus at some of the truck shows supporting this cause. I am trying to get my schedule straight to have the truck and trailer in one of the cross country legs of The Rolling Barrage that Military Minds Inc puts on each year. Our Vets, First Responders and their families suffer so we don’t have to. Support them, encourage them, honour them. So on that note; a Very Special Thank You to John and his staff at Pro-Trucker Mag for allowing me to tell my story and show my iron. Got a few good years left in me. Hope to enjoy them. I am a blessed man. I asked God to show me how to play the guitar...He Did. I asked God to show me how to drive a truck....He did. I asked God to bless me with a loving family....He did. So I ask God to bless each and every one of you long legged, low ridin’, gear jamming, hardworking, family loving Sailors of the Concrete Sea.

COMMUNiCAtiON By Greg Evasiuk Greg is a third generation trucker with over a million miles and 20 plus years in trucking. He now sells trucks for Nortrux. Have you ever heard the term “meat in the seat”? Now don’t let your minds go into the gutter, it’s a term I heard somewhere to describe the driver that is no more than filling the seat. A warm body behind the wheel, someone who is not required or expected to think. Quite frankly I hate



the saying but it is an alarming trend within our industry that will get worse before it gets better. The reason being it is much more cost effective to hire someone with minimal training, and pay them a low rate, than it is to hire the guy with 5-50 years of experience. In the eyes of the fleet managers it’s simple economics that allows them to run at reduced rates with higher profits. What I see though is the erosion of safety and pride in a once admirable profession but we can help change that. For starters if you’ve been driving for over 10 years or more think back to how you got your start in trucking… I’m guessing it wasn’t going to driving school then being turned loose on the Coquihalla in the winter. Some probably started like me on small trucks and worked your way up, others may have come through driving school but were then sent out with a real trainer for months before being set free on your own. Whatever the case there was a minimum standard of training that was in place. It was mostly unwritten but like a gentleman’s agreement it was there. While I’ve written in the very pages of this magazine that much of my training was baptism by fire I was never sent to do a job that I hadn’t seen done over and over. Even green as grass I was never a steering wheel holder because I couldn’t be, if you’re reading this you can’t either. For me it’s curiosity and pride. Those are the two characteristics that made sure I was able to succeed and stay safe for my 20 years on the road. I am always interested in knowing all the aspects of a job or truck or area so I ask questions. When I was a kid it drove my dad crazy because I wouldn’t stop asking, as an adult it’s saved my bacon. Being genuinely curious will help you get all the little details before going on a job. Disclaimer: this only works as well as the information given to you so always consider the source! (Ask me how I know at AB Big Rig Weekend!) Pride is the other often maligned trait that has served me well and kept me safe. The thing about pride is it makes me want my work to look good, I always want it to be admired by others. When I was still in freight and didn’t have my class 1, oftentimes I would have to unload the LTL deck freight in the morning with the forklift. That was enough to make me decide that my loads would be neat, orderly and

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well tied down. Although one of the guys in the city knew very well who needed what freight when most simpley didn’t care. He would just load whatever he got first at the front on the bottom of the deck and then haphazardly pile freight on or around that order until they deemed the trailer full. Straps would get cut from not using protectors, plates would be bent from not properly blocking, freight would be buried when you needed it, etc. I never wanted to have anyone silently cursing me the way I did every time I had to unload one of those trailers and always took the extra effort to make sure my loads were good. We need to start attracting drivers at a younger age to capitalize on some of that youthful curiosity. As an industry we need to help make this a primary career not a fallback when life doesn’t work out. The only way I see this happening is by upping the mandatory minimum training requirement, make it like an apprenticeship. It’s the way things are in other parts of the world and it would instill much more pride in the job if it was administered like any other trade. Issues like cargo securement and Hazmat would be individual courses. Perhaps you could specialize in tankers or you would have to go back for an extra course after so many hours to qualify to do oversize and heavy haul… I don’t know how it would look for sure but we need to have the discussion. That’s where you can help. Speak up, tell your local MP or MLA that we need to have mandatory entry level training. Write an email make

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refleCtiONS tHrU MY WiNDSHielD By Dave Madill Dave Madill was Pro-Trucker Magazine’s Rig of the Month in June of 2001 and he has been entertaining us with his poetry ever since. Dave has published three books of poems that are available by special order through Chapters Book Stores.

Not Quite Right I was down in California loading up with my step deck and I loaded a lathe in the middle of the deck and some various boxes right behind the step. One of the boxes was labeled “rebuilt engine” and I put it in the middle with a couple others on each side. Tarped the lathe, signed all the bills and made sure all clearances had been filed and my border crossing papers were all in order and headed out. It did strike me as slightly off that an outfit that was selling lathes and other machinery was also shipping rebuilt engines but who am I to make such decisions? I stopped for the night and everything looked good. I checked all straps and chains and snugged up the tarp a little and then hit the sack. I got up in the morning, had breakfast, and went out to do my walk around. I checked everything and it all looked go so I headed out. As I pulled on to the interstate heading north I noticed a blue Chevy half ton that had been sitting on the ramp pull out behind me. I never paid much attention to it as I kept on heading north, until about noon when I stopped for a break. When I pulled back on the interstate there was what looked like the same truck pulling in behind me. Normally on this run north I would cruse at about 62mph as the bears were fairly lenient unless you were doing something else wrong but when I saw this truck I slowed back to about 60. The pickup slowed up and sat about ½ a mile behind me and seemed to keep that distance no matter what I did uphill or down. I had quite a bit of power and my load was not that heavy so

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when I passed another of our company trucks on a hill I called him and we went to the company channel. I asked him to keep his eyes open and get a good look at the pickup when it went by him. I then sped up just a bit so the pickup would have to pass our other truck to keep me in sight. Finally he passed and I was told there were two middle aged guys in the pickup and that they looked a little “scruffy.” OK – keep on heading north and keep an eye on these two behind me and try and figure out what was up. Nothing happened all day and I had been making good time when I pulled up short of the border for a meal and to take my 10. After eating I sat and went through all my bills and noticed that the “engine” had actually come from some other company but all the bills looked good so I made a few preparations and went to sleep. Up in the morning and after breakfast I did a real good walk around and checked every little thing I could think of and headed for the border. Surprise, surprise, when I got to the border I got pulled over for a “random inspection”. Could that be because I slipped a note into my bills saying I thought something was wrong with my load? They pulled me inside and I explained everything to them including that I had been followed all the way from California by a blue Chevy pickup with BC plates. I gave them the plate number of the pickup courtesy of my friend in the other truck. The border guards quickly ran the plate and found out it belonged to a “suspected” drug dealer. They then told me to go ahead and deliver my load and that they would take care of everything.

I delivered the lathe and its corresponding pieces at a Heavy Machine Shop in New Westminster where they unloaded everything and signed all my bills and sent me on my way. I pulled out of the gate and went about fifty yards then pulled over to do some paper work. I was not terribly surprised at that point to see a blue Chevy pickup pull into the business, load the “engine” in the back and head out. They had just passed me when they were surrounded by four RCMP police cars and taken out of the pickup in handcuffs. I stayed around to watch and when the “engine” was opened up found out it was nothing but a hollow shell of a block and was stuffed full of Cocaine. I never did find out how much the shipment was worth but this was one time I was glad I kept my eyes open and had my wits in order. *****

Keen Observations By Sports Greats

Don Meredith, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback once said: “Coach Tom Landry is such a perfectionist that if he was married to Raquel Welch, he would expect her to cook.” Harry Neale, professional hockey coach: “Last year we couldn’t win at home and we were losing on the road. My failure as a coach was that I couldn’t think of anyplace else to play.” Doug Sanders, professional golfer: “I’m working as hard as I can to get my life and my cash to run out at the same time. If I can just die after lunch Tuesday, everything will be perfect.”

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Lumpers When I was over in Canada in 2016 and 2017, I saw a lot of good things I thought should be exported to the UK. But one thing I’m glad we don’t have over here is Lumpers. I didn’t come across any lumpers when I was on holiday, but when I get control of the TV remote, after my good lady has gone to bed, I overdose on You Tube and trucker video logs until the early hours, so I’ve heard a little bit about them. We don’t have as many owner operators in the UK so I don’t think lumpers would work as well as they do over there. It seems like a bit of a rip off to me, you’re delivering goods to a warehouse and they want you to pay to get unloaded? I’d rather do it myself, in fact, if you’re delivering to the German supermarket chain Lidl over here, that’s exactly what happens, the driver backs onto a dock then goes in and unloads the pallets with an electric, or hand pallet truck. The pallets are placed end to end in a line and a checker signs them off if they’re all ok. Lumpers seem like just another excuse to take money off the poor old trucker, and for the big boys to keep outgoings to a minimum. Yet again the big stores and warehouses dictate to the little man. If you want to supply a service to me, you’ll do it on my terms, and at the price we want to pay. And it’s the same with the farmers who supply the produce for sale in big supermarkets, if they don’t deliver the quality at the price the big store dictates, they lose the contract. Penny pinching has changed things in the UK as well, gone are the days when you reported to a goodsin desk in a big hub, got a dock to back into then went back to the drivers’ room to sit in the heat and have a coffee while the truck was unloaded. I’ve always been a company driver, so it didn’t matter how long the unloading took, the hours were all paid for, although it did occasionally throw your schedule into chaos. Then some big receivers took the truck keys off the drivers. When you were backed into the loading dock they were taking no chances that you would drive off in the middle of unloading, maybe with a fork lift halfway in or out of the truck. The drivers room also disappeared, guys were left sitting in a truck with no keys, so if it was a day cab with no night heater, it was a cold cab. Thank goodness we don’t get the kind of minus temperatures you guys get. It’s understandable of course, nobody wants accidents, and taking the drivers keys is a low-cost option. At the other end of the scale is IBM, they fitted all their docks with wheel chocks that were wired to a light inside the

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Colin Black lives in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland and has been driving truck for over 40 years. His story shows us once again that the problems drivers face are universal.

warehouse, if the light wasn’t lit, you didn’t get unloaded. That system was upgraded to a cradle that you reversed one of the trailer wheels into and pushed it along a slide until it locked when you reached the dock. Then it was along to the warm driver’s room for a coffee, and where you could put the world to rights with the other drivers. Like talking about the good old days, when you were a younger fitter man and you loaded and unloaded your own trailer, not waiting about until these young whippersnappers saw fit to do some work. Ah yes, those were the days, putting on the tarps and making sure they were neat and tight in the freezing rain and wind, another coffee Jimmy? *****

Till Death Do You Part...

One Sunday morning the wife and I were quiet and thoughtful sitting around the breakfast table when I said to her unexpectedly, “When I die, I want you to sell all my stuff immediately.” “Now why would you want me to do something like that?” she asked. “I figure a woman as fine as yourself would eventually remarry and I don’t want some other idiot using my stuff.” I said. She looked at me intently for a moment and then said, “What makes you think I’d marry another idiot?”

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Dave Madill was Pro-Trucker Magazine’s Rig of the Month in June of 2001 and he has been entertaining us with his poetry ever since. Dave has published three books of poems that are available by special order through Chapters Book Stores or

The Journey The road lies there ahead of you and it’s uphill all the way There are friends and others who will help you on the way Slowly turn and look behind, across the sands of time Those footprints on the road you walked, some of them were mine. Many times my trail has wandered and I have gone astray I’ve wandered in the darkness for many lonely days. I have wandered down the alleys, I’ve stumbled and I fell I have seen the worst of life, touched the very gates of hell. Yet even in my darkest hour, in the long and lonely night, Someone came and rescued me and led me towards the light. So if you ever stumble, just reach out and take my hand You see, we are all connected in the brotherhood of man. It’s a long old road ahead of you, and yes, it’s uphill all the way Together we can make it, if we take life day by day.


JULY 2018


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Profile for Pro-Trucker Magazine

Pro-Trucker Magazine July 2018 Issue  

Our July Rig of the Month drivers are Donna and Mike Murchison.

Pro-Trucker Magazine July 2018 Issue  

Our July Rig of the Month drivers are Donna and Mike Murchison.