Speeding is Good for You

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Speeding, like exercise, is good for you. It is lack of motion in both cases that ends up causing problems.

This is no joke.

First of all, “speeding” does not mean driving excessively fast. That is the shibboleth, the cliche, the tired and formulaic claptrap used to justify the roadside ritual of mulcting drivers almost at will – because nearly every driver “speeds” at least a little bit every time he goes for a drive. That is to say, he drives in excess of the posted speed limit – which is always set to ensure exactly that.

Fish in a barrel. 

It’s odd that this fact – obvious to all – largely goes by without any raising of hands, if not pitchforks.

Think of other laws that have turned more than half of the population into technical criminals or at least scofflaws. The 18th Amendment is an obvious example. From 1920-1933, it was illegal to drink alcohol in any amount in any state. That was the law. But most of the country ignored this prohibition for the obvious reason that it was ridiculous and outrageous.

They became outlaws, but of a commendable sort. The Bad Guys became the Good Guys – and the reverse, too. Those enforcing Prohibition were generally regarded as dicks.

Just as speed cops (and drug cops, another rant) are today.

In the 1920s, there were speakeasies; today, we flash our lights at other cars to warn the drivers of a speed trap down the road. No one warns a burglar that the house he’s casing has a security system. Why is Smokey and the Bandit one of the highest-grossing films ever made?

Think about this.

Having a drink no more corresponds to drunkenness than “speeding” amounts to driving excessively fast. Which is why everyone instinctively flouts speed laws and – as with flouting Prohibition – feels no moral shame for having done so.

This incidentally is particularly the case with regard to cops.

Who, just like the Prohibition-era “prohees” – the government goons who were sent out to “bust” underground saloons – are the most likely to offend against these absurd statutes because they are more aware than most ordinary people how absurd they are and of course, they have the freedom to flout them with impunity.

They know that “speeding” doesn’t kill nearly as effectively as being asleep at the wheel – which is exactly what obeying speed limits fosters.

It is boring to drive the speed limit. You might as well take an Ambien. The results are the same – and entirely predictable.

Especially in any car built during the past 30 years. Because speed limits are not merely under-posted, they are anachronisms. Unlike almost everything else around us, which has been on a fast-forward track since the dawn of the computer era, speed limits are totems of another time.

We are supposed to be grateful for the fact that the 55 MPH highway maximum got repealed and most highway speed limits are now 70-75 MPH. But that is what they were back in the 1960s – when Ich bin ein Berliner and the typical car rode on a suspension not much advanced over farm machinery, with four-wheel drum brakes (no ABS) and bias-ply tires and no computers controlling anything.

1970 speed limit

There was no Lane Keep Assist, no Automatic Emergency Braking. The steering was overboosted and sloppy. It required paying attention to keep the car on the road.

Which people did, because there wasn’t much choice. This made driving not boring because driving required one to mind what was going on – particularly at speed. You were occupied by the task. People were better drivers in those days because one had to be.

More than 50 years down the road, speed limits on the highways are back to what they were circa 1969 and most limits on secondary roads are lower.

Ostensibly, this is for “safety.”

In fact, it erodes it. 

Driving too slow is dangerous. 

A bored driver’s attention wanders; he begins to space out. Or decides to send a text – or check email. Why not? The car – at this point – almost drives itself. At circa 1969 or less speeds, a modern car is as under-challenged as Stephen Hawking would be if you asked him to figure what two-plus-two equals.

The ridiculousness of the situation is that extreme.

Cars have evolved, speed limits have remained static – or regressed. It is like seeing a guy walking down the streets dressed like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Platform shoes, tight lycra pants, shirt open, chest wig, gold medallions.

But at least our time-travel Disco Dude won’t get hassled by cops.

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  1. One of my very frequent arguments with my wife is that I am driving safe, even when I drive fast. And I’m always shaking my head at super slow drivers who make the road less safe because there are people who are trying to get around them.

    • At some point the super slow drivers probably need to get a driver for their car, take the bus, etc. At least pull over to let the caravan they’ve created behind them pass by. What I see more often than not is people passing when it isn’t safe, passing on the shoulder, etc.

      • Hi Teo,

        A basic act of civility that’s been generally forgotten is to yield to faster traffic. People rarely do this. Even when there are a dozen cars stacked up behind them. They know they are creating a rolling roadblock but just don’t give a damn. It’s blazingly self-centered and rude.

        Slow drivers would be a non-issue if they simply deferred to faster traffic. It takes a few seconds and tensions are eased, traffic flows.

        Instead, they create these conga lines and people become infuriated and end up – in exasperation – passing on the shoulder and so on.

        And they get the blame for being “aggressive” when the real problem is passive-aggressive Clovers who will not partake of common road courtesy and yield to faster traffic.

        • Hey Eric, I don’t think that it’s that they don’t give a damn, but that they’re control freaks; speed limit Nazi’s. Don’t you know that you’re supposed to obey the posted speed limit as set by our beloved boot stomping overseers? There’s something quite gratifying about watching one of them get pulled over for impeding traffic

          • If you make your living with a CDL, constant speeding is like giving notice that you are quitting your job, because you will eventually lose your job and/or your license. Given the downsides, speeding never pays for itself for a professional driver.

            • I don’t know what you’ve been smoking Bill, but there isn’t one state I’ve driven through other than Ohio where I haven’t been driving over the speed limit, and that’s only because Ohio will ticket you for going one mile over the speed limit. Every trucker with a CB radio can immediately ascertain how fast they can drive over the speed limit by simply asking; in many cases you can walk up to a trooper and ask them; they’ll tell you exactly how fast you can drive before they’ll give you a ticket. Then there are the other truckers telling you where the latest capture has taken place, etc. If a trucker can generate a third to twice as much revenue by speeding, a few tickets are just the cost of doing business. Nowadays you don’t even have to stop driving to have a court appearance over the telephone. I had one about ten years ago while I was still driving the truck. I think it was even illegal to talk on the phone while driving, but that’s exactly what I was doing; it’s a joke. The companies know it’s a cost of doing business as well. I’ve had so many tickets I was about to lose my license, but the company never said a word to me about it. It’s only when the State pulls your license that the company finally has to let you go.

              With long haul trucking companies it’s even difficult to quit your job. A lot of drivers just pull over and walk away from their trucks because they can’t get their dispatchers to route them home or to the hub to drop the truck off.

              I can’t count all the times I’ve been on some freeway and some dude comes roaring by in a shiny chromed out Pete doing 90 mph. He’s got all the bells and whistles. Those guys have got money to burn, and they’ve been doing it for decades. So not only does it pay for itself, it pays for a $200k Pete and enough chrome to scorch your retina on a sunny day.

              • The last company I work for had a lawyer for our tickets. I only needed to let them know I had one and forget it, never spoke to the lawyer just let the boss know. My record is clean, only my CSA reflects I’ve been driving. It’s bad enough some companies won’t hire me. Every DOT officer and even the people at the DPS say it shouldn’t be that way. If the buck stopped with the company nobody would let you, much less make you run with a problem.

                A friend had an owner disappear with his pay and left him holding the bag on several expensive fines.

                He worked for us less than a week with a suspended license for non payment. We were running loads to the same place when he called me as I left with a load and said he’d been red tagged.

                Turned out the red tag was for him and not the rig.

                I had already told them my transmission was about to expire, had to turn around and unload and limp it to the yard then get a ride to his truck and finish his run while he tried to get the money for the fines so he could legally run again. Far as I know he never did last I heard.

                States put the onus on the driver when it should shut down the owner.

                I would fix or have it fixed, pay for it and send the receipts to billing. I’ve had reimbursements for $5000 at one time. Not much they could say since the only time I didn’t get a rig back to the yard was from a transmission failure. I told the boss it wouldn’t make it and he told me to run with it. He told the other driver the same thing. That truck quit about 40 miles before mine lost high range. I limped it 30 miles in road construction in 5th gear and left it at a customers yard. That was a KW I never wanted to see again. I eventually drove it to the auction and was glad to walk away.

                See how much fun trucking can be?

                • Hey 8, I’ve got the same stories. I had a truck start leaking coolant. I typed into the QUALCOMM that the truck was overheating and leaking water. I always did that to cover my ass. They wanted me to call them. I told them I didn’t have any cell reception. They wanted our conversation to be off the record, but even so, they told me to drive 40 miles to Yakima. I had a few dozen empty water bottles stuffed under the lower bunk which I filled up and even this turned out to be an exercise in futility. I told them it was getting too hot. They told me not to worry because if it gets too hot, the truck will just shut itself down to protect the engine. There were some pretty steep hills between me and Yakima so this didn’t sound like a bright idea to me. I made it though and the truck did shut itself down right in the middle of an intersection with another broken down truck that I was attempting to go around. Both of us were on our way to the Freightliner mechanic, and traffic was beginning to pile up back up onto the freeway, as well as both ways from the freeway underpass. A few leo’s showed up to take control of the situation and get things moving again only to find that their barked orders were falling on deaf ears. This only incensed them all the more. “I said MOVE this damn truck NOW, or I’ll have it towed!” I thanked the officer for offering to call a tow truck. It’s as if they think they’ve rolled up on two truckers who just decided to stop in the middle of an intersection and shoot the breeze.

                  Freightliner worked on it for about 8 hours and I was on my way. Two weeks later the entire engine blew up; rods, pistons, valves everything was recorded and documented in some sort of black box, and converted to a transcript which I was handed a few months later after it was repaired. The thing was a book, and described in sickening detail every single detail as it happened. Fortunately I was a company driver so it didn’t cost me a dime. However, the truck they gave me to use until that truck was repaired didn’t have the same features as the other one. I discovered to my dismay that I had been driving a lease truck and this temporary truck was a company truck, and wouldn’t allow me to idle for more than three minutes at the truck stops. I called in to find out what the problem was and they told me about this little feature was so I wouldn’t burn their fuel. It was 117 degrees at 7 pm so I asked how to bypass the system. They said it couldn’t be bypassed. So I said, “Okay so I guess what you’re saying is that I’ll have to just stick some board down on the throttle to keep if from idling, right?” Suddenly they discovered there was a way to bypass the system.

                  So why wouldn’t other companies hire you?

                  • We had 2 nanny trucks (Volvo )that were ex FedEx with 3 minutes before shutting off. Drove us crazy. .Dealer wanted $1000 to reprogram. One could be idled up with the cruise control and stay running. The other just shut off no matter what

                • The trucking business, the big trucking business anyway really has some strong lobbyists to make things the way they are. I really don’t understand why so many men put up with it.

                  Of course the next step is replacement of today’s drivers with machines or mexicans. I think the later. The machines would cost too much to maintain and the fines for the trucks couldn’t be placed on employees.

                  • Brent,
                    I worked with two very good Mexican drivers in construction years ago. One of them became a dual citizen to get out of the green card circus. They both went back to Mexico every winter when layoff came. I got along well with both of them because I didn’t treat them like outcasts like all the other drivers did. They were both sending every penny they could home, to retire farm debts, after which they would never have to work again except for pocket money.

                    • I’ve also spent years working with Mexicans as well as people from South America. I doubt it’s like this today, but 30 years ago they would come up and work for 7 or 8 months and then jump on an airplane and fly home. I knew one guy who was living in a 20′ trailer under the freeway overpass as a security guard, but making his real money moving furniture, doing dry wall, tile work etc. He showed me pictures of his house down on the Baja peninsula. Five or ten acres of palms, gorgeous flowering vines, fountains, and this enormous mansion overlooking the Pacific ocean.

                    • I only meant it in that they would set up the trucking companies in Mexico to increase the level of employee abuse they could get away with. Not that the people themselves were a problem.

                    • Brent, They were setting up companies down in Mexico decades ago. All the major trucking companies I looked at for a job had a company down in Mexico. Some of the drivers would drive down there, but most of the time, they’d just drop and hook at the border. The problem was always how messed up the trucks were down there, and if any found their way north of the border they’d almost immediately break down. They don’t just ignore their employees, they ignore their trucks too.

                    • Yes, that was because of the NAFTA rules. The trucks couldn’t come more than some miles into the USA. When mexican trucks are accepted traveling all over the USA under NAFTA, it will all be mexican.

                    • I think you’re right Brent, as the economy continues to sag, the same thing that happened with farming will happen in trucking. If these companies want to stay in business they’re going to have to cut costs somewhere because people just don’t have the money to throw at what they’re hauling anymore. Put a Mexican into some old Mexican truck that doesn’t have to follow US regulations and voila they’re back in business.

                  • Replaced with Mexicans? That was decades ago. I used to jump into trucks where the pre trip checklist had been filled out by someone who could barely spell their own name. I’m not knocking Mexicans here, but just pointing out that they come across in droves and get a license and jump into a truck. They jump into the packing plants to the extent that if you don’t speak Spanish, you have to reason to even bothering applying for a job there. They’ve already got automatic transmissions in big rigs so your grandma Moses could drive it.

                    • The original NAFTA highway was blown out of Texas but it is still going forward.

                      Interstate 11 is its name. A few miles are opening near the Boulder Dam now.

                      New sections from Vegas to Phoenix will open next.

                      They never give up. Even if NAFTA is completely torn up.

                      Some new agreement will soon take its place, and we’ll be in the same place as before.

                      “The possible extension between Mexico and Canada is the long-term goal of the Interstate 11 project,
                      ” is a line you’ll see in this article.

                    • I have never known a truck driver that couldn’t shift a manual transmission, but I’ve known quite a few that couldn’t teach how to do it. I doubt that you will ever see a rock truck with an automatic. I’ve known some women old enough to be grandmothers that can drive at least as well as any male driver I’ve known, and shift smoother as well.

                • 8,
                  My CSA is as clean as my CDL, which is only accomplished by driving for companies with clean ones, which are getting scarcer by the day.

              • Teo,
                I it obvious that I haven’t been smoking what you are unless you can claim a CDL that is clean since I got it in 1990, having never had a moving violation conviction, chargeable accident, or log book violation since then like me. It only takes one speeding ticket to double your insurance.
                You are always talking about not wanting to be a slave to the laws, but you are being a slave to mass ignorant instead, it seems. Eventually, a good driving record will outbid simply having a license and being available. I have refused more jobs than you have probably walked away from, but one of the deal killers in the longhaul business is walking away from a truck. Do it once and when things get tight, you won’t get a chance to repeat.
                Do the math. What happens to your independent insurance rate when you add a single moving violation to your record? I doubt that the increase in productivity brought about by getting there a few minutes faster by speeding will pay more than the ticket or the premium increase cost.
                If you are smoking or dropping anything, it might be me that clears the roadside urinalysis when it happens, and continues on his way while you call your dispatcher to say you can’t deliver your load because you are going to jail. Your choice.

                • You’re grasping at straws. I’m not condemning a good driving record, I’m simply pointing out that in the long run a few speeding tickets means nothing. Yeah, my insurance went up for a few years while I was driving for the last company. I was using 4 out of 5 of my vehicles so I just insured one till they dropped off my record. The last two companies I worked for had random drug testing. I thought they were trying to fire me with all the random drug screenings I was being subjected to, but then it dawned on me that they knew I wasn’t on any dope so they were using me to make their company look better. Everyone else was doing speed and speeding to make more money while I was just doing 5 or 10 over the speed limit. Once in a while I got sloppy and got a ticket, so what? I can get a job with pretty much any long haul company today. When was the last time you drove a tractor trailer? The more amount of time you put between you and the last time your butt was in a truck is also a big factor with even long haul companies. They’ll take the kid who just graduated from some school over you and your down time. You’re better off jumping into a water, or a dirt truck just to log some hours so you can get a real job if you need one someday.

                  • I get offers from OTR companies guaranteeing$1100/wk but it’s often not true and if it is you’ll be playing the log book game.

                    I made at least that much with a construction company with a day cab. I’ll take the real minimum of 1100 and sleep at night in my bed hauling rock. OTR companies are notoriously pie in the sky when recruiting but sitting for hours before detention time starts paying while the clock for me working in the patch starts when I leave the house. No wonder I prefer oil field trucking.

                    • No doubt being able to go home at the end of the day is preferable, but $1100 a week is certainly doable without cooking your log book. The thing is that even high school graduates are turning their noses up at that kind of chump change. Thirty years ago that was pretty good money; not today. Not saying I’d turn my nose up at it, but there are more interesting ways to make more money.

                    • Teo, I can make close to twice what I did in the early 70s. Cost of living is only 6 times what it was then.

                      Starting over as a young man trucking wouldn’t be anything I’d look at seriously.

                      Then again, so many good jobs that existed 25 years ago are long forgotten.

                    • Hey 8south, If I were young and didn’t have any other prospects, I’d do the trucking thing again. You can still make pretty good money if you just drive hard for a few years and do nothing else. Anyone in their late teens early 20’s with no job or money, place to live etc. can get it all in one package.

                    • True enough Teo but industry that can’t do without competent workers that can learn steadily are impossible to replace, especially since so few are willing to work with their hands and their brains out in the weather, something I never thought twice about.

                      But that’s just me. I’d rather work in the boonies since mother nature is an education and entertainment.

                      This last round in the patch had me regularly seeing all sorts of exotic animals.

    • MT, faster driving Is safer driving for me. My creed for nearly 50 years has been that when I drive, that’s all I do.

      My wife commonly asks Did you see fill in the blank? Nope, didn’t see it. I don’t know how you could miss it, the wildest looking thingamajig I ever saw.
      I’m proud for you, maybe we should invest in some good photo equipment.

      We eventually did just that. Once I saw the her pics developed I bought her the best equipment we could afford or more than we could afford at times and I’ll never regret it. I can take a picture, get it in focus, get the light adjusted well and have a good facsimile of the subject.

      The wife can take a pic of the same thing and it’s a visual story, most often a work of art. I couldn’t begin to catch what she does. She can’t chunk a rock for shit, we’re even haha.

  2. I spent a month down in Tasmania a couple of years ago. They have this ridiculous rule that anyone with a learners permit can’t go over 60 kph (about 45 mph). Being as it’s a very rural state there aren’t really any two lane highways. Its really annoying. I saw some 40-50 cars stuck behind someone till they could make it to a passing lane zone.

    • I have been to every Australian state except tasmania and I won’t go there because of the poof greenie named bob brown. Good to see that the green policies he advocated led 2 years ago to the most intense bushfires ever seen in Australia. Fires so intense the soil was overly cooked so nothing can grow back for quite some time. The land of idiots who followed this sob got what it deserves.

      • ” The land of idiots who followed this sob got what it deserves.”

        Even those who didn’t vote for him got what his fans deserve. That’s the real beauty of democracy. It allows the51% to stomp on the faces of the 49 percent. I’ve never been much of a fan of democracy, partly because I’ve never seen myself as part of any majority.

      • to5, re: fires. California had similar laws with similar results. It’s strange how these idiotic examples continue to repeat themselves. People used to go out in to the forests and pick up dead wood to burn, but the environmentalists outlawed this practice, and within a few years they had these horrific fires destroy thousands of acres of old growth forest; they’re cherished and most prized possession. The State legislature then got into the act when they saw they could generate revenue by charging people to clean up dead wood from the forest floor. So they now have a $25.00 permit you can pay if you want to collect fire wood. Then they decided they could make more money by fining people who have fires in their fireplaces. They try to outlaw fire, but end up betting burned. It’s like mother nature will have none of their nonsense. First she burns them, then just simply washes them away with a perfectly engineered mudslide.

  3. 8,
    I think the problem may be that I was taught to move over when approaching a potential stationary hazard, by my father, who was never convicted of a moving violation or involved in a chargeable accident in his life. That would preclude the need to slow down, but I had a habit of doing both when passing a parked emergency vehicle. I’d also make eye contact if possible and wave if I did. I have never seen any states’ commercial vehicle inspectors check anything that wasn’t a part of the pre-trip that I was taught to do in school, and subsequently taught other students to do in the same school.
    Conflicts between laws in alternate jurisdictions and authority are nothing new in my lifetime. When most legislators write and pass a law, they seldom bother checking the compatibility of it for possible conflicts. That isn’t the job of the legislature in the American system, it is the responsibility of the judiciary. It usually isn’t too difficult for the layman to determine a compatible approach if all the acceptable options are known. It helps a lot not to be confrontational when dealing with enforcement officials because they are in a position to respond in ways that are more painful to you than you can to them.
    I drove tractor-trailer longhaul for 50 months straight out of school. I was out of compliance with the hours of service regulations about 70% of the time, but I was never cited for it because I never pushed my luck.
    I only came close to getting cited one time. I had arrived at a show warehouse of Fort Smith about a days driving ahead of my log. I spent the day waiting to get loaded and once loaded, I was still about 15-30 minutes ahead of my log. Since I was only going about a mile down the road to a 76 truck stop, I left as soon as I could. The scale was open. I was the only trunk in it. He told me to bring in my log after he had weighed my drivers. After I took my log in and weighted my trailer, he told me to park in the lot and bring in all my paperwork. When I first started driving, I signed up with a pre-paid legal organization. They gave me a hand-written membership card on the spot, and sent me a typed one with my package that had “——” in the expiration field. I laminated that and carried it behind my CDL in my wallet. I had long since cancelled my membership. When I got in the scalehouse, he was writing a violation. He asked for my licence, I pulled it out with pre-paid card undef it, spread them and handed it to him. He took one look at the pre-paid card and threw the violation in the trash. After explaining to him that I was tired and hungry and was planning to spend the night at the 76, he told me that he lived by it, and would be checking the lot for my truck after he left the scale for the day, and issuing a warrant if it wasn’t there. That was the closest I ever got to a logbook violation.

    • Bill, re: log book compliance. When I first started driving long haul I was also out of compliance at least half the time. That was back around 2002 or 03. I would go in to get my log papers and the woman behind the desk would ask my name and in a few seconds she would tell me that if I kept this up, they would stop giving me logs. I was running two books so I could get home once in a while. They had records of my fuel stops, and gps tracking in the trucks; none of it matched my logs. That was the first three months I was working there. I still continued to cook my log books, but not to the extent that it could be caught on the gps or the fuel card anymore.

      You probably know this story,I forget the name of the company, they have blue trucks and trailers, and the back of the trucks say: “No more paper logs” That’s because they got audited by the DOT and busted so they decided to put an end to it by rigging the truck to stop 30 minutes after they had to be in compliance. I saw one almost make it to an off ramp before his truck shut down for the night. I’d never work for that outfit unless they have some way to override that stuff so you can get off the freeway.

      • Teo,
        Sounds like Warner, but also sounds like most major carriers with a lot of government contracts. I started out with a tiny company with 24 tractors, 22-23 driver and 5 people in the office, including the owner. It was called Chicago-Omaha-Denver-Express (CODE). They sold out to Westway Express in early 1991, after I’d been with them for 10 months. Their safety directors told us that we would be the best drivers in their fleet and would get new tractors when they came in. I got mine in 3 months after threatening to quit because they were refusing to keep the promise. After driving the new (leased) tractor for 3 years, I traded it in for a string of junkyarders. I left after 50 months and wound up teaching at the school when I went back to see what they had. Westway had a deliberate separation between dispatch and safety, and they never ever matched our logs with our Qualcomm tracking records. As long as the logs were legal, they didn’t worry about them. I’ve never run more than one logbook. I have heard that several of the paperless log companies give each driver up to 3 driver cards, which makes the paperless log just as corruptible as the paper one. I was averaging 13,000 miles a month when I quit. If you do the math, it is obvious I wasn’t running legal.

        • Werner, yep that’s the one. All the long haul carriers have the same conflict between dispatch and the safety departments. Safety is constantly sending out all these messages to make sure you’re getting enough rest and eating right, etc. while dispatch is griping about how they have a load waiting, then when I get there the trailer has a half dozen hazardous materials placards displayed and the tandems aren’t set right for the state the load is supposed to go to, etc. Safety just went home, and dispatch is telling me not to worry about it because the scales are supposed to be closed. God love whoever invented those Qualcomm gizmos God could have written the ten commandments on them and we’d still have his signature on them. All I had to do is ask who was going to take responsibility for this illegal load because I wasn’t even going to bother hooking up to it until someone claimed responsibility for the fines which would inevitably run into the thousands. I was a company driver so I could get away with that stuff. I didn’t have anything to lose and they knew it. Lease drivers weren’t so lucky, they had payments to make, and couldn’t refuse any old load they didn’t like. I still feel kinda sorry for those guys. They were working twice as hard as I was and probably not making much more than me; a lot couldn’t make it at all. They’d just walk away from their trucks, or some would take a load of electronics and disappear. That was really common. There wasn’t a week went by where I wasn’t getting a message to keep an eye out for a certain trailer full of something expensive. They had these gps systems that were right in front of the driver, which wasn’t the best place to put it when they got ticked off. All they had to do was reach up behind that cheap hard rubber molding and rip the thing out and throw it out the window. Poof, gone.

          The last company I worked for was small in comparison, probably 50 or 60 tractors and a few hundred trailers. 60% long haul, and an additional 10 or 12 owner operators driving their own trucks. Here again, I told them right off the bat I wouldn’t be running if I started taking snapshots of the road. I don’t smoke, or use any stimulants so if I get tired or drowsy, I’m going to pull over and go to sleep. Rarely would I even set an alarm. I’d wake up with thirty messages on my cell phone. They would run through this scenario on an almost weekly basis, but they never fired me or shorted me on my pay. They started cutting back on pay to chain up, and I didn’t make any money on lumper’s fees though so I only worked there for a couple years.

          One thing I noticed that looked like a good idea was to lease or buy a used truck, and find a company driver to drive it, but with a leased dispatcher. There were a few guys doing this and making money at it. They would be driving their truck, then when they had it paid off they’d put a company driver in for a few cents more a mile. The company driver liked it because he was making more money in a lease truck with all the perks, e.g. fridge, micro, split rear end ungoverned, and no fuel shut off crap to prevent idling. The company didn’t care because it was a lease driver, and the other guy was pocketing the difference. Some guys had half a dozen trucks running at a time. Some would get a dozen and then start their own trucking company. Pride is a prime example.

          • I won’y go longhaul again unless I’m comfortable with the stability of the national economy. I did driveaway for 4 years and one of the major projects I got involved in was Arrow Trucking, which was a 200 truck flatbed carrier whose operating capital was shut off without notice by Daimler Credit, stranding their trucks all over North America. I was the only contractor that my company had in California when it happened. They paid me to check out all of the trucks that had been dropped at Fontana Freightliner and let me commit to any and all I wanted to move myself. Since I had to buy my own fuel, that was the primary criteria I used in making my commitment list. Then there was whether it would start and run, since several wouldn’t. When Arrow went down, the last run many of the trucks made was to the nearest Freightliner dealer if they had enough fuel to make it. The drivers that didn’t abandon them in the truckstop got paid $50 to drop them at a dealership. It was like doing repo, which is what it was. I picked up a lot of stuff that would have gone in a dumpster anyway. I spent the better part of the winter that year moving Arrows after I’d moved decommissioned Walmart tractors from all over California. Most of the drivers for the company I was working for, which was based in Joplin, MO, didn’t want to go west, let alone California, so I was their only domestic driver on the west coast, and I routinely got $1/mile or more. I was never stopped by CHP and only got inspected when I drove new rental trucks. I seldom did more than drive through scales in the empty lane. I got really spoiled on driving passes without dropping gears or taking them out of cruise. I’ve got all the equipment still, so I might go back to that some day.

  4. 140 on I-40, near Nashville. In a bone-stock 05 4-banger Accord. At 5:30 a.m. Super fun, felt like flying a jet, but with a lot more noise, mostly wind. I live a small Tennessee town, and I found that I can do 10-15 over every limit without any drama. I can’t wait to upgrade this thing.

    • Re: 140 mph. My last car was a 2001 Hyundai Elantra; also a 4-banger. Pretty much any economy car built in the last 20 years will probably do 140 no problem. Mine would get up to 140 in no time and probably could have stayed there all day. Compared to the muscle cars of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s that were lightning quick off the line, but with those four speeds they were winding out in no time; 100 seemed pretty fast in those things.

  5. It would be helpful if the vast majority of the nation’s drivers were to receive enough law education for them to understand the meaning of prima facie with respect to traffic laws, especially speed limits.

  6. Steve, you can thank insurance companies and a shitty economy for truck races. Ignorance factors in there in the form of believing slower trucks are safer and save fuel. There’s soma truth to it saving fuel but the companies that cut their engines way back often increase fuel costs. Having to run WOT on an much less powerful engine often increases fuel consumption, especially on heavy haulers. Also, going for the cheapest transmission can cost fuel. A friend stated it quite accurately on day whenever he said “If you want to fuck up a perfectly good truck, put a 10 speed in it “. He is quite right too. Too much gap between gears along with no OD gear is a fuel burning engine wearing recipe, not to mention driving the operator crazy. Get on youtube and watch the videos of nice rigs, mostly O/O’s. and you’ll see the occasional 2 gear box rig. Watching the driver so easily shift is a thing of beauty.

    • Rear end ratios are more important than anything else in commercial vehicles.
      IMO a truck has to have at least 10 wheels to be considered more than a light duty truck, most of which are simply cowboy Cadillacs.

    • Used to run an old (at thatt ime, it would be truck show old” now) Kenwroth. 250NH, gutless old pig, twin fours. It hauled freight though and was a bit late one time due to a mechanical issue.. ONLY one time. Hardly ever had to spend money on it. It took a bit to learn that twin stick system, but once I got it it was easy.. could do it in my sleep, and sometimes did. Being underpowered, though, it couild not go faster than 61.5 mph, which, during the days of the old Double Nickel Shuffle, was still almost seven over.. .ticket territory. Never got one, though. The fun thing.. the tach worked, but the speedo did not. So I had to judge y speed… always nervewrcking when the limit ws way down, I was not in fourth/over, and there was fresh pork in my mirrors.

    • Hello 8, There are many things wrong with modern semi-trucks, but I don’t see how having more than 10 gears is an issue for most truckers. Modern engines have a wider torque producing range than the engines of old. They can lug up a hill running only 1100 RPMs whereas an old 1997 Volvo with a Detroit diesel and a super 10 tranny I drove in the early 2000s would all out stall on me below 1300 rpms, so I learned to keep the rpms up. I still prefer to keep the rpms up due to performance reasons. That said: I hate all of the modern nanny safety devices on modern trucks, along with all that plastic crap.

      • Brian, I used to commonly run with 2 friends, both running 379 Pete’s, both the same year model as mine, one with a 60 series Detroit with 150 more HP and the other with a 3406B Cat 150 more HP or more than mine. They both had 13 speed trasmissions. They bought pulled better and got to the unloading area well before I did and could get one more load a day than me and both used less fuel. Of course mine shut off at 70 and theirs had no limiter. They didn’t run much over 70 but they had more power and better gears to stay in the sweet spot fuel mileage wise. The last 8 gears in an 18 speed have 17 percent difference. I know guys who won’t buy anything else. Everybody that’s driven a truck knows they all have a sweet spot where they get the best milage, especially true when heavy hauling. I’ve driven a 750 HP red top Cummins that could have saved a ton of money on fuel with more gears than that 10 speed.

        A DOT stopped me one day and commented I was really heavy, not over, but right at 80000. I knew right then he was a rookie. I didn’t reply. He’d finally figure out that was how the truck got paid.

          • I needed something to eat one night, but the only game in town was a Taco Bell. It was late enough that they only had the drive through open; no way I was going to get my rig in there so I hopped out and walked up and ordered at the pick up window. I told them that I was in a tractor trailer and couldn’t get it into their drive through. They took my order; actually even let me inside to pick it up.

  7. Went by your exit on I-81 on Saturday (Did you see me wave?) at well over the speed limit, me and dozens of others. It occurred to me that in any other field, getting things done faster would be something to be proud of. Our highway departments should be proud that they make roads that can accommodate people driving 90 MPH safely. Instead, they are ashamed that they can’t force us to drive at 70 (65, 60, 55). The whole point of government is to take innocent property, innocent life if need be, and legitimate liberty.
    Keep up the good work!

  8. Just yesterday an old friend and I were speaking of reading books while driving back in the era of 55.

    It was SOOOOOO boring we looked for any way to bide the time. Bjobs, knotted nylons Alice Cooper baby Alicia Cooper. We listened to a lot of Zappa back then.

    Hell, we listened to a lot of everything back then.

    We had jacked up CBs back then with military frequency chips hooked to various switches normally controlling such as noise blankers or side bands.

    Rolling sex was common as well as various and sundry drugs, about half legal and half otherwise. When we had cocktails on the road we didn’t necessarilyneed ice or shakers.

    Big sedans with hot engines were the other mode along with detectors and jammers and just flat out running pursuit although that was rarely needed. Cops generalize a lot and look for certain things so not meeting any of their criteria let us slide under the radar so to speak.

    A couple of 2 way radio antennas and dressing like LEO’S let us slide by a lot as did ex DPS cars. It was a safer and simpler time back then.

  9. A few summers ago, I was headed to Northern Montana on I-15, cruising along at around 80-85 mph, and got passed by a caravan of cars with Alberta plates cruising along at around 105. So I sped up and kept pace with all of them, leaving a nice gap, for probably 70 or 80 miles and never once felt unsafe. And this was in my ’03 Grand Am with ~240,000 miles on it. Also it didn’t seem to change my mileage at all — that car always got high 20s to low 30s on the highway regardless of what I threw at it. Made great time, and kept myself alert. As if I needed any evidence to oppose speed limits (for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety or fuel consumption, or any other reason,) this experience cemented my opposition of them.

    • On a completely unrelated issue but out of a need to vent to like minds; my son is at his high school today engaged in slave labor to make up “attendance credit” from last year. Schools are prisons with mandatory attendance and now they employ the equivalent of chain gangs. Between this and the fact that one of his classes last year was “Survey of Cinema,” Game over, man, let’s nuke ’em (the schools) from orbit!

      • scott, re: attendance. Years ago while attending a class at one of this countries so-called “institutions of higher learning”, the professor thought we’d had enough for one day and decided to “let us out early”. I calculated that one class worked out to approximately $34.00, and immediately pointed out that I had some question left for him and that I would be seeking compensation for the money he owed me. This didn’t go over well. Perhaps I should have looked into slave labor for compensation. We need the child care so no use nuking them. The smart thing is to get your kid educated so he/she can take the equivalency tests, go straight into a JC or community college and get on with their lives. Lot’s of schools, JC, colleges and universities allow potential students to take similar tests to simply skip what they already know; saves money, time, and frustration.

        • Teo,
          If I had a child that I wanted to prepare for testing, I’d use the processes in the Ron Paul Curriculum, as developed by Gary North. It is cheaper, faster, and under the direct control of you and the student.

            • The only time I have a problem with anything that Gary North says is when he drags his argument through a pool of theology, which he has a major fondness for doing on a regular basis.
              I especially like his reasoning as to why he only buys used minivans, and never buys any vehicle new.

              • I’m not familiar with his perspective on used minivans. What’s his theology on the issue? I have heard Dave Ramsey point out that anything newer than four years old is a bad buy. My last car was 15 years old and the one before that was just over 4 years old. Both were great deals. I’ll never buy a new car again, and I’ll never buy from a used car lot either. The one’s around here all give away stuff like Walmart gift cards, trips to the Bahamas, and lottery tickets. I’ve never bought a lottery ticket, but I’m already over $20.00 ahead of the game.

                • He doesn’t have a theological component on everything, but he holds his commentary cards pretty tight against non-members of his newsletter mailing list, which is not free.
                  He buys used vehicles, especially minivans and keeps them until they become unworthy of being so. He has a history of selling them to his mechanic instead of fixing them, and his mechanic must have a pretty good sized junkyard of them:-) Dave Ramsey’s theology is approximately as annoying to me as North’s, but Ramsey won’t buy anything that doesn’t pay dividends, and I am just the opposite.
                  I have never bought a new car.
                  I bought my last and current van from a lot in southeast Ohio that carried minivans and SUVs. They had a regular customer call them and ask that they find him a full-size cargo van. They did, and he didn’t come to pick it up before I showed up looking for one. It started out at $4900, went down to $4000 while I walked over to look at it, and stabilized at $3500 firm. I sold 3 ounces of gold to a dealer next door for $100 under spot each, and pulled the other $300 out of my checking account at an ATM across the street. There was no tax because I didn’t license it it Ohio, but Wyoming.

                  • I’ve read enough of his books to know I probably don’t need to pay for his member’s only/fee only ideas. I get a bit annoyed at how he thinks the Catholic church, schools etc. should provide their educational materials for free, but we need to pay for his stuff. I’m not sure I see why he’s so into minivans. I used to be into vans for quite a while, but I was living in them. Some guy tore the door off my last one, and paid for it. Who says we need insurance? The repair bill was more than I paid for the van. Now I’m using it for storage. Some day I plan on using it as a chicken coop. What’s his big attraction to minivans? I recently switched from vans to SUV’s I didn’t need a van as a dwelling, but I did need a tow vehicle, and an SUV is still something I could sleep in if push came to shove again.

                    • I have slept in a Tahoe, have nothing bad to say but I would have preferred blacked out windows. I’ve slept in my pickup, both the front seat that lays flat and the rear that’s not quite long enough.

                      Sleeping across both seats and the doghouse in a big rig can be a bit rough.

                      I’ve rolled out my air mattress in Suburbans and Wagoneers and slept well. After working nonstop for days I took a well water hose shower, put my sleeping bag on a cot with my 75 lb pit bull in the bag with me and slept till after dawn. Sometimes it’s not so much the place as the need. Slept in a bass boat too.

                      When young I slept in lots of places not all that conducive for sleeping but it was the best place at the time.

                    • Hey 8south, re: sleeping conditions. When I was just out of college, a few (four) of my college room mates all piled into a VW microcamperbus, and went on a road trip. We had been up to northern California to score some grass, but somewhere between there and Santa Cruz someone found some acid. We were on the beach one night drinking beers around a fire, and when it was time to go back to the microbus I won the rock/paper/scissors tournament, but because of the lingering effects of the LSD, I opted for the hammock over the two front seats. Everyone simultaneously let out a collective sigh of relief that they would not be forced to hang their legs out the window. My first van was also a VW camper bus with drapes to conceal me from prying eyes. The next was a drapery van with commercial plates. At one point, with the help of some stencils I found, I spray painted “Dirty Drapes Done Dirt Cheap” on the side, and actually had people inquire about having their drapes cleaned. The slogan was: “Pay twice as much for your first set and the second one is absolutely free”. The next was an old Ryder box rental. I stored two motorcycles in it and had plenty of room for my bed on a mezzanine over the front. That one was the least likely to be hassled by leo’s, but also the most likely to be hit with graffiti. The last one was an 82 van conversion completely with shag carpeting on the walls. I still have that one out in the back 40. My first SUV was a lifted Suburban, but the 35’s made it feel like I was driving around on balloons so I sold it and got a Toyota Sequoia with tinted windows. Lots of room, even more than the Suburban. The first car I ever slept in was a Datsun 240 z and it wasn’t that bad, just bad enough for me to start thinking what I would need to be really comfortable.

                      My rope hammock served me well in oak and Eucalyptus trees. The best part was being able to roll over to the side to pee without ever having to get out of bed. If you have a sleeping bag, sleeping on the ground is better than sleeping in a car imo, and boats are my favorite. I still have a 26′ trailer sailor I lived in for three years before saving enough money to buy my first house.

    • Zach, re: following caravans. Years ago when I was living in and around southern California, I would occasionally be in rush hour traffic on my scooter, and suddenly there would be a CHP on his scooter coming up fast. I’d get over and there would usually be half a dozen or more bikes behind him all letting the CHP clear the line for them. It was great in that you didn’t have to worry about some a hole pretending to not see you and try to run you over. Sometimes traffic would be going 55 -65 and we’d all be doing 80-85 behind the CHiP.

    • Back in the days of the Double Nickel Shuffle, I almost never drove that slow. I mostly drove old Volvoes, the early pushrod ones with twin SU carburetters. A bunch of different ones, mine and others’…… if they were properly tuned (which I could do reliably) they would cruise at 85 mph al day long, and return 42 miles to the gallon. US gallon, that is. COmfortable to drive, super easy and cheap to fix, but never needed that much at all. I had a run one time in Central California in company of a friend, driving his Suburban (307 V8 two barrel). He only got about 13 mpg at 55. Less higher up the guage. As I pacd him in the Volvo, I kept track of mileage on that leg… the droning fifty five put me to sleep… for giggles, I slipped it into 3rd gear…. I used less throttle, Cruised along very comfortably at 55 in third…. probably got somewhere in the low 30’s for milege doing that) In fourth at 55 the cam was not even working… I laid out tens of thousands of miles in both Caanada and the US cruising like that. I ran quie a few other Volvos of that vintage the same way. Never got tagged, either, Sharo eyes, I was always able to see the rat before he culd get a bead on me. I even foiled Califoria’s CHP on a few time-tests, a non-radar method of using their super accurate speedos over measured distance and two interval measurements. Once I learned how they did that, it was easy to break it when in progress. Unless they can complete the entire process, they don’t have all the numbers to present to the court. SO… somehow break that cycle, and he”s got no case and knows it. I learned to see the radar traps long before he could tag me, too. And a plainjane older VOlvo never attracted any pig-eyes unless I was doing something radical.

      Drive Fifty Five? WHY? No thanks. I don’t want to play that game. I’d rather play The Artful Dodger Game. I figured that on the drive from VancouverBC to Orange COunty Calif, I saved close to a full day’s driving on the turn, and used about

      • Tonico, Re: Volvo fuel economy. What model Volvo got 43 mpg at 85 mph? That’s kinda hard to believe. I had a friend that drove a Toyota tercel that got 50 mpg so I’m not saying it’s impossible. I know there are other cars that got good gas mileage. I’ve just never heard of Volvo being in that category.

        I also learned to read the lay of the land for speed traps, which gets you there sooner, but at a loss to fuel economy. Since it wasn’t me paying for the fuel, I opted for the better ETA and more money. You learn to judge how fast traffic is gong in each direction. You crest the top of a summit and see traffic speeding down below with no sign of pursuit so you just gun it to the next summit. I had a cb radio which also helped, but after a while it’s as if you can predict when someone is going to tell you there’s one up ahead waiting. It’s not even something I’m consciously aware of anymore. Over and over I’ll be driving a good 15 to 20 over the posted speed limit and for no apparent reason I’ll slow down without being aware of it or knowing why, and sure enough, just around the next bend there’s a radar gun pointing at me. It used to freak me out, and people would tell me that God is guiding me, but I figured it out later. It’s just that I know where I’d sit with a radar gun, and it’s the same places they sit with their radar guns. I also know that when I’m on a long straight stretch of freeway, they can’t see me through all that traffic in front or behind me. I can be doing 90+ and they can’t get a bead on what they can’t see.

        The other trick is to wait until someone else is doing 20 or 30 over and get in a few miles behind them, let them flush out the trooper. The other thing I’ve noticed is that I can be a few cars behind the guy in the pole position, and passed the trooper along with 2,3,4, or more other speeders, but he’s already dropped his radar gun and getting ready to pull out into the freeway to begin his pursuit. Everyone else has already hit their brake lights notifying me of the State revenue collector up ahead so I’m safe. He may be able to see that I’m going over the speed limit, but he doesn’t know how much over, and when he notices that I’m not going as fast as the others, he just flies by me. My car is gray too, it just isn’t that noticeable.

        The irony for me is that you have to know what the ticket limit is rather than the speed limit. It varies from State to State. I forget which is which, but Ohio or Iowa it’s ONE mile over the posted speed limit; I think it’s Ohio. California and Oregon are also likely to pull you over for 5 or 6 over. California judges will usually throw it out if you appear in court though. Although that was probably thirty years ago now that I think of it. I used to routinely watch a judge just ask the crowd how many people were in for 5 over and just dismiss them, and half the courtroom would get up and leave.

  10. Yes, speeding is good for you, and yes, it is penalized, and yes, govt. is bad for you, and no, it doesn’t protect you, it exploits you, controls you, endangers you, because you give it the power to do so. Power will be used. And it is addictive, leading to excess, corruption, and eventually total collapse of society.

    The myth that violent control of society is a “necessary evil” is “The Most Dangerous Superstition”. It does not make us civilized, just the opposite. When individuals take back their power by removing their support of the controlling elite by self governing, their spirits soar, they become fully human.

    This is why it is necessary to break bad laws, on principle. It is an act of defiance against repression of our rights. It feels good to be “bad”, because the truely bad are those who use authority for the love of power, who get a rush when in charge of others, especially for just living their lives freely.

  11. All these new muscle and sports cars are way better handling than what we were driving 30,40,50 etc. years ago. However, I’ve also noticed that, for a lot of people; they’re just as easy to wreck. LEO’s hang out at muscle car shows just to bust anyone who breaks traction on the way out, and write up anyone who wrecks their cars in the process. Judging by the youtube vidoeo, this isn’t uncommon.

    I used to drive a tractor trailer from coast to coast, and you can’t help seeing accidents on an almost daily basis. It’s usually the people who are looking for pole position at the next light, or weaving in and out of traffic on the freeway during rush hour, but the slow pokes in the fast lane are also a big factor in creating the congestion in the first place. When everyone is going 10 to 15 miles over the speed limit and they all catch up to granny doing 15 UNDER the posted speed limit, it’s a wreck waiting to happen. Same thing would happen when I was first put into an underpowered governed truck. Every time some other truck would come along, or I’d catch up to another governed truck it became this tedious obnoxious race for the next 10 miles while one of us tried to pass the other one. The only saving grace was that I could literally drive for 10 hours straight and not remember ANYTHING I’d seen. I could drive through one state after another and not remember a single road sign, city, town etc. It was like meditation.

    Mercedes Benz (or maybe it was AMG?) used to have a driver training program for anyone who bought one of their AMG models so they wouldn’t wreck the thing when they went to pass some slow poke on the highway. That seems like the way to go, but then again if I were manufacturing automobiles, I’d want to get rid of speed limits altogether, more wrecks equals more car sales, no?

      • Taking down advice signs and fatwas would me more wrecks? Wrong.

        Semis are annoying car drivers? So what. The interstate carriers pay for those roads. They supply the cities food and other necessities. Rail alone does not get it done.

        One thing one needs to do, if they want to navigate towards a freer mindset. Is lose that armchair Ralph Nader shtick.

        No, the consumer is not king. No consumers don’t run things. By definition they are human livestock with their snouts in a feeding trough.

        It is only when and if a consumer is also a producer that he is worth a shit. Producers are king, judge, jury. They alone are the ones who deserve respect and an audience.

        Fuck all these sail fawn Yelp reviewing useless eaters right up the got dam ass, is what I say about all these Opinionated Yankees.

        • The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways was constructed to serve military loads as the top priority, with commercial loads coming second. Everything else, which constitutes the vast majority of today’s traffic, was considered tertiary and of very little necessity.
          Interstate highways are supposed to be financially supported by the fuel taxes that are collected at the pump, but as with almost everything else the federal government is involved in, those funds are directed to something else, forcing the states to succumb to onerous mandates to get the fuel tax revenue back. If it were up to me, it would stay in the state where it was collected and be spent on roads therein, which would provide the best roads the world has ever seen.

          • You raise a good point. American roads are militarized to be sure. Heroes always outrank producers. Producers should clearly outrank consumers.

            But buck private consumers have somehow got it into their head that being passive soldiers of plunder. Somehow makes them producers which is simply not true.

            As soon as you find yourself on a paved surface. You have more or less temporarily joined the transportation army. You are under full martial law the entire time.

            Vehicle halt. Forward accelerate. Cylinders marching left right left right…

            Above the concrete highways. There are information highways.

            Information highways also have producers and consumers, but its a bit trickier.

            If you’re here and you can’t see how this site is 100% provided by Eric and the people who donate or otherwise directly contribute, you’re a delusional savage.

            There may be pecking orders among the rest of us consumers. But consumers we nonetheless are. At least in the physical concrete sense.

            Incredibly we gain rights in whatever we publish here. We can be producers in an abstract sense. Copy write automatically attaches upon public publishing. At no cost, or for voluntary contributions, we become producers of intellectual property here.

            This place is a spontaneously ordered abstract village. But don’t forget how it comes to exist. And where you rank within this village.

      • Steve, re: “truck races”. The thing that sucks about it is that they’re almost all governed at the same speed, and when one has a few hundred pounds more cargo weight, the other one can gain on it, but when they get almost nose to nose, the wind coming off the lead truck prevents the other one from getting past it. Even going down hills becomes impossible unless you throw it into the Georgia overdrive. There were a few times where I’d end up passing a dozen slow pokes on the way down a steep grade ( e.g. at least two runaway truck ramps). I’d be apexing the curves well outside the lanes completely into the shoulders kicking up dust freewheeling it all the way to the bottom; never even got my brakes warm. Gawd I hate trucks. I don’t know why I even still have this CDL anymore.

        • I keep my CDL because I can, and the day many come when enough drivers like you bail to make me worth more, especially since I have a completely spotless record since 1990 when I go it. I could have a longhaul job anyday, but I’m not going out again until after the economy consolidates all the shaky companies out of business.
          I once came down Mount Vernon Canyon into Denver at 80,000 pounds doing 55mph all the way down, in a 35mph truck limit, on the engine brake. I kept catching something in the mirror in my peripheral vision that I could never see otherwise. It turned out to be a state trooper on my ICC bar waiting for my brake lights to come on. They never did, he never stopped me, and turned around at Colfax and went back up the hill. Gawd I loved that 425HP Series 60 with a 425HP engine brake.
          Like the saying goes, old truckers never die, they just get another Peterbilt.

          • Years ago when I first decided to see the country, I drove for C.R. England, and they (like most of the big long haul companies) have about a dozen or so drivers that literally fly all over the country picking up abandoned trucks. Drivers just walk away from them because they’re so tired of getting the run around from their dispatcher/driver managers. I didn’t have that problem because I knew enough to know that they weren’t going to fire me if I didn’t hop to attention at their every silly order. I also knew that I could play the same games with them. If they got me close to anyplace I wanted to hang out for a few days e.g. my place, my mother’s place, a girlfriend’s place, a new girlfriend’s place etc.) I’d just tell them I would be back to work in three, four, or five days. For every guy that quits there are at least a dozen to replace him. The last guy I worked for made more money than he knew what to do with. He would have me pick up brand new trailers just because the one I’d just dropped wasn’t going to be unloaded for two days. Then he’d have me take a brand new one to get it loaded and drive it away, leaving his other trailer for someone else to pick up later. He’d tell me to break seals that the shipper had explicitly told him they wouldn’t pay for if they were tampered with, and I’d get back to the warehouse to find pallets of palm oil stacked free to anyone who wanted them. He had drivers that could barely spell their names, much less fill out a log book. Somehow they had CDL’s though. C.R. England’s base in Salt Lake City looked like a freak show. There were dudes with prison tats around their necks, chains running from their nose to their ears, green hair, etc. if you hadn’t killed anyone in the last four years you had a job there. I found out I could unload my loads myself and collect 100% of the lumper’s fees. This literally put me over what a lot of owner operators are making working for lame brokers.

            I don’t know when you stopped driving, but it’s downright insane to try and make any money in your own truck these days. The DOT is on everyone. I was in a weigh station in Washington a few years ago, and while I was in there literally being ridiculed because he knew I wouldn’t be making enough on this load to pay the fines he was going to impose, he flagged another truck over. One of the other officers asked him why he was flagging the same truck he flagged just a few hours ago. He said he just felt like giving the guy some more shit. I got pulled over at another scale down in southern California for too much weight on my tandems. I’d just weighed the damn thing a couple days earlier, but had to drop and hook another load. When I came back to pick up that trailer, it had some new technological device that required me to push some button to re-inflate the rear suspension. No one had told me anything about this new gizmo. When I went into the weigh station, I told them that my boss had just explained to me what had happened, and that the weight was legal. I even had the weight ticket to prove it was legal, tough luck dipshit was all they said. We got you on the revenue generator. All they see is a dollar sign on the side of your truck. The last company I worked for had mostly owner operators who had sold their trucks and were ready to drive the company trucks and forget about the real stress.

            All the old truckers I’ve seen all have burn marks between their fingers where their cigarette butts have burned down and formed callouses to wake them up as they’re driving in their sleep. I did that routine for a season too. I can remember feeling refreshed after an all night run because I had been sleeping while I was driving. Then I learned I could actually go to sleep and they wouldn’t fire me. Then I started taking naps, and long breaks, and missing one delivery date after another. Still no one ever fired me. You have to total a truck before they’ll think about firing you. I don’t even know why they kept trying to get me to take illegal loads. I always told them to pound sand. I must have refused at least 20 or more loads my first year driving for them. They’d just give me another load. They knew I could sit there indefinitely and it wasn’t going to cost me a dime. It’s fun when you’re young, but as I get older, I’m not enjoying it as much as I used to.

            • There isn’t anything new about dumping the airbags, although the only thing I ever saw in it was making it easier to get under a low trailer.
              I longhaulled from mid 1990 until mid 1994. When I quit, because Westway wouldn’t give me the promised new tractor, I was running 13,000 miles a month netting about $850 a week. I spent 6 months teaching at the same school i”d graduated from, and then starting putzing. After I drove taxi for a couple of years in Denver, I spent 4 seasons driving water and dump trucks in Jackson, and then did driveaway for 4 years, until I got tired of never seeing Wyoming. I can live comfortably on the $952 I get from SS every month, but the economy is so slow it isn’t worth looking anymore, unless I want to shave my beard and work in a restaurant:-( I could always buy a used truck and start my own 1 on 1 truckling school. I’d rather sleep in:-)

              • I wasn’t referring to dumping the airbags on the tractor. The trailers have some automatic system that dumps the air on the trailer, and you have to push this button to re inflate them. I’ve been driving for a few decades and never heard of one, much less seen one of these things. I wouldn’t mind doing the water, or dirt trucks; even a garbage truck looks better than long haul to me. The chances of running into some DOT a hole are practically non existent here if I stay off the freeway. Although I might do some dedicated Gulf coast runs, no chains, and if a hurricane comes along I get some time off. I knew a guy who did the trucking school gig for a few years. He didn’t do much of anything except sit around and collect a check, watch these guys drive around in circles for a few hours while he played games on his computer.

                  • I’m talking about the same bags that are on all trailers at the back, at the tandems. They never used to deflate or inflate, but somewhere around 2006-2007 they came out with these things. As soon as you unhook, and pull away some mechanism lets the air out of them, and if you want to reinflate them, you have to push this little red button on the side of the trailer. I saw the little red button, but I’d never seen one before and no one told me anything about these things so I just naturally ignored it to the tune of $300.00 at the next scale I rolled into.

                    They have nothing to do with the dump mechanism on the tractor to facilitate hooking up to the trailer.

                    I don’t remember what the philosophy is on why these things are supposed to be better than the old school ones that just stay inflated all the time. I don’t really see many of them on the highways either, but once in a while you’ll see one of those little red buttons on the side of the trailer to reinflate the bags.

                    • They sound like air ride bags, but those have always filled themselves from the parking brake supply line, although they can be dumped. The only thing I can imagine causing you a load distribution problem is failing to drop a tag axle, because air ride bags would never have that effect.

                    • There’s nothing to guess at here Bill. This is some new feature they came up with around 2006. There are no trailers with this little red button on them before then. My boss even told me about it after I got stopped at the scale. I just don’t remember what the reason was for why he decided to start buying these things. Maybe it lasts longer than having them just sit on inflated bags, I dunno. In my book more gizmos is just more stuff that can break.

                • I sometimes watch Classic Truck Rescue and the people use ancient trucks quite a bit with some really iffy looking trailers.

                  It’s entertaining but it would just be sad if they tried a few times on Tx roads. They’d probably never get the red tags off their rigs. Tx just keeps upping the ante making more ridiculous laws every year. Gotta generate more revenue for Republican boondoggles to line various pockets.

                  2 or 3 years ago they added back up lights on the tractor and working windshield washers.

                  I was asked if my backup light worked by some fellow truckers. I don’t have a backup light. Better get one and make sure your washers work. Since when I asked. Since the first of September. We were 3 or 4 days into the month.
                  Izzat what all the locals are getting stopped for? Yep, and they’re getting paying paper to the tune of $250.

                  I had no backup light and my washers didn’t work. I pulled off across the street from the parts place and left a couple hours later. There was no hot wire on the shifter so I rigged a switch on the shifter and flipped it on when I got in reverse. I got to prove everything worked a couple days later.

                  Sometimes when I get reverse I say out the window to the trailer “got plenty light? ” and then change my voice and say “so right””.

                  Back up lights on a tractor are useful about as often as that bulb on my butt.

                    • Bill, what’s bad is with no warning, and Tx is famous for this, the rules change.

                      Several years ago I noticed you always saw DPS working in pairs. Turns out the law requiring a vehicle passing any emergency vehicle had to move to another lane or slow to 20mph under the posted speed.

                      Not a word of this was told to any media source. One DPS would pull onto the shoulder and turn on their red and blues while another just waited for a vehicle to pass without slowing. People were really pissed about how it was done.

                      I’ve seen close calls nearly involving cars and trucks running in those packs often the result of speed limited trucks when all of a sudden people in the slow lane are right on top of an emergency vehicle on the shoulder and have, what they think, is no choice but to slam on the brakes. I’ll let off the go pedals and touch the brake enough to activate the lights but won’t slam the brakes when traffic is that jammed.

                      I may get a ticket but I won’t be the one to cause that potential clusterfuck.

                    • 8, Bill, etc. Re: rules changing. Then there are the rules added that have this tendency to put us in a situation where we’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. Prime example is California telling people they would be fined if they used too much water ,but LA telling their residents that if their grass died they would be fined for not using enough water.

                      I was driving a truck down from Idaho and ran out of time on my log when I got to the destination in San Jose. I parked in the parking lot which was empty, but that didn’t matter to the bitch who wanted the whole parking lot for herself. This was an enormous parking lot. She was going to call the CHP on me, but if I pulled out onto the street I was breaking the law too. To add insult to injury you can’t park ANYWHERE in San Jose if you’re in a truck. They literally have signs every 100 feet reminding you of this fact. I got back onto the freeway and took an off ramp that had a nice big dirt patch where trucks used to park all the time before they outlawed the practice. They decided to define the off ramp onramp areas as part of the freeway. Half an hour later, I was woken up by a CHP officer who asked me, “What’s your emergency”? I told him that I didn’t think I could make it to the next truck stop, or even the next DOT weigh scale because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I couldn’t even see what this guy looked like. He told me that he could arrest me on the spot. I told him that was fine by me, at least I would be able to eventually get some sleep, and I could sleep just fine knowing that I wasn’t responsible for killing anyone while I fell asleep behind the wheel. He wrote me a note that informed any other CHP officer who might happen to pull me over for weaving, etc. that I had permission to drive to the next truck stop. Thanks, at least I’m legally allowed to drive now. Good to know they’ll make exceptions for the guy who is too blind to drive.

    • I drove over 1,000 miles on the German Autobahn, Czech highways, and Austrian highways over the course of about two weeks this summer. Saw one accident in the other direction on the A-93 in Germany on my first day driving. Otherwise, at speeds well in excess of 100 mph (me in a Nissan “Qashqai” because Hertz wouldn’t let their Bimmers travel to Czechia) and 140 mph (anyone in a late-model Teutonic rocket, but most especially the sleek, blacked-out “estates”/wagons), it was the safest, most enjoyable driving experience I’ve ever had.

      “Speed” is perfectly safe. It’s morons that kill.

      • Serfdom Hwy, re: autobahn. The thing about the autobahn that some people tend to forget is that that thing is a good 18″ thick. We don’t build roads like that over here. They intentionally build roads bumpy over here just to keep the speeds down. There are some freeways in California that are incapable of keeping a car on the surface if you get 20 miles over the posted speed limit. You’ll just bounce right off the thing.

        I can also remember riding with my dad over there. He drove pretty much like he drove over here so as soon as a dot appeared in the rear view mirror, it was already passed and quickly becoming a dot in the windshield. But it’s like you say, there just weren’t any accidents to speak of. I don’t think we saw any the whole time we were there.

        • I spent 3 weeks in Germany on a job where it turned out I was not needed. So, I spent my time driving my rental all over the Autobahn. I saw one shutdown. I was told that while they don’t have that many accidents, when they do, they tend to be horrific.

          One thing I like was that nobody passes on the right. So if you are in the left lane, you can be pretty sure it’s safe to move to the right when someone is coming up behind you. Naturally, this is not the case if the traffic causes a stop and go slowdown.

          Note that the no speed limit is generally only between built up areas, where they do have limits. When driving between cities, I found the roads to be quite empty.

    • They’ve observed that, in places where there are no limts, people still mostly drive as fast as is safe. Fuel comsumption fits into the mix for xome.. driving my big pig Ford van to Texas and back to Washington last spring, posted limits in Texas were 80 and 85, no difference for trucks. One number to rule them all. VERY few drove faster than the magic number, and I did not see one wreck in Texas. I was content to jog along at bout 75 most of the time…. fuel usage started to rise signficantly over about 75.

      The biggest hazard on the Worst COast freeways is the insane mandated slower speed for figs…. ten to twenty less than the other guys. There is always some fool pulling out to pass on a slight uphill grade…. and taking two miles to do it. Meahwhile, two hundred cars are backed up and cannot get round the bottleneck. States further east with NO differential, the rigs roll along just a touch below everyone else, and sometims faster. In those states the big gis are NOT the traffic hazard they are out west.

  12. The worst of thew worst is the “School” zones with their 20 mph speed limits. Even if the school is way back from the street. To compound this stupidity the school zone in some instances stretches on forever. I have an older ranger and I have to downshift to low and ride the brakes to avoid the cop that usually set at the road side.

    • For the chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiildren!!!! For their saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety!!!

  13. Had my bike up to 110 the other day on a flat backroad surrounded by nothing but hayfields with clear lines of sight. No cops, no traffic, no kids, no danger. Perfectly safe. The machine’s built to do it easily.

    Great fun. I do it maybe once a month or so for about 20 seconds… clears the brain and leaves me with a big smile.

    • X, bike up to 110. I used to do the same thing. One day I popped it down into second or third, ran through the gears, drove into my parents driveway, and thought about just parking it in the garage, but then decided to just park it in the driveway. About 30 seconds later a highway patrol car went screaming by, but then slammed on his brakes, burned it in reverse and pulled into my parents driveway to give me a ticket. Great fun…

  14. That’s why I love that short stretch of I-80 just west of Salt Lake City that is actually posted 80 mph. And I JUST happened to be in my ’09 Nissan 370Z at the time. It was orgasmic.

    • Here in AZ the hwy speed is posted at 75 with no tickets given unless you go 10mph over the posted limit. But lots of truck traffic going to CA and left lane grannies spoiling the fun.

      • All those left lane grannies and big rigs just add to the fun Tony. I’ve been on that stretch dozens of times, and usually I’m the a hole who’s decided to use the right lane as the alternate fast lane passing all you guys in the fast lane waiting to get by granny, and cutting in right in front of you. Had it done to me so many times I decided if you can’t beat em, join em. I’m sure I’ve cut my time from the east coast to the west coast by at least a half hour just by doing that stunt. The thing is that, more often than not, there’s some other a hole a good three truck lengths behind the big rig in the slow lane creeping along. When I had my economy car I had to wait because they would inevitably speed up to block me in. I didn’t have the power to beat them. Then I bought my Korean coupe, my poor man’s Ferrari surprises the hell out of them. I love when I can see them suddenly pulling away from the crowd behind them, but not fast enough for my little sleeper. I intentionally got it in gray to blend in with the pavement. Cops can’t see it and neither can the a holes blocking traffic. I’ve had this car for over four years and not one single speeding ticket yet.

        • Silicon Valley is worse…its either a lib clover driving a Prius 10-15 mph under the speed limit or some douche in an M series BMW tailgating me so close I can’t see his front plate. My rear lic plate frame says “Tailgating is a sign of low intelligence” and i get either thumbs up or really pissed drivers passing me.

          btw – I’m driving a REAL poor mans Ferrari , a Fiat 500 Abarth heavily modded

    • Blank, that short stretch of 80 is nice, but there’s a long stretch just outside of El Paso that runs almost to San Antonio, and most people are cruising at 90-95. My last trip through there I had it up to over 140 for over 40 miles. Some douche bag was shadowing me at 90 and would pass me as soon as we got close to a semi, and then slow down. So I left him in the dust. He eventually caught up to me a couple hundred miles later. I think he just wanted to see me take off and flag out a trooper. It was a weekend and just before dawn so there weren’t any who had even had their first donut or morning coffee yet.

  15. If only the COLA to counteract the Federal Reserve’s money printing applied to speed limits as well as dad’s social security.

  16. There is a highway though my town. It’s posted at the ludicrously ridiculous low speed of 35. It’s a business district which has lots of driveways opening to it, it’s the excuse for the low limit in fact. I think it just creates congestion. I think its a double edged sword for the businesses, as some people won’t ever go there due to it being so overcrowded.

    Most people are likely driving 50-55. I think it should be posted at least 65. If they ripped out half the stop lights and stop restricting the driveways (which make for bottlenecks when they have to share) that would help too.

    But the reality is: They don’t want us going faster. They are doing as much as they can to do the opposite.

  17. In the late 1980s when I left the USAF I drove home across country on I-40, back when the 55mph limit was still the law of the land. I realized when I arrived that I had no memory of Arkansas. I’m sure I crossed that state while in full zombie mode – I could easily have drifted off the side of the road and never noticed until I hit something large and stationary.

    I still had my military ID card for a few more weeks (I was on terminal leave) but it didn’t help me get out of the ticket the CHP officer gave me for speeding in Needles. 70 in a 55. It’s the same road as today, just new signs on it. 🙁

  18. It’s like that conversation from Gumball Rally.

    “Can you imagine making this trip at 55 MPH?” (Two guys in the middle of nowhere in an AC Cobra doing 130)

    “Of course not, it’d be unsafe!”

    “Exactly! 55 MPH is fast enough to kill you, but it’s not fast enough to hold your attention.”

  19. Man, I love flashing my lights to warn of PUHLICE speed traps. Brings me such joy to help a fellow brother out. Same with the Waze app. If I have saved just one innocent soul from the goons then I’m a happy camper.

    And every time a fellow traveler warns me and saves my bacon, I wish I could tip them a cold beer, that would magically appear in their cupholder, top-a-popped and all!

    • Speaking of this, I’m going to get a Valentine V1 within the next few months. Want to know from owners about how it does detecting cops that are below you, down the hill. Or does it only really work on more or less straight/flat roads. Around here, cops sit at the bottom of the mountain so they can get people going both ways.

      And if I purchase through the link on this site, does the site get a commission?

    • What does the Waze app do, kevin? What app are you talking about? I’ve got a waze app to get directions. is there one that tells you where the heat is hiding?

      • Hi Teo,

        Waze is kind of like flashing headlights to warn other drivers about cops – only it works on your phone (or detector, some integrate the technology). People report a cop is”here” (map coordinates) and so you’re aware of his presence in time to avoid a ticket, hopefully.

        • Hi Eric, are you talking about the Waze app that people use to find an address? Is it the same app, or is it a separate app that Waze offers? Is it free like the Waze gps app? Is it part of the one I already have? Unfortunately I’m technologically retarded when it comes to these things, but this looks like something worth checking out despite my app illiteracy.

          • Hi Teo,

            I’m note sure whether it’s the same or a separate app – I, too, am retarded when it comes to gadgets and apps! But it should be easy to find out…

  20. Man you so brilliantly say what so many people are thinking…….. to make matters worse – big heavy cars, with tiny turbo engines (which they all are now thanks to green-ness and safety mandates) don’t even make any noise or vibration when cruising !! Compound that will all the screens and gizmos, mobile phone in car apps with notifications (so much that even those who are holier than the pope can’t resist fiddling with at some point while driving)….. and people are BOUND to be distracted or fall asleep at some point!!!!!

    • It’s very nice driving in a not-new car. Cruising 80-85 listening to a great driving song with the engine resting at 3000 RPM making for a nice background tone.


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