EP. #8

#8- Driver Hotline: Stories From the Road

This week on the Liquid Trucking Podcast, we’re bringing you our first edition of the Driver Hotline.


Drew Hearn Professional Driver
Tony Brown Professional Driver
Mike Stanfield Professional Driver
Matt MacKellar Professional Driver


This week on the Liquid Trucking Podcast, we’re bringing you our first edition of the Driver Hotline.  Drivers Drew Hearn and Tony Brown join us to talk about some issues facing the trucking industry and share their thoughts, then we bring on drivers Mike Stanfield and Matt MacKellar for the same purpose.  The Driver Hotline episodes will continue going forward, so if you’re interested in being on the podcast, head over to liquidtrucking.com for more info!


What’s good Liquid Trucking and welcome to the Liquid Trucking podcast. I’m your host, Marcus. Thanks everybody for being here today. Quick reminder, right off the top. Uh You gotta click that subscribe button on your podcast platform of choice. It will help us out immensely. Uh We love to see you guys subscribing. Uh We can see in the numbers, there’s been a bunch of you guys checking out the episodes. Uh It’s awesome. We also want to know what it is that you would like to hear. So there’s a couple of ways to do that. You can always talk to my guy, Jason uh up there at the front office in Plattsmouth. He will definitely get you in touch with me or the way that I like it. When you see these uh these podcast episode advertisements come up on the Liquid Trucking Facebook page. If you comment into those comment sections, I’m gonna see that. I’ll even reply to you up there. Anything you want to hear? I want to know about it. And of course, we’ve got our survey out there too. So if you want to be on the show, you can definitely get your information to me that way. What are we talking about today? Well, it’s pretty simple. It’s a driver hotline stories from the road episode here. I’m gonna have four separate drivers on and we’re gonna do two and two. So it’ll be a little bit of back and forth and we have some great conversations coming up. Um, I’ve got, uh, conversations with Tony Brown Drew Hearn. I’m trying to do this off the top of my head, Matt mckellar and Mike Stanfield. Uh great conversations. Uh To be honest with you, I’ve already, I had these conversations with these guys before I recorded this intro segment. Uh just because I like to know what I should be intro before I intro it. So, uh don’t get confused. I just want to give you a little peek behind the curtain as to why I’m so excited about these conversations and we’re gonna be doing these driver hotline episodes a lot more in the future because I think that there’s a lot for you drivers to get out of it. So I don’t want to waste any more of your time because uh these interviews went a little bit long. So we are running short on time as we start off today. So let’s get to it right now. My conversation with Tony Brown and Drew Hearn, followed by my conversation with Matt mckellar and Mike Stanfield right here on the Liquid Trucking podcast. Welcome to the Gold Standard of podcast for the gold standard of drivers. This is the Liquid Trucking podcast with your host, Marcus Bridges. We got the driver hotline fired up and ready to go. Two Liquid drivers joining me right now on the phone, I’ve got Drew Hearn and Tony Brown, both here. Drew. Thank you so much for being here, man. Yeah, no problem. Thanks for having me, of course. And Tony thank you so much for being here. It was a pleasure. Thank you for having us on here. Hey, no problem, man. I, I really appreciate you guys, uh being willing to come on here and chat with me a little bit and, uh, I guess Drew, we’ll just start with you and kind of kick this thing off. Um How long have you been driving, uh, in general? And how long have you been driving for Liquid Drew? So I got my CBO almost five years ago, I believe. And, uh my 1st 10 months I was with a, uh mega carrier called Hogan doing the Dollar General account. And one of my buddies had told me about Liquid Trucking and said that his friend works for him and he loved the job. So I gave him a call and got a hold of uh Nick Meyer and pretty much started the process there and I got hired on February and I think it’d be about four, I think it’s four years coming up February that I’ve been working for. That’s awesome, uh, early congratulations on that fouryear anniversary. Thank you. And Tony, how about you? Uh, how long’s your driving career been? And how long have you been with liquid? So, my driving career, mine goes back quite a while. I was a diesel mechanic in the army for 21.5 years. And anybody knows that if you’re a diesel mechanic, especially in transportation companies, you’re a glorified truck driver. So I spent as much time behind the wheels driving trucks as I did turning wrenches. But after I retired in 2020 I decided I wanted to do something different other than turning wrenches. Uh I went to work for John Kirchner trucking for a little while as director of maintenance operations. Uh Was there a little while? Desk life just wasn’t for me. I, I couldn’t sit behind a desk anymore. I did that for the last couple of years of my military career, you know, as a maintenance NCO. So I decided, you know what, I’m gonna go get my CD L. So in 21 I went and got my CD L uh started driving locally hauling in dumps, uh Bobtail dump trucks, transfer tankers, uh flatbed stuff of that nature, working for an oil service company slash dozer service. I was with them about six months. I heard about liquid trucking called and talked to Nick. Everything sounded too good to be true. So I had to find out for myself and went up there, did the, started the orientation with bow and sitting there thinking, man, this is all still sounds too good to be true. And I tell you what, I have not regretted a second of it. I will have been with Liquid Truck King. Uh, come January, we’ll, uh, we’ll make my two year mark and I don’t foresee going anywhere else anytime soon, that’s for sure. Well, that’s awesome. Uh, I do want to say thank you for your service. Uh, 21 years in the military. That is a distinguished military career. And, uh, I’m always, uh, very appreciative of gentlemen like yourselves because I could never, uh, you know, my dad even suggested it to me. I was a little bit of a ruffian in high school and he’s like, what do you think about the military? It’s like dad, they would eat me alive in the military. So, uh, I, I have a, a big spot in my heart for, uh, for military servicemen. And, uh, yeah, thank you very much for your service. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much. And it was my honor to do what I did. Um, you know, and like, s like being in the military, you know, that’s, that’s a way for someone to serve their country. But I look at driving a truck is just another way because I’m serving the people of this country. Well, you definitely are. And without truck drivers, we would not be able to uh to move this country along. And, uh it’s amazing to me that sometimes that gets lost on people. Um How much you guys actually do for keeping the country moving. And, uh, as Drew joins us from his 10 hour break, which isn’t very long. Uh I, I wanna ask you, Drew, um, you and I got to talk back when I was at the Liquid Terminal the very first time kind of figuring out what you guys wanted out of your podcast. And, uh, you told me that you used to take some trips way across the United States as a young kid, uh, from Nebraska all the way over here to my neck of the woods in Oregon. Were those were those long drives that you took with your family? Part of why you got into truck driving? Yeah, a little bit, you know, um, my grandparents took us around everywhere and my grandma always let me sit shotgun with my grandpa. And, uh, you know, this was before, you know, you could hop on your cell phone and look at, you know, Google Maps or anything. And I read straight from a road map and got my grandpa pretty much anywhere we wanted to go. So then pretty much with them, a good portion of the country. And I just love being out and seeing stuff and everything and, and then it also helped that, you know, my grandpa, he had a uh, a class a also, he was a local driver for, uh, the city of Omaha. And then, uh, my great grandpa, he was a CD L A driver too and he was actually one of the first people in Nebraska to get his, uh, doubles and triples license when they started allowing that. So, you know, it was kinda, it skipped a generation but I kinda picked up where they, you know, went and got their classes and I figured, why not? You know, for sure. It, it might have skipped a generation but it sounds like it’s still in the blood for, for sure. Oh, yeah. Yeah, definitely. So, uh, talk to me a little bit. Uh, Tony, I’ll start with you here. Um, you know, with these driver hotline episodes, I wanna get into the nitty gritty of the stuff that you guys deal with out there on the road and I’m wondering, uh, if you got any crazy stories for me, Tony and these can be anywhere from, you know, uh, you got a crazy driver out there. Maybe you’ve, uh, mixed up with somebody at the truck stop or anything like that. Uh, what do you got for me? Just, just surprise me here. Oh, goodness. Being o only over the road now for two years, I wouldn’t say I’ve seen it all, but I want to say that I’ve almost seen it all. I’ve probably seen about 90% 95% of what you can see, I’ve had my skirmishes that truck stops from being cut off by other drivers. You got the drivers that want to take a 30 minute break set at the fuel island. You got the crazy four wheelers that, uh, think they’re king of the road, especially if you, once you cross the state line into Texas, uh, you know, sure is. Um, I believe some people think I’m crazy but I’ve talked to other drivers and some of us, I actually prefer driving anywhere in California, even though they have 55 mile an hour speed limit. I would rather drive anywhere in California. And, and I, because I’ve driven downtown San San Francisco during rush hour with a load of alcohol. And I would take that over crossing the state line into Texas any day of the week because once you cross into Texas, it’s a, it’s a whole another country. It’s a war zone on the highway. Well, it is. It really is though. That is so interesting to me, Tony because, uh, 99% of the drivers that I talked to and that’s not a conservative estimate. 99% of them hate California with every fiber of their being. And you’re sitting here telling me, send me to California, uh, every day of the week and twice on Sunday if you keep me out of Texas. Well, because the funny part is, is when I was in the military, I was stationed in California for a while. I’ve been state line to state line. I’ve seen all of California. I know the traffic patterns in California. I know where to drive and where not to drive and when to, and when not to drive through certain areas of California. This is where trip planning is crucial. And I planned my trips in and out of California and where I’m gonna be going in California. I said that and I make sure I hit the right areas at the right time and I can, I can shoot through L A in an hour where other drivers are taking four or five hours to get through California. Wow, that’s interesting. Drew, what’s your take on that? Uh Texas versus California conversation? Well, so California, you know, it’s, it’s its own entity on its own. It, it is kind of a nice thing that, um, you know, the 55 mile an hour speed limit because we get paid by the hour. So the slower we’re going, the longer it takes us to get through California, which means we’re getting paid more, which is kind of nice. So it’s nothing to, you know, throw the crews on kick back and enjoy the, you know, the grapevine running through California, Texas. On the other hand, you know, there, there’s something else, man, there is no care in the world or anyone else on the road. It is, you, you know, it’s kind of a toss up between Atlanta and the whole state of Texas on which one that is so 100% accurate. It is, man, they just, the bull bone combined could just, you know, float off into abyss for all I care. You know, it’s a constant battle, you know, just today, you know, because I’m sitting down here in Dallas and just trying to get in and just try to merge a lane over and no one wants to let you in whatsoever. You can have your blinker on for a mile or two and everyone is trying to race up in front of you because you’re a big truck. They all think that you’re slow and everything. Then we have to slow way down and then with us being the tankers, we got that surge going on the whole time, you know, speeding up, slowing down, speeding up, slowing down. So it’s, it’s just a battle to get through, you know, Texas, Atlanta, Chicago, any of the major hub cities. You know, it’s just a continued bout because everyone’s trying to beat everyone to get 5 ft ahead. Sure. It’s, it’s, it’s the, it’s the race to be in first place. Yes. Exactly. And that never, that race never changes. Uh, you know, I just made a pilgrimage across the state of Oregon here where I’m from to go see family over the holidays. And, uh, I was behind a guy on I five and he was darting in and out of traffic, we only had two lanes on that portion of the freeway. Uh, he was cutting truck drivers off. He was, you know, he passing people on the right, get four or five cars up and then slam it in where there wasn’t room for his garbage little 2012 Honda Civic. And, uh, when I took my exit, I noticed the first stoplight I came to, I pulled up right next to that son of a bitch and it really uh you know, it’s like you’re gonna put all these people’s lives in danger. Uh Th this is honestly like a, it’s like a, a bit from a comedy movie. Like it couldn’t have been funnier to me to see how hard he worked to get in first place for me who was somewhere back in the middle of the pack to pull up right next to him at the stoplight. I gotta, you gotta hurry up to stop. That’s what it is. You got to hurry up to stop. Yeah. And I see that that is a daily occurrence deal with that every day. Is there anything that can be done other than maybe a little bit more policing for the four wheelers out there? Uh, that, that can stop that type of behavior or is that just something like, you know, rain and snow, we just live with it because we have to. So if I may, that is always been one of my biggest complaints is the government, you know, the F MS E A, they’re all crashing down so hard on us, truck drivers that we’re the dangerous ones on the road. But you look at the statistics, it just came out again. 75% of motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks are actually at fault of the four wheelers. But we’re the dangerous ones. We’re the ones that are getting regulated too, the nail and raked over the coals. But the thing is if law enforcement in some of these areas would actually do their job and actually enforce these traffic laws, people are gonna start it. You know, it’s, it’s time to start making examples to be 100% honest with you. If they’re not gonna enforce the laws, why do they have them? It seems to me like that might be a really good case for like reckless driving. What I saw the guy doing and look, you don’t want a reckless driving on your record. That’s not a cheap ticket. And it’s not one that the judge is just going to, uh, uh, throw out because you’re right, Tony, it’s, it’s an example type situation. You need to put the, uh, put the rubber stamp on this guy’s head almost like a scar letter. Uh, so if anybody does run his plates the next time, maybe, uh, the, the officers of the law out there on our great highways and byways can be watching for that type of behavior. But that also seems, you know, I, I mean, I was on the road for seven hours over the weekend and I only saw three cops. It was over 500 miles. I’m sure that you guys can speak to that. Um, you know, in your position, Drew, I’ll go to you here. Do you, do you want to see more police on the road to try to change things like that? Or would you rather they keep this kind of three per 500 miles that you might see? What, what’s your take? 03 for 500 miles is more than I see most of the time I can drive all day and never see one. You know, and I’m, I’m hitting three, maybe even four states a day if I’m on a run where I’m just driving, you know, and I won’t see a single one. So, yeah, I believe that, you know, having a little bit more enforcement out there is gonna help, but I also have a different, uh, take on it and, you know, it really starts at the fundamentals of driving. So, you know, these kids that are in high school that are taking these driving classes, you know, to get their lower insurance rates and all this other stuff, stick them in the passenger seat with a truck driver for a day, see what, see what it is really like out there because, you know, you’re, you’re a little four wheeler. And you got your Starbucks and, you know, you’re jamming out to your music and phone in hand and it’s at a good old time and it’s really not, you know, the, the road is our office and, you know, we wouldn’t come to your office and make a ruckus. So why should they be able to come to ours and, you know, cause problems, you know. So either, you know, get people trained, you know, properly on how to drive instead of hand a driver’s license out to whoever, or we could go back to the way it was the old school days when the interstates were first starting being built, military and commercial use. Only let the four wheelers have the highways and the back roads, let them deal with all their crap back there while we get the business, interstate commerce. I mean, I, I’ll tell you guys that terrifies me as a four wheeler, but I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’m sure, I’m sure you’d hate that. 55 going cross country, you know, the whole way because most back highways are 55 to 65 you know. So, I mean, you’ll hit a couple of 7075 once in a while, but not very often, especially if you’re in Texas, they got two with no shoulders that are 75 miles an hour and, and everybody’s doing 90 I’m sure out in Texas. Yeah, that’s the, uh, I think that’s whenever you’re given your driver’s license in Texas, you’re told whatever the speed limit is, just make sure it’s 80. Yeah. Yeah, the speed limit is just a, a suggestion. You do what you want out here, you know? You know, that reminds me, I was, I was with my dad, uh, years ago up in, I think it was in Washington and I, to be honest with you, I don’t even remember if I was with him, but he got pulled over. Uh, and, uh, it’s the, the cops saw my dad’s out of state driver’s license and he said, uh, sir, I just want to remind you that in our state, the speed limit is not a suggestion. And, uh, it’s always really stuck with me because I gotta say in most of my driving experience, the speed limit does seem like a suggestion to most people, not a hard limit. Most people excluding you truck drivers because you guys do have to live with it or else you’re putting your job at Jeopardy. And, and it’s interesting to me that dichotomy between four wheelers and truck drivers, the four wheelers get to do a lot more or whatever the hell they want and lo and behold, um, when you look at the result of that, you’ve got a lot of them just acting like general idiots out there on the road or not paying attention or, or not trying to be safe. Um, you guys, it seems like every move that you make has safety in mind first. And, uh, it’s a real shame that that’s not the way that everybody out there on the road, uh, carries on because, you know, most states you get a five mile an hour leeway unless you are in a commercial vehicle one mile an hour over the speed limit can have you stopped and fully inspected. Wow. Yep. Sure can. If we’re speeding it’s, uh, it’s like we’re a giant banner. Just please pull me over, pull me in for an inspection, you know. So, yeah, speeding is a big deal for, you know, any big truck driver. You know, you got to really watch it. So, my number one pet peeve is people that like to speed through construction zones. Yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s really dangerous. And you know what, those guys are out there a lot, like you guys putting their life on the line to try to make the trip better for everyone else. And, uh, it, it’s, it’s amazing that some people just kind of take that for granted and fly through there. You know, you got a guy standing right on the shoulder and somebody whips by him at 75 minutes miles an hour. I imagine if I was a construction worker, there would just be a puddle underneath of wherever I was standing, uh, seeing people drive by like that. Yeah, definitely. And, you know, they do it even like when we’re stopped on the shoulder, you know, uh, during a breakdown or something, you know, most states have the get over law and, you know, tons of people don’t do it. And if we’re out there, you know, we’re right on that white line and literally standing on it and people will fly by us and we could just poke our elbow out a little bit and then take our arm off and, you know, it’s dangerous out there. It really is just on the shoulder alone. I want to turn the conversation now, if it’s all right, gentlemen, to, um, kind of what you guys think are, are some of the biggest issues facing the trucking industry right now and, and in my travels here and, and hearing from a lot of different drivers, uh, some of the things that come up pretty frequently, uh, we’ve already talked about, you know, regulations and speeds and things like that, uh, policing. But, uh, parking has always been a big issue that comes up. Uh, what do you guys think are some of the, the largest issues facing the, uh, trucking industry right now, Jew, I’ll start with you. So, you know, a big, what I believe is a big misconception. Uh, that’s being put out there is that we have a driver shortage. I don’t believe that we do because if you look at the statistics for every parking space, legal parking space available, there is one parking space for every 15 drivers. So you are trying to beat 14 other drivers to that one legal spot. And most of the time now people have caught on, they’re starting at 23 o’clock in the morning. So they can shut down earlier in the day. So they have the availability to get those spots. And, you know, with us, most of our customers are open, you know, the 9 to 550. So we have to, you know, pretty much stay within an all day, regular work day. And so when we roll into a truck stop or a, uh, rest area at night, most of the parking is already taken up. So, you know, that’s where, you know, we kind of luck out as tankers. We can, you know, if a town close by has a washout or something, we can sneak in there and go and park for the night and they don’t really say nothing but parking is probably one of the biggest things because, you know, you go down to Georgia, you can’t, uh, pull off on an on or off ramp and park on them overnight. You, you’ll have state trooper or someone pull up behind you and wake you up and tell you gotta leave and then you’re violating your hours and, you know, you gotta travel down the road and hopefully you find a, a legal parking spot somewhere and most of the time you won’t, Tony. What’s your take? So, I agree with, uh, drew 100% there because you know what and what makes it really difficult for some of us is if we happen to be under a hazmat load, we can’t just park anywhere even on, in some of these states where we can park on the off ramp or on ramp on the shoulder there. We still legally can’t do that. I, I have done that once and sure enough, I was parked behind a flat bed and I had a box van behind me and where I was stopped. And I’m the only one that this officer walked up to and told he that I had to move because I was hazmat because I was more than 5 ft from the major roadway. I had to, I, I was professional and courteous even though this was at about 230 almost 3 a.m. waking me up from my slumber, my beauty rest because I’m, I’m ugly. So I have to have that beauty rest and waking me up and telling me this. And I said, sir, you are wrong and I will show you where you are wrong because I am not on the major thoroughfare. I am on an access road. The on ramp and off ramp is not the main thoroughfare. Those are access ramps, exit ramp and access ramp are not considered major thoroughfares. He still told me I needed to move or I was gonna be sighted. So I didn’t continue to argue with him. I was like, ok, you’re wrong, you know, you’re wrong. I showed it to him because I pulled it up on my phone and showed him the law and showed him where it stated that I was in the right. But I still had to go ahead and move. Luckily, right up at, got across the intersection. I managed to see another area. I was like, ok, that looks like somewhere I could go and got down there. Granted, it’s this little mom and pop gas station and was able to pull, squeeze the truck in there and granted it wasn’t, you know, a truck stop, but I was able to get the truck off the road because there was, this was in Tennessee and Tennessee has very few on and off ramps that aren’t marked for no parking now. So that’s one of the issues I’ve also noticed is a lot of the truck stop, not truck stops, but, uh, rest areas are being closed down across this country. Just a little rest areas. They don’t have a trucks, uh, there’s no fuel or anything. Some of them don’t even have restrooms, but they are closing these down because they’re trying to force us into truck stops because truck stops make state revenue off of taxes. These rest areas do not make state revenue. It costs the state maintenance money. So they’re shutting these down. It’s, it’s all about the bottom dollar and what they’re doing ultimately is hurting the trucking industry with this. Yeah, it sounds like it. I mean, if parking is as big of an issue as, as what it is and, and obviously this isn’t just you guys and your anecdotal evidence. Uh, I’ve, I’ve recently referenced, uh, the A tr I, which is the, uh, American Transportation Research Institute’s, uh, yearly report that they put out for, uh, this year for 2023. Their top 10 issues facing the transportation industry, parking was on that list and has been on that list. I think going back like six or seven years doesn’t make any sense for them to be choking out, uh, rest areas when those are some of the best places for you guys to be able to park. I mean, you might not need fuel, you might not need food, you might have that stuff with you, you, your tanks full, but it’s time for you to pull over and, and take your break or, uh, whatever the case may be, if they’re closing down rest areas along our, our interstates, it’s just making the problem bigger than what it already is. Yeah. And I’m, I’m a resident of Oklahoma. I, you know, I live here in Oklahoma and I can tell you right now, Oklahoma is one of the worst about shutting down the smaller rest areas. Uh, Ohio is getting just like that too. Ohio has, you know, rest areas where it is just giant concrete pads. There’s no painting lines, no, nothing out there. And, um, I noticed right there that they’re shutting those down and they literally put concrete barriers on the on and off ramp there and you just see, you know, 3 4 ft tall weeds growing up through the cracks and it just sits there empty. And that, that’s a perfect place for us. You know, because like you said, we don’t always need field, don’t always need food and we can just park there for the night when needed. But they’re shutting them down a, a huge issue and a huge reason that they’re stopping and shutting a lot of these down is I, and some of it, I understand why human and drug trafficking is been in the past was really bad at those areas because they’re unsecured. You know, they can’t be policed. There’s, they don’t have the surveillance equipment or anything like that set up. So those were prime areas for drug trafficking and human trafficking. Um So I understand, you know, I, I get that but at the same time for those of us that are doing the right thing trying to make a living and provide for our families. We’re, we’re being penalized because it’s, it’s corporal punishment is what it boils down to. Well, and, you know, I don’t know, maybe this is just me kind of uh mixing together the two things. But if, maybe if there are more police on the road, like we talked about back at the beginning here. Uh, you know, trying to keep the four wheelers from being blithering idiots out on the road. Uh, maybe one of their duties should be to pull through the rest areas. Every single one that they stop at or every single one that they pass by, excuse me and, and check it out because that is another thing that shows up on the A tr I this report is, is, you know, parking security. It’s, it’s not only about having a place to park, it’s about having a, a safe place to park because human trafficking, drug trafficking and theft are all big things that happen to you guys out there while you’re on the road. And I guess I should take this, this moment to mention that January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and we’ll get into that more in future podcasts because always a good thing to, uh you know, to, to call that out and make sure people are paying attention. But it sounds to me, uh just, you know, kind of summarizing everything here that we don’t need less parking spots, we need more and we could do with better security for a lot of them. What about pay to park type parking spaces? Are you guys seeing more pay to park parking spaces? Um Kind of eating up those free spaces that you normally have access to at truck stops and the like, yes, very much so, you have been seeing a lot more of those and they’re not cheap either. They’re, they’re the, I think some of the cheaper ones are like $15 and it goes up from there. I know in California they can get pretty expensive too out there. So, I mean, it’s, and, and that comes right out of our pocket, you know, we don’t get, you know, reimbursed or something like that for us. And that’s why they encourage us to look for, you know, the liquid will encourage us. You know, they’ll be like, stop early if you have to. And so, you know, we don’t have to pay for parking because that’s just something that we gotta eat and it, it sucks. It really does. Yeah, there’s, there’s, there’s been times where I’ve had to shut down and only the only spots available, like, even at a truck stop or the reserve parking where you had to pay to park, that was everything else was full because nobody else wanted to go into those spots because they didn’t want to pay for them. And when it comes down to it, I’ll go ahead and do it and I’ll put, I’ll hold on to my receipt and I’ll turn it in on my pay sheets because if that’s all there is left, that’s what I’m gonna, that’s what I’m gonna do. Well, I’m glad to hear that, that, uh, you know, your, your dispatchers and your driver managers and such are are ok with you guys stopping early to try to avoid that, but that doesn’t make it any easier and that definitely doesn’t solve the problem, uh, of parking out there and, and fellas we’re up against the clock here a little bit. Uh, so I’m gonna have to shut this one down, but I definitely want to thank you guys for coming on here and sharing some of your concerns with me. We’re gonna do this a lot in the future and I will definitely have Tony and Drew back on because uh I love the insight and your guys’ willingness to, you know, talk about the good, the bad and the ugly that goes on out there really gives us AAA peek behind the curtain of the things that you really deal with each day and, and you know what, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know if we’re gonna change the world on this podcast. Uh But I guess the best thing that we can do is talk about these issues and hopefully somebody important hears and decides that uh that it’s time for some change. Drew before I let you go, man. Anything else that you want to say to anybody at lick wood, maybe some family that might be listening. The floor is yours. Yeah, for sure. Uh Definitely want to think the whole, you know, office crew up there. You know, they’re a good set of guys, you know, the trailer shop, guys. They’re really cool and everything and they make sure that my trailer is always good to go. And I know they hate seeing me in there because I come in there with problems all the time and, but they, they take care of it and tractor shop guys, they’re really cool and everything, you know, any problems whatsoever, they take care of it and if they have the parts or if it’s something small, they’ll just throw it at me and be like, here you go, man. No problem. So, you know, just really all around the whole company is just, it’s really good, man. It really is. Tony your turn. Yeah, the same thing. It’s just the, the entire company. I, I want to thank them for being the company that they are like, because I’m going through medical stuff right now through the military trying to work on my va disability. They’re giving me the time off that I need. They’re working with me and that means a lot to, not just me but to my family as well. So II, a huge shout out to the company in general and all the, all the other drivers being courteous, you know, waving at us when we go down the road, waving at each other, we got radios, we’re hollering at each other, give each other some feedback on what’s going, going on, just keeping the communication open. And that’s, that’s just a huge deal. And I want to say thank you to everybody within this company. I love it. Tony Brown, Drew Hearn Liquid Drivers, joining me here today on the Liquid Trucking Podcast. Gentlemen, be safe out there and we’ll talk to you soon. Ok. All right. Thank you. Our driver hotline episode is off and running and right now joining me here on the Liquid Trucking podcast. I’ve got Liquid Driver, Matt mckellar, Matt. Thank you so much for being here. Hey, really good to be here. Thanks Marcus and I’m also joined by Liquid Driver Mike Stanfield. Mike. Appreciate the time. Hey, thanks for having me. No problem. Now. I, I just want to get a little background from both of you guys real quick. I’ll start with you, Matt. Uh How long have you been driving? How’d you get into trucking? And then, uh finally, how long have you been on with Liquid? I will try to keep this brief. I have been truck driving just a little over two years and I’ve been with Liquid Trucking for a year and a half of that time. The back story. This is like a third career for me, which I can talk about later if you want. But yeah, basically, I always had my eye on Liquid Trucking from when I started trucking and was just riding my time until I could make the move and that happened a little sooner than I thought it might. And so I’ve been very happy about that and How about for you, Mike? Well, I got out of prison in 2011 and, uh, spent most of my teens and twenties locked up. So I didn’t really have any skills. So, you know, it was telemarketing fast food and then it wasn’t paying the bills. So I went into trucking because you don’t have to pay much for, you know, as far as tuition goes. Um, so that’s how I got into trucking. I’ve been trucking for about almost seven years now. You know, I’ve been driving for liquid for about a year and a half. And how does liquid stack up against the other, uh, truck driving experience that you have, Mike? Oh, dude, uncomparable. I mean, this is the best company, like I wish I would have found this company when I first started trucking. You know, this company is amazing. Hands down. What are some of the things that are different about liquid than some of the other companies you’ve worked for in the past? We get paid by the hour and instead of the mile first off, you know, we get paid for downtime. A lot of companies nowadays don’t pay for downtime, you know. Um, they do. It’s very, very little, you know, and I mean, we, we stay running, you know, even though the slow, slow periods we stay running, I mean, at least I do. Yeah, I mean, paid by the hour instead of the mile is one of the biggest things because we don’t have to worry about chasing miles. We just gotta worry about how we’re gonna milk this clock for sure. Now, Matt, you said that. Yeah, this is kind of a second career for you or, or maybe even more than that. Tell me a little bit about what you did before you got into trucking. Yeah. So early in my adult life I was a, a Christian minister for about four years. And then I went back to grad school and did a grad degree in philosophy and theology and I was an adjunct professor in those fields for a little bit. And then I also got working at a library and I was a public librarian including being in charge of the bookmobile for about 15 years before I made the jump to trucking. Ok. Everybody loves a good bookmobile, man. That’s something that if you can’t relate to a bookmobile, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s, that’s kind of an interesting career path from academia into uh trucking. What, what was it about uh trucking that made you want to get into it over what you were already doing? Well, I think it was just time for a change. I enjoyed the careers that I had previously and um they had their, their benefits definitely. But my daughter was going off to college, which gave me some flexibility I didn’t have before. Um I had worked at the library through the pandemic which was very exhausting and tiring. And so it was time for a change. And what I enjoy about trucking is the challenge, the adventure, um, working on my own being able to see the country. And then also, to be honest, you know, when you’re a librarian, everybody’s like, oh, it must be nice. You get to read all day where you actually do very little reading because you’re busy, you know, working in kind of a modern large bureaucratic organization. But I listen to way more books now that I’m a truck driver than I ever did as a professor or a librarian because we have a lot of time to listen to music podcast books, whatever, what have you. It’s a huge benefit of the job for me and your job happens to have its own podcast. So look at that right. Add it to the podcast stack. Well, I know you guys have both been listening and I really appreciate you, uh, tuning in here. We’re gonna have a lot of fun on this podcast, uh, in, in the coming weeks, months and years. And I look forward to getting to know you both. Um, a little bit more extensively. This episode is, is kind of just about your stories and I wanna just jump right into that pool. Uh, Mike, I’m gonna start with you. What is it? What story to you sticks out in your head? Uh, now that you’ve been driving for a bit. You, you’ve got some experience under your belt. Is there any story that you could tell us good, bad or ugly? Uh, that might, uh, might entertain some of the other drivers listening out there right now. Yeah. Yeah, there’s one and every time I get asked about stories about truck driving, um, this is the one that, that comes up the most and it, it just recently happened. It was last year. Around this time I was delivering a load of Molasses to a customer’s farm in South Dakota. And around this time last year it was pretty cold. I mean, it was like negative five without the windshield ice and snow all over the ground, you know, but I get there long story short, the guy has two tanks, one’s like a clear tank, one’s not clear and, you know, he’s like, hey, when you’re done with this tank, when it’s full, you know, start filling it up in this one, I’m like, ok, cool. So I’m standing out there freezing my butt off watching this tank. I’m like, ok, I can see where the line is at, where I need to stop. So I’m standing out there and it’s been like 30 40 minutes, something like that. I’m like, it’s got to be getting close to the top as soon as I said, that Molasses just starts raining out of the top of it. So I’m like, oh, crap. And luckily I’m outside standing right there. So I wrote over to the valves and the rule is when you’re switching tanks, you open one before you close one. So I opened one, close, the other one, I’m like, all right, cool. But now I’ve got molasses all over me. I mean, all over my jacket, all over my hat, my beard, my face, my arms, my legs, I’m just covered in molasses and it’s freezing outside. So, I mean, this stuff gets pretty thick, even when it’s hot, once it starts cooling down, it gets really sticky. So I’m filling up the other tank. Well, I thought I was filling up the other tank, but I didn’t actually open up the other valve. Well, I didn’t close the right valve. I closed the main valve. So once I got the valve switched around, I started unloading into the other tank. Well, I’m, I’m standing out there and I’m wiping myself down with baby wipes because I’m sure most truck drivers have baby wipes just for this reason. So I’m standing out there and I’m watching, I’m watching, I’m watching and I’m like, ok, it’s been like 40 minutes. It’s got to be getting close to the top. So I climb up to the top of my trailer to see how much product I have left in my trailer. And when I do that, I see product just flowing out of the other, the backside of the tank that I couldn’t see. And so I get down there, I shut off my pump, I reverse a little bit and then shut it off. And so I call the guy, the customer and he’s like, well, there should have been enough room. He’s like, I’m gonna come pick you up in my tractor and we’re gonna go look for another tank. I’m like, oh, ok. So he comes, picks me up in his tractor. I hop in there with him and we’re scouring his farm for another tank, found one. And now I’ve became his farm hand trying to get this tank back over to the truck. We get it over there. I had to fix the valve. I finished unloading the product. Now, this guy was so thrilled that I was happy, happy to help him around the farm, even though it wasn’t that he, uh he wanted to know if I would move a tanker trailer that he had stored in a barn, you know, and that’s where you kind of have to draw the line because, you know, we’re not authorized to move other, you know, tanks that aren’t the company because it’s a liability and insurance problems and stuff like that. Yeah. Long story short, I was out there for about eight hours trying to do all this. I was covered with molasses. My beard was frozen and I just wanted to leave and that was the worst day that I’ve had in a year and a half at liquid trucking and like, and pretty much and trucking in general because it was just, it was horrible. It was just absolutely horrible. Yeah, that’s a, that’s a fun one that people will like to enjoy because they kind of crack up about it a little bit. Yeah, I guess so. I guess so. Covered in molasses is, uh, look, I’m probably one of the few people that has a little bit of experience with molasses and fortunately enough it wasn’t myself. But uh I used to be on a radio show where he had a super B bet once and the loser. Uh we put him in an adult diaper and we covered him in Molasses and when we rolled him in oats and we had a donkey lick him clean. Uh and it was, I mean that donkey and, and you know, the donkey could lick something for 10 hours and never get tired that donkey could not get that guy cleaned off. So I imagine when you add uh temperatures that close to zero, plus getting it in your beard in your hair and everything else, man. No, thank you. That does not sound like a good day at work. Yeah. Yeah. No, it wasn’t. It was not fun at all. How about you, Matt? You got a story like that floating around in your head. Sure. Sure. I actually also had a story about a customer not realizing how full their tank was and it overflowing, but I will switch to a different story. So it’s, it’s a day that I had last summer that kind of encapsulates the challenges and the highlights of trucking. I was running these loads out of Fort Dodge, Iowa where we run this Liz, which is like an additive to animal feed. So you bring it around to a bunch of feed mills. They’re usually kind of local regional runs. So I had two of them to do this day. I get to the first one pull up to the feed mill and I have a rear dump trailer. And so I get lined up going the one way and I start pumping everything off and it’s working just fine. Well, as the product comes off, the rear of the trailer raises ever so slightly because there’s less weight on it. And then I realized there was actually a hill running away from the tank where I was unloading into. So the rest of the product won’t get where it needs to go, you know, to the rear valve. So I literally had to shut off my palm, blow out the lines, unhook everything, pull out, turn around, come back the other way, get rehooked up. So that the angle was right if that makes sense and uh and pump the rest of the product off, which was probably only like 400 gallons or something at that point, but to get the rest off, so then I rush, I’m a little late for my second load. I try to make up some time. I get way over in eastern Iowa and it’s summertime some nice long days of daylight, which is helpful in this job. And uh and I’m unloading at that feed mill again and everything goes smoothly climbing up on top of the trailer, like Mike was saying, just, just keep an eye on the level. Sometimes I like to sit up there for a few minutes and just, and I just remember watching this beautiful sunset basically as I sat up there monitoring my trailer and, uh, just kind of encapsulated the day of the challenges, but just ended on a really beautiful moment, you know. Sure. Well, I mean, it’s nice that you have that moment that, uh, you know, kind of finishes the day off. Well, you know, nothing better than a nice sunset out there in Iowa, I’m sure. Uh, and it kind of brings me to something that I wanna ask both of you about this. But is it challenging to maintain a good demeanor? Uh, and Mike, I’ll start with you here. Is it challenging to make or to maintain a good demeanor when you’re having a day like that? Because I know customer service is a really important part of the job. Yeah, it’s huge, you know, 90% of, you know, this whole industry is customer service. But, um, absolutely. I mean, you have days where you’re driving and everybody’s just cutting you off and break checking you and, you know, you’re just wanting to get to the customer safely so you can unload or load and, and then you get there and maybe the guard is kind of a butthead to you. And, um, you know, the, the loader is not being very friendly and, you know, it is definitely hard and there’s been times where I have just kind of gotten a little, maybe a little, um, argumentative, but it’s not very often because I know that it’s part of my job to make sure that uh these customers keep wanting us to come back. You know, they keep wanting to use liquid trucking because without liquid trucking, I don’t have a job. So, yeah, it is definitely hard. You know, sometimes you just gotta smile through it, punch your teeth and smile through it. So, how about you, Matt? How do you navigate those waters? Yeah, I guess I’d answer that in a couple of ways. First is you asked Mike earlier, what he likes about working with liquid trucking. And for me, one of the major pros is that the customers, we go to treat us so much better on the whole. Like before this, I drove a refrigerator, freight reefer and you’re in these giant grocery warehouses and everybody acts like you’re some sort of plague or something like that. But here like 95% of the shippers and receivers are decent friendly people. It’s the exception is that make you grit your teeth and all of that. In fact, meeting people out here has been one of the best things. Like I get chit chatting with a loader, you know, while we’re waiting for the product to load or whatever. And I’ve met all kinds of interesting people, diverse walks of life out here on the road. But, yeah, Mike’s right. It gets stressful and some days just don’t go your way. But that’s why I really enjoy having the time out on the road. Whether I’m just listening to music, you’re looking at the scenery or just sitting in the quiet and just kind of collecting my thoughts. Like I find I have a lot of personal space. So it’s actually kind of a very spiritual experience for me being out here, which usually leaves me in a good frame of mind. And I find that my stress level is way, way down driving a tank full of hazardous material is way less stressful than anything I did before. That’s awesome. I love to hear that. And, you know, I think that that’s, that’s always kind of good advice for anybody in any walk of life is to find the good in what you’re doing. Even if you are having that bad day. I mean, listen, I’m surrounded by so much electrical equipment here. If I had any hair left on the back of my head, it’d be standing up because of all the static electricity uh, and, and a lot of the times for whatever reason, the stuff that’s supposed to work seamlessly just doesn’t. And I’ll tell you having a, like a kickboxing bag up here that I could just unload on would really help me out. But I try to find the fun in it because look, I gotta, I gotta talk to you guys for a living. Like it’s, it’s a really cool thing that I get to do and, and I, uh, I, I appreciate that little bit of insight from you Matt because finding the good and a bad day isn’t always easy, but it definitely makes that bad day shorter than what it would have been if you can’t find that good. Yeah, exactly. Well, put, so Mike, it’s, it’s kind of funny that we’re talking about this because, uh, we’re actually recording this right now a little bit off schedule. Uh, because both of you guys have been kind of dealing with some off schedule things that have happened during your day. Uh Mike, talk to me a little bit about what, what’s going on with you right now because uh something’s happening to you that’s out of your control and you’re kind of just in limbo right now. Right? Yeah. Yeah. So some of these places that we go to, they require certain things to be able to get loaded, you know, wash ticket, you know, with seals. Sometimes you need a previous bill of waiting, this place that I’m at in Freeport, Texas. They’re wanting an sds, which is a safety data sheet, which doesn’t make any sense because what was on the trailer before was Corn steep. And that’s basically a food grade product. And we don’t usually get SBS S for that. So they won’t load me because of that. So I’m sitting here now, um, waiting to find out what I’m gonna do next. And actually my, uh, dispatcher James just texted me and told me to head back to Houston to swap trailers with somebody. So after this, I’m gonna be heading out and going that way. But yeah, you know, and it happens more than what we would like to admit, but it happens, it’s part of the job and, uh, luckily we get paid for, you know, downtime. So sure. Now it’s funny because you bring up Texas. I was just talking to another liquid driver. Uh Drew Hearn, uh, he’s out there in Texas as well and he, and, uh, and, and another driver I had on actually brought up. Um, the fact that Texas is kind of one of those places that’s a little bit like a war zone for drivers. And I’m interested to know what your guys’ thoughts are because in, in my travels, I’ve talked to a lot of drivers from a lot of different companies at this point and there’s two places that always come up when I ask them, you know, where’s your where’s your least favorite place to drive? I get California and I get Atlanta. Uh, but recently I just was told that Texas is, is a real nightmare, kind of a headache type place to go through. Uh, add to the fact that it’s the biggest state that we’re gonna drive in anytime soon. So, uh, what are your thoughts on Texas since you’re sitting there in the belly of the beast right now, Mike? You know, I don’t mind it too much. Uh, yeah, traffic is a nightmare most of the times. But, uh, if they would regularly send me down here during the wintertime, I’d absolutely love it, you know. But it seems like always during the wintertime I’m going up north, summertime, I’m always going south. But, yeah, Hous, Houston and Dallas are, you know, 24 7. Pretty much nightmares. You’re driving like in the middle of the night, but pretty much throughout the day from, you know, six o’clock in the morning till maybe midnight, you’re gonna be running into a crap load of traffic and you, it can be pretty stressful with some of the, how, how some of these people drive. So, yeah, it’s up there with some of the places that I do not like to drive. How about you, Matt? Uh, your thoughts on Texas and maybe some other places that you’d rather not go if you had your choice. Well, I agree with the Atlanta thing. Avoid that at all. Costs. I actually don’t mind California because it’s a beautiful state and, like Mike was saying earlier, yeah, the speed limit is 55 but we get paid by the hour. So, you know, just set the cruise and roll, slow and collect your pay, you know. So, I don’t mind. I was out there two weeks ago. Texas. Yeah, is interesting. I like west. I had a load down to Odessa a couple of weeks ago, like the oil fields and all that. And that’s just such an interesting landscape and a lot more remote and rugged. But, yeah, Houston and Dallas tend to get pretty busy but the weather is nice. Like Mike said, I did a bunch of loads down there this summer when it was like 100 100 and 10. And so in my mind, I thought, well, that’s fine. As long as they get down there this winter too. And I have once or twice. So that’s been all right. I’ll definitely take it over Minnesota this time of year. 100 and 10, man. I like, I, I’m, I’m from the Pacific Northwest. Born and raised. It’s like if you want to average it out it’s 70 raining. That’s what we’re always dealing with here. And, uh, so 100 and 10 I don’t mess with that very much. Are those hot days harder on you or are the cold days harder on you? Matt. Uh, physically, I think the hot days are harder because you can definitely get heatstroke, heat exhaustion, things like that. And I’ve learned in my life that it’s a lot easier to have those things happen than you realize. And you start to get a little foggy headed even, which isn’t a good thing when you’re unloading a tank full of something. So you have to be really careful to stay hydrated, stay cool, stay in the shade if you can. But the cold is much worse because trucks, you know, have problems in the cold. Products have problems in the cold. Like the story earlier with the molasses kind of freezing up and all of that. So there’s just a lot more to deal with in terms of the job when it’s cold. So, pros and cons, I guess. Sure. Absolutely. Well, it’s interesting, you know, bringing up heat exhaustion, you’re exactly right. I didn’t know how easy it was to get heat exhaustion, drinking like a case and a half of beer next to a pool in Vegas, but it happened to me. Um, and, you know, learn my lesson for sure. Stay hydrated. That’s, that’s sage advice. What about you, Mike? Uh, hot or cold? What would you rather deal with? What’s worse on you, man? So hot is definitely something that I struggle with because first of all, I’m overweight. Second of all, we have to wear Hazmat suits, you know, a lot of the time when we’re unloading stuff and you know, have to stay out there with the product and, you know, while you’re pumping off and being in a Hazmat suit when it’s 100 and 10 degrees, makes it feel like it’s 100 and 20 100 and 30 degrees. And, yeah, it, I’ve almost overheated a couple of times. I’ve had to shut off my pump and hop in my truck and, uh, cool off for a minute. Wintertime. I don’t like to drive in the wintertime most of the time because of the ice. But so far this year we’ve been pretty lucky. But if I stay around the Midwest, it’s usually a pre oh, ok. Unloading and stuff like that. Like Matt said, it can be difficult because you got pumps freezing up, you got valves freezing up, you got brakes, freezing up product that is just slowing down because it’s so cold. There’s cons to both and there’s not really many pros. A beautiful fall day is ideal. I got you. Yes, sir, I got you. Well, uh that’s, that’s fine, you know, come on up to the Pacific Northwest. That’s all we have is beautiful fall days every now and then. It gets a little cold every now and then it gets a little hot, but mostly we’re right down the middle up here in, uh, in the great state of Oregon. Now, I do want to turn this conversation a little bit because, uh, some of the things that we’re gonna talk about on this podcast, obviously, or some of the issues you guys deal with. And I was wondering, uh Matt, I’ll start with you here. Uh What, what in your mind and in your experience or some of the biggest issues facing the trucking industry at large right now? Obviously, we all know it’s been kind of a slow year. Uh freight has been not in its best state um but independent of, you know that because obviously, like Mike said earlier, you guys keep running, that’s, that’s liquid uh to A T. So what are some issues facing the industry that uh that you’ve seen out there? Matt, I have to say that’s where it’s lovely to be a driver. Like all of us are liquid trucking. We don’t have to worry about finding loads or keeping the business running. There’s all kinds of smart people in the front office to do that. And like Mike said, they keep us running, which is great. So the biggest challenges. Um and I know this often makes the list is truck parking. It really is. Um last night I was trying to park in Pennsylvania and I had to stop. It was only like six pm and I had to stop at a couple of places before I could find parking. So that was kind of an issue. And then of course, the traffic and uh today, for instance, with the traffic, I was uh coming down from Baltimore and it was just like pure traffic from Baltimore all the way down to Virginia, Richmond, Virginia here. So, uh, yeah, it was just very crowded and, and very dangerous on that level. So, I’d say truck parking and traffic. And how about you, Mike? Yeah. I mean, you nail on the head with the parking. I mean, if you don’t stop and this goes for a lot of places, if you don’t stop at a certain time of the day, it’s gonna be really hard to find parking and a lot of places nowadays except for, you know, loves, which is where I mainly try to park at, um, or rest areas. Um, they’re starting to charge you to park like I, uh, I had to pay $25 to take a 10 hour break one day. I mean, that’s 20 we get reimbursed for that. But I mean, still that’s $25 coming right out of my checking account right then and there, which is ridiculous. So, yeah, definitely parking and I know this doesn’t get brought up very much. Um, but there needs to be more healthier options for us out here on the road. I know a lot of us do a lot of meal prepping and stuff like that. But sometimes you don’t have the time to, you know, on your 30 minute break to, uh, go ahead and cook up a meal real quick, you know, sometimes we just need to, you know, get something and it’d be a lot better if there was more healthier options out there instead of throwing a mcdonald’s or, uh, you know, a Hardee’s or whatever in a truck stop, you know, kind of make it something a little bit, you know, better a salad bar or something like that, you know, definitely need a lot better food out here on the road because I am sure evidence of what happened, happens when you don’t eat healthy, you start to get fat. So definitely, um, those are my three top bombs right there. Now, when it comes to the food out there, are there certain places that have better options or are you looking at pretty much across the board? You’re unable to find stuff that is, is what you would consider healthy? Oh, yeah, there are places like loves, definitely offers salads, you know, they offer fruit and vegetables and stuff like that. I’m talking more on a wide, wide basis because there’s a lot of times where I don’t, you know, stop out of Love’s for a 30 minute break or something like that, you know. But Love’s does a really good job. They still have those really huge fast food franchises and most of their truck stops and stuff like that. But yeah, Love’s does a really good job with, with healthier options, that’s for sure. Sure. It’s, it’s interesting that you mention that and sorry, Matt, I’ll let you go here. In fact, you go ahead and talk. This is for you guys. Not me. Oh, I was just gonna curious what you have to say but, um, I was gonna say some places have Subway. So I buy like the cheapest sandwich, which is usually the turkey sandwich, but then you can get like all the vegetables put on there. So practically it becomes like a salad. But I agree with what Mike Mike’s saying about the food. Like, I stay over the road, I stay out for three or four weeks at a time. And so it’s hard to keep replenished with groceries is the other part, in addition to meal prep, you know, there’s far too few Walmarts that actually allow trucks to park there these days, even though I always spend $200 when I do park at one. Um, so keeping stocked up on fresh food is tough. And then, yeah, like, like I said, at the end of the day, it’s tough to have a lot of time to do a lot of meal prep. At least I find that to be difficult. Well, yeah, especially if you’re having to drive around to 2 to 3 different places to find a parking spot. I mean, these, these problems can kind of run into one another. It sounds like because, you know, there’s only so much time in the day, there’s only so many hours on your logs you have to prioritize. And I would guess that probably finding a good place to park so that you can get some sleep. Probably supersedes finding, uh, the closest salad bar. Am I right there? Yeah. And by the time you get, you know, you have an hour or two to relax, unwind, eat something, maybe call somebody and then you pretty much need to be heading to sleep, you know. Well, I was, uh, just out, um, in my, my latest pilgrimage across the state of Oregon to go see my family, uh, for the holidays. And I noticed because I stopped at the, uh, T A there on, uh, interstate 84 in Troutdale just before you hit the Columbia River Gorge. And one thing that kind of stood out in my mind is as I was pulling into that T A, my wife was just gonna run in and go to the bathroom, but I noticed Arby’s mcdonald’s Taco Bell just bang, bang, bang. All right. And then I think there’s like a Popeye’s or something like that at that truck stop. If you wanted a salad or you wanted something that you could even consider in the same room as healthy food. It wasn’t there, there was nothing, there’s no, there’s no store, there’s not like a safeway or an Albertson’s or something that I could go to and figure it out for myself. Um, it would have been nothing but cheesy Gordita crunches and Big Macs. Which, listen, I don’t have a problem with I like those as much as the next guy. It’s just, I imagine for you guys out there on the road, Mike, that too many of those in a row, uh, it starts to make the stomach rumble a little bit. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I wonder, uh, on the parking issue because you guys did both bring it up and kind of unprompted. I was kind of hoping that that would come up and, and not because I’m glad that it’s a problem, but because I, I constantly reference the A tris, which is the uh American Transportation Research Institute study that comes out each year where they pull truck, truck drivers and uh professionals within the transportation industry about what they think the biggest issues in the industry are parking has been on that list for years now. And to me, it doesn’t seem high enough on the list. I think it falls somewhere in the middle, you know, maybe five through seven, somewhere in there. It seems to me like parking might be like the number one or number two issue that you guys are dealing with out there because I hear it from every driver I talk about and 25 bucks is actually cheaper than I’ve heard. I’ve heard some uh parking as high as $36 just to get your truck parked. What kind of of solutions are there out there or, or is there anything that you guys could suggest? I’ll start with you here, Mike. Well, I mean, create more rest areas. You know, this don’t have to be truck stops. There could either be like the other day. I had to pull off to a, um, in Montana, uh, truck turnout which had enough room for maybe two trucks, but I was running low on ours and luckily there was some somewhere to park but, you know, stuff, stuff like that, you know, little areas that were meant for trucks just to, uh, get in there and be able to park safely for the night. Um, whether it be rest areas that have 2030 spots, maybe they only have 10 spots but space them out, make them a little bit, you know, more on the interstates. Um, maybe give us a little bit more, um, spots on some of these outer roads like these, um, us highways and, uh, country roads and stuff like that. That’s, I mean, that’s, they don’t have to be truck stops. So, how about, from your perspective, Matt? Yeah, I agree with that. I think if we just purely rely on the market economy, we get what we have with truck stops, you know, where they’re starting to charge fees and the nicer ones, gloves where we’re, we’re able to fuel this with liquid trucking. They’re nicer so they tend to fill up a lot, you know, it can be difficult to find a parking spot there. So, I think that’s where some additional public dollars are helpful to create more rest areas. I have seen a trend where some states as they, as they have closed down old way stations, they’ve converted them to truck parking. I think that that’s a good idea. Uh, you know, I just always marvel when I’m around these big cities, like, I’m in Richmond, Virginia. Right now, there’s a lot of people that need a lot of stuff trucked to them and yet there’s no truck parking around most of these major cities, which seems like a contradiction. It’s like if you’re a population center and you want trucks to deliver things to you, then you need to provide the infrastructure for trucks 100% 100%. I heard a stat and, and I think it was one of the other drivers that I’ve talked to here on this episode brought it up. There’s one truck parking spot for every like 15 drivers or something that math doesn’t work out because you all need to sleep and, uh, nobody’s out there scheduling these spots. So that’s a, that’s a big problem. And I’m hoping here in the, uh, in, in the not so far distant future that they start to figure this out for you guys and, and because it’s not just about throwing down a concrete slab out in the middle of nowhere, uh, security is a big part of parking as well. You know, you never know when somebody’s gonna try to come siphon your fuel off when you’re sleeping or not as big of a problem for you guys hauling liquid. But, uh, these dry vans, you know, sometimes people even try to break into those things and, and steal whatever cargo might be in there. So, uh, I it’s a big problem and I’m sure we’re gonna talk about it. Uh, a lot as this podcast grows and I’m, I’m looking forward to, you know, if nothing else just getting the conversation out there so that more people can start to think about it because there is money available to States for, you know, there’s grants available for this type of thing. It’s just a lot of times I feel like the States aren’t really, they’re kind of shrugging their shoulders at it. They’re not doing everything that they could, uh, to help you guys and, and at the end of the day, if it wasn’t for you guys, the States wouldn’t be the States. So, uh, you know, it seems like, uh, maybe we put the cart before the horse as far as parking is concerned. So it’s time to get that figured out for sure. Uh, and gentlemen, we’re up against the clock here a little bit. So I want to give you guys a chance real quick before I let you go. Uh, I’ll start here with you, Mike. Is there anything you want to say to anybody working at? Liquid, any of your fellow drivers? Maybe some family that might be listening, I’ll give you the floor, say whatever you will. Sure real quick for you. New drivers, um, stick with it. It gets easier. I know it’s hard right now. But trust the process, you’re gonna enjoy those paychecks when they start rolling in and through my wife and kids. I love you guys. You’re the reason I do this and I will be home soon. Matt. I would just say that, um, this is a very unique job and very unique lifestyle. So it wouldn’t work for a lot of people. But if it does work for you, it’s a, it’s a tremendous and unique opportunity. And then I love um Liquid Trucking. I love the hourly pay because there’s a lot of things that truckers do that are not driving. And so we get paid for them, which is how it should be. And uh I know I came in here as a driver with less experience than some people that have been out here for 20 years. And everybody at Liquid Trucking has been great in terms of showing things to me, truck shop, trailer shop, explaining things to me, other drivers, you know, pointing the way all of that. So I really appreciate that. I feel like I’ve learned a whole lot in the last year and a half, Liquid Driver, Matt mckellar. I want to thank you for your time, man. Thank you so much for being here today. Uh This went awesome and it’ll definitely get you back on in the future. Appreciate, thanks so much for what you do, Marcus. Thank you and Mike Stanfield. Thank you as well for being here today. Uh Please both of you guys stay safe out there. Absolutely. Thanks for having me on and I cant wait to do this again there. You have it. Liquid Trucking. Episode eight of the Liquid Trucking podcast is in the books and that was a lot of fun. I wanna thank Drew Hearn, Tony Brown, Matt mckellar and Mike Stanfield for sharing their time with me today. Uh Those were not short conversations and I love when we have a little bit of time to kind of get into the weeds and just enjoy chewing the fat with one another. As I said off the top, we’re gonna do more of these, uh driver hotline episodes coming up in the very near future if you’re interested and you wanna be on, make sure to fill out that survey. Head on over to Liquid trucking.com. Uh You can find everything you need there and don’t forget, like I said off the top as well. If you want to interact with me, if there’s something you would like to hear on the podcast, make sure and uh, comment there in the Facebook, uh group, the, the podcast episode advertisements. I’m sorry, I’m, I’m, uh, I it’s been a long week even though it’s been a short week, but I’m here for it. Don’t worry about that. Uh Just understand that sometimes my brain stops and I can’t remember what it was that I was going to say liquid Trucking. I really appreciate you guys clicking on these podcasts. Let me know what you want to hear in the future because we got a lot more of them coming your way. Stay safe out there. We’ll see you next time. Thanks for tuning in and being the gold standard of drivers on the road. Be sure to like and subscribe to the channel and tune in next week for another episode of the Liquid Trucking podcast.