By Dave Sweetman
As a matter of self-introduction, allow me to say that I am pleased and extremely honored to be able to contribute to the pages of Land Line. To be able to join the ranks of those I consider to be the best and most respected journalists in the trucking world is both humbling and flattering.
As a longtime member of OOIDA, I have been on the receiving end of many of the benefits the Association has fought for. It is with great pride that I am now able to give back, to a degree, to those who have helped me, as an owner-operator and small-business person with one truck.
As a reminder of past benefits, I can recall getting a refund check from Pennsylvania when the five-axle tax was beaten back. Ditto for Vermont and Arkansas refunds, as well as several other states that had discriminatory taxes.
Through OOIDA’s relationship with Kenworth, I received two very tasty rebate checks when I purchased my last two trucks. Actually, I should rephrase that, as my lovely wife got the checks before I did. I heard about them, so they must have been good.
I also look forward to that rebate in a month or so when I order my next Kenworth. Perhaps I can beat her to the mailbox this time. (When she reads this, I am in so much trouble, but she knows I’m only kidding.)
Like many drivers, I used to be caught up in my own little trucking world. Either ignoring the issues or choosing to let others fight battles for me, I suffered from the mentality that my one little vote did not count.
Because of OOIDA’s efforts, I have learned to be politically aware and have been a thorn in the side of many of my legislators regarding topics that affect my business and my life, as well as our industry.
They know my views, and I point out that my one vote does indeed count. To that end, I credit Land Line for bringing important news to those of us who need and want it to make educated, informed decisions.
But all work and no play make Dave a dull boy. And if there is one thing I hate, it’s dull. One of the reasons I do this gig is it’s never boring. Even after 36 years of banging around the country, for me it’s still interesting, exciting and, yes, fun.
Granted, some days are more fun than others, but for me, I can find a challenge in dealing with the Cross Bronx Expressway or the 405 in Los Angeles. If I have my druthers, an easy cruise up the 101 following California’s Coast Highway or a ride along Maryland’s Eastern Shore or a ride down U.S. 1 in Maine gets my vote for favorite trucking trips, but I’ll take where I go with the same interest.
For more years than I can remember, through the ownership of six trucks, I can admit that my favorite color is still chrome. There, I’ve said it. I can fondly remember waxing in a snowstorm at Mid-America, as well as in 105-degree heat in Las Vegas. All of which makes me appear certifiably nuts to most “normal” people. But then, I have not been one to settle for normal, thanks.
My job here on the pages of Land Line will be to share what I do, where I go, and some of the characters I meet. As most of the drivers out here can attest, there is never a shortage. I am most fortunate to have a pulpit from which I can toss those ideas and observations into the air to see what sticks.
Happy trails and I’ll see you down the road. LL
Dave Sweetman may be
reached at email@example.com.