Best Truck Stops for Food

Iowa 80 Truck Stop Entrance SignWhen you have a craving for home cooked food as a trucker, it can be hard to hold out until you get home. Comfort foods, hot items, and the social connection of eating a homestyle meal make a trucker’s life a little easier. That’s why truck stops have stepped up to the plate to make tasty eats that fuel truck drivers. Across the nation there are truck stops like Iowa 80 and Dysart’s that are famous for their fantastic eats. Trouble is these are hard to come by on an everyday route. So in addition to truck stops that have made the map for their good food, we’ve covered the best restaurants at your favorite truck stop chains.

Truck Stops Famous for Food

There are several truck stops that are famous for food. Unfortunately these are often stand-alone places that don’t share the good eats across a national truck stop chain. In case you are trying to hit up all of the top truck stop restaurants around the nation here’s where you want to go:

  • South of the Border in Dillon, SC
  • Iowa 80
  • Dysart’s in Maine
  • Buc-ee’s, with several locations in Texas
  • Sapp Bros. in Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and Utah
  • Jubitz Truck Stop in Portland, OR
  • R-Place Restaurant in Morris, IL
  • Little America in Salt Lake, UT

Each of these truck stop restaurants have made a national name for having the best food for truckers and locals alike. If you have a chance to stop at these hot spots for a meal on the road, take the time to do it. You’ll be ever so thankful.

Best Foods at Truck Stop Chains

The reality for truck drivers is they need to have consistent places they can depend on for good food over the road. This typically means trusting truck stop chains, such as Flying J Pilot, TravelCenters of America and Petro, and Love’s Travel Centers. If you regularly use one of these national chains here is what you can expect for food options

Pilot Flying J

At Pilot Flying J you have access to the PJ Fresh Marketplace where they provide fast-casual dining using fresh ingredients. Want a comforting bowl of soup? They have chili, loaded potato, chicken pot pie, and broccoli cheese that will hit the spot. As for homestyle entrees on the menu the PJ Fresh Marketplace features country fried steak, homestyle meatloaf, mac and cheese, and roasted half-chicken. Add some fresh and healthy sides, perfect for truckers in a rush, including cups of mixed fruit, various salads, and a meat and cheese mix. If you’re around for breakfast you can pick up an Angus steak, egg and cheese bagel or a bowl of maple brown sugar oatmeal from their extensive menu.

TA Petro

If you want to take a table at Petro you can eat a hot meal at a Petro Iron Skillet restaurant, which is one of the most popular truck stop restaurants in the nation. The Iron Skillet has been around since the mid-70s serving serious comfort food from a menu, as well as on a buffet line. From pork chops at breakfast to beef liver and onions for dinner, the Iron Skillet knows how to cook for truckers, and they do it well.

TA truck stops are home to Country Pride restaurants, which are popular in the Midwest. The comfort foods on the menu here range from pasta dinners like spaghetti and meatballs to healthier options including fish and grilled chicken dinners. Every day at Country Pride restaurants features a menu special, with Monday being meatloaf, and Friday being all-you-can-eat fish.

Love’s Travel Centers

At Love’s they take a different approach to good eats. While comfort foods are all-stars at Pilot Flying J and TA Petro truck stops, Love’s goes for the fast food approach. At any Love’s you can expect to find one or more of the following:

  • Arby’s
  • Baskin Robbins
  • Bojangle’s
  • Burger King
  • Carl’s Jr.
  • Chester’s
  • Dairy Queen
  • Del Taco
  • Denny’s
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Godfather’s Pizza
  • Green Burrito
  • Hardee’s
  • IHOP Express
  • Love’s Subs
  • McDonald’s
  • Sonic
  • Subway
  • Taco Bell
  • Taco John’s
  • Wendy’s

That’s quite a varied selection! Love’s knows that truckers need food fast sometimes and they make it a priority to fill this need. While eating at fast food restaurants may not be the healthiest option, sometimes you have a craving for a juicy burger or an ice cream treat. Seeing fast food joints that you are familiar with from back home can give you a taste of home when over the road on your trucking jobs. This in itself is a type of comfort food.

A final tip, finding the best restaurants for you might mean considering the items on the menu according to your health needs, and narrowing down the price points of these restaurants. With so many options across the nation’s truck stops you have plenty of places to go when you need a warm meal and friendly face to serve it.

Top 3 Worst Cities to Drive Through as a Trucker

FedEx Truck Driver Completely Stopped on Highway in Traffic JamTruck driving jobs take you many places, often times to places you’d prefer to steer clear of. Who wants to drive through a neighborhood where drive-by shootings, drug deals, and potholes are the norm? Some cities are glorified ghost towns with nowhere to pull over and park your rig safely. Then you have the urban centers with one-way streets, absentminded pedestrians, and half a dozen lanes. It’s enough to make even the most seasoned road warrior whimper. If you want to avoid those cities that have bad reputations for good reasons, check out the top contenders for the prize of Worst Cities for Truck Drivers.

Trucking Jobs in Atlanta, GA

If you have to take truck driving jobs in Georgia be prepared for several things, especially in the Atlanta area. First you have the deadly lanes of 285, the perimeter surrounding the downtown area. The rough and tumble roads give your rig a run for its money. Worse yet there are very few exits and service roads on 285, making it hard for drivers out of hours to keep up with their log book requirements. To top it off you have all these local hotshots zipping through already packed lanes trying to “get ahead,” which is beyond dangerous for everyone especially truckers hauling 80,000 pounds.

At the same time you should take 285 if at all possible to avoid driving through the heart of Hotlanta. This is where all heck breaks loose during the morning rush and when everyone is rushing out of the city in the evenings. But then again you can drive through Atlanta at one o’clock in the morning and still hit heavy traffic thanks to sporting events, concerts and the like. No matter where your Atlanta trucking jobs take you, count on crazy drivers, traffic jams and accidents abound.

Los Angeles Trucking Jobs

Next up we have the city of Los Angeles that has a few strikes right out of the gate when it comes to truck driving jobs in California. First of all, with LA trucking loads you are going to have to drive into California. Any trucker who’s been around for a mile or two will tell you it’s tough driving in this West Coast state. You have to deal with the nation’s most intensive emissions rules. If you are carrying livestock or food products you are subject to the bug checks at California inspection stations. One, single, solitary bug on their do-not-enter list will have you sitting for hours if not days while you wait to see if they will let you enter at all. And all of this is before you ever enter LA.

Los Angeles has the second-most residents in the entire US thanks to 4 million people living in the metropolitan area. In addition to fighting the overly populated roadways you have to deal with tourists flocking for bright lights of this celebrity hangout. Any time you have a large number of tourists you can expect more than a fair share of accidents, road blocks, and drivers who simply don’t know how to navigate the streets. It’s a perfect storm that will make any trucker think twice about taking California trucking jobs in Los Angeles.

Trucking Jobs in Camden, NJ

Whereas LA is in a population explosion, Camden, NJ has been declining in residents over the last few decades going from about 87,000 residents in 1990 to around 77,000 in 2010. This is an indicator that something is wrong with this city. As a trucker hauling in Camden you will see the results of political corruption, which includes three past mayors who have spent time in jail for this. At the same time 40 percent of the population live below the poverty line. It’s little wonder that Camden earned the rank of No. 1 highest crime rate in 2012 in the entire nation. Out of 100,000 people 2,566 are the victims of violent crimes, which is over six times the national average.

So it’s little wonder that truckers don’t want to go to Camden. Part of this has to do with the crumbling infrastructure, but really a lot of this is due to plain danger. Forget trying to find a safe place to park your truck for the night. Chances of your rig getting robbed in most of Camden’s neighborhoods is good enough that most truckers will simply not stop moving when hauling loads through here. You can count your blessings on your truck driving jobs in New Jersey if you make it out alive when passing through Camden.

Now we want to know if you have a horror story about hauling in Atlanta, LA or Camden. On the other hand do you think there is a city that is more dangerous, difficult or downright deadly to be hauling truck loads as an OTR trucker? We’d love to hear all about it.

Getting to Know the Snows at the Great American Trucking Show

Big Trucks at The Great American Trucking ShowIf you have considered going to a trucking show but never quite made it, it’s time to give it another go. Truck driving shows like the Great American Trucking Show offer truck drivers all kinds of perks. For starters it’s free to attend. Plus you get to spend the time looking at some of the coolest and most colorful rigs on the roads. Then there is the truck driving community that you become a part of.

It’s like you are part of one great big family, all with the same understanding of what it is like to be a trucker. That’s one reason that Daniel and Phyllis Snow were at the GATS in Dallas back in August. Read on to see what happened to this lucky couple during the trucking show.

Meet Daniel and Phyllis Snow

Adam Smith is an employee of Randall-Reilly, the business behind the Great American Trucking Show. During the August 2016 GATS Smith made his way around the venue speaking with truckers and getting to know more about them. One couple that caught his eye was Daniel and Phyllis Snow, owners of Snow Trucking.

Smith was making his rounds late Friday night, taking pictures and checking to see how everything was going. He had planned on spending about 20 minutes and then he was heading out to eat, but then he met the Snow couple.

“Hey, do you wanna hear about our truck?”

“Sure, why not.”

Adam pulled up a chair and the next thing he knew he feels like he’s in Talladega and tailgating. During his lengthy conversation with the couple he got to know more about why the Snows were regular truck show attendees.

Smith ended up going live on Facebook interviewing the couple, and then an unexpected situation occurred. Smith had won a free set of truck tires earlier in the day at one of the drawings at GATS. No these were not pickup truck tires but oversized, expensive big rig tires. He personally had zero use for the tires, while it was nice to win something for a change. However, he knew exactly who deserved these tires. By the time Smith had left the Snow Trucking rig, the couple were more than happy they spent the time getting to know this GATS employee.

“It was kind of like a Hallmark moment…”

The couple accepted the tires in tears.

The Snow family has three generations in the trucking business, all of whom were in the parking lot there. They knew all too well the rigors of the trucking industry. A new set of tires was more than just the icing on the cake. It gave the Snow Trucking owners a new lease on their trucking life.

Getting to Know the Snows

In an interview with Daniel and Phyllis we got to know more about why the couple enjoy coming to the GATS year after year. They have been to the show about a dozen time, and they attend about eight trucking shows a year.

“The things we like most about GATS is the education that truck drivers can receive from the vendors and seminars. We also enjoy the new friends we meet and the friends in from the past,” said the Snows.

The part of GATS that they look forward to the most is the education, especially the Kevin Ruthiford seminars, that is offered to truck drivers. They also enjoy the Shell Super Rigs Show very much, and look forward to it year after year. “We encourage all trucker to attend GATS for the education they can receive for free!”

As for the Snows’ trucking background Daniel started trucking in 1980 with his brother. He fell in love with the industry right away and started his own business four years later running local and hot shotting live stock. As the business expanded they added several trucks, and Phyllis began running full time in 2003.

“We are now back down to one truck and running as a team operation.” Advice from the Snows to other drivers who are wanting to start their own business is to have one truck and run it themselves. “Know your numbers and gain an education from the inside of the trucking industry.”

And what better place to gain that education about trucking than at the Great American Trucking Show.

Check Out the Movie Lot Lizard, A Documentary

Trucker Driver's Windshield in the RainWell, they’ve gone and finally done it. Filmmakers have made a documentary about the ladies of the night that can be found at big city truck stops across the nation. Fittingly titled “Lot Lizard,” this movie is produced by Alexander Perlman of Long Haul Productions. It features real life lot lizards, aka sex workers, who have agreed to be filmed and followed as they carry out their truck stop duties. Find out everything you need to know about this intriguing movie so you can decide whether or not you will be watching it upon its release.

What to Expect When Watching “Lot Lizard”

The movie follows three specific individuals involved in the sex trade of the trucking industry. Jennifer is a recovering sex worker who wants to change for the better. Will she make it out? Bobby shows the point of view of a lot lizard’s boyfriend. His girlfriend isn’t interested in changing her profession, so how will their relationship pan out? And finally we have Betty who is a seasoned lady of the night with no plans on changing now. The documentary follows these three individuals throughout their daily routines, while Perlman works to show how their stories relate to the broader scope of things.

About Alexander Perlman

As for Perlman this is the director’s first documentary. He came across the idea for the film after hitchhiking all the way across the US from New York to California. Along the journey Perlman met someone who worked in the sex industry illegally in Ohio. She was a lot lizard who stayed with Perlman until a truck driver requested her services. After she took off with the trucker he went on his way, but the idea of a documentary about these sex workers stayed with him. Rumor has it that after he competed the film he now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from the experience. All the same he was able to finish the film, which will hopefully make its way to DVD release at some time in the near future.

Where to Watch “Lot Lizard”

As this is an independent film you aren’t going to find a copy at your local Walmart movie bin, and it’s not likely to be released to your local movie theater. So you will need to do some digging. Thankfully we’ve covered this for you. The movie was screened in London at the Raindance Film Festival in September 2016. This is the most recent release of the film, according to the “Lot Lizard The Movie” Facebook page. If you are interested in watching this documentary, and you should be given your close proximity to the industry, keep a check on the movie’s Facebook page for updated screenings and public release dates.

Why This Film is Important

The sex worker trade is a seedy and dangerous venture for both the sex workers and their johns. Yet it happens every single day in every single state across the nation. In order to bring this social issue to light and provide sex workers with a safe way to work, documentaries like “Lot Lizard” are important to watch. For you as a truck driver who hauls loads over the road you have a far better opportunity to help sex workers aka lot lizards who may very well be in danger due to the nature of their job.

By watching “Lot Lizard” you can gain insight into why these workers do this job, and regarding how it affects their overall quality of life. It is a think piece that will help you learn more about the sex workers of the trucking industry. While the goal is to promote awareness of lot lizards the film also serves as a wakeup call for truck drivers and the general public who may think that this type of industry is just a myth. If you would like to learn more about how to protect lot lizards and prevent abuse of sex workers over the road at truck stops, check out Truckers Against Trafficking. This nonprofit organization will give you the tools and resources you need to make a positive change in the lives of sex workers you encounter at truck stops and rest areas.

Share Your Thoughts on Sex Workers at Truck Stops

What are you thoughts about this kind of documentary, portraying one of the least talked about sides of the trucking industry? Will you be watching “Lot Lizard” when it releases for streaming or on DVD? Also if you have had an experience with a lot lizard in terms of helping them get help, such as via Truckers Against Trafficking, please share your thoughts on the process. This may help other truckers who are not sure if they should stand up for the rights of these sex workers.

These are the Best Vlogs for Truck Drivers

Truck Driver Driving at DawnOptions for entertainment can sometimes get a bit skimpy for truck drivers, especially when you’re out on the road. With the advent of the internet, however, your options for entertainment have skyrocketed. One particular area, video blogs — more often shortened to simply vlogs — gives truck drivers the opportunity to share a glimpse of their everyday lives with those interested. These are the perfect way to “talk shop” with those people in the know while enjoying the flexibility of 24/7 access.

  1. Trucker Josh

Josh Giesbrecht, a married truck driver from Manitoba, Canada, and goes by the moniker of Trucker Josh. He criss-crosses the North American continent while traveling with his two dogs, Diesel, a Rottweiler, and Sergeant, a German Shepard. As one of the first truck drivers to harness the power of the internet in order to provide the public with a unique glimpse of the lifestyle, Josh has upwards of 50,000 subscribers. In his vlog, he often provides windshield views as he motors along and waxes poetic about the trucker’s lifestyle and regulations that don’t make a lot of sense to him. You can also find him on Twitter at truckerjosh456 and on Facebook.

  1. Trucker Who

If you’re the kind of trucker who likes seeing the view that other truck drivers enjoy, you’ll really like Trucker Who. With more than 250 views that give viewers a bird’s eye view of what truck drivers can expect to see and experience on their daily hauls.

  1. The Jade and John Show

The Jade and John Show — with its catchy tagline of “1 Journey, 2 People 18 Wheels” — is the vlog of a young, married duo. Often traveling with their dog, this couples offers a varied array of videos for their viewing audience. With close to five years of truck driving experience under their belts, Jade and John cover topics ranging from Jade’s experiences for women truck drivers, various truck driving styles, Arizona snow storms and more. Jade and John also have a Facebook page and Twitter account.

  1. Allie Knight

Allie Knight hails from Boston but drives a Peterbilt 579 across the lower 48 states. Under her skilled fingers, Allie guides her truck, “Lazarus,” through its paces with lots of commentary along the way. See the roads of the United States through this woman’s eyes — along with her trusted feline companion, Spike, and compare notes.

  1. BigCat Trucker

BigCat Trucker takes his big, Texas-size personality and delivers equal amounts of entertainment, advice and tips. Born in 1979 as Ricky Sylvester in Houston, the truck driver combines his larger-than-life personality in a way that really resonates with people. His internet presence caught the attention of his then-employer, Swift Transportation. The company decided to make BigCat Trucker their social media brand ambassador and their first spokesman. With nearly 8,000 followers and hundreds of vlogs, BigCat Trucker has a huge treasure trove of entertaining information that will find fellow truck drivers nodding their heads and chuckling in agreement. As one might expect, BigCat Trucker can also be found on other social media outlets, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and IMDB.

The above vloggers are among the top in the industry. Are there some that you wish had been included? Chime in below and let readers know about any hidden gems in the trucking vlogging world they should know about.

How to Make Trucking A Less Stressful Workplace

Truck Driver Crossing a BridgeAs the end of the year rolls around there is a lot going on. You have the holiday season filled with family gatherings, shopping sprees and times of cheer that are met with loneliness over the road as a trucker isolated from your loved ones. Then that cheer all turns to the solitude and quietness that accompanies the New Year, during the coldest month of the year in January. Even if you have friends and family to celebrate the holidays with, chances are you are too busy working over the road to spend time with loved ones, which adds to your stress. There is also the issue of SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a biological condition associated with depression. If you are having a hard time this season with stress check out these ways to make your trucker lifestyle easier.

Relationships All Around

Truck driving by definition is a solo position, which is one reason why many individuals choose to make truck driving a career. However, there are times when being alone too long gets to you. The holiday season is one of those times. As the days are shorter and the darkness takes over it’s important to give your relationships a breath of fresh air.

Start by communicating with those closest to you more frequently. Connect with your spouse or partner, parents or children at least two times a week. This can be as simple as a phone call or email. The point is to stay connected so that you aren’t waiting until you are depressed to try and reach out. That’s often too late for most people who tend to isolate even more when depression sinks in. Consider this a booster shot to your health and wellness, one that doesn’t cost more than the price of a phone call.

Dealing with Customers and Coworkers

At the same time as you are alone, you are also connected with far more people than you realize. Take a trucking load, for example. Every one of your trucking jobs involves a complex coordination between the customer and your dispatcher. You are most frequently in contact with your dispatcher as this is who directs you to your next load. If they are feeling the stress of the busy shipping season, they’ll show it by being short and anxious when talking to you. Before you blow a fuse because you feel slighted by your dispatcher, take a step back and realize they are having a stressful time, too. Take your time and be easy when communicating with dispatch so you don’t cause them to lose their cool completely. In the end you both will win out.

As for your shipping customers, again the holiday season is high speed for most business owners. Just like you, they are trying to balance their personal life and all that encompasses during the holidays, as well as their business interests, which are affected by your deliveries. Do your best to communicate with the customer before and during your delivery so that nothing is left up in the air. If you do run into a snag in your delivery schedule and you won’t be able to unload on time, prepare your customer by keeping them in the loop. Miscommunication is one of the biggest roadblocks of any business relationship, and you don’t want to jeopardize your trucking job because of it. That would only exacerbate your holiday stress.

Healthy Truck Driving Careers

Every year you can anticipate the stress of the holiday season and winter weather. Furthermore every year you’ll be more apt to overcome the stress and anxiety that accompanies the time of year. If you’ve been around the world and back as a trucker, what are ways you deal with seasonal stress that gets heavy every holiday season? Share your helpful tips with your trucking community in the comments!

Thank a Trucker for Your Thanksgiving Spread

Truck Driver Eating a Turkey LegAs home cooks write out their Thanksgiving menus, and we all sit down to enjoy a bountiful spread, take a moment to consider the role of truckers. Truck drivers keep this country in stock with everything from frozen turkey breasts to those expected cans of cranberry sauce. Think about what would happen if you didn’t have truck drivers in the US, how that would affect your Turkey Day spread.

Turkey from Farm to Table

If you are eating a traditional turkey dinner for Thanksgiving chances are you didn’t raise that gobbler yourself. You walked right up to the meat counter at the grocery store and bought it, just like 99 percent of all other American cooks do for Thanksgiving. Now imagine the journey of that turkey, from the farm to your table. From the feed hauled in to get that bird big enough to eat to the pole barn poles protecting the turkeys from the elements, it all gets handled by a truck driver. Once your bird is ready to butcher, a trucker has to be on hand to take that ready-to-cook turkey to the grocery store. Truck drivers and their reefer trailers make that happen so you can get a turkey that is fresh and safe to eat.

Dressing Up the Dinner

Along with that turkey you need stuffing. Whether you go with store bought bread made into from-scratch stuffing, or you buy the bagged stuff, every single ingredient that goes into dressing for Thanksgiving is hauled in by an OTR trucker. What would your stuffing be like without the spices and herbs transported from farms across the US, as well as overseas? How would your dressing taste sans sage and salt? Not too much different than a stale bread crumb, which is certainly not going to win any praise at your Thanksgiving dinner table. Truck drivers haul everything in the US, but they also are in high demand for handling those imported ingredients that arrive by boat at ports on our nation’s coasts.

Side Items Delight

Cranberry sauce is a staple for Thanksgiving dinner, a sweet and sour condiment that pairs perfectly with turkey and dressing. Yet you would never go into a cranberry bog and harvest those red berries yourself. A trucker is on hand during harvest season to make sure those cranberries get out of the water stat and over to the processing plant. From there truckers transport can after can, case after case, pallet after pallet of gelatinous cranberry sauce to your local grocery stores.

Now what about that ever present green bean casserole? Let’s go out on a limb here and say you grew your own green beans. But where did you get the seeds, the running stakes, and the soil for growing your own garden? That’s right, some hardworking truck driver somewhere hauled all that into your community so you could affordably and easily plant your own produce. As for those crunchy onion strings that are the finishing touch, I don’t think anyone could do them the justice that the manufacturers do. Again, this requires the tedious work of a trucker who hauls the ingredients into the manufacturing plant, and another trucker who’s transporting all of those crispy fried onion pieces to grocers across the nation.

Sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes with gravy, creamed corn, and a healthy salad for good measure…every single one of these dishes can be served at your table thanks to a hard working person who decided to make truck driving a career. And don’t forget those sweet treats! Even if you fib a bit and claim you baked that pumpkin pie and apple pie by hand, which is perfectly acceptable after cooking the rest of the spread, you are at the mercy of a trucker.

Because here’s the bottom line. If the trucking industry suddenly went belly up there would not be the traditional Thanksgiving Day feast that we Americans flat out require on the last Thursday in November. It simply wouldn’t happen. You would end up taking “The Christmas Story” route and going for a Chinese duck rather than an American turkey. As you sit around and glut yourself this Thanksgiving have a moment of reflection on how your fellow Americans were able to make this happen for you. Whether or not you are a truck driver chances you are related to one, so give them a personal moment of gratitude. After all, that’s what this great holiday is all about, giving thanks to the harvest and bounty that we get to appreciate here in the great USA.

Drive a Big Truck? Check out this Big Trucks Cooking Facebook Page

Iowa-80-truck-stopWhen it comes to finding food over the road you are limited. There are the fast food restaurants and truck stop food in general that are all too easily accessible. Tack on the number of calories consumed via truck stop snacks, and pretty much your health has hit rock bottom. Without access to a kitchen at your house you can only do so much cooking in your rig. However, there are recipes out there geared at truckers. If you are looking for ways to eat more of the foods that make you smile, you aren’t alone. More than eight thousand truck drivers and their family members have teamed up at the Facebook group called Big Trucks Cooking.

Eaters All Around

The first thing you will notice when you sign up for the Big Trucks Cooking group is that all diets are created equal. This isn’t one of those foodie groups that is all about eating plants, gluten-free, sugar-free, or any of the sort. There are simply not any rules like that here, except for a love for cooking as a trucker and a passion for all things edible. You won’t see any judgment if you decide to make a breakfast out of Ho-Hos and Krispy Kremes, nor will you hear backlash from telling everyone you are a vegan trucker. Anything food-related is good to go here.

Another point you’ll notice is that everyone in this group is either a truck driver, family member of a trucker, or someone’s associate. If you don’t have some connection to the trucking industry you might not get to join the group. This is key to making this a great trucking community as you aren’t worried about scammers, politicians, or salespeople going into the group and trying to persuade or sell you things. For truckers who simply want to communicate with other truckers and their families about how to cook over the road, this group is their golden ticket.

Big Trucks Cooking Topics

You will find a little bit of everything, as long as it relates to trucking cuisine, on this page. Prepare yourself for recipe after recipe of foods real truckers actually cooked in their rigs. You will also see photos and graphics depicting jokes about truckers and their eating habits. The group also hosts regularly programmed competitions, such as the Big Truck Cooking Cook-Off Challenge that is going on its 7th year as of 2017. The winner of the 6th annual competition walked away with a Roadpro lunchbox cooler. If you like to compete against other truckers who are into food, or you simply think you have found your niche in recipes for truck drivers, these competitions can be great news for your wallet.

As a truck driver being able to join social media groups like Big Trucks Cooking is a great resource. You get a chance to be social with a nationwide community of truck drivers, while discussing one of the most important matters at hand. After all, you can’t live without food, and truckers have their own over the cuisine. So go ahead and ask to be part of the Big Trucks Cooking Facebook group so you can start connecting with other truckers on topics like fried chicken, Twinkies, chef’s salads, and ice cream sandwiches. It sounds like a delicious group.

Need to Know Resources for Women Owner Operators in Trucking

Woman truck driver posing for the cameraAs a woman truck driver you already know that you have to think outside of the box in this industry. After all, the chances you’ll see another female over the road in a big rig is 5 percent as men make up 95 percent of trucking jobs. While this number is steadily increasing in the favor of female truckers it’s still one of the most substantial gender gaps in the American workforce. So when it comes to doing things like becoming an owner operator as a woman you have to do things a little differently. Start by finding resources geared for your gender.

Starting Out with the SBA

The Small Business Administration is the starting place for many entrepreneurs, both male and female. As a woman you can gain insight and resources here that are vetted by the US government. No worrying about scams from third party vendors here. Via the SBA you can learn how to:

  • Write a business plan
  • Register your trucking business
  • Kick start your women owned trucking companies
  • Deal with business licenses and permits
  • Find financing for a trucking business
  • File your taxes quarterly as an owner operator in trucking
  • How to hire and fire people

There are several resources on the SBA that are all free for the taking. Check it out, even if you are not sure that you need certain things, like a business plan or firing information, as you can gain insight on how to better run your business.

SBA for Women

The SBA specifically addresses business owner issues of women entrepreneurs by providing women’s business resources in coordination with the Office of Women’s Business Ownership. This resource focuses on issues that women OO’s face. You can read about topics including:

  • How to find a business mentor
  • How to understand the marketplace
  • What you should ask yourself before starting your own business

The site also provides links to several other resources including SCORE.

SCORE

This is a website that helps you find a mentor—for free—whom can provide you with real world advice about running a trucking business as a woman. SCORE is set up via the SBA so you can rest assured that your information won’t be compromised, and the resources you are provided with are strictly confidential. The mentors are volunteers who are well vetted through the federal government so you are able to gain knowledgeable connections for growing your business. When you talk to your mentor they will provide you with online information, small group workshops, and other tools to help you push forward with your business goals. When you finish working with your mentor you rate them based on the quality of their service.

37 Angels

Another helpful resource for female business owners is 37 Angels. This is an investment opportunity as seen on Forbes, TEDx, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and FastCompany. Business investors join a network of angels after a boot camp that teaches you all about how to invest to make more of your money. This is an out of the box way for women owner operators to bulk up their business capital, while also investing in other female business owners. It’s a win-win that gives back in kind and financially.

You can also sign up for funding via the 37 Angels program. You will have to pitch your need for your business. Think along the lines of “Shark Tank,” but without the heady business investors via national television. Angels invest approximately $25,000 per project, but the overall network investment ranges from $50,000 to $150,000. It’s certainly worth the effort if you need capital for your owner operator business.

National Women’s Business Council

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is a great place to find women-owned business resources. This is a non-partisan advisory council via the federal government. The NWBC works directly with the President and Congress, as well as the Small Business Administration (SBA) to give women who are business owners a voice in the government. This is key to this group. If you truly want to take a stand in the way that women entrepreneurs are treated, do more than just becoming an active member of the NWBC. Go for the gold by running for a leadership roll in the trucking industry. There are 15 leaders including business owners who serve to represent the Women Presidents’ Organization, National Association for Women Business Owners, Women Impacting Public Policy, and more. These leaders work directly with Congress and the President to create impactful changes for women leaders in the workforce.

At the very least consider certification via a Women Owned Small Business Certification (WOSB) in this organization. You receive vendor listing in the National Women’s Business Owners Council and other such databases. You also get:

  • A list of more than 1,000 purchasing contacts in the private and pubic sectors
  • WBE certification to add credibility to your business by adding logos on your marketing materials

You also are at the forefront of all federal-level changes for women in the workplace. As a female business owner in America this is your right and responsibility, to ensure that all women entrepreneurs have equal rights and opportunities as men.

How to Shop for Gifts When You’re OTR

truck drawing hauling a giftWhen it comes to finding that perfect gift for that someone, it isn’t that you don’t want to make the effort or take the time to do so. Instead, you might find that you cannot fit one more thing into your busy life. As the holidays approach, your services as a truck driver are simply too much in demand. You’ll find yourself criss-crossing the country on your route nearly non-stop in order to deliver all those products that consumers demand at this time of the year. Even if you have a local truck driving job, chances are that you’ll find yourself working a lot of overtime to meet the significant uptick in demand during this time of the year. So what’s a truck driver to do when you’re out on the road as the holidays approach? Here are some ideas.

  1. Make good use of online options

Chances are that once you reach your destination for the night, the last thing you’re going to want to do is head to the mall or a local 24-hour store and battle a bunch of holiday shoppers. With today’s online shopping options, not only can you avoid the long lines and hurried shoppers, you can take advantage of numerous benefits. Many online retailers offer savings that are spelled out for you so you don’t have to waste precious time going from store to store to find a great bargain. You’ll also find options for shipping that you can access right from your mobile device. They make it easy to get that perfect gift to someone special with lots of great shipping choices.

  1. Ditch the ordinary

How many pairs of slippers or neckties can you give one person and still make the gift seem special? While there’s definitely a place for these practical items, this year aim for a gift that is out of the ordinary. Have a music lover in your life? Spring for some cool wireless speakers that either use the Bluetooth technology that is integrated in their smartphone or some other method to deliver their favorite tunes. Does that someone special love to relax while watching his or her favorite shows? Grab a streaming stick that lets them stream all of their can’t-miss episodes — regardless of where they might find themselves. You can also find options that let them stream the content from a laptop to a big-screen tv for a movie-watching experience that rivals that of a movie theater.

  1. Make it about the experience

It can be hard on your loved ones when you’re gone and on the road so much. If you’re like many people, you find yourself devoting your downtime to doing chores around the house or running errands. Instead of looking for an elaborate gift that will “wow” the recipient, aim for unique experiences or options that will allow you to spend time together simply enjoying each other’s company. Today’s options are limited only by your imagination. They can be as low key as a movie night or as involved as a ropes course, locked mystery room experience or a simulation race car driver outing.

The above ideas are designed to give your creativity a boost and get you thinking out of the box. Do you have any tips for making shopping easier that you’d like to share with your fellow truckers?