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Mike O’Neill, one of the stalwarts of the public relations corps that so ably serves trucking as a conduit of information for suppliers, is relocating from Philly to Vegas and, yes, he’s doing it by truck.

When Mike told us of his journey by Penske rental truck, I was immediately jealous as driving across country (at my own pace, I should add!) has long been a dream of mine.

But I figured if I can’t join ‘em on the endless ribbon of highway, the next best thing would be to hear all about the trip and hence the idea of posting a blog within blog, so to speak, was hatched.

I don’t know what all Mike will have to say about trucking cross-country as a non-trucker, but rest assured he has a solid understanding of what makes trucking tick, a keen eye for the absurdities of life and, above all, enough Irish wit about him to make for at least some lively reading.

I shall attempt to present his reports with minimal editing; however if I feel the burning need to stick my two cents in, you will find said remarks in between square brackets.

And so now, with no further ado, I give you Mike O’Neill:

DAY ONE

I set out on this journey-- Philly to Vegas – to try and save a few bucks… the Penske people came through, giving me a new International DuraStar truck with a 22-foot body. The discount was substantial. Thanks, Penske.

We are now about three hours into the move, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that I will never switch careers and become a truck driver. We’ve already encountered congestion, work zones, wide loads and many a crazy four-wheeler. The northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike has to be one of the worst roads in America. We’re now on Interstate 80, heading west.

I’ve given the wheel of our Penske truck to my son, Tyrus, who will be accompanying me to Battle Creek, MI. There I will be meeting with our good friends at Eaton and Roadranger [A client of Mike’s] for two days. After that, my professional driver and our mutual good friend, David Kolman, arrives and I will be one happy camper.

penske22

One way to go trucking...

Looks like we might have a little bit of good luck on 80. West-bound traffic is moving along nice. East bound is backed up for miles due to some paving. Tyrus’s observation, “Wow that would suck being over there.”

We’re doing the speed limit, 65, and we are the only ones on this road doing so. Everyone is passing us – truckers and motorist alike.

Tyrus just tried to clean a few dead bugs off of the windshield with the washer fluid. Didn’t work. In fact the windshield is now worse. Oh well, I guess you learn as you go with this truck driving stuff.

After about seven hours of driving, we finally decided to stop for the day near Strongsville, OH. We did stop for fuel along the way, and that cost $99.88, probably not much for a professional but that was the most I’ve ever paid for fuel in my life. A room at the Holiday Inn Express and Chinese food – delivered – added about another $150 to the trip. Tolls cost another $12.50.

If nothing else, we are definitely saving money.

--Mike O'Neill

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