Tons of Fun for Any Age

You Build, You Drive R/C Replica Trucks


If you answered yes to one or both questions, you need to take a closer look at building a super-realistic 1:14 or 1:16 scale radio-controlled (R/C) truck. They’re tons of fun to build and drive. And there are many others like you who are really getting into this very enjoyable hobby.

R/C tractor-trailers are a wonderful hobby for early teens on up. Designed to be built with ease, each replica takes a few hours to several weeks (depending on how
simple or complex you choose to build it). For fathers or mothers, it’s great fun to share with children. The kids can learn how to work with their hands, take pride in their builds, and then enjoy time with you as they bring their trucks to life in your driveway, at a nearby park or in a safe corner of a parking lot.
For anyone who is retired or disabled, R/C trucking is a great hobby. You can sit and build at your leisure. When your truck is completed, you can display it with pride in your workmanship or activate it and show off your driving skills. No matter who you are, it’s always fun to get together with other hobbyists to share ideas and drive on a course for display or just for enjoyment. With the assortment of products available, the fun is almost never ending.

West Coast Mini TruckersRC-1

To learn more about the world of R/C replica trucks and capture the essence of the hobby for RoadKing readers, Jason Lane, Executive Director of West Coast Mini Truckers (WCMT), and six other members recently gathered at a park in Lake Elsinore, California for a Sunday morning photo shoot. Together, they brought 15 tractor-trailer rigs that demonstrate the diversity of the builds and the scope of the paint schemes. Depending on the combination utilized, tractor-trailer combos can be four to five feet long.

WCMT is a club dedicated to the hobby of building, displaying and operating highly detailed, customized and fully functional 1:14 and 1:16 scale model trucks. Members utilize Tamiya tractor-trailer kits, Wedico
replica kits and others, as well as modified die-cast/plastic units made by Bruder and Ertl. Unlike R/C racing, the driving skills required very much parallel a full-size truck. Slow, exact movements and good judgment when backing a truck into a loading dock, traveling down a road and making proper turns are essential.

Started in November 2010, WCMT grew slowly. Based on his extensive knowledge of the hobby and the many contacts he has in the industry, Lane assumed leadership of the organization in April 2013 and has grown the membership from there. WCMT is dedicated to building friendships through the design, operation, and display of radio-controlled tractor-trailers with an emphasis on vehicles in 1:14 and 1:16 scales. The current member benefits include attendance and participation at all events RC-3related to WCMT, connection to the assistance of others with extensive experience, and the opportunity to join or form district clubs in local or regional areas. As with most things in life, members get out of the organization what they put into it.

An excellent example of a WCMT district group is the 605 R/C Truckers. The Los Angeles group communicates via Facebook. Loose affiliations exist with East Coast Mini Truckers, Central Plains Mini Truckers, Deep South Mini Truckers and Scale Builders R/C Club of Ontario. Additional groups in other regions are part of a longer-term vision. A quasi-national and international organization provides a widely utilized forum for exchanging ideas and information at

When your truck is completed, you can display it with pride in your workmanship or activate it and show off your driving skills.

Realistic Trucks

Tamiya kits provided the focus for this story. The models represented in the photographs include the following tractors and trailers:

King Hauler – Produced in 1994 as the first of its kind, it can be modified into popular variations including Peterbilt and Kenworth replicas.

Globeliner – Shortly after the success of the King Hauler, the only U.S. style C.O.E. tractor was introduced. It is very similar to an International 9670, although several have been modified into Peterbilts, Kenworths and Freightliners.

Knight Hauler – This beautiful tractor is very similar to the Freightliner Coronado. By making just a few modifications, it can easily  be made to resemble a Freightliner Classic XL.

Freightliner Cascadia – Freightliner licensed this very detailed tractor. It requires a bit more skill for assembly, but is well worth the effort for the person who loves this truck.

Grand Hauler – In recent years, Tamiya upgraded the King Hauler based on input from experienced hobbyists. With several new parts and an extended frame, this is an excellent tractor for R/C veterans.

Ford Aeromax – This licensed product of Ford is a good replica that can be built as a Sterling by using some aftermarket decals.

Trailers – Box Van (discontinued), container, flatbed, pole, reefer and tanker.

Euro Models – Several Euro truck models are also available for those who have an interest in European truck manufacturers. You can win a MAN R/C truck kit. See page 12 for details.

From the standard hop-up options offered by Tamiya to the exotic build with custom fabricated parts, the limits to a build are left to your imagination. In addition, a few specialty suppliers to R/C truck hobbyists provide brand specific and special customizing parts to help you turn your workhorse 1:14 truck into a showhorse in accordance with your vision for the finished kit. Precision Model Distributors, Exclusive R/C, True Scale R/C and IHB Scale Models are well known distributors. While each one carries a standard listing of parts, some will even make one-off custom parts to help you achieve a special look or replicate a particular brand.

Depending on which truck and trailer you choose to build, the cost of entry into the hobby can be in the $1,000 to $2,500 range. A used truck can cost substantially less. If you incorporate performance and/or appearance options and require custom parts, the cost can be significantly higher. In addition to the truck and trailer, this price range includes a 4-channel radio, a sound and feature unit called a multi-function unit (MFU), batteries and a charger. Most newbies enter the hobby on the low end of the scale. You may choose to start with just a tractor and the electronics. A trailer can be added as a second step. Once you build one kit, plans for the next one begin to take shape.


Ever since he was a child, Jason Lane, the Executive Director of West Coast Mini Truckers (WCMT), loved big trucks. Every chance he had, he talked his dad, Bob, into taking him to the local truckstops, and whenever a truck show was taking place within 50 miles of home, he would plead with his parents to take him. Trucking was ingrained in him, and diesel ran through his veins.

Lane was a heavy equipment operator for more than a decade before circumstances enabled him to obtain a Class A CDL after graduating from a trucking school. For a couple of years, he drove cross-country in all 48 continental states for Werner Enterprises. In many ways, it fulfilled his childhood dreams.

In 2003, Lane was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor that limited his vision and caused gigantism. The doctors performed an emergency transsphenoidal surgery to reduce the size of the tumor. Their prognosis was that he had only about 18 months to live.

Since he was no longer able to drive a truck and his passion for the road lived on, Lane turned to his hobby of R/C trucking to keep himself occupied. Starting with a Tamiya Aeromax and Box Van, he joined a Yahoo Group that was dedicated to the hobby. In 2009, the Yahoo Group changed to the website, and in 2010 the West Coast Mini Truckers was formed. During 2013, he assumed the leadership position and now, some 14 years after the original diagnosis, continues working to make WCMT and the entire hobby more successful.


RC-5Where to Turn for Help


If you’re building a Tamiya tractor or trailer and discover you need assistance, help is just a phone call or e-mail away. Customer Service representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time at 800.826.4922 (800.TAMIYA-A). Experienced and knowledgeable staff members can assist you with any questions or problems you’re experiencing during the build process.

As a further backup to the Customer Service team, Joe Anderson, currently Tamiya USA’s Network Administrator/Web Coordinator may also be available.

Anderson has outstanding experience building 1:14 scale R/C trucks, both the U.S. and the Euro models. In addition to his fulltime job responsibilities, Joe is very involved in the development of videos, photo sequences and other self-help tools that you’ll find at

In a Q&A session, Anderson also provided some tips and suggestions to help RoadKing readers determine if 1:14 R/Cing is a hobby that merits consideration. It’s great for trucking enthusiasts of all ages, from early teens to those in retirement. The hobby is something that can be enjoyed alone or in cooperation with a son, daughter, parents, grandparents, relatives, friends or neighbors. Giving a gift is a great way to involve that special someone in the hobby.

Q. What is the first thing someone should do to get started in the hobby?RC-6

A. Before buying anything, conduct some online research to see everything that is involved. Visit a local hobby store and ask for some advice on everything you need to build and operate a 1:14 scale radio-controlled truck. Watching the many YouTube videos is also a great place to actually see what’s

Q. Where can 1:14 R/C kits be purchased?

A. R/C kits can be purchased from a Tamiya dealer, mail order outlet or the online store. Check the online locator for a source near you.

Q. What sort of tools and equipment are needed to build an R/C truck?

A. A small tool kit is provided with each model. You may need a few other basic tools that you’re likely to have at home. A flat workbench with good overhead lighting is recommended. Be sure to retain the provided tools for future maintenance.

Q. When that first kit is purchased and brought home, what should I do?

A. Proceed carefully. Read the detailed instructions before opening any of the parts packaging. The parts are grouped in a logical sequence that will help guide the builder through the process. Avoid the temptation to open all of the packaging. Parts can be lost or mixed up, confusing the novice builder.

Q. How important is it to follow the build sequence?

A. Very important, especially for a newbie. Once you’ve built one or two kits, personal preferences may enable you to modify the sequence to your liking, but you can never go wrong following the recommended sequence.

Q. How practical is it to take portions of the build process on the road to work on in my truck during off-duty hours?

A. Each kit contains many small parts that can be easily lost or misplaced. Without an appropriate work platform to contain the parts and good lighting, building on the road has some risks. Building the first kit in your home workspace might be best.

Q. How sophisticated has the 1:14 scale R/C hobby become?

A. Excellent full-size, scale effects are achieved, which demonstrate the current state of the art in construction, as well as the realism in R/C models. In addition to the truck itself, semi-trailers, sound and lighting options are available for each builder’s enjoyment.

Q. What other tips and suggestions do you have for RoadKing readers? 

A. You can find answers to other commonly asked questions in the online FAQs. The best part of this hobby is building and detailing each kit to make it your own. The most important part is having FUN building and operating your unique creation. You’ll also have opportunities to share your newfound
hobby and make new friends who share your interests. Online, there are facebook groups and web forums that can also provide a wealth of knowledge, as well as list any local clubs or events that you can check out. Above all, have fun and make these rigs your own!

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Answering the Call

Sal & Friends Win Race with Hurricane Matthew

As the full force of Hurricane Matthew was bearing down on the Southeast Coast in early October last year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was ramping up its advance team. As one facet of the preparation process, the All Hazards Incident Management Assistance Team of Garner Environmental Services was charged with mobilizing emergency power generation equipment.

Utilizing hundreds of pieces of equipment from Cat® dealers’ rental fleets, Cat Rental power managers across the country functioned as a single, integrated network in deploying the power needed to satisfy customers’ emergency needs. Cat dealers from the Northeast to west of the Mississippi River prepared to ship hundreds of trailer-mounted Cat diesel generator sets, each ranging in size from 20kW to 2MW. Adding up to 400MW total, the mobile generators were dispatched to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Cat dealers H.O. Penn, headquartered in Poughkeepsie, New York and Foley Inc. headquartered in Piscataway, New Jersey were designated to serve as the coordinators for a group of Northeastern Cat dealers. H.O. Penn Power Systems rental manager Jim Rogan and sales engineer Jeanine Iavarone and Foley rental manager John Holland set out to determine how many generator sets were available and where they were located. The mission involved pickup from several dealer locations in five states and delivery to a decommissioned military installation in the Orlando area.

Even in its weakened state, Matthew’s wind and torrential rains caused damage in excess of $10.5 billion,
making it the costliest Atlantic hurricane since Sandy in 2012.

One-Call Solution

Based on H.O. Penn’s relationship with Sal C Machinery Movers, Inc., a Long Island heavy hauling and rigging specialist, Rogan and Iavarone placed a 7:00 a.m. conference call to Sal Castiglione, who owns the firm with his father, Sal, Sr. The logistics of the mission were outlined, including pickup locations from other Cat dealers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Castiglione was tasked with rounding up the trucks and drivers needed to deliver 35 to 38 gensets to Orlando as early as possible on the following day.

Six calls to friends in the business and less than 30 minutes later, he had lined up more trucks and drivers than needed to pickup the gensets at the scattered Cat dealer locations and deliver the emergency power to Orlando. Just as soon as the last of the 35 gensets was picked up and rolling, a call came in for four additional trucks. Sal and his friends came through quickly based on the extra trucks he had on standby from the first round of calls.

SAL2Alternate Route

The trip itself proved to be somewhat harrowing. The ordinary route straight down the I-95 corridor (1,150 miles) was abandoned in favor of a more inland route designed to stay west of the coastline. The I-81 to I-26 alternate took them along the backside of the Appalachians and through the western part of North Carolina near Asheville, where heavy rain and fog slowed progress. Though the alternate route was hundreds of miles longer, the trip was made virtually non-stop, only taking time for refueling and short breaks along the way. From the time the 7:00 a.m. call came in from H.O. Penn to delivery of the last of the 35 gensets to Orlando required just over 30 hours. The four last-minute gensets were diverted to the Atlanta area.

FEMA and Garner handled the umbrella logistics to help keep the trucks moving. Stickers authorizing scales to be bypassed were posted in the windshields, and service hour regulations were suspended. The entire initiative was focused on placing the generators into service at hospitals, emergency shelter facilities, municipal buildings, data centers, and other mission-critical locations before Matthew made landfall.

Sal and his team checked the units in upon arrival at the joint FEMA-Garner field operation and turned them over to be distributed locally according to the master hurricane-response plan already in place. They volunteered to help with local distribution if needed, but were glad to park for some well-deserved rest. They decided to stand by in case the units were needed further north. Besides refueling at TA-Petro locations along the way, RoadSquad Connect was called into service at 4:00 a.m. to fix a blown tire.

Matthew Changes Course

Hurricane Matthew hit the southeastern United States hard as it tracked very close to the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Matthew made official U.S. landfall only one time on Oct. 8 southeast of McClellanville, South Carolina, as a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. However, Matthew brought widespread flooding, including record levels to major rivers like the Lumber, Neuse and Tar in eastern North Carolina. They remained above flood levels 10 days after the storm had passed. More than 660 roads were closed statewide.

Even in its weakened state, Matthew’s wind and torrential rains caused damage in excess of $10.5 billion, making it the costliest Atlantic hurricane since Sandy in 2012. Of the 1,600 deaths attributed to Matthew, more than 1,000 occurred in Haiti where it hit as a Category 4 storm and 49 in the southeastern U.S.

Mission Accomplished

Even though the generators were ultimately not pressed into service, Sal Castiglione and his friends could proudly say, “Mission accomplished.” They had won the race with Hurricane Matthew.

As many truck owners and drivers across this great land do when disasters strike, this group rallied to the call for emergency assistance. While others continued to take care of day-to-day business back home, these 39 drivers and their trucks set out to help minimize the impact of a potentially devastating natural disaster. For many people, particularly those in North Carolina, Hurricane Matthew turned out to be a very devastating storm.



If you’re familiar with Big Rig Videos and Chris Fiffie, the man with the ideas behind the mobile video camera, you may have seen his YouTube video entitled, ‘When Disaster Rolls In, Truckers Roll Out.’ It featured Sal Castiglione from Long Island, New York and his friends who hauled 35 trailer-mounted generators to Orlando and four to Atlanta, as Hurricane Matthew was bearing down on the coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

Chris credits social media contacts for alerting him to an unusual convoy of trucks pulling trailer-mounted Cat generator sets, as they were heading eastbound towards Orlando. A few Facebook exchanges later, Chris was connected to Sal Castiglione’s mobile phone. As detailed in the related story, Sal and a group of his truck-owning friends rallied to the call for emergency transportation assistance originating in five Northeastern states.

They met at a rest stop west of Orlando, and Chris videotaped the convoy and recorded driver CB interviews from his car as they traveled the Florida Turnpike towards Orlando. Working alone, Chris utilizes a video camera controlled by joysticks and monitored on LCD screens. If you haven’t seen his work that focuses on building the image of the trucking industry, check out the Big Rig Videos Facebook page and his many other videos on YouTube.



Sal Castiglione (4)
Sal C Machinery Movers
Deer Park, NY

Jonathan Donation (11)
Double Green Circle, Inc.
Guilford, CT

Nicholas DeNaples (5)
N&L Transportation
Dunmore, PA

Davd Izzi (5)
Izzi Trucking & Rigging
Edison, NJ

Brandon Stine (2)
Craig A. Stine Trucking
Belvidere, NJ

Chris Murdock (2)
Murdock Transport
Shelburne Falls, MA

Kenny Conroy (2)
Conroy Carriers Inc.
Holbrook, NY

Charlie Bowen (2)
Lil Hollywood Transport
Union Beach, NJ

Fred Richards (2)
RB Farms Inc.
Covington Township, PA

Owner-Operators (1 each)

Nick Magyar III
MM3 Trucking
Effort, PA

Chris Lordy
CJL Unlimited LLC
Wantage, NJ

Joe “Hawk” Gallopo
Cal-Jo Trucking
Keyport, NJ

Matt Cardinals
M1 Industries
Deer Park, NY

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How About Some Renegade Country?

Down Under Performer Brings High Energy to MATS

Jayne Denham has built a reputation as a dynamic, high-energy, Country-Rock performer in her native Australia.

With rebellious charm and a rampaging style, she writes, records and performs with a unique ability to tell stories that reel you in. Appearing on behalf of Red Eye Radio, Jayne’s brand of rocking country made quite an impression on those who witnessed her U.S. debut at GATS 2016 in Dallas.

You’re invited to see her second U.S. performance in Louisville at MATS 2017. Check the lineup on the Red Eye Radio stage for the date and time of her appearance. Jayne will be performing on the Lobby Stage in the South Wing of The Kentucky International Convention Center, #41064.

Established Australian Star

Jayne has built a reputation as a Country-Rock performer with three #1 smash hits in Australia, and her album ‘Renegade’ shook the foundations of the Australian Country Music scene. Her songs have also garnered six Top-10 awards on the National Country Charts, 12 videos reached the Top-30 including ‘Shake this Town’ which soared to #4, as well as six Country Music Channel (CMC) and two CMAA Golden Guitar Award Nominations.

Building upon a strong and loyal fan base as an independent artist, Jayne signed with ABC/Universal Music. To capture the excitement and electricity of her live performances in the studio, Jayne worked closely with multi award-winning producer Garth Porter. The result was the creation of country tracks having a razor-sharp, rock edge like her ‘#1 Australian Country Singles, ‘Addicted to the Diesel’ and ‘Jam the Jam’ along with rural anthems ‘Cowgirls MIA,’ ‘Grew up Round Trucks,’ ‘This Is Rodeo’ and ‘Outlaw’—a song that tells the story of two famous female bushrangers.

Jayne has entertained the VIP crowds at Keith Urban’s Sydney shows and has been a featured performer at all major Australian Country Music festivals including CMC Rocks, Deni Ute Muster, Gympie Music Muster, Tamworth Country Music Festival, PBR Rodeos, Ute Musters, B&S Balls, as well as national and regional truck shows. Jayne released two independent albums ‘Sudden Change in Weather’ (2008) and ‘Shake This Town’ (2010). Soon after the release of ‘Sudden Change in Weather’, Jayne won the Australian Independent Country Music Award for Best Rising Star.

Setting Sites on USA

Jayne’s connections to the Trucking Industry have enabled her to perform for people all across Australia and fly the flag for her raw, wild and loud brand of Renegade Country! Jayne is an artist with a passion for the people, the land, the wheels of industry, and those who keep them turning. With any luck, she says, she’ll be able to do the same in the United States. “When I came over last year to write songs and see what the industry is like, it certainly exceeded my expectations by far,” she says. “We’re planning to put the U.S. wheels in motion with the release of a new song during 2017.”

You can learn more about Jayne Denham at and link to some of her hit music videos. For booking information, contact Stacey Wilbur,

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Why Won’t Your Engine Regen?

Basic Diagnostics You Should Know


Hardly a week rolls by without someone involving me in a conversation about an engine that won’t perform an after-treatment regeneration. The conversation is usually followed by a request to force a regen. It is critically important to know that if your engine will not regen, a defect must be identified and corrected. This article provides some much-needed information and, hopefully, clears up some misconceptions.

Before your red, check-engine light appears and your engine derates, your onboard computers have attempted many programmed routines to help clean the DPF. Your engine monitors the amount of fuel passing through it, as well as the pressure and temperature in the diesel particulate filter (DPF). A programmed calculation then determines the actual restriction or identifies the projected DPF restriction.

Your engine passively attempts to keep the DPF clean as you travel down the highway. If the DPF is not successfully cleaned, your yellow DPF light will illuminate, requiring the driver to help with the process. He has two options: change the mode in which the vehicle is being operated in order to get more heat into the exhaust, or stop and perform an active regen. If not, the red light will eventually illuminate, and the engine will shut down or derate. Of course, the best course of action is to do everything in your control to prevent this warning light from ever being activated.

Maintenance Checks

DPF problem prevention starts with basic maintenance. For example, if your fuel filter is extremely dirty, the engine may not be able to generate enough heat to regen itself or even allow you to initiate an active regen. As part of your maintenance schedule, your engine manufacturer may require a valve adjustment, sometimes referred to as running the overhead. If this is not done when recommended, your engine performance could be negatively impacted, creating a condition that prevents sufficient heat for regeneration.

Your air filter may simply be so dirty that it restricts the amount of air required for your engine to reach top performance. Also, the DPF doser, an injector located in the exhaust after the turbo, can become clogged and should be cleaned periodically. If the truck will not enter a regen cycle, the DPF doser should certainly be evaluated,

One more area of concern: be sure that the DPF system is properly sealed. Leaks can be identified by the black soot residue near sealing surfaces. Some manufacturers do not have a standard seal, but use exhaust tape. The tape must be properly applied to prevent leaks. The diagnostic checks referenced in this article are not all-inclusive, but rather provide an initial guide to identifying why your DPF system will not begin a regeneration event.

At TA-Petro, DPF cleaning services are provided in five markets: Nashville TN, Dallas TX, Chicago IL, Atlanta GA and Columbia NJ. DPF diagnostics are provided at most TA Truck Service locations from coast-to-coast and on most engine platforms. As the industry gains more experience with this clean-air technology, you’ll find certified TA Truck Service technicians ready to help you keep your truck rolling safely and on time.

Homer Hogg’s Maintenance Matters airs on the Dave Nemo Show (Road Dog Trucking, SiriusXM 146), 8 a.m. ET, the first and third Thursdays of each month.

Homer Hogg, Manager of Technical Development for TA and Petro, has worked as a truck technician for more than 35 years. He is ASE Master-Certified, a Daimler Certified Trainer, and a member of the Nashville Auto-Diesel College Hall of Fame.

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Sparkling Updates

sparks2Fuddruckers® & Minit Mart® Added

A brand new Fuddruckers® restaurant, the third in the TA Restaurant Group, is now open at TA Sparks, Nevada located at Exit 19 on I-80. The Texas-based eatery is known for having the World’s Greatest Hamburgers®, a 100% USDA premium-cut beef with no added fillers and grilled to guests’ liking. A wide variety of chicken and fish sandwiches, platters and classic salads is also available.

No matter what you choose, Restaurant GM Russell French and his team invite you to customize your meal with a trip to Fuddruckers’ legendary Build Your Own produce bar, which features delicious condiments like sun-ripened tomatoes, lettuce, sliced onions, dill pickles, pico de gallo salsa and classic cheese sauce. The Fuddruckers at TA Sparks showcases a classic, roadhouse design scheme and offers table seating for 100 guests. The restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days per week.



Store GM Jack Burnett and his staff are ready to serve you in the newly renovated Minit Mart convenience store. It offers a wide selection of fresh foods, snacks and a variety of hot and cold beverages including Cool Cup® fountain beverages and delicious World Blends® coffee. Fresh food offerings include healthy Good2Go fruit and veggie choices, plus a variety of delicious snacks.

The spacious, well-stocked store offers a wide range of merchandise including personal care items, clothing, electronics, truck lubricants and additives, protective gear, and accessories. Whatever your needs, you’ll finding the right products for your truck and travel needs.





Where: I-80 at Exit 19,
McCarran Blvd.

Phone: 775.359.0550

Fax: 775.332.1960

Truck Parking Spaces: 200

Reserve It! Parking: Yes

Diesel Refueling Lanes: 8 with DEF

Truck Service Bays: 3

RoadSquad Assistance: 24/7/365

Private Showers: 10

Restaurants: Fuddruckers

Special Attractions: Minit Mart, Casino, Walking Trail, Bean Bag Toss, Pet Area

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Spring is Turkey Time

Make the Most of Your Opportunities


March, April, and May are turkey months throughout the hills and valleys across most of rural America. The popularity of turkey hunting is growing substantially from year to year. Huge flocks of females (hens), common throughout the winter season, begin to break up into smaller subgroups of two to five birds as the month of March arrives with its increased amount of daylight. By April, older dominant breeder hens are apt to split off and be completely on their own as the urge to breed becomes a primary focus. But more commonly, pairs or even triplets of hens often meet in the middle of a field at first light, fly-down to feed, and then split up to nest after sunrise.

Male turkeys, commonly called “gobblers,” live in bachelor groups throughout the winter season, but also break up as the spring breeding season cranks up. While adolescent males, commonly called “jakes” might still stick together in groups of two to five birds, mature toms are more apt to be traveling alone. Occasionally, a pair of 2-year-old toms will still travel together. Usually one male will be more dominant than the rest and will prove so time and time again by fanning his tail and strutting his wares. Displays of male dominance like this will become more and more constant throughout the entire spring. Incidentally, by age three, most gobblers become loners during the breeding season.

When populations of males are at a very high level, yearling triplets might actually still travel together the entire spring. These birds are usually 2-year-old brothers; all sporting their first full beards and full tail fans. They gobble together, strut together, travel together, and even try to breed together. They fight constantly while trying to establish a hierarchy of sorts, but quite often, they all end up in the same game of spring breeding.

Gobblers that travel in tandems or triplets are among the most fun toms to hunt, because they are so competitive. They can be easily called into gun range due to their own shortsighted competitiveness. While trying to out-do each other, they often get into a foot race to your decoy. Obviously, this is a dream come true when such a hunt unfolds.

Setting Up for Success

Hunting for a big spring gobbler is certainly what turkey hunting is all about, and the quest is often full of surprises, as well as challenges. However, the whole logic behind how to hunt spring turkeys is actually quite simple. Spring gobblers generally always want to be where a breeding opportunity is likely to occur. In a nutshell, wherever a hen goes, a gobbler is sure to follow or eventually end up. Picking set-ups that are frequented by feeding and nesting hens is an excellent strategy at anytime throughout the spring.

Scanning the surroundings for visual turkey sighting is something most spring hunters become good at in short order. The trick is to make good use of binoculars and scan fields from long range whenever possible. The term long range is worth noting. A turkey’s eyesight is its best weapon against predators, including man. Turkeys can spot subtle movements much more so than deer or most other critters. This is why it is best to spot them at long range whenever possible and plan your hunt accordingly.

Another tactic experienced turkey hunters employ is using their ears to pick up subtle, almost imperceptible calls made by cruising hens hidden in nearby wooded areas. The telltale yelp of a feeding hen in a nearby wood lot could be a tip-off to pay dirt. Always treat a hen yelp with high regard since any cruising female is likely to attract a trailing tom. At the very least, her raspy voice is music to all lusty gobblers, and it is a sure bet that males will pick up on it and close in to investigate.

Making the Right Call

One of my absolute favorite and most productive spring turkey hunting strategies is what I commonly call “copy cattin’” a hen. Essentially, I attempt to mimic any hen I hear while on a spring hunt. Calling technique is paramount here, but definitely not difficult to master. The key is to copy her yelps in every way. If she yelps twice, you yelp twice. If she cuts and then yelps, you do the same. If her yelps get louder, you call louder, and vice versa. Try to replicate her vocal language as much as you can. Quite often, this aggravates a bossy hen. Sometimes she’ll actually get so annoyed by the whole process that she will be drawn right into your calling location in an effort to locate this pesky copycat.

As you continue this chatter with a nearby hen, your calling techniques automatically get better and you begin to understand how to manipulate your turkey call in order to achieve these tones. At the same time, all this gossip between you and the hen is sure to excite any gobbler cruising by, and will likely trigger strong vocal responses from him commonly referred to as gobbles. In other words, a vocal hen is likely to call in the gobbler for you! All you need to do is talk to the hen.

I can’t even begin to count how many times this tactic has worked for me over the years. In fact, I can honestly say I probably called as many toms into gun range with this method versus any other tactic employed. Getting a hen to talk back to your calling technique is absolutely deadly. Admittedly, there have even been times when I’ve gotten hens so fired up with this copy cattin’ trick that they’d end up hanging around my dekes (decoys) and yelping non-stop for an entire morning. Whenever this happens, I put my calls down and let the real thing do all the work. Gobblers are sure to find a vocal group of hens feeding around your decoys almost impossible to resist.

Speaking of decoys, my favorite setup for this style of hunting is usually a pair of hen dekes—and I prefer both to be in a feeding pose. While I’ve killed plenty of toms over upright, alertly postured hen dekes, I do think they tend to spook some birds. An upright posture on a turkey decoy occasionally puts an approaching gobbler on alert. However, feeding posture hen decoys nearly always relay a calming, safe scenario to a wary bird.

The most reliable indicator that your decoy(s) is non-threatening and acceptable is to watch the way other critters react to your setup. If crows, cranes, and small birds fly down and hang around your dekes, you’re definitely golden.

Hunting in Comfort

Finally, while today’s camo clothing enables you to blend in quite well with most surroundings, nothing beats a portable pop-up blind for spring turkey hunts. Of course, placement of the blind is critical, but once your blind is set up in a high traffic turkey area, you can sit in comfort and get away with movements such as glassing, munching on snacks, or sipping a cup of coffee without fear of spooking nearby game of any kind. Typically, I set up several blinds in key locations before a hunt and then store my decoys as well as a good folding chair or two inside, so I can prepare for a hunt quickly and quietly. These portable pop-up blinds are a blessing when weather turns foul too. They’ve made hunting during inclement weather possible and enable you to stay warm, dry and ready for action.

Interest in spring turkey hunting has grown by leaps and bounds all throughout North America. It is also one of the very best ways to hunt with family and friends. While many other forms of hunting require a solo approach, tag-team hunting for spring turkeys has many benefits. For one, an experienced caller can sit alongside a novice on the gun and teach him or her the ropes while coaxing a lusty tom into shot range. Secondly, the conversation and fellowship that is developed on any typical tag-team hunt can be rewarding in itself.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to hunt spring turkeys. All you need is a shotgun, a call, and a decoy. Add a portable pop-up blind to your arsenal, and you can hunt almost anywhere, any time. For RoadKing readers, consider that most states allow you to purchase a license right over the counter, and many good public land options exist when it comes to turkeys. Stop by a local sport shop and hook up with a local on private land who knows the ropes, and your odds improve immensely. Once you experience success on a spring turkey hunt, you’re likely to become addicted. That’s exactly what happened to me more than two decades ago.

The post Spring is Turkey Time appeared first on RoadKing Magazine.

You, Osteoarthritis & the Weather

Listen to What Your Body is Telling You


A 2007 STUDY FROM TUFTS UNIVERSITY found every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponds with an incremental increase in arthritis pain. In addition, relatively low barometric pressure and precipitation can increase pain. Researchers aren’t sure why this happens. They suspect certain atmospheric conditions increase swelling in joint capsules. An Arthritis Index based on a proprietary forecast is available at

So, what is osteoarthritis (OA), and how do you know if you have it? OA is a type of joint disease that results from the breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. The most common symptoms are joint pain and stiffness. This definition is universal in medicine. It is a natural result of living on earth. Earth’s gravity keeps us from floating away, but it also puts pressure on joints all over the body. The more you use your joints (heavy lifting, a joint injury at some point in your life, athletics, or just a very active lifestyle) the more likely you’ll develop OA.

Tufts University, one of the best academic institutions in the US, listened to stories from patients and used that information to develop the science that explains why weather affects arthritis pain. Although the study was small, it concluded that changes in weather definitely affect joint pain in individuals with OA. This validates what drivers have been telling me for more than 30 years, while taking care of them.

How does weather affect joint pain, and how can a driver predict that it’s going to rain soon? A driver with OA in one or more joints, most likely the hips and knees, feels the changes in the weather for one or more of these reasons:
Barometric pressure – A decrease in barometric pressure means there is less atmospheric pressure to hold down swelling. This causes tender joint tissue to swell, causing pain.

Temperature – Warmth sooths joint tissue and eases pain. Just the opposite, cold temperatures shrink and stiffen joint tissue, pull on nerves, and cause pain.

Humidity – An increase in humidity is often associated with approaching rain. If the rain is associated with a cold front, the environment cools and joint pain increases.

Keep in mind that age and/or previous joint injury are contributing factors that affect every joint from your neck to your toes.

Take Control of Your Situation

The next time the weather gives your joints grief, try these tips for relief:

Dress Warmly –
When it’s cold, layer up your clothes and gloves.

Hydrate –
Especially in dryer climates. Even mild dehydration could increase joint pain.

Lose Weight –
Weight loss will likely ease the intensity of OA.

Stay Limber – Check with your doctor to make sure it is okay, then EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE! Yoga or stretching regularly is a great way to increase flexibility and maintain joint health. You can do both in the cab of your truck.

Exercise – Every day for at least 15-20 minutes, the more vigorous, the better. An exercise log keeps you accountable and documents the negative effects should you slack off. Depending on the source(s) of your pain, following are other things to try:

Walk or jog around your truck (about 31 laps equals one mile) or use the trails at TA-Petro locations

Low-impact exercises are easy on the joints

Push-ups can be effective

Hip and shoulder rotations are good

Even shoulder shrugs can help

Finger massages and opening and closing your fingers (make a fist and then open your hand all the way). Do this as often as you can.

Head tilts and turns work neck joints

Tighten (for 10 seconds) and relax all your major muscle groups 3-4 times a day.

Water Exercise – When possible, working out in a warm pool is especially good for loosening stiff muscles, strengthening joints and easing discomfort. Water provides resistance, while lifting weight from aching joints.

Resistance Exercise –
Create a workout routine and utilize it at least 3-4 times each week. Equipment is not necessary to get adequate exercise. But you can bring along stretch bands or straps (stretch band systems especially designed for truckers are commercially available). A pair of dumbbells or even equipment from your rig can also work. Don’t forget about the well-equipped Fitness Rooms at most TA-Petro locations followed by a hot shower.

Anti-inflammatory Medication –
Arrange to visit your doctor. Discuss your joint pain and stiffness, and find out if anti-inflammatory medication is right for you.

The Arthritis Foundation also has a handy predictor to help monitor your joint pain level based on local weather conditions:

So, when a trucker tells you it’s going to rain, get colder, or the humidity is rising, he or she is right 90% of the time. This also explains why Snowbelt dwellers find it beneficial to migrate to warm, dry climates like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California during the coldest, dampest months of the year. By listening to what your body is telling you, you can better control the pain of OA. Learn more at

The post You, Osteoarthritis & the Weather appeared first on RoadKing Magazine.

Monster Year Ahead

NASCAR Changes Add Interest to Cup Series

Having committed to a multi-year agreement, Monster Energy will become only the third entitlement sponsor in NASCAR premier series history, following RJ Reynolds and Sprint/Nextel. As part of the agreement, the brand has the naming rights for the prestigious annual NASCAR All-Star Race and also becomes the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR.

“Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. As part of the agreement, Monster Energy will engage with fans in creative, innovative ways at all premier series tracks.”

NASCAR also unveiled a new brand identity that replaces the bar mark used by the sanctioning body since 1976. The new brand mark and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series identity signify a new era. The NASCAR branding pays tribute to its storied history, incorporating elements of all four previous marks since the company’s inaugural 1948 season.

Changing of Guard Begins

The exodus of upper-echelon Cup drivers that began with Jeff Gordon’s retirement from fulltime competition at the end of 2015 continued with Tony Stewart last year. At age 47, Greg Biffle lost his ride in an offseason Roush downsizing, and Carl Edwards unexpectedly walked away from JGR at age 37. Speculation has it that Jimmie Johnson would call it quits should he win an eighth championship. Coming back from head trauma at 42, how long will Dale Jr. stay in the No. 88? Matt Kenseth, 44, Kevin Harvick, 41, and Jamie McMurray, 40, have entered the retirement rumor mill. Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer, who is moving into the Stewart-Haas No. 14, also are mentioned.

Several young guns are knocking on success’ door. The onboard up-and-comers include Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones and Kyle Larsen. Xfinity Series champion Daniel Suáraz is sliding into Edwards’ seat. Justin Allgaier and Ty Dillon are waiting in the wings for an opportunity to open. Several others are gaining valuable experience in the quest to move up to the top series. Look to the driver development programs of top-tier Cup teams to see others who are being groomed to take the wheel in the years ahead.

New Playoff Points System

NASCAR announced an enhanced competition format that will be implemented in all three of its national series. Increasing the sense of urgency and emphasizing aggressive racing and strategy, the race format will deliver more dramatic moments over the course of an entire race and season, with playoff point incentives on the line throughout. The 10-race playoff will no longer be called “The Chase.”


The enhanced format consists of the following:

Races will have three stages, with championship point implications in each stage.

The top-10 finishers of the first two stages will be awarded additional championship points.

The winner of the first two stages of each race will receive one playoff point, and the race winner will receive five playoff points. Each playoff point will be added to his or her reset total following race No. 26, if that competitor makes the playoffs.

All playoff points will carry through to the end of the third round of the playoffs (Round of 8). The Championship 4 will race straight-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title.

Championship points following the first two stages will be awarded on a descending scale, with the final stage winner receiving 10 points, second receiving 9 points, and so on.

The race winner following the final stage will now receive 40 points, second-place will receive 35, third-place 34, fourth-place 33, and so on. Positions 36 – 40 receive 1 point.

NASCAR also announced a playoff bonus structure that will see the regular season points leader honored as the regular season champion, earning 15 playoff points that will be added to the driver’s playoff reset of 2,000. In addition, the top-10 drivers in points leading into the playoffs will receive playoff points, with second earning 10, third earning 8, fourth earning 7, and so on. All playoff points will count through the end of the Round of 8. Learn more at

Other Changes

Toyota teams in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will arrive at Daytona wheeling new 2018 Camry race cars. Toyota’s two powerhouse organizations, Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing, were involved in the development process. Chevrolet will introduce a new race car in NASCAR’s top division for the 2018 season. Stewart-Haas Racing surprisingly switched to Fords for 2017.

NASCAR updated its rulebook for all three national series. The restrictor plate hole is reduced 1/64 to 7/8-in. at Daytona and Talladega. A roof exit hatch is now mandatory at superspeedway events, optional at others. A stronger foot box results from a toe-board absorbing material at superspeedway events. To decrease downforce, the Cup Series spoiler size has been reduced to 2.37 inches from 3.50 inches. Drivers in all three series will also be allowed to wear biometric devices (i.e. activity trackers) in the cockpit.

Cup teams will also be given fewer sets of tires in 13 of the season’s 36 races as follows: Daytona, Phoenix, Fontana, Martinsville, Bristol, Kansas, Kentucky, Bristol, Chicagoland (playoff), Kansas (playoff), Martinsville (playoff), Phoenix (playoff), Homestead-Miami (playoff). More sets of tires will be allowed in eight races: Talladega, Sonoma, Daytona, New Hampshire, Watkins Glen, Darlington, New Hampshire (playoff), Talladega (playoff).

The post Monster Year Ahead appeared first on RoadKing Magazine.

Stuff Happens

How are you at handling mistakes?


BY: David A. Kolman, Senior Editor

THE IMPORTANT THING IS OUR RESPONSE—our attitude about mistakes and failures and how we react to them. The best attitude is to appreciate our mistakes for what they are: lessons that many times can only be learned the hard way.

A mistake made early in my trucking career taught me a very valuable lesson that is indelibly etched in my brain. Perhaps you’ve done something similar and can relate to this example. I was dispatched for what should have been a simple drop-and-hook at an unattended trailer yard. I arrived there in the middle of a blustery, very snowy winter night, behind schedule. In my haste, I hooked to the wrong trailer, and off I went.

Imagine my shock when I arrived at my delivery location. You cannot envision how displeased and enraged my dispatcher was about my mistake.

Attitude is Everything

I have discovered that people who are successful understand that while mistakes and failures are obstacles, they also present opportunities. Rather than assigning blame and being afraid to try again to avoid another error or lack of achievement, successful people learn from their mistakes and failures, and press on. Attitude is key: you need to recognize failure as a key to success, because each mistake teaches something.

Another mental outlook common to successful people is the desire and commitment to be successful.

Babe Ruth, a great figure in Major League Baseball history, earned his fame by setting two home run records. Roger Maris topped Ruth’s 1927 season mark of 60 home runs with 61 during 1961. On May 25, 1935, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, PA, Ruth hit his 714th round tripper, a career record that stood for almost 40 years until Hank Aaron broke it in 1974.

At the end of his career in 1935, Ruth also held the record for career strikeouts: 1,330. At the time, he struck out more times than any other player in Major League Baseball history. Ruth’s remarkable career came in part, because he was not afraid to strike out. To date, 117 others—many are fellow Hall of Famers—have topped Ruth’s career strikeout record.

Perhaps the greatest mistake we can make is to be continually afraid we will make a blunder or fail at something.

There is little difference between people, but that little difference can make a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative. Attitude is everything because it drives behavior.

The Roulette Wheel

After finishing a delivery in Las Vegas, my trucking pal, Willis, decided to do a little gambling. He placed a $5 bet at a roulette table. His number won. He continued to bet, each time wagering more money and each time winning. Within a short time, he had accumulated $5,000 in winnings.

Feeling on top of the world with his good luck—and his small fortune—he made his way to the casino’s cashier station. But before arriving there, he felt an urge to bet just one more time.

He returned to the same roulette table where he had been playing. He wagered his entire earnings and watched—with great anticipation—as the wheel spun. It did not stop on his number. The $5,000 was gone.

With that, Willis left the table and returned to his truck. Shortly thereafter, his wife telephoned. “Did you do any gambling?” she asked. “I sure did,” he replied. “How’d you do?” she wanted to know. “I only lost $5,” he told her. Willis is the most positive person I know.


Always keep successes and failures in perspective. Remove the word failure from your vocabulary. Instead, use words like experience, results, challenge, opportunity, temporary setback, and unsuccessful attempt.

Just a matter of semantics? No, it is a process of conditioning the mind to use failure as a steppingstone to success. The next time you make a mistake or fail at something, think of it as an opportunity for learning.


Some tips to help you handle mistakes, move past them, and get on with things:

  1. Acknowledge that you’ve made a mistake. Stay calm, consider what happened and evaluate how much damage has been done.
  2. Accept responsibility for the mistake. Inform others, who will be directly affected by it, know exactly what happened.
  3. Develop a plan to fix the mistake and to minimize its effect.
  4. See what you can learn from the mistake. Experience is a great teacher.
  5. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: the opportunity to begin again, this time with the value of experience.
  6. Once a mistake is handled adequately, forgive yourself and move on.
  7. Don’t be afraid to admit you made a mistake. It’s like saying you’re wiser today than you were yesterday.

The post Stuff Happens appeared first on RoadKing Magazine.

On a Roll

One More Reason to Stop

Mention Petro Johnson’s Corner to any seasoned driver, and the response will likely be, “Great cinnamon rolls.” It’s been that way since the first one was served shortly after the 1952 opening with nothing around but farmland and a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. Open 24/7/365, Johnson’s Corner has never closed its doors since, and still hasn’t run out of cinnamon rolls.

With its dedicated bakery located across the street from the truck stop and its staff of 21 headed by Chris Harder, you’ll always find delicious, baked-fresh-daily cinnamon rolls, pies and cakes in the Travel Store display cases. The cinnamon rolls are now available at all 256 TA-Petro locations, and you can pick them up at 7-Eleven stores in Colorado and Utah and 40 Walgreens stores in Colorado. Recently, a retail site on Concourse A at the Denver International Airport was added.

The ‘ooey-gooey’ cinnamon rolls are always just a click away at You can choose from the classic original or the flavor of the month, large or mini, 6 or 12. Some TA-Petro locations are now using the cinnamon rolls as the basis for spectacular French toast and outstanding bread pudding.

The Johnson’s Corner restaurant is well known for dishing up great food and plenty of it for more than 60 years. Lunches and dinners are always delicious, but the breakfasts—served all day—make it a favorite for hungry drivers. If you’re in a hurry, you can always phone ahead to have anything on the menu ready to go when you arrive.


Where: I-25 at Exit 254, Johnstown, CO 80534

Phone: 970.667.2069

Fax: 970.667.8669

Truck Parking Spaces: 110

Diesel Refueling Lanes: 6 with DEF

Private Showers: 6

Restaurant: Johnson’s Corner Restaurant & Bakery

Special Attractions: Travel Store, Country Store, Pet Area, Drivers’ Lounge, Direct TV/NFL Sunday Ticket


The post On a Roll appeared first on RoadKing Magazine.