I've been sprinting from one side of the MATS grounds to the other. Press conferences on one side, vendors & exhibitors in the middle, snazzy show trucks front and back. Forgot my pedometer this time. It's a great cardiac workout, blood pumping, revved up, all cylinders firing.
The mood and tone this year are dramatically different from this time last year. Although every one acknowledges that we're dealing with tough economic conditions, the prevailing sentiment is that we will get through this together. Optimism in the face of adversity.
My favorite place is still with the show trucks. I just love the smell of chrome and diesel in the morning. I parked out behind the shiny rides - starting and ending my tour of duty with them is one of my favorite things to do. Bright and early this morning, participants, long done being "officially" judged, were out wiping their trucks down. The parking lots filled, and on a crisp, cool and clear day drivers and their families milled about - looking for concert tickets to Aaron Tippin, admiring trucks, talking with each other, cameras and phones at the ready.
Jami and I went to the Arrow Trucks Back On The Road 2009 press conference. Dennis Lott, United States Air Force veteran, was honored to win the opportunity to spend a year behind the wheel of a Volvo VNL670 tractor, leased to Heartland Express, insured by OOIDA. A longtime truck driver who, due to circumstances outside of his control, was forced off the road is getting ready to build a better future. I'm on my way to visit with Dennis now and learn more about his story.
I don't want to be late. Gotta run.