How I found JP Allen!

Okay, folks – last year, 2009, was not a great year for me. Well, t’was quite transformative to say the least.

In April, after a 2 and a half month stay in the hospital, my mom passed away.

Later, at the beginning of the Labor Day Weekend, the tractor-trailer I was driving rolled over and landed on my left arm. The story about that is here:

But no condolences are necessary or needed; I suffered two back-to-back tragedies and survived them both. I thank God and The Universe for that!

Getting another chance and while in rehab, I decided to follow my dreams once again. One of them was to become a harmonica player. To really learn how to master this little – but fun – instrument once and for all.

When I was well enough and strong enough to get back online, I googled and surfed about harmonicas. One of the first places I landed was YouTube. One of the first YouTube vids I saw was JP Allen’s free harmonica lessons.

Well I signed up using one of my email addresses – to control the spam factor – but these guys never spammed me. Just sent me cool video links to all of JP’s free lessons.

I watched other videos of other people; and even signed up for other forums and websites and what have you. But I kept coming back to JP Allen’s videos because I really liked his energy and enthusiasm. It’s definitely infectious, and really in a good way too!

By now as well, I started ordering books, cds, dvds, harps and everything. I joined the David Gage & Tony Eyers’ websites. For some reason though, and please nobody take this the wrong way – Jon Gindick scares me. I don’t know why that is. I can’t exactly say why, except the word “flashbacks” keep coming to mind. And I’ll leave it at that.

But I and hopefully nobody’s here to slam or talk negatively about anyone else, but I and hopefully you as well can feel comfortable enough in giving your impressions and reviews of things you and me come across here. Keep on trucking! Keep on smiling! Anyways…

I ordered JP Allen’s home harmonica course. And let me tell you, speaking for myself, it’s one the best things I’ve ever personally invested in for myself.

JP Allen packs so much information, entertainment, and energy into his dvd package – just unfreakinbelievable! And I certainly mean that in a good way!!

Take it from a guy who’s purchased a lot of harmonica stuff and has had a chance to taste and review a lot more harmonica stuff in a rather relatively short time – JP Allen’s is one of the best, if not the best home harmonica study course ever produced. {No, I get no endorsements for saying this! If only…but seriously….}

And yet, with all those fun YouTube videos, non-spamming emails, and the really thought out and well-produced dvd boxed set – The only thing, the only thing I found lacking, or rather missing is a place to connect with other JP Allen fans and students alike.

I know you’re out there. At least I’m hoping you are!

So finally, and better late than never, a place where we can all congregate, talk, discuss and chat about the things we’ve learned and discovered through JP Allen’s home harmonica courses.

And of course, not just for JP Allen fans and students, but for anybody and everybody to hang out and have a good time here as well. There’s always something new and exciting to learn about in the harmonica universe! So feel free to share it!

And, hey, even if JP’s videos scared you and/or brought you any of your own unexpectedly, undue ‘flashbacks’ – well, sorry to hear that – Hope you’re feeling better now!

And hey, how did you come across JP Allen? I’d like to hear from you!

And hey, if my long posts scare you – Well, I apologize for this as well. For a guy who suffered a rollover, walked away and lived to talk about it; who has a good right arm and a not so good left arm anymore; but was able to learn how to play harmonica with the help of JP Allen’s home study course – well I’m doing pretty good now, by golly, I must say.

So - Keep on smiling!

Keep on harpin’!

Thanks for reading!

Thanks SPD!

I so stoked to hear my lessons helped you.


Great story Mr. Dude! I am so happy that things worked out for you! I also used the harmonica to get over my Dad’s passing. I found JP Allen on the internet. I was impressed by his “free stuff” and ordered the CD set. I was not dissapointed!

I was impressed by his "free stuff" and ordered the CD set. I was not dissapointed!

Definitely contagious there ain’t it, Mr. James!

All in a good way too!


Keep on harpin’!


It’s really a Great story. Everyone should go forward to make his dreams true. If you come happy, you make all the people around you a little bit happy!


Thanks Igor!

If you come happy, you make all the people around you a little bit happy!

Well one can only hope.

I remember an old military buddy I visited with in Tucson, Arizona. I don’t know whatever he did or where he is now. Yet believe it or not, we each tried our hand at stand-up comedy in our own different ways and times.

We each failed miserably. So much for making people happy on those ventures, eh?!

But for myself, whenever I hear the phrase “just be yourself” – Well I cringe at it because it takes a long time, many years even, for someone to learn ‘just to be themselves.’

2009, as awful as it was for me personally on some levels, on others it brought me to the point of just saying: “Phuckit - I’m still here!” I really didn’t have anything to prove to anyone but myself, and I still have something of value to offer and share with the world!

So one thing led to another, and Poofs! Here we are, no worse for the wear!

Not all days are great; but, hey, they were never meant to be. They just is! Yet there’s always something good to find somewhere even if it slaps you in the face and says: “No shit! That was truly worthwhile and funny wasn’t it?!”

So on that fine note then:

Have fun!


Thanks for reading!

Keep On Harpin’!

Peace & SPD Out!

Hey Spudman, you are so right about JP’s excitement that becomes contagious.
I feel he can connect with any age easily.
As for you SPD, I sure am glad you made it through so well so you could be our favorite web cop. Of course, I can’t let it go without saying…
How come you couldn’t just jack that tractor off your arm with that BIG MOUTH?
Just joking everybody…I love to harass SPD. AND he obviously loves to send it back, and he does it good.
That was a frightening looking wreck. When I was a technician, I was always afraid I would make some little error that would cause someone an accident. I checked and double checked my work. We have to be careful with you drivers. Was there a final word on the cause of the accident? Don’t answer if that’s a bad area.
Anyway, I’m glad we’re all here to be HAPPY and enjoy being harpin maniacs.
Good job SPD and JP and everyone that we don’t notice who makes this all possible.
Remember to be nice to truckers. If they don’t run, you don’t eat, or drink, or wipe, etc.


Sounds like ZEN!! ;D
All the life is the way.

Have fun!

Hey SPD, the reason I asked about the final determination, I had a vehicle roll once (I was the managing technician for the fleet…the only one actually). Man, they were ducking and scratching trying to find somebody to fire. They pulled all my records on the vehicle and assigned 12 techs to the wreck on a search and destroy mission (searching to destroy ME). They couldn’t find a “t” uncrossed or a screw left untightened, so they went on to attack the next man in line. I always worried over my drivers. They said I was their second mother…compliment? But somebody has to make sure these drivers have as safe a rig as possible. They have faith in their rigs, and the rig doesn’t let them down usually, we techs do.
I’m just glad you’re with us so we can mess with you.
And, I really hate to say this, but you do a great job here for us.
If any of you don’t appreciate our drivers, just look at your plate the next time you sit at the table and imagine it empty. Look at your feet on a cold day and imagine them bare, etc., etc.
Without our trucks ripping up and down the road for us, we would have only what we could find in the woods. Ever eat skunk fricasee or skunk-ka-bobs? And no, Spud, that will not be my new handle.


@ Igor & All The Rest!

Thanks for your kind comments; but it takes two to tango…Or in this case, one to write, one to read, and even more to communicate with each other throughout this fine community center of ours here.

Part of my philosophy is: doors open, doors close all the time. since nature abhors a vacuum, even if you’re taking the time to stop and smell the roses, at least pick yourself up again and keep on moving! or as my fellow brotherhood and sisterhood would say: Keep On Trucking!

@ “Shiksa”-Bob in particular!

It’s all good, man!

Meaning, jibbing, jiving, the rocking 'n rolling with each other for sure!!

It’s like CB Town here with truckers taking their breaks at truckstops, blowing off a little steam, exchanging information they picked up here and there, then trying to make each other laugh with their comments and observations, all the while learning something new that could be useful whenever they’re heading out to wherever it is they’re going next…It’s all good, man!

I’ve got a zillion great trucking stories and adventures that can be related to everything else in life; including the hardest one, the last one.

It don’t mean squat to anybody whose not been through something similar; however, the short of it is, I contend and will contend to the end that the accident was caused by a four-wheeler (car) who decided his was the day he was going to fuck with a truck. Most specifically, mine!

On this bright sunny day before the Labor Day Weekend, I’d finish my round trip - one I’ve been on regularly - from Northeastern PA down to Philadelphia and back - and be home to start my cookout in no time.

That is until this four-wheeler decided to throw a wrench into the works. Briefly, he pulled out in front of me. As I manuevered around to pass, he sped up. I got back behind him, and shortly thereafter he slowed down. I attempted to pass again to no avail.

Getting behind him, we came to a mountain pass. The sign read 30 MPH Ahead. No problem. I knew all about it. Yet the four-wheeler actually stopped, slammed on his brakes, in the middle of the road!

I had no other choice but to go around him. At that, he sped up once more. I went into the “S” curve with the jake brake on while standing on my brakes…

Gravity and centrifugal force caused the light loaded trailer to kick out and pull the tractor backwards…

As I came out of the curve, the tractor began tipping over. All I said was: “God, please don’t kill me or let me die here!”

After everything came to a rest, the left side of the truck had been sheared off and my left hand went directly into the dirt. Had there been asphalt or concrete on the shoulder, my hand would’ve been gone.

Unable to release everything but my arm, I said: “God, I don’t care if I’m a cripple or a gimp for the rest of my life, I’ll live with it, but please don’t take my arm!”

The only thing my Big Mouth could do at that point was keep me alive. The first to show up was a nurse heading home from work. And then a Wal-Mart trucker who was heading down into town himself. He, John, kept me talking and comforted until help arrived 45 minutes later to raise the tractor off my arm.

Since no officer talked to me directly, it took many months to finally get a copy of a police report. It was discovered the SOB four-wheeler had waited for the troopers to arrive so he could get his story out first and tell them it was all my fault.

Since my company talked to me in the hospital and heard my version first, the one I say really happend, they never bought the asshole’s story; nor did my attorney who believed me as well. However, neither could contest the state trooper’s report just because nobody ever talked to me directly, and by that time it was too late.

Four-wheeler got away with it; four-wheeler has to live with it. Oh well!

So it’s been a little over a year since it happened; but while my trucking career is over, this story probably won’t ever have an ending. One book closes; another book is now being lived and written as it were. That’s life, eh?! Glad to be alive and here!!

Oh, yeah, but, diesel mechanics and I always got along. Of the various outfits I worked with over the years, more than a few asked me how comes I never bitched, moaned and groaned about them or the wait on my truck. Meaning?

Apparently, other truckers did for whatever reason. But my answer was always: Why should I say anything negative against you guys? My job is driving; your job is keeping the equipment up. We’re both responsible and grunts working for The Man. It’s all good!

So it is, so it was!!

But yeah, whenever the mechanics went out of their way to tell me they found this or that problem then fixed it and/or they did this or that extra for me to add to my comfort etc. – Well, I’d just shake their greasy, oily hands and say: Thanks, man!

As well was all returned with: Have a safe trip, driver!!

Okay enough of the reminiscence now, time to see what’s what and who’s news here!

Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for reading!


Have fun!

Keep on rockin n’ rollin, jibbing and jiving, yo!!

Peace & SPD Out!

That’s how we helped you drivers keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down.
But then sometimes others intervene and crash our little party.
They have that show on TV about the most dangerous drives, but nobody realizes just how treacherous our daily travelled roads can be…right here in River City.
We had a driver come in the center one night. He’d picked up doubles at the next yard about 30 miles away down the interstate. He said he felt a little funny coming off the yard, but the rig pulled fine down the road and on the highway. He showed me where his dolly had come off the pintle and was nestled in the chains. How did it pull that good through traffic (light though it was) and on the stretch out?
Ever have that happen to you? That was the one and only for us.


True Story, well a Trucker’s Tale at that…

{A fairy tale begins: “Once upon a Time…” A Trucker’s Tale begins: “Man, you ain’t gonna believe this shit…!!”}

Back in the late 80s, was working for a big nationwide carrier. Twas in December before the holidays up in Maine at a paper mill; night had fallen; and I had to swap out my company’s empty 48 foot trailer for one of their 53 foot loaded trailers. Thing is, the loaded trailer was stuck in a frozen snow bank, and took some doing to get it hooked and pulled out.

Eventually, I did. As well as got the ice and snow off the back bumper to see the tail lights. I don’t exactly remember where the load was going except south to hopefully a warmer climate. Nice little run for me.

Yet all through the night, I noticed the trailer’s chicken lights going on and off. At the same time, some truckers and me were in a convoy just talking about this, that and whatever. The talk about trailer sizes came up more than once, as did my on again, off again, on again lights. Don’t know how I did it, but got through the check points okay. And was never stopped by any troopers.

Since I was heading long southeast, my route passed by our yard just south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I had to stop there for fuel, etc. anyways.

Pulling in about 3 AM, I asked the fueler to get a mechanic to check out my trailer lights. As they weren’t busy, figuring it’d be something minor and doable within the hour, I could leave my truck on the line. I went off, grabbed a shower and coffee mug fill-up, and would be on my way soon enough to get passed the Baltimore/DC morning zoo traffic.

When I returned about 45 minutes later, I signed for the fuel. The mechanic came over and said: “Hey, Driver, where’d you get this trailer?” I told him from the paper plant in Maine.

He asked: “How heavy are ya?” With the fuel I just put on, I calculated I was grossed out about 79.5/80,000 pounds. I knew I’d burn some fuel off before seeing a Chicken Coop again. Yet since they had a scale there, I said I’d check everything out before I left. And if I needed a hand sliding the tandems, perhaps he could help.

At that he said: “Follow me.” I did. “Look under there…” It was up underneath the trailer. I don’t know what I was looking for. So with flashlight in hand, he showed me.

“See that?” See what?! At that point, he explained to me what I’m explaining to you now. That is, recently, well back then, the DOT started allowing 53 foot trailers to begin transporting freight. This was up from the 48 foot trailers.

However, rather than this company purchase new trailers, they decided to save money by chopping up old trailers and using the materials to add the extra 5 feet to other ones. With over a couple thousand 48 foot trailers at their disposal, and more than a few hundred reconstituted 53 footers now, they were saving themselves a good penny. Or so they thought!

With 48 footers, these were the old ‘spring’ trailers; the newer 53 footers were designated ‘air rides.’ Without detailing the technical stuff, the trailers with springs beat the hell out of you; air ride with air bags was like riding on a cloud.

But these 48’s cum 53’s were springs. And what the company discovered was that overtime the welds and stuff broke down. And this began causing huge problems for both drivers and the company overall.

The mechanic showed me where several boards on the floor of the trailer had become separated; as well as cracks could now be seen all along the bottom running up the sides of the trailer where the welding was done. I was quite stunned to say the least.

When he asked me how come I didn’t notice any of these things when I first hooked up to it, I told him how in the hell was I supposed to know anything if nobody ever told me before. Oh, yeah, the company never mentioned these facts to the drivers. You only found it out after the fact! After something happened!

Plus at the same time, getting the trailer when it was dark, with the trailer top to bottom being covered in slush and ice looking like it was in a war - It really was difficult seeing any of this without knowing what to look for in the first place.

I came in because of my flickering chicken lights. The mechanic said: “Those flickering chicken lights saved your life, buddy. And probably countless others too. At least you had the good sense enough to bring it in here. Had you stopped at a truck stop, I don’t even think they’d’ve noticed anything wrong. But how you got it here without having an accident, well, you have a guardian angel on your shoulder or something, driver!”

Well more the former than the latter. But what next?

I was dead-lined on the spot; directed to grab my gear and was put into a hotel room until further notice. I didn’t even drive the rig off the fuel line, as it was now the mechanic’s responsibility to take everything over from there.

Well, from there, the load was split, eventually emptied and transferred to two other trailers. And they went along their ways without me as I was dispatched elsewhere.

And of this trailer and several others like it sitting around the back lot? All chopped up as scrap and sold off to salvage yards.

Eventually, they did phase out their 53s for brand new ones. However, whenever I was told to pick up one of their rebuilt 53 footers, empty or loaded, I’d make sure to dead-line it on the spot, regardless if there was anything wrong with it or not.

Oh, and as for the overall company itself – Well I left them a few months later for greener pastures or so I’d think. But yeah, they’re still in business as a minor outfit - mostly for a hundred or so Owner/Operators now. Yet not as big or important as they used to with the thousands of combined O/Os and company drivers they once had and could boast about.

So that’s my biggest story about this experience; a few others along the way, sure. But not as good as my run from Maine to being dead-lined several hundred miles and hours later - With me and everyone else I’ll never know making it out alive! 10-4!

What a story. Before you clued me in, I was imagining the broken floor part of your story was how your load shifted in your accident. Who knows how the appearance of that 53’ changed over your haul that night. It might have looked top notch when you started out. Scabbing over work like that (IMHO anyway) is criminal. They cheat you drivers into hauling death.
Keep her sunny side up, and I’ll catch you on the flip.
But I’ll be 10-10 and listenin’ in.
This be the old Bugleboy hollerin’ atchee, and I’m outa here.