Time to Say Goodbye

I’m coming up on 23 years as a professional truck driver. 23 years!! Wow, never thought that I would be doing this for that long.  My initial plans were to drive a truck for 2-3 years then open my own trucking company. Well, needless to say, that didn’t happen. I thought about it for a long time but decided that having my truck leased to a company would be better.

I spent weeks out on the road away from my kids for years. I would come home on the weekends and they would come running when I pulled into the yard with the truck.  The first thing my daughter would ask me is how much is the check. I’d laugh and tell her  something maybe $500 less than what it really was.  My son, on the other hand, would jump into the driver seat before I could get out. He’d sit there for about an hour, pretending to be going through the gears, making engine noises with his mouth.  My daughter showing the things in a magazine, hoping I would agree to purchase it for her.  Of course, I have burst her bubble and tell her, “Bills first.”

During my many years of travel (work), I took a lot of pictures. At one point, I teamed up with a friend and went further than I ever would solo.  Who would have thought I  would be in Washington state or Oregon? I have picked up and delivered in 46 states. North Dakota and Maine are the only ones I have not traveled in.

Music has taken me across the U.S. and back. Don’t know how I could have made it without it!  I have tried to take as many pictures as I can in each state. Most of the pictures were taken with a little 3 mega pixel camera, which took some amazing pictures. I have added some of my many pictures below.

 

 

I have enjoyed being out on the road. I’ve met some very interesting people. I’ve been close to a lot of vacation spots and historical monuments but did not have the chance to stop and enjoy.  I had hoped that once I slowed down a bit that I would get the chance to actually travel to them. Well, I haven’t made it back yet, but its something I am looking forward to once I stop.  I have always said, “You don’t have to leave the country to find a beautiful vacation spot. Just look out your back window!”

SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA takes ‘de facto’ fatigue regulation to court: Land Line Magazine

SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA takes ‘de facto’ fatigue regulation to court: Land Line Magazine.

Riding the Highways

Riding the highways of this great country of ours has given men a great sense of home!.  I spend most of my time out here making timely deliveries and pick ups for shippers and receivers.  In some cases, it can be a great thing, meeting new people, seeing the country and how others live, dealing with other state traffic laws.  But, more than enough, you find yourself longing for home.  Depending on how close you are to your family, going home is something you look forward to at the end of the week.  I am very close to my family and can’t wait sometimes to get home to my granddaughters.  As they say, home is where the heart is and for most of us out here, that’s a true statement.

Not every truck stop you go to is clean, some of the parking lots are not paved and have a lot of pot holes that you pray your truck won’t get stuck in.  There are plenty with paved parking lots and hundred of spaces, with a truck wash on the premises.  But the ones that have every amenity that you need while out here, still can’t take the place of being home.  The truck stops are equipped with showers, laundry rooms, and restaurants, TV rooms where you can watch cable or movies and fast food.  Just about everthing you need.  But still, it’s not like being home.

After a while of sleeping in the truck, you find it hard to sleep in your own bed at home.  Like me, I found myself sleeping on the sofa in the den.  I’ve tried replacing the mattress in the truck with a twin mattress, even though it’s more comfortable, it doesn’t feel like the one at home.  Maybe it’s because of the noise of the truck’s engine that I am missing when I am in my bed, that noise is not in my bedroom!

When you pull into a truck stop and lucky enough to find a parking space, you go in and the smells sometimes remind you of being home.  Other times, it makes you think you have walked into the men’s bathroom.  You walk into the restaurant, if they have one, to find out what is on special for the day.  They tell you its Smothered Pork Chop, green beans and mashed potatoes, you place the order and when you get it, the gravy on the pork chops is thick and greasy, the mashed potatoes could stick on the wall for days before falling off.  You struggle through the meal and pay the bill, then the regret of eating such a heavy meal start to creep up.  It’s meals like that that will put the weight on you.  There are many transportation agencies that are trying to get the truck driver to think about what they are eating and how to control their weight.  They need to start with the truck stop restaurant and make sure the foods they are serving are healthy.  If a driver has a choice between smothered pork chops and a chef salad, which do you think he will pick?

When I finally make it home, I try to spend as much time with my family as possible because I know in a few days, I will right back at it again.  I’ll end up somewhere 600 miles away and by the end of the week, I would have driven about 3000.  Yeah, home is where I want to be, but driving is my passion and I would rather not do anything else.