Driving Career Is Over

Sorry that it’s been a while since my last post, have been pretty busy. I’m sure you all knew how much I loved my job as a truck driver, but it has come to an end. I really loved it more than any job I had ever had, but I was really missing my kids & girlfriend. I had missed all my 13 year old daughter’s softball games over the past two years & my son is fixing to be four & he will soon be getting into stuff. It has been really hard weighing the love for my job against missing everybody. 

Back in 06-09 I was a dispatcher for a local trucking company & about 4 weeks ago they asked me to come back. I took a little bit of a pay cut, but just couldn’t pass up the hours (7-5 Monday-Friday), yep I’m now home every night & every single weekend. Damn, it sure feels good as opposed to only being home 4 days a month. My mom is really loving it….she hated that she couldn’t come over for cookouts whenever she could. I really do miss driving & seeing this beautiful country of ours, but nothing beats being home with family & friends all the time. 

I am loving my new/old job….the company has really grown & it’s way more hectic with more drivers & keeps my busy & on my toes. Anyway, wanted to fill you all in & let you know that I’m still gonna write when I can, it just won’t much on trucking anymore. Gonna get back to writing about whatever I feel at the time. Might throw in some sports since I actually get to watch again. So glad that football has started back. Gonna leave you with one last shot of my truck when I turned it in (had it washed so it would be good to go for the next driver). Til next time peeps…

  

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East vs West

So, I’m always hearing about drivers complaining about going to different parts of the country. They say I prefer the west coast or I prefer the east coast. I even heard a driver at one of our terminals say he told his dispatcher that his atlas was blank east of Tennessee. It seems that most to me would rather run out west, I on the other hand prefer the east. I guess it’s maybe because when I first started on my own…Indiana was about the farthest west (being out of Memphis) I went for a while. I stayed east & north east for a good while & basically learned to drive a truck there. I don’t turn loads down (I go wherever they need me to go), but I don’t like California & Oregon. 

Oregon is just beautiful, but both of these states has the truck speed limit at 55mph. I’m not one that complains about our trucks being goverened to certain speeds, but both of these states have alot of hills/mountains & when we hit these with loaded trucks it’s hard for us to get up them. We end up only going like 35-40mph. That makes for a very long day. Feels like you have been working your ass off & not getting anywhere. I guess that’s my main reason for not liking going there. It’s a pain to find truck parking in California too. 

The other thing that I do like about the east is…winter. They prepare the roads ahead of time & it’s much easier & safer for all drivers. Out west, they either tell you to throw on chains or they just completley shut the road down. I don’t mind the rest of the west, just not all the way to the coast. Where do you like to run & why? Here is a shot of a cool truck I got at a Pilot in Texas. Later found out that it was done on CMT’s “Trick My Truck”. Til next time peeps…

  

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Oh, The Rest Areas

I know you are familiar with rest areas from family vacations growing up. We have them all over the south where I’m from. Alot of truckers park in them at night. I have every now & then if I was running late, but mostly just use them for quick bathroom breaks because they are real easy to get in & out of. What I never knew until I became a truck driver, is that up in the northeast they are called “Service Plazas”. They are really cool….you can get fuel, they have a few restaurants in them, Starbucks, & small  convenience stores in them.

We went on vacation every summer when my brother & I were growing up & way back then I had the idea or wondered why nobody had thought to put gas/fuel pumps & stores in the rest areas. I guess somebody with money & the same idea started them up here in the northeast. Money always beats you to the punch on great ideas huh? Anyway, I think they should change all the rest areas over to these “Service Plazas”. They are really cool & makes traveling alot easier on you than having to get off at an exit & go through all the traffic & lights. Next time you travel up here, be sure to check one out. Gonna leave you with a shot I take earlier of just some trees at this one I’m at tonight. It’s the Midway Service Plaza on 76 in Pennsylvania. It’s really pretty up here when all the leaves start changing colors in the fall. Til next time peeps…

  

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Smaller Trucking

Alright, gonna step away from the big rigs on this post & talk a little about the smaller pickups. Back in August of 1995 I drove a 1996 Mazda B2300 off the showroom floor. Until, about 3 weeks ago I still had it…lol. The ole thing still ran good, but needed alot of work. The windshield had a bunch of cracks, the air has been broken for years, needs a new muffler, & also a new clutch. Have been wanting something new for a long time, but just never set my mind to really looking. I have kinda always wanted a full size truck…had two Toyotas back in the late 80’s & early 90’s & then this Mazda, but never a full size one. 

  

I came home from the road the time before last & my sweet & awesome girlfriend (to my surprise) took me shopping & got me a new one. She was my girlfriend 30 years ago in the 9th grade so she has known me a long time & kinda new about my Mazda. We just recently got back together & she saw my truck & asked “Is that same ole truck you have had forever”? I said “yes” with a laugh & she said it was time for me to get a new one. She got me a brand new 2015 Chevy Silverado Z71 & I freaking love it (& her by the way)…lol. I’m still learning all the stuff about it because I have only been able to drive it 2 days at a time 2 weeks apart (damn job…lol). Hell, I still haven’t used the tank of gas that the dealership filled it up with. I have a great woman & a great new truck. Hope I can make this one last at least 20 years (girlfriend too). Kept the ole Mazda in the family, gave it to my 75 year old dad so he can cruise around & shop at his yard sales. Til next time peeps…

  

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Something Funny

I’m sure you have all seen all the crazy things drivers have to carry on flatbed trailers. Pools, bulldozers, helicopters, windmill blades, etc. I don’t think I could do that kind of driving or at least wouldn’t want to. Trying to throw on those huge tarps, always tightening all the chains or straps when you stop & not even mentioning when it’s 100 degrees outside or -10 degrees. I think it would be cool pulling one & being able to actually see your load, but that’s not for me. I like backing into a door & relaxing until they tell me they are done with me…..driving 500-650 miles a day is enough work. 
Anyway, I was backed in at this little truck stop in Iowa today taking my 30 minute break, when I saw this flatbed fixing to back in beside me. It was really a good looking truck, but I was looking all around for the “oversized load” banners & his escort cars & didn’t see any of that. Sure would have thought that he would have needed them because he was hauling a dump truck…..guess I should say “Tonka” dump truck. I thought it was so cool & wild that he thought of that. What are some crazy things you have seen on flatbeds? Til next time peeps… 

  
 

  
    

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The Collection

Since we as truckers get to go through so many states, was wondering if any of you try & collect certain things out here on the road? I have heard of shot glasses, key chains, magnets, & some other things. A few months ago I actually started on the shot glasses…kinda cool…all sorts of things on them & you can always find the ones with the state names at the truck stops. They don’t take up much room to display so they are kinda easy. But, however I am strictly a beer drinker….nothing else, so it’s not like I’m gonna grab one off the shelf & fill it with any of that other nasty stuff. 

I have decided to switch over…my girlfriend is a big coffee drinker & I like it too, so I have switched to getting coffee mugs. I just don’t drink it much out here on the road. I love the truck stop coffee & they even have my French Vanilla creamer, but it makes me have to go to the damn bathroom too much & I don’t like stopping much once I start driving for the day.  Anyway, think the coffee cups will be better because we can collect them & actually use them. I just started on these a couple of days ago & have 4 so far. 

I also helped start a collection. A while ago I started buying postcards from each state to send home to my almost 14 year old daughter. She said she has them all on a wall in her room. It’s fun, but hard to find stamps & mailboxes at the truck stops. Let me hear about some of the things you have collected or are thinking about starting on. Gonna leave you with a shot of the one I just got here in Fargo, North Dakota. Til next time peeps…

  

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34-Hour Reset

Well, I started this trip out last Friday. I had a load of ice cream that I picked up in Sikeston, MO going to Henderson, NV. I got on the edge of OK coming out of AR & got a call from my dispatcher saying that the system showed my load as a “southern route” ( certain items can’t go through the mountains in Flagstaff, AZ because of the altitude). So, I had to change my route up & started heading south which added a bunch of miles to the trip. I still had to deliver it the same day so I had to run pretty hard the next few days. Did between 500 & 600 everyday. That used up alot of my clock & now that I’m on my next load, have gotten to close to my 70-hour clock for the 7 days. 

I got a load out of the same place there in Henderson going to MN (another long trip) so now I have to take a 34-reset (sit for 34 hours to reset my 70 hour clock so I can deliver this one & do a couple more loads before I go home next Friday). The shipper held me so long that I couldn’t make the 6:00am delivery this morning in MN so it got rescheduled for Monday. I ran really hard yesterday (650 miles) & made it to Miles City, MT & now gonna sit, relax until Sunday afternoon until I start on the last 550 miles to get this delivered Monday morning. 

It’s kinda nice running into resets out on the road sometimes because you get to explore little towns that you never heard of & sure as hell never thought that you would get to see. However, now that I have my dog Ledger out with me, gonna have to wait til dark (when it gets cooler so I don’t have to leave him in a hot truck) to check this town out. Tell me some things you do on a reset away from home? Gonna leave you with a shot I got at a truck stop in ID. Til next time peeps… 
 

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Stuck In Wyoming

So, I got loaded in Idaho yesterday morning going to Colorado. I stopped in Rock Springs, WY to get fuel. After I got rolling again on I-80 there was a digital sign across the road saying that it is closed 110 miles ahead due to snow & high winds. So, I found a truck stop about 60 miles further down the road in Wamsutter, WY & barely made it here. It started snowing & the wind was blowing so hard that you could barely see. I got here yesterday close to 4:00 I think & have been here ever since. Now I am hearing rumors that it’s gonna be closed another 48 hours. 

They opened it up before I got shut down for like 2 hours & then there was a bad 60 car pile-up. The good thing is that the report says there were no fatalities. I don’t mind sitting from time to time because it gives you chance to relax, but man this is getting crazy. I have done watched 4 movies…that’s the bad part about sitting at a truck stop for too long, you end up spending way more money than you want to. It has snowed on me here three times since I have been here. So tired of that white shit & ready to just be able to drive & do my job without dealing with that crap. Here is a shot of some snow covered mountains behind our terminal in Salt Lake City that I got a couple of days ago. Til next time peeps…

  

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A New Thing

Hello, I just wanted to share something new with you all that I have found. I did a post a while back about creating a YouTube channel & did it for a little bit. I pretty much have to do all my internet stuff out here on the road from my phone & working on the design of your channel is too hard from a phone, so when I can get online with my laptop, I will be deleting my channel. 

I wanted to tell you what I have found that is really cool & from now on I will be using it instead. Go download the app called “Periscope”…it’s made by Twitter. Your videos are actually “live”….as I am broadcasting, you can leave comments or ask questions & I can answer you while I’m talking. It’s really pretty sharp & catching on. Also, while you are watching a video…tap the screen for how many times you want to leave that person “hearts” (which are “likes”)…the more total hearts people receive, the better chance they have at new people finding them. The only draw back is if you can’t watch it live, the video only stays in there for 24 hours. I’m gonna work alot harder on it to bring you guys good stuff from the road & the trucking life. I won’t be able to answer questions on the videos of me driving because my phone will be mounted to my GPS & I can’t read what you are saying. Would love to have you all come follow & leave me some hearts if you like the video. Since it’s from Twitter, it pulls your info from there for your initial set-up so my name on there is “The Truck Stop”. Hope you come follow along & see the beautiful things & places I get to see. Gonna leave you with a shot of Ledger trying to drive one day to help the ole man out…lol. Til next time peeps… 

 

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Day 5 & Going Pretty Good

Well, today has been the fifth day that Ledger has been on the road with me. I was only really worried about taking him to the bathroom on a leash because he is so strong he pulls you where he wants to go. But so far he has been good at listening to me. He has always liked riding & I figured this would be even better because he has so much more room in this big rig. My only complaint is when we stop & he sees somebody walking around….he goes crazy with the barking & growling. They can be 300 yards away, but I guess he thinks they are coming to the truck. It’s annoying, but I know he is just trying to protect me. 

He has got it all figured out now on this day 5. As soon as we roll out in the mornings, he gets back in my bed & sleeps all day. But, like an alarm in his head…as soon as I slow down on an exit ramp & stop to turn, he pops straight up & jumps back in the front seat so he can start picking out people to yell at…lol, he’s so damn funny. It’s been great so far & I love having him with me. Here he is laying in the bed. Til next time peeps… 

 

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