Another Ride Along Story

Topic 20859 | Page 3

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Old School's Comment
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Tonight I am parked in Fort Payne, Alabama, and I am back to being alone. I dropped my wife and dog off today in Delhi, and they are sleeping at home in their own beds tonight. I'm kind of bummed. It's always fun having them along, but it never seems to last long enough. I apologize for not keeping this up very well, but it is just hard for me to focus on writing about my time with her, when I am just happily enjoying being together with her.

I will wrap this up tonight and hope you have enjoyed reading along as much as she enjoyed riding along. We picked up our back-haul load of return materials from our customer in Farmington, Connecticut and ran it right back down to the plant in Delhi, Louisiana as planned. Here is what that load looked like loaded on the Conestoga style flat-bed that I was pulling...

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Occasionally I will haul these return materials back to the plant so they can be melted down and made into new extruded products. These returns can be materials that were rejected for some minor defect, or sometimes they are just cut-offs from the manufacturing process. I probably get maybe four or five loads each year like this that we return to the plant so they can recycle it into something useful again.

We had an interesting trip back. Since we were running on re-cap hours I just couldn't go as hard as I normally would when I have plenty of time on my seventy hour clock. We had to break the trip up a little differently than I normally would. Due to those time limitations, I tried to take her to some of the more interesting truck stops that were in our path. We managed to see two of what I consider to be some of the nicest truck stops in the country as we made our way back. The first one is the Petro near Scranton, Pennsylvania. If you ever get the chance you should stop here sometime. It is always clean, and has a great view of the surrounding mountains and valleys, while providing you with a movie theater, and amenities that rival most truck stops across the county. Here's a few looks inside this really nice truck stop...

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The second one is also a Petro, and it is an old stand-by for truckers who travel that I-81 corridor through Virginia. When you are constantly running through the I-81 corridor that goes the length and breadth of Virginia you eventually will be stopping at this really nice truck stop at exit 205...

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My wife and I relaxed in their movie theater and watched that old shoot em up cowboy story called "The Magnificent Seven." We watched the good guys triumph over the bad guys as they set the whole town free from the tyrannical Bartholomew Bogue. This truck stop has it all. There are four or five different restaurants to eat at. You can get your truck washed at the Blue Beacon there, you can of course get yourself washed up in their nice clean showers, and you can even eliminate that funky smell that has begun to emanate from "Fido" by taking him to their "Dog Wash." They have a pharmacy, a barber shop, a gift shop, and a whole lot more. It is definitely a must see if you happen to be in the area.

Here's a look at the inside of it's mall like cavernous hallway...

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I also took her to some of my little spots that I like to eat at when I am running through these parts of the country. Places like the "Santa Fe Cattle Company" in Fort Payne Alabama - a really good place to get a steak, and it is just a short little walk from the very small "Mapco" truck stop - exit 218 on I-59. Additionally I let her enjoy some of the good southern hospitality and food that is served at both of the "old school" truck stops in Meridian, Mississippi, the "Spaceway," and the "Queen City."

Continued...

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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We also made a little visit to see one of my sisters who lives in Clinton, Mississippi. When I am running through the area, I will sometimes stop in Jackson, and they will come get me from the truck stop so we can have dinner together. There is a selfish motivation on my part to make this stop, and it is simply because my visits here bring such joy and happiness to my sister's young grandson, Aiden. His father, my nephew, died a few years ago, and his mother basically abandoned him several years before that. He has some developmental problems, that hinder him, but he loves his "Uncle Dale The Truck Driver," as he affectionately calls me. Here he is showing me how to raise and lower the legs on my trailer, and how to check on the batteries of my truck. He is certain that I need a few tips on how to do these things...

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I get a big kick out of sharing my ride with him. You have never seen anybody get so excited over their relatives coming to visit as he does when my sister informs him that I am going to be showing up for a visit. You can see from this photo of him at the wheel of my big rig that he is just as happy as he can be when he is pretending that he is commandeering that thing down the highway...

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Well, let's sum this time up together. As you can see we ran in excess of 3,000 miles both weeks that my wife was with me, and when I dropped her off today I had my next loaded trailer waiting on me to get hooked up and get going. So where will this next load take me? It is a direct load with no additional stops on it that delivers to RBI Solar in Springfield, Massachusetts. That is a 1,500 mile run from Delhi, and the beauty of being on this dedicated account is that they have got to get me back just as quickly as possible. That means I will have at least a 1,500 mile back haul load, and more than likely it will be more than that. So, here we go with another 3,000 plus mile week's worth of work.

I have worked hard at establishing my self here on this account. Everybody at the SAPA plant, and all the customers that I serve, know that I can, and will do, what it takes to make things happen out here. All of that has worked in my favor. I don't expect dispatch to hand me the miles just because I am in one of their trucks, but I have created a track record that gives them an incentive to keep me moving. When you hear that there is a shortage of truck drivers, what that really means is that there is a shortage of really good truck drivers. If you want to excel at this career, and make some really good money, all while avoiding so many of the problems that you constantly see truck drivers complaining about on trucking forums, then put yourself in the driver's seat and get your career established with a really good foundation of safety, reliability, and productivity - you can't go wrong with that formula. You will not make great money at this job by being average. There are a lot of average truck drivers out here. That big demand you hear about is for the ones who know how to excel at this, and those are the ones who are happily "bringing home the bacon."

This career is both adventurous and enjoyable. Did you notice how I was able to enjoy my time together with my wife while also being productive? That is how you do this and maintain your sanity. You are going to want to enjoy the adventure of this career as much as you are going to want to enjoy making money at this. Take some time out here to enjoy yourself while you are doing your best to serve the customers that you are bringing goods to. When you can find that balance you will be just as happy and successful at this as the other top tier drivers who are out here sharing the Interstates with you.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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