How Much Of The Country Do You Actually Get To See?

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Britton R.'s Comment
member avatar

I've been thinking about this for a while and would like to hear from people with experience. How much do you really get to see?

It seems that all you get to see is from the front seat of your rig. Do you get to see more than just scenery as you pickup and dropoff? Lets say you deliver near Vegas or New Orleans do you actually get to experience those areas or is it just in and out? Sure you probably cant party and get buckwild or whatever but do you really get to walk the streets or anything?

I love to drive and see nature and all of that but I just don't understand how it all works as far as enjoying the places you travel to. Will I get to only see the ocean or can I stop and feel the ocean? Im sure you cant just drive an 18wheeler around to see the strip in vegas or random sites. How does it work?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey, that's a great question. If you're running over the road , meaning you'll be out at least two weeks or more at a time, you will definitely get your fair share of time to go sightseeing and partying.

For most of my career I ran over the road and just lived in the truck. Wherever I was, I was home. And I got to do a ton of awesome things - college & pro football games, hockey games, NASCAR & NHRA races, and of course ran around during the weekends partying in Vegas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, etc. You won't always get to do that when you're in the places you enjoy the most but from time to time it will work out perfectly.

Sightseeing is the same thing. Many of the most beautiful sites in this country can be seen right from the interstates, but you have to do a little travelling off the beaten path to get to some of the most famous ones. You'll get that opportunity from time to time.

One of the things to consider when choosing a company to work for is what region of the country you'd like to travel. If you'd like to do more coast to coast stuff, you'll want refrigerated companies. If you'd like to stay closer to home and run regional or dedicated runs that stay in a smaller area and get you home more often you'll want to look at dry van and possibly flatbed. Since I'm on the subject, we have a great series of articles, including an 8 part series I wrote on how to choose the right truck driving job and you can find those here:

How To Choose The Right Job

But you'll definitely get a chance to have fun and do some sightseeing. It will be one of those "Take it when you can get it" sort of opportunities, but they'll come.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Interstate:

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

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Steve B.'s Comment
member avatar
If you'd like to do more coast to coast stuff, you'll want refrigerated companies. If you'd like to stay closer to home and run regional or dedicated runs that stay in a smaller area and get you home more often you'll want to look at dry van and possibly flatbed.

A person has chosen a company to work for. XYZ company has several opportunities, dry, refrigerated, flatbed. If you start in one how long should a person stay in that division before maybe making a switch to learn something new and have different view for the cab?

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Britton R.'s Comment
member avatar

I want to be otr. I don't have a family or anything to come home to so. I am prepared to go out for weeks and months without coming home. As far as where I want to go...anywhere and everywhere though the thought of driving a semi in nyc is a bit terrifying. I want to see all of the coasts all mountains all everything. It seems Prime will be a decent place for me to start and get my experience then I can decide if I like it or want to look more local.

How do you go and enjoy things like sporting events? Do you just leave the truck somewhere and call a taxi? I assume you cant nust park it in a truckstop and go out on the town. Do you turn the truck in for a few days and get a motel?

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
XYZ company has several opportunities, dry, refrigerated, flatbed. If you start in one how long should a person stay in that division before maybe making a switch to learn something new and have different view for the cab?

Many companies automatically start inexperienced drivers out in a certain division...generally the over the road division. Some companies will offer regional runs (home most weekends) or dedicated runs (dedicated to only one customer) to inexperienced drivers, but not most. Some companies will offer other types of freight to new drivers, but not most. For instance, Prime has a tanker division but you need some over the road experience before they'll let you in that division. I'm not sure how long but at least 6-12 months I would imagine.

So often times, you won't have a choice when starting out but they'll tell you what the requirements are to get one with one of the other divisions.

When you're switching divisions within your own company, there's really no minimum time you should stick with something before trying something else. I mean, give a new division at least a few months so you get to know the players and how the game works. But you can normally move around as much as you like within a company, as long as there are openings in the division you're interested in.

How do you go and enjoy things like sporting events? Do you just leave the truck somewhere and call a taxi? I assume you cant nust park it in a truckstop and go out on the town. Do you turn the truck in for a few days and get a motel?

It will vary depending on the circumstances. Sometimes you'll be coming through a city one day and find out there's a football game or you're in the mood to go hit a race track on a Friday night. You might be able to park the truck at the event, you might not.

For instance, I used to love going to New Orleans or Vegas. I would park the truck at a truck stop if I was in New Orleans and catch a cab to the French Quarter. In Vegas, the hotels would have parking right behind them so you could park the rig back there and get a room for a night or two. The NASCAR and NHRA events I would drop the trailer at a truck stop (you need to verify this is ok with your company) and bobtail to the event and sleep there in my tractor like it was a camper.

So it really just depends and it takes some time to learn how to make that kind of stuff work on the road. Every company has different policies and every dispatcher will "turn a blind eye" toward certain things for their favorite drivers - a "don't ask, don't tell" kinda thing - so make sure you're one of your dispatcher's favorites.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Greg's Comment
member avatar

I started out with schneider running there western region, I am strictly regional and have gone no further east than Denver,Co in the last 7 months. I never had any desire to see the country though so it has worked out great for me.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

crazy rebel's Comment
member avatar

Here's what I've done so far in almost 4 yrs

I saw 4 of the five great lakes up close (close enough to jump in) but didn't, volcanic ash mnts in n.Cali, Casinos ( the wife loves those) I spend a buck and then to bed with me. That's just a 1/3rd of an inch compared to what all I cnt Think of off the bat,my point is ya will see whatever ya want to just let your dispatcher know ya want to get some sites in.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
James925's Comment
member avatar

You'll see plenty, sometimes you'll be able to get out and sight see, other times you won't. You'll see good areas and bad areas. It just depends. Best part is you'll be so high up you'll get to see things in more clarity than if you were in you're car. And if you want to take hometime in a certain city, just ask you're dm for a load going to that city and request the hometime. You can see a lot of good parts of the country, and you have a place to stay already cause of the truck. And if you don't have a family or home to go to, you can stay out longer than most, and trust me you'll definitely earn favor with you're dm if you stay out longer and deliver loads on time.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Vendingdude's Comment
member avatar

In my year over the road I was able to do bit of sightseeing, but not at any "big" places. You can't drive a semi right up to the Smithsonian or through Yosemite National Park. But you will be able to do random things that may satisfy your curiosity to sightsee. Let me tell you a few of the things I enjoyed.

I live out west, but once on a load to MA I found myself close to the ocean going through CT. It was getting close to sunset, and my delivery wasn't scheduled until the next morning. I had time to park at a shopping center and walk a couple hundred yards to the beach. There were spits of rocks put out into the surf for people to fish from. I walked out and took off my shoes and sat with my feet in the Atlantic. (Didnt want to go all the way in the salt water without knowing where the next shower was coming from!). First and only time I've done that. Pretty cool to watch the day end with the birds and the waves. Enjoyed a great local fish dinner before heading to my drop for bedding down later.

Another time, travelling from Reno to Portland or Seattle I was on the back roads of eastern Oregon, somewhere past Susanville I think. Pretty trees, hills, lakes. Had time, pulled over at a sightseeing turnout, grabbed my chair (hint: carry a cheap folding chair with you when OTR , store in top bunk to keep clean, you'll be amazed how often you use it during downtime), and followed a fun trail to the shore of a post card winning lake. I had a book, and killed an hour. Others might use a fishing pole. Nothing more invigorating to me than that connection with the world.

Another time, I found myself somewhere in Montana on a Friday night and needing to shut down. Happened to find secure parking at the edge of a shopping center, and noticed the stadium lights blazing from the local high school a quarter mile away. I spent a few dollars to get in, bought a hot dog and Coke for dinner and settled in and watched an honest football game. Though a complete stranger here, I befriended the family that was next to me, sharing stories about life, etc. between plays and thoroughly enjoyed the Americana I was experiencing. Price of admission is way less than a National Park!

These types of experiences are easy to find and take. Could tell you of dozens of stories of my quest to attend church every Sunday possible if I wasn't at home. Some amusing, some confusing, but all proof of what an awesome land and people we are.

My goal in trucking was not to spend money on name-brand tourist sites and trappings; I had a young family to feed and was pinching pennies. But that didn't mean driving had to be drudgery!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Bravo Zulu's Comment
member avatar

In 3 days I've seen Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, and Idaho. All at 65 mph, but I have seen deer, turkey, antelope, and some beautiful scenery!

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