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Leaving Home

by TruckerMike

Over the Labor Day weekend, I was able to make a trip home. I had a fantastic weekend. The plan was for me to get back home on Thursday, then get back on the road on Tuesday. But I ended up getting home a day early. Not a huge deal, but this meant I'd have to leave on Monday which was Labor day. Total bummer, but that's the life of a truck driver.

peterbuilt-sunset.jpg

I spent the majority of the weekend up in the North Woods of Wisconsin. This meant I got to spend two of my days off driving for 6 hours. But it was well worth the drive. My friend has a cabin up in a small place called Sayner, WI right on a lake. A little bit of fishing, some great food, a whole lot of beer, and some great laughs around the bon-fire with my best friends is just what the doctor ordered after 6 weeks on the road. Truck drivers get so wrapped up in the rush of their daily lives, we almost forget what it's like to just sit around and do nothing. In fact, a friend I was up there with kept asking me "what do you want to do?" And my response was always, "I'm perfectly content doing absolutely nothing." We did go out and do things, but by 5 or 6pm, it was time to light that fire and just sit around. There's a lot of sitting in truck driving, but most of the time it's not relaxing. These are the trips home that make it very hard to leave.

I also missed out on a family BBQ on Monday (Labor Day). My original plan was to stay home until Tuesday, but since my dispatcher got me home a day early, this meant I had to be ready to go on Monday at 10am. So, Monday morning I called my dispatcher (who was not working, of course, so I talked to his replacement for the day), and asked them to call me if / when I get a load so I can stay home as long as possible. Well, I got a call about an hour later telling me I had a load. It was time to go, and I'd miss the BBQ.

I went to load everything in my truck, then discovered the batteries were dead and the truck wouldn't start. Great. So, I recharged the battery and finally got her runnin'. Not a great start!

The last couple trips home, I was about ready to get back in my truck and hit the road. But this time was different. I just wanted one more day. I spent most of my home time up at the cabin, and really didn't have much time to see my family.If I was able to stay for the family BBQ, it would have probably been much easier to leave. But I feel I got a little jipped this trip. On one hand, the trip up north was wonderful and I wouldn't change the fact I went up there. But on the other hand, I'm a little upset I missed that BBQ. Just one more day is all I wanted.

Home time for a truck driver can be tough. For example, my company has a maximum of 4 days off at a time. No matter how long I stay out, I'm only allowed to take 4 days off. So when I go home, I really have to balance my time. Part of me wants to just relax, but then I have so many people I want to see, and so many people who want to see me. Sometimes you have to sort of choose who you will see, and who will have to wait another 6 weeks. Sometimes I feel like I'm "ranking" my friends. And that can be very hard.

In any case, I'm back on the road now, and things are going well. It's funny, when I take my home time, I have to relearn how to drive my car. And same thing when I get back to the truck after driving my car for 4 days. I sort of have to get used to it again. It doesn't take long, but it's very awkward going from car to truck and vice versa.

Also, I've noticed a "personality change" from when I'm on the road to when I'm on my home time. Not so much how I carry myself around people, but just a "mode" that needs to be set. When first leaving home, it takes a day or two to get programmed into that mode. Getting yourself prepared for the next 6 weeks of being alone in that truck. Those first couple days can sort of make you feel like you're stuck in the middle of your two modes. But I'm fully functional now, and already remember why I do this for a living. The open road, the solitude, the beautiful truck, and this lifestyle. It's hard to leave home, but it's a little easier to leave when you do what you love.

Until next time, drive safely.

TruckerMike

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.

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.

by Brett Aquila

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