Probably the most important, and most difficult to deal with, aspect of over the road driving is the mental and emotional side of it. Adapting to life on the road certainly comes easier for some than others but for everybody there will be a lot of changes. You will be spending an enormous amount of time alone and during those times you are with other people, they are always strangers...almost all the time. You're away from your home, your family, friends, and routines.
You are no longer an intimate part of the daily lives of those closest to you and there are now so many more variables and unknowns that will effect every day...weather, traffic, freight conditions, breakdowns, DOT checks, region of the country you are in, and on and on. Many people have had rather predictable days for many years...maybe most of their lives. There is nothing predictable about life on the road.
When you wake up in the morning you have almost no idea what lies ahead that day. That was one of my favorite parts of driving over the road, but that's just me. It's not nearly as enjoyable to some.
Driving truck takes a lot of patience, courage, strength, and discipline sometimes. Don't mistake me for saying it's like being in the Marines or something....let's not get crazy here...but for sure there will be times – many times – that test your character when you're on the road.
As a good example of one of those times, I'll tell you about a delivery I had to make one time. I was in Phoenix, AZ and I had a load of office furniture. It was a Friday and my delivery was scheduled for 6:00 pm delivery to city hall. I'm sent a message from dispatch telling me that they want me to call them about 30 minutes before I arrive.
So 30 minutes out I call them and they tell me the loading docks are in the basement of the city hall building and it is surrounded by one way streets. The problem is, the only way I can get backed down the ramps into the basement is to go the wrong way around the building and then get setup to back in. They were going to block the four streets off surrounding the building and I was going to come around and get backed in.
Well, it's 6:00 pm on a Friday in the dead center of downtown Phoenix. I get down there, they block off the streets, and I start coming around the building. It was the most ridiculous scene. Traffic on every single street leading to the building was at a standstill and traffic was backed up WAY down the streets. Everyone is just sitting there trying to figure out what's going on, and waiting for me. To add to the fun, the crews that are remodeling the building inside are changing shifts at the same time.
So all of the workers from both shifts – there had to be over 100 of ‘em - are lining the sidewalks next to where I'm backing in and they have nothing else to do but watch what's going on, and watch me back in. Just perfect. So the police lights are flashing on every corner, the city streets are blocked, and I have a huge audience...all at rush hour, downtown, on a Friday...watching me back in.
Luckily, I handle pressure well. It wasn't too difficult of a spot to get backed in and I got down there pretty quick and easy. I wasn't nervous, but I was keenly aware of the circumstances and a couple times I stopped for a moment to take it all in. This is just not something most people get to experience. It was amazing.