Profile For TruckerSpeir

TruckerSpeir's Info

  • Location:
    oklahoma city, OK

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:
    TruckerSpeir On The Web

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 4 months ago

TruckerSpeir's Bio

Former taxi cab driver/publisher/ordained minister/business owner. Drove OTR for a year before hanging up the towel, in the process of finding a local/regional gig--and enjoying the hometime in the meantime. Just published a book with over 300 photographs from my journeys over the last year: "Dashcam Trucker: America through the Eyes of a Truck Driver," for sale on my website, www.dashcamtrucker.com, and soon every major online retailer.

TruckerSpeir's Photo Gallery Group 1 of 2

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Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Well, it has been over a year since updating this thing. For posterity I need to finish it, don't I? I wish I had more time, but time is so very short and I don't hope for more in the future, so I will do the best I can.

I did go back to Prime, as my previous post stated, and completed 28,000 of the 30,000 miles of training...and then backed into somebody in Utah while parking! confused.gif Of course I take responsibility, but even my trainer took a big portion of the blame--he called safety and tried to reduce the 10,000 additional miles of training, but it was a no-go. We were on our way in to Springfield to get the transmission repaired, in fact, as it would not engage when put in reverse. Sometimes it would engage immediately, other times it would not -- and then suddenly it would and you would jerk backward. This happened, and I was not lined up correctly, and the fender of the next truck over was damaged.

So, 40,000 miles of training later I got into my own truck and took off for a successful solo career. A few months later my brother joined me and we team drove until December 23rd, when we turned in our keys and called OTR trucking quits. I got a nice coffee table book out of it -- Dashcam Trucker -- but I found that the lifestyle did not agree with me. I could not shake the depression while away from my wife and children, and when I was home I found myself struggling to enjoy my family...seems all I could think about was the fact that I had to go back out. On top of that I found it impossible to not be destroyed physically by the job. Finding exercise was incredibly difficult, but more than anything the intense loneliness and depression led me to stop caring about eating healthy and trying to get in shape. I ended up in a very dangerous place physically, mentally and spiritually.

Is this a condemnation of the trucking industry? Should somebody with a family not get into this? Should somebody who is already in a bad place physically think twice before going for their CDL?

First, it is not a condemnation of the industry. Trucking is an incredible career for those suited to it. I deeply admire truckers. The other day I was at a Wal-Mart and a huge condo truck pulled in. I stopped and chatted with them and offered to take them down to get some food or coffee. Truckers are undervalued and I find that to be a tragedy.

But if you have a family, think twice. I missed a year of my children's lives, and a year is a very long time in the life of a child. I regret it immensely. I wish I had taken the advice of those older and wiser in this regard, but I did not. I put my children through hell. When I left they were heartbroken. When I came back they were overjoyed, but suffered immense conflict knowing I would leave again soon. On one hand, going through these things is a part of life and it toughened them up. On the other hand, childhood is short and brief...why not protect their innocence when possible? Adulthood comes rapidly and brings with it enough trials of its own. There is time enough for that later. In my opinion.

And, finally, if you are physically on a bad path, I think it wise to correct it first. Solo I worked 14 hours a day, every single day for three weeks. When I had a break I used it to shower, eat, use the restroom, or sleep. Was there time to exercise? Theoretically, sure. In practice, I couldn't find the desire. Why? Because at my weight and physical level the cost to exercise was so taxing that it became insurmountable. To exercise would have hurt me and made doing my job the next day or later the same day almost impossible. In order to get to a point of fitness where I had the stamina to work so much and still exercise I would need time, and time is something I never had.

Team driving seemed better, but in truth although I worked less--at 12 hours a day--the truck was rolling nearly all of the time. I had less down time with the truck parked than when solo. Simply put, I recommend to get to a good place with your health first, and then make a realistic plan on how you will stay there and even progress while in the midst of such a demanding profession.

So now I have given up trucking, possibly for good but at least for the immediate future. I did try a local gig, but it didn't pan out. The company I was with paid hourly at first, but suddenly shifted to a different compensation when the hours became too great and overtime too much. I felt it dishonest, and that issue along with immense communication issues, and a desire to have time to get my health in order, led me to quit. Now I primarily work on my health. I document all of this on a blog and through Youtube Videos -- check it all out when you have time.

Thanks for being with me on this journey!

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Help Me Find The Best Stories From Our Training Diaries

Well, shoot, I have been negligent, haven't I? Thanks for the interest in my story! I will try to find the time to update the diary to round everything off, finish what I started. I can tell you that I turned in my keys to Prime on December 23rd and decided to stay home for a time and focus on my health. I keep a blog running called Breaking 40 for Life and update it almost every day--occasionally (though, admittedly, rarely) there are interesting things written there! More interesting are the Youtube Videos I post almost daily. My wife and I take my kids out most days for lengthy hikes or walks or tennis sessions in an effort to finally get weight off and get healthy. The kids make it fun...they hate it! rofl-3.gif

As far as trying to contribute to the original intent of this thread, it seems like the bases have been covered. Rainy's diary is a staple as is Packrat's. Gosh, who else? Nick and Kim Sasso had a good one, but I don't think it went very far in depth. They're still out driving as far as I know, and doing fairly well too.

Take care, guys! :-)

Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Omnitracs/Qualcomm issues self help

I know I often had issues where the NAV would just blank out, then say "Connecting"--very annoying, happened once in the heart of St. Louis when I had been a dummy and didn't set my secondary GPS and look up the route ahead of time. Thankfully I was on the phone with my wife and she pulled some serious moves and had me routed in a quick second. Anyway, I'm not helping with your problem here. :-) I always had to call road assist and have them reset it--I never could find an option to reset or powercycle it, and never could find a reason it would do this. I wish the quality of these devices would improve just a little bit.

Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Adventures in Stupidity

One evening not too long ago I was sitting in the bunk while my brother (co-driver) was backing into a trailer. Suddenly I felt something hit the wall next to me and yelled to him to stop! Sure enough, he didn't GOAL to make sure that the trailer was at the right level and it overshot the fifth wheel. Thankfully, no damage to the reefer and the only damage to the truck was a bent handhold. Could have been a lot worse.

Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

I'm still alive...are you?

Old School said:

My family benefits from my monetary accomplishments, but for me it's conquering the daily challenges and piecing together the puzzle that makes for success at this that ultimately provides my satisfaction. I guess I'm fascinated with the complications of it all.

Old School, I apologize for taking so long to reply. I think in anything we do in life, it is the challenge that make it worth doing. I certainly became complacent in the relative ease team driving afforded me, but in truth it was not very fulfilling. Through my time driving solo I found it extremely challenging, and yet it was that challenge that made it worth doing. So you and I are much the same on this. Complacency brings a form of comfort at times, which is what I originally was saying, but comfort is very often not what is good for us. Certainly does not bring a fulfilling life.

Well, there have been a few changes in my life recently, which is why it took so long to reply. Health concerns, among other concerns, prompted my brother and I to make a very reasonable and logical decision to turn the truck in two days before Christmas. We originally planned on coming off the road in February, but this was the right move. So now I am focusing on health and looking for a local or regional position. Opportunities abound, I am not concerned. The truth is, the last few months on the road the complacency took over and I began just letting the wind take me where it pleased--food-wise, mostly--and my health began to falter as a result. Taking the time off has helped me to refocus and adjust, and all is well.

In the meantime I have finished my "Dashcam Trucker" book! It has been an awful lot of fun to put together, but also an awful lot of work. There are about 300 photographs taken all throughout this country using my trusty Garmin dashcam, and while the quality of any dashcam is gritty and raw, I think that lends quite a lot of appeal to it. In all, I've worked on this book in truck stops from Ontario to Maine, and it became quite tedious toward the end. I'm glad it's done!

I hope all of you guys and gals are having a wonderful New Year and are staying safe out there!

Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Plant based eater starting out

I ate a plant-based diet starting right after Christmas of last year, lasting through 40,000 miles of training and up until about August. Along the way I did go more vegetarian than vegan, as I found it easier to maintain, but I suppose a vegan diet would be possible with extreme planning. The first thing I asked my trainer was if we could stop at Wal-Mart at least once per week. Thankfully, he had a small refrigerator, and didn't mind giving up some of its precious space, and a microwave. It was rough, and he (more carnivore-leaning) thought me crazy, but I made it through.

Planning was vital. it is so much easier to grab a bite to eat where you have the time to stop, but as with any significantly well-lived life (in my opinion), being purposeful is the only way to go. Which means deciding a week in advance what you will eat at every meal and snack time the following week. Another way to go is to stop only where a Subway is available, and there are a huge variety of truck stops (mostly Loves, but some others) with Subways inside. Most Subways have Veggie patties. Processed, yes, vegan probably not, but an option. They also have plenty of salad choices, including oil and vinegar for dressing. Eating a salad on the go is impossible, so planning here is necessary as well. You can't eat a salad in a fuel island with another driver waiting behind you. Well, you can, but don't be one of those drivers.

Get the Trucker's Path app and plan your route, then look in the Restaurants section of your planned stop to see what is available. Remember that it lists all restaurants in the immediate area, not just in that stop--so you may find yourself walking if you're not too attentive to the distance listed. Which isn't a bad thing if you have the time for it.

Endure to the best of your abilities during training and then outfit your truck with what you need to keep going with your chosen lifestyle. Staying healthy on the truck is crazy hard. I didn't do so well with it, even with eating a vegan/vegetarian diet. Once I got off of it, I certainly expanded a bit. So keep it up if it works for you.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

I'm still alive...are you?

G-Town, that’s one invitation I’ll not take lightly—Next time I’m up that way and the cards fall in the right direction I certainly will get in touch. I appreciate the kind words.

Brett, I’ll try to stick around. I tell you, solo was so much different than team training, and the freight was so strong—and I always work myself so hard—that it really kind of threw me for a loop for a while trying to keep up with it and get into a groove. Then I got started on the Dashcam project and it turned into a monster—up to a bit over 300 pages now with each image captioned with location and so on. It’s really looking incredible and I’ll certainly get you a copy when it’s done. But anyway, I dropped off the face of the earth in more places than one. But I do miss this place, certainly the most informative and friendliest trucker family on the net.

Merry Christmas!

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

I'm still alive...are you?

Old School, I'm glad to hear you're still alive and kicking and doing well!

That comment didn't refer to leasing, more to the way we run our truck--we both work twelve hour shifts, and we never deviate from the schedule. I actually prefer solo, for many reasons, but a team driving schedule is so much less complicated. There is some small bit of comfort in having a nice routine in this line of work, though I suppose I do miss the challenge solo driving presented to me. Sometimes.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

I'm still alive...are you?

Hey guys, man it has been a long time! I just thought I'd take a second to check in, tell you how my trucking life has been over the past few months and hopefully get an update about yours. I finally went solo with Prime in April, and enjoyed the solo life until August. I found myself in quite a few pickles, as any new driver ultimately will, but every time I persevered and got past them. Once I sunk my steer tires in a gravel pit at a shipper and paid a bit over four hundred dollars to get a tow truck out. Another time I failed to properly secure a beer load. Not only did I restack the undamaged and throw away the old, as I felt obligated to do rather than hire a lumper, I paid through the nose for the destroyed beer. But through the adversity I learned lessons that made me a better driver, and I have to say I've been successful. In August my brother came on to team with me and we have been doing well together. I have sunk into a fairly acceptable groove, and quite honestly feel myself becoming institutionalized. While I miss my family and my home, somehow the closed-in, "safety" of the routine that comes with team driving--at least as I know it--is comfortable and comforting at times. Perhaps that makes sense, perhaps not, but it does to me.

My plan is to stay with Prime until February and then finally go home to a local job, earn less but enjoy my family. In the meantime I have been working on a book to keep my creative juices flowing while I'm on the road. I once was a publisher and find I miss it often, so I have been compiling the hundreds of dashcam photos I have of my travels into a book, "Dashcam Trucker: America Through the Eyes of a Trucker." For now, it's a hobby project. Perhaps in the future it'll be something more. I'll stick a couple of those photos in here anyway, just because.

Anyway, how is everybody around here? I hope all is well and everybody is headed home for the holidays.

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Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Life On The Road

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Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Life On The Road

Those are beautiful! 🙂

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Snow Troubles ❄️

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My trainer has been driving for 38 years and has never had this happen.

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Oh man, I've seen this so many times. When you pick up trailers in parts of the Northeast where there is Lake effect snow you will see a bunch of this. I know in Connecticut they will write you a ticket for ice and snow falling off your trailer onto the road and/or other motorist's vehicles.

Yeah, I suspect senility is creeping up on him. 😁 In all seriousness it seems this should be a pretty common issue.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Truck Mattress

Rainy, any way you can give more info on the mattress place you found In Springfield? With any luck I’ll be upgrading in a couple of weeks and may just buy myself an upgrade present! What were the price ranges?

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Snow Troubles ❄️

I found it odd that this isn’t a more normal occurrence. My trainer has been driving for 38 years and has never had this happen. Both road assist and dispatch had no clue what to do either as they had never seen it.

We ended up driving out of the way to a truck wash that would help. They power sprayed the snow off. Cost 50.00 and a lot of extra time and fuel, but we made our appointment.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Snow Troubles ❄️

Lol...good suggestions!

The truck washes just said it’s a safety issue. Crazy, I know. I found out by trying to get on the turnpike and being turned around as I was too tall. The trailer is above 14’ right now. We bought a rope and pulled from either slide and succeeded in cutting through it. No good. So we are going a different route all the way to Joliet.

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Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Snow Troubles ❄️

So I picked up a load in Hazelton and drove all the way to Youngstown, tried to get on the turnpike and found I was over height! The snow was wet and solidified, now I have a block of ice on my trailer! No washout will get it off due to safety issues. Resolution pending. 😄

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Life On The Road

Recently Old School started a conversation regarding how easy it is to enjoy yourself over the road, and I thought it may be a good idea for those wannabe photographers among us to take some time posting pictures of just that. How do you enjoy yourself on the road? What sights do you see, what fun is there to be had, what food do you eat, and so on. I am in Cheyenne right now, finishing up a Spingfield to LA to Cheyenne trip and here are some of the sights I stopped to enjoy on my journey.

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Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Enjoying Yourself as an Over The Road Driver

This is great, OS! As I’m on a trainer’s truck all I can do in regards to parking is plan for my future solo career, and I have put a lot of thought into how I’m not looking forward to truck stops every night. This gives a great alternative, so I appreciate it. I do enjoy my time out here and take walks as often as possible. We had five hours the other day in a suburb of LA so I took off walking and thoroughly enjoyed myself. My trainer, a 38 year burned out vet, couldn’t for the life of him figure out why I’d do such a thing! 😁 I also love pulling over from time to time and capturing the scenery. Even the most “boring” of places has beauty in it if you look at it the right way.

I am new of course but see no trouble enjoying life out here.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Prime, inc. PSD School

Hey Jay, how’s it going out there? Ready to upgrade yet? 😃

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Decisions, Decisions

I meant to add that the word is driving solo with Prime is going to get you up to the northeast a lot, that the west coast is reserved for teams. Perhaps somebody like Rainy could confirm or deny.

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