Comments By Buckaroo B. avatar

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Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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What did you do before becoming a truck driver?

Automotive parts and service at a repair center and car dealerships from high school and into college. Last two years of college and for 5 years after graduation I was a print journalist. When the newspaper business started tanking in the early 90's I picked up a CDL and drove OTR for 4 years; 1 year in a team operation pulling 53' vans and 3 years as an O/O for a specialized carrier pulling various flatbed configurations. Left OTR for love and went back to auto parts management. Next, I worked for a small aerospace manufacturing company as production manager and later operations manager. After the big economic meltdown in 2009, I went to work for an aerospace defense contractor as a production supervisor in advanced composites. I worked as production supervisor for a few other companies and burned out being an adult babysitter. Currently gearing up to go back to OTR, hopefully flatbed. I have followed trucking from afar over the years. A lot has changed and a lot has remained the same. I had Qualcomm in my trucks in old days but used paper logs. The Internet was in its infancy and mobile phones were expensive and all minutes cost money- peak and off peak rates and the roaming charges would bankrupt you. The mobile phones in those days were analog voice only phones and I had the Motorola brick phone:) I never thought Class 8 tractors would move to automatic transmissions. Times change and so have transmissions. All the double clutching and RPM matching for slip shifting wasted:) But, it seems like the trucks are much better equipped with creature comforts than before. APUs were something you dreamed of and now they are coming as standard equipment as are real refrigerators, not crappy thermoelectric coolers using the Peltier effect. Some of my best life stories came from my days driving OTR. The places I went and the weather conditions I encountered. Driving team was the most interesting. The time on I-80 in Wyoming in a blizzard was a memorable one. I was sleeping in the bunk and suddenly I was being tossed around. Then there was daylight and cold air coming in the sleeper birth from an unusual place- the corner of the roof. When I opened the privacy curtain all was revealed. The trailer had come around and kissed the sleeper and we were in 4 feet of snow in the median. Two hours later, a tow truck, some duct tape and cardboard and we were on our way! Hauling 6K lbs of empty plastic bottles in 53' van across Wyoming on snow and ice covered roads in the dead of winter was not ideal and the 30+ MPH cross wind had its way with my co-driver. Lesson learned at his expense:) Then there was the visit to the Grapevine runaway truck ramp on I-5 in CA. 60MPH to 0 in 150 yards at 78K lbs GVW. Lesson learned: recap tires and poor trailer maintenance are a bad combination. I'm looking forward to returning to OTR driving. A little older and a lot wiser!

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