Trucks. When You Know The Bug Has Bitten You.

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G-Town's Comment
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We deal with very serious and intense subjects here on TT. Every once in a while I think it’s good to take pause (as others have), and just write something for fun, light, maybe a look into our lives, what makes us tick. This represents just that,…

Bitten by the Truck Bug? Oh yes, make no mistake it happened to me at a very young and tender age. My guess is 6, or 7 years old, over 50 years ago. Mack, White, Autocar, GMC, Petes, KW, Ford and of course International were far more important to me than Mustangs, Corvettes, Hogs and Hemi’s. Supercharged 8V-71, straight six, twin-stick, and triplex; knew them all and all the jargon. I knew the difference by sound between a 2-cycle Detroit, 4-cycle Cummins and the rap of a big bore Kitty Cat. Truck posters lined my bedroom wall including many of my own drawings of engines and rigs (wish I had kept it all). The past memories of my behavior are quite clear to me, not at all faded or fuzzy. Trucks were an intrinsic part of my childhood, my passion and my joy. Reflected in my recreational activities, hobbies and yes, even school assignments like written reports and book reports. My friends...they never really understood, but tolerated and placated my obsession.

How did I know the "bug" had bitten me? (as the forum laughs in unison) Well, I recall requesting a planned visit to my cousin’s occur on a Sunday afternoon as opposed to a Saturday because I knew on the return leg of the trip, there would be hundreds of trucks heading West to destinations unknown on the PA Pike. I pleaded with Dad; "there are no trucks on the Pike Saturday night, only cars". Funny thing is, when I look back on that as an adult, as a 7 year old child, I was able to rationalize the significance of the Truckers true Monday; "Sunday Night". Completely baffling my parents, I somehow knew trucks ran through the night to deliver their freight by morning. How I knew this, is a mystery. There are no other Truckers in my family, past or present. No truck drivers in either of the two neighborhoods I grew up in. No one to learn these details from, but somehow, I just knew.

I knew that I'd rather spend hours building 1/25th scale AMT and MPC truck models, in solitude on a warm summer afternoon than swim at the local club. When most kids were studying their multiplication tables, I was studying matching engine and transmission options in a dealer’s spec. for a 1977 International Transtar 4070A Eagle. For me that stuff was fun! Fortunately, although frequent, this was a temporary distraction from the reality of school work. Readin', writin', rithmatic...yuck.

Most every summer job I held through High School and even college involved trucks on some level. Flipping burgers at Mickey D's? No, never,... not for me. I preferred washing the trucks at the local Louderback North American terminal before I was old enough to driver. Dirty as all get out, but I wanted it no other way. I imagined where these machines had been, who they moved and to where they destined to go next. It all culminated when I took a job with a local excavation company at 17, summer of 1976. I worked summers and weekends for this company through High School and beyond. Why? Because when I was 18, they taught me how to drive a 10-wheeler dump truck with a 10-speed Fuller “air-shift” Transmission. It was a 1974 International Fleetstar 2070A with a throw-away Cat V-8 and glass-pack mufflers. What a stinker. However, once I learned to drive and was trusted with solo runs of topsoil, fill dirt, gravel and asphalt, I could not get enough of it… I worked for them part-time through the mid-eighties until they closed shop for good. That job, set the wheels-in-motion for a life-long pursuit of “all things truck” that finally concluded some 30+ years later with earning the CDL A and employment with Swift. No regrets, my life is now complete!

Weird you think? Yes perhaps. Truck-Geek? Heck yeah, guilty as charged. Admittedly the same level of fascination with these machines still captivates me to this day, draws me in like a firefly to a lightbulb.

It's probable I am in the minority, a clear case of a driver who loves trucks; a foamer, a rivet-counter, etc. So when my passion and the pursuit of excellence becomes so obvious that it spills over, dousing the forum with details, details, and more details...please consider, just havin’ a little fun.

For those of you not yet in the first seat, tryin' to get in, don't give up. If it's a dream, your passion, your need to provide, or just on your bucket list, make it happen. Don't wait like I did.

Just havin' a little fun.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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Great stuff G-Town!

It makes me want to sit down with you over a meal again sometime and talk shop... well, talk trucks!

I loved the rivet counter reference - that's good. dancing-banana.gif

Kyle M.'s Comment
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My love for trucks stems from riding with my great grandpa in his dump trucks when I was a little guy and when we'd get to the unload sight id get to be the one who did it

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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My love for trucks began at the age of 8, when my family took a cross country trip of National Parks, and MLB Stadiums. I would beg truckers to blow their air horns when they passed. Every time we stopped, I would seek out truckers to ask where they were going. The Truck Driver was my first childhood hero.

Old School's Comment
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Danielsahn, you might enjoy this old conversation from the forum archives.

Talking With A Young Boy On The Radio

G-Town's Comment
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Great stuff G-Town!

It makes me want to sit down with you over a meal again sometime and talk shop... well, talk trucks!

I loved the rivet counter reference - that's good. dancing-banana.gif

Thank you Old School.

Chatting about trucks over another meal, sounds like a plan. Looking forward to it.

Chuck 's Comment
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I love that story, it brings me back to the years when I was young and tried to get truckers to blow their horns when driving by. My next door neighbor friend wanted to drive trucks when he grew up, his dad drove and he wanted to do the same thing. His dad drove a Kenworth cabover I think is what it was. May have been a Mack. We would ride our bicycles and pretend we were truckers making deliveries and attach old CB radio mics to our handlebars to act like we had CB's on them. When I start thinking back on them days, it's hard to believe how long ago that was and how times have changed as the way kids think today compared to when I was growing up. Technology has changed the way kids have grown up since the 90's. I love remembering those good old days and how fascinated we seemed to be with trucks and as you said, where have they been and where are they going. I am working my back to the love of trucks and becoming a driver myself if all the things I have planned come into place. The one thing we can always rely on is that trucks are needed to get things where they are going, let's hope that will continue for many years to come.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Uncle Buck's Comment
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Like many of you on this site I too was bitten by the bug at a young age. I was influenced by an uncle who drove over the road and I honestly thought the guy hung the moon, and I still do. I can remember watching all the trucking shows on tv with such excitement. Moving on, BJ and the Bear, Highballin, Smokey and the Bandit, Convoy..... yes smokey and the bandit was a trucking movie and Jerry Reed was the star of the movie. I had a bunk bed in my room that was my cabover KW. I would climb up to the top of that thing grab the big steering wheel, turn my head to side to look out my mirror, and start going through the gears. My brother would be on the bottom bunk in his Peterbilt 359 and we would converse back and forth on our cb's. I also used to slowly stick a piece of cardboard into a fan, I could make it sound just like a jake brake. My mom thought I was crazy but it was really all I wanted to do when I was a kid.

I am currently not pursuing a trucking job but am patiently waiting for my second career to come about. Until then I'm just hanging out here learning a lot about the industry and what it takes to be successful.

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.

Bran009's Comment
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My truck bug bite started when I was younger as well. My dad works in the mobile home business (manufactured homes, trailers) and when I was little he hauled and set them up. Well sometimes he would bring the truck home that they used to move them. I loved climbing into that big ole truck and ride in it. The think rode rough like nothing else, but as a young boy it was amazing.

Now throughout the years I've thought about truck driving but family has dissuaded me and I've tried other things. Then I met a new friend and her husband a year ago. He has been driving for about 10 years and currently is a flat bedder otr. I've been picking his brain and getting all excited about trucking all over again. So here I am 34, burnt out in the medical field and looking to start this new lifestyle in a few months.

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.

Bolt's Comment
member avatar

I also go the bug at a young age. I grew up watching Smokey and the Bandit {still my favorite movie of all time}, Convoy, High Ballin, tv shows like BJ and the Bear, Moving on, and even trucker songs of the 60's and 70's. I always thought those guys were really cool. I know they don't depict the true nature of the trucking industry but to a 10 yo they were heroes. My dad and I hauled hay when I was in my teens and we used to eat lunch at a near by truck stop. I loved looking at the trucks. I thought they were so cool all the chicken lights and paint jobs and chrome. As I got older and entered the construction field I still see a lot of trucks, mostly skateboarders, and since I travel I frequent truck stops and rest areas and still love looking at trucks. When talking to truck drivers I try to contain my excitement. I would still climb up in some ones tractor and just look at all the gauges and switches and so on. It is kinda embarrassing to be 50 years old and act like a 12 yo around trucks. loll

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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