Well, it's been a while since I did my last post. Too much time driving and not enough free time or energy to log on. What a poor excuse!
I am amazed at how different the life of a truck driver is compared to "other" people. We eat differently, look different (sort of), most of us seem to be conservative, we see the road much differently than we used to, now we don't like 4-wheelers, sleep differently, and measure our trips not in days or miles, but when we need to be somewhere. I have been training for just over a month and have about 210 logged hours. I am still learning so much every day. It seems as I gain confidence I also realize how different things are.
As an example, I used to wonder where the trucks were going and what they were carrying. I would imagine that they had expensive cargo or something of that nature. Now I look at cars and wonder where they are going and what they are doing. I know that we don't always carry exotic loads (I remember my load of 2nd grade wood pallets being shipped 900 miles and the one with 14,000 pounds of 16 oz. red plastic party cups).
Do I talk like a trucker? I don't think so. Trucker Mike sounds more like a trucker than I do. Do I look like a trucker? What does one look like? I just showered, shaved, had a good night's sleep in a non-moving sleeper and did laundry yesterday - I don't feel like a trucker. What I dofeel like is someone who is away from their loved ones - and has been for too long. I feel bored sometimes - usually when driving an empty interstate for 8 hours. I don't like rude (translate that to stupid) drivers in cars or trucks. I have learned to sleep when I can, eat when I am hungry and to limit my junk food intake. I have managed to lose weight since I started trucking. I assume it's because I eat one good meal a day and pretzels instead of potato chips!
I have a CB radio, XM radio, and an AM/FM radio and I still feel disconnected with the other world. It's sort of like we truckers live in a parallel dimension. I miss the daily newspaper and TV news. USA Today is now my paper of choice. Now that I am a trucker, I envy those who are home every night and for those whose long commute is 20 miles. I have also learned to appreciate what we have in this county - our ability to purchase almost anything we want. To think that almost all of it was handled at least part way by a truck. I have learned that truckers are human. They get frustrated with life and their job.
I have learned to enjoy driving alone. It gives me time to think about many things. I can sing out loud and no one complains (unless I wake my trainer up!). Working within the confines of a dispatcher, GPS, and deadlines; my life is my own and it is what I make it. Maybe we are not the last of the frontier cowboys with the freedom we (truckers) used to have, but we are close. We see countryside that others can only imagine. In just over 30 days I have driven through over 25 states; and I still haven't been to the southern states yet! How do you top that? You can't.
If you are considering becoming a trucker, do your homework. Research and then research some more. This is an excellent website. There are others that appear to give only the bad side of trucking. Be wary of this type of site. A site should tell the good with the bad. Like life, it is not all good or all bad. There are much worse jobs than trucking. If you are new to trucking, then a hearty welcome. You have an adventure ahead of you that few will ever have. You will do well if you keep your mind open and don't mind learning new things. Come back to this blog and the Trucking Truth forum. We will do our best to answer your questions and keep you up to date.
Good luck in trucking. Keep the bugs off your glass and the bears off your ... tail. God bless. Farmer Bob.