To Fuel or Not to Fuel...That is the question.
Most truck stops will give you a free shower with the purchase of fuel. Some places require that you get 50 gals, some it's more or less. Most times those free showers you can use at any of the same type of truck stops down the road. There is a time limit on them, so use them please! For those of you who abhor a hygienic lifestyle (that means keepin' your ass washed so you wont stink), most "Lot Lizards" will thank you for that free shower. They may allow you to be their...ummm... friend.
What's a "Lot Lizard"? You may be asking?
Well...you can't get a "Lot Lizard" for free when you fuel up, but you may see a few runnin' around between rigs, with flies chasing them. Just remember, they ain't free when you purchase fuel, but if you pay for one you can get things from them for free. Just be sure you have good heath insurance.
Anyhow, you can join the 'Trucker Club Card Thing' that's available at most truck stops. It's like your local grocery store card - you get points when you buy fuel, and then use those points for some really cool stuff. I once saved 170,000 points and got a TV for my truck! Later, after I had grown up and married the woman I'm with to this day, I used those points to buy her a romantic steak dinner at the truck stop in St. Augustine, Florida. Yep! She really thinks "I'm the man with the plan" now! Just ask her!
What's so cool about the 'saving points thing' on the card is that ....are you ready for this?....it's free!!! If you're using a company fuel card (it's a company credit card, basically), you'll pay for fuel with that. Then you get the points for the amount of fuel you got on your own separate card. You use that card like a debit card, but you ain't footin' the bill.....neat, huh?
There will be times that the load you're hauling will be extremely heavy. When you examine the weight carefully, you may only be able to run with a half a tank of fuel, verses a full tank, without being overweight. Anytime the load is fairly close to the limit I would run to the nearest truck stop scale and weigh it out. If it was more than a day or two haul, then I would try to sleep and fuel somewhere soon after a DOT scale. Then you can get some much needed rest, a shower, something to eat, and be ready to roll when the next "driving shift" came. You'll burn off some of that fuel before getting to the next DOT scale. An yes, you're going to find that sleep will be at a premium, especially if you have a hot load on a tight schedule.
Some DOT scales may let you slide when you're a little overweight, but then again, it all depends (unfortunately) on the mood of the person manning the scales at the time you go across. More on that in another post. Knowing the state you're driving through and it's regulations will no doubt help you in such matters. Again, more on that later. At times, though, 200 pounds of fuel may mean the difference between a ticket and no ticket.
There are several good reasons to keep your fuel tanks full if you can. One good reason is that you never know how long you will have to wait for a load. Another good reason is that in most northern states... lets say, above New York...it's hard to find a place to get fuel. It also happens to be incredibly difficult to find a place to park when you need it. I always tried to run into the Northeast, drop the load, and be out in one day if possible.
Another good reason is that in most northern states you will get stuck in blizzards that may last a day, or may last a week! Keeping your tank topped off may mean the difference between freezing and staying warm.!!!WARNING!!! DO NOT USE "Lot Lizards" FOR THE PURPOSES OF KEEPING WARM!!! When you wake up, most everything in your rig will be gone, including the fuel. You will be left with the fragrant funk of stank for the reminder of your attempt to keep warm.
Here's another good reason. Just as up North you may get stuck waiting in the cold.....in the South, you may have to wait in 120 degree temperatures, in the shade! Such a place is Laredo, Texas...I once had to wait a week there because the Mexicans wanted to riot and kill the Gringos! Them Mexicans was wantin' to kill all us Americans cause we didn't want them to cross over into our country illegally. Why, I had to break out my "Trench Gun" and ......well that's another story. So, just keep yer tank (and your shotgun) full.....
And finally, the last good reason to keep your tank full is that you never know when your gonna want to get home. That is another story I will tell ya soon.