What it's like going over the road with a trucker
When I went out on the road with my husband this past week I knew I was in for a week of confined space, food on the go, lots of time between bathroom breaks, not being able to shower with lots of hot water (much less privacy and the comforts of home), and having to tie up my hair or just putting it in a hat, which meant a hot mess because my hair is really curly and gets nappy when I sleep, especially after having it in a hat for a long while, BUT what I didn’t realize was how stressful, exciting, tiring, beautiful, and fun it was going to be.
I had a blast. I took a ton of pictures. (By the way, it is really hard to take pictures when you’re going down the road at 55+ mph.) We thoroughly enjoyed our time together. My husband works hard as hell at a job that is underpaid and unappreciated. (I saw cars yank out in front of the truck, and by the way, when an 18 wheeler is hauling a load it takes him at least the length of a football field to stop, especially when you’re going at speeds of 55mph or more. The faster you’re going the longer it takes you to stop. And if they put their turn signal on to get over, don’t ignore them…Let them over–They are required to drive in certain lanes, get over if there is a vehicle stopped by the side of the road, etc…I’ll stop preaching for a minute and go back to how my trip was…Sorry for rambling.)
The laws have changed for truck drivers. Many of them now have electronic logs. They get 14 hours to work each day. During that 14 hours, only 11 of it can be spent driving, and during that 11 hours they have to take a 30 minute meal break. If they are picking up a load and it takes 3-6 hours to load it, that time is considered part of their 14 hour work day. And since they only have 11 hours they can actually drive part of that load time eats up their driving hours, which means they have even less time to get to their destination. It can get complicated, stressful, and rough if you’ve only got 1 hour left to drive and there are no rest areas designated for truckers to use or truck stops. And sometimes even if you find one, it doesn’t mean there will be enough room. And parking in a truck stop is such a joy when the parking lot is filled with snow,slush, ice, etc and crowded…The things you hear on a CB are both fun and entertaining, as well as frustrating. Back in the day, my dad was a truck driver in the late 60’s and early 70’s and things were different. Truckers were friendlier with each other, the CB was used a lot more to relay dangers that lay ahead whether it was weather, road hazards, the police, etc…When my dad taught me how to drive he told me to respect big trucks/big rigs. A lot of drivers dismiss big trucks as just another vehicle on the road, but they’re so much more than that. And I was appalled at the way other drivers treat truckers and big trucks.
Riding down the road in a big truck/18 wheeler really gave me a bird’s eye view of things. An appreciation for the beauty of other cities, towns, states, as well as my husband’s job and what he goes through. He couldn’t take in all of the beauty of the scenery the way I could because he was busy driving, watching out for other motorists, making sure to read road signs (trucks can’t be in certain lanes, certain roads don’t have enough overhead clearance in regard to bridges or overpasses, sometimes there are detours big trucks have to take, etc…), and when I showed him the pictures he got to see what I saw…And I’m hoping that some of the pics will show at least a little of what going over the road is like. We went 2600 miles in one week…Through a number of states…and ended up where we started from, and during that time I realized how grateful I am for a hot shower, a hot meal, my husband’s dedication, as well as how great a driver he is. He shows other drivers courtesy, even if it isn’t reciprocated. He’s a safe driver who looks out for motorists. He works hard and yet his job is undervalued, unappreciated, and underpaid. Several people asked me if I wanted to get my CDL and go out on the road with him. As a team, we’d make a lot more money. My reply: “I’m happy riding.” I will definitely go back out on the road with him, but I don’t want to drive. I’m happy as a passenger but I have the utmost respect for truck drivers now.