Whew where has the time gone?


Now that I’m on my own, it’s amazing but exhausting.

When I picked up my truck last month, it had 1018 miles. Now it has over 12000. I guess I’ve done some driving. I’ve been remiss in writing this blog and I’m sorry for those of you who have been worried. I’m still alive and I’m doing well.

Here is where I’ve been.

Springfield, MO to Kentucky.

Kentucky to Tampa, FL

Florida to Waco, TX (with visits from scary mosquitos in Louisiana)

Austin to Pheonix

Phoenix to Mira Loma, CA

Mira Lima to Portland

3 day jaunt home to stock the truck and finally pick up Zilla.

While home I did get a nice homecoming surprise.

After that I was off again. Warden, WA to Arcadia, FL

Bradenton, FL to Cedar Falls IA

Now I’m driving from Iowa to Greenfield, IN and Mount Pleasant, PA

Lately if I’m not driving I’m sleeping. I’ve battled a few bugs and I currently have an infection that I can’t seem to fight off without seeing a doctor, so after this delivery I’m going to see if I can get routed into our main terminal where there is a doctor on site.

Something I’ve marveled at is how during this time of year I can go from season to season in a single week.

One of the harder part of my job is how much time I have to come face to face with some of the emotional skeletons in my closet. When you have hours upon hours on the open road, thinking is sometimes all you have to do. It has given me a certain clarity of who I am but it’s also helped to heal some wounds I forgot were there. I’ve been unpacking emotional boxes that I had shoved deep in my attic of a brain and and looking at what’s in there. While I can’t change decisions I’ve made in the past, I also can stop beating myself up about some of those decisions and forgive. Forgive myself for bad decisions, forgive other people who have wronged me so long ago that I don’t remember the details of the wrong, and let it all go.

Loneliness can be a struggle at times. While training I couldn’t wait to be in my own truck and have my own space but now I can go days without speaking to another person. We’ve become so accustomed with texting as a means of communication instead of speaking to each other, but texting isn’t something that I can do easily or legally while driving. While I’m a competent tester, I also love to talk on the phone. Unfortunately so many people I know don’t share my enthusiasm for phone chats so it makes keeping in touch difficult at times.

One of the rudest surprises I had was at a weigh station in the rest room.

Dudes, this thing is freaking cold to sit on in winter. I mean, I’ve sat on cold toilet seats before but never ones made of metal. As weird as it is to say, but I would have rather have been in a porta potty rather than put my butt cheeks on this thing. It also just had a weird prison feel to it and that made it all the worse in my opinion.

Until next time my lovelies. Xoxo

A world of firsts…


Part of this whole life/career change has been about firsts.

We had a day of downtime while we waited for our next load and to speak to various people at our company about what they wanted us to do on Monday.

***Readers digest version: I didn’t get paid last week because I changed from part one of training to part two and the cut off days are different. To make matters worse, the reason we are in Washington is so I can change over my permit to an actual CDL but Washington says my scores have not been uploaded yet. It’s all one big Le Sigh…***

We started yesterday being extremely lazy but it was time to start the day and for me to experience my first Truck Stop Shower. When I received my ticket above I giggled because being told to go to shower #1 was more accurate than they realized.

Ok folks, here’s a pro tip: If you’re ever on a really long road trip and you just need to take a shower, hit up your local Loves, Pilot, Flying J, TA, <insert truck stop of your choice>, and buy a shower. They range from $12-$15 and you’ll thank me. Take a look below.

The facilities are relatively clean (I’m being optimistic since I’ve only seen one. Trust me dear readers, when my experience changes you’ll be the first to know) and they provided towels and a washcloth. This shower even had a soap dispenser in case you’re really unprepared.

There was no time limit and the hot water felt glorious so I stood under the stream for what felt like an hour. Washing the grime off of your body when living on the road is not only a necessity but it just feels so damned good.

Since I’m now a professional driver, which I’m still trying to wrap my head around, having reward card is key to my success and comfort. When you make a purchase and scan your card you get points but more importantly when you get diesel you get points towards using the showers and a drink. For Loves, here is what they say about their program:

“Drink Refills and Shower Credits

When you fuel a minimum of 50 gallons of commercial diesel, you automatically receive credit for a free shower and free fountain drink refill (coffee, soda or tea) of up to 44 ounces.  The credits must be redeemed within 7 days from the time of the commercial diesel purchase for Base level and within 10 days from the time of the commercial diesel purchase for Gold level.”

So getting fuel, which I have to do anyway, can score me free coffee and a free shower? Hell to the yeah! Of course you don’t fuel up everyday but on the days I do it’s going to be like hitting the proverbial jackpot in my world.

Right now I’m waiting for my partner in crime to wake up so we can go pick up this load and start heading to Camden, NJ. I may be jumping off the truck in Chicago, or I may ride all the way to the East Coast and hole up in a hotel room somewhere on the company’s dime. Either way I’m on the night shift. I’ve now reset my internal clock from having to be a morning person to back where I firmly belong as a night owl. I’m ready to rock this mutha.

And away we go…


Thursday was my first night sleeping in the truck and I couldn’t be happier. No the bed was not comfortable. No it was not easy climbing in and out of the top bunk gracefully. No the bathroom was not less than 100 feet away from me. I didn’t care. I was now on what would be my home for the next 30,000 miles.

After spending the night at the terminal, we played the wait around for our delivery time. We were scheduled to drop off our load 40 miles away at 4:15pm. At 1:00 we entered the wash bay (which was just a giant car wash so my inner child was all giddy).

From there it was on to the receiver. We were hauling a load of Bar S hotdogs from Oklahoma to a Walmart distribution center in Utah.

There is a process to everything we do. It’s not as easy as just rolling up and they take everything off your truck and your done.

First, there is the guard keep that you have to stop at so they can check your identification and make sure the seals are intact. Then they tell you what door to pull into and how they want you to park (attached, detached, landing gear up or down, out of your truck entirely or stay with your vehicle, etc). Then you slowly make your way to the appropriate door, back in, and park given the receivers instructions. Now begins the waiting game.

This is not a situation where as soon as your backed into your door the unloading or loading begins. Rather this is one of many instances of “hurry up and wait”. It can take a receiver 2-4 hours to fully load or unload a truck. Anything over 4 hours and we get what’s called detention pay, which is a premium on our time but really only a small recompense for the time lost. While sitting around may not seem like a bad gig, you need to remember that I’m only being paid if the wheels are moving. Plus any time sitting, while not detracting from my drive time, does detract from my hours of service time.

Let’s go over that a bit.

This is what my clock looks like. The basic breakdown is that I can only drive 11 hours in a 14 hour shift, and can only have a maximum of 70 hours worked in a week before having to take a 34 hour reset (not shown). Basically, I have to account for all my time to be compliant with FMCSA. Now if I’m at a shippers or receiver, I’m going to be on duty but not driving. The time spent waiting to be loaded or unloaded will eat away at my 14-hour on duty clock but not my 11-hour drive clock. So if a receiver takes 4 hours to load me, I only have 10 hours left on my on duty clock which means even though I have 11 hours left on my drive clock, I can really only drive for 10 to be compliant with my 14 hour day.

All of these clocks come into play in the life of a trucker. For a full breakdown of hours of service check out FMCSA’s website.

So, back to unloading. Being that this was my first experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I should have banked on total boredom because that’s pretty much what I got. I wasn’t able to read because I haven’t found a book to lose myself in after finishing my last series, my cell signal was too low to adequately stream anything, and I don’t have any of my crafty goodness with me because I’m not on my own truck.

Some use this time to take a nap, clean their trucks, watch shows, or even cook. Not being in my own space meant none of these options (besides sleeping) were available to me and quite frankly I was too geeked up to sleep.

After 2.5 hours we were fully unloaded and I was able to get my paperwork. Have I mentioned that I don’t look like a normal trucker? I’m reminded of this every time I am around others of my profession and sometimes it makes me giggle. Someone needed to get some style and sass up in this mutha…

After logging the end of our trip we immediately get another load. We head back down the road back to Salt Lake City and pick up a load of bacon (mmmmm bacon) heading to Eastern Washington. This is all part of the plan to get me to my home state so I can get my permit changed to a full license.

After sitting getting loaded for almost 4 hours, we are finally off and headed out.

I started driving but because of all of the waiting I had to do at the shippers/receivers I was quickly out of hours left to drive. We made a quick switch and then I jumped in the lower berth to sleep while my trainer drove his 11.

I woke up in Idaho near the Oregon boarder. As soon as stumbling my way into the passenger seat my trainer asked “do you need to go to the restroom?” Hell yeah I did. We made a quick pit stop and I did my business and grabbed a cup of coffee. We were off again with the next stop being the tri-cities area of Washington.

One of the reasons I decided to enter this profession was that I have one of the best views from my office. As we made our way through The mountains of Oregon I was reminded that no matter what happens today or the next, there is always something beautiful to see and all I have to do it open my eyes and heart to bask in it.